Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Presolar Sands-Evolving Stardust.

Photo by Victor Mengarelli.

In September I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Oslo which included catching 'White Hills' in a (literally) underground venue-Revolver- near the city centre. First up that night were the very impressive Swedish psych rock band 'The Presolar Sands' consisting of  Jessica Mengarelli (Vocals, Guitar), Charlotta Paulin (Bass, Vocals), Wilhelm Tengdahl (Drums) and Micke Pettersson (Guitar) who have recently released a couple of tracks on Lazy Octopus (1). After the gig they agreed to an interview.
Your first release was in May 2015- how long had you been together beforehand? Had any of you collaborated previously in other bands?
J: We had been playing together for about a year, although me and Wille were playing together in another constellation before that, Wille on drums and me on tambourine, and that´s actually how we met Charlotta as she was on the front row at one of our gigs, being the most radiant person at the party.
C: At that time I was playing in Serious Mysterious and Body.
M: I came around in August 2014. My other band is called Jeremy Irons & the Ratgang Malibus.

What sort of response have you had to the 2 tracks you've released and your live shows?
M: ”Wow it sounds nothing like the 7inch when you play live, in a good way” must be the most common response.
J: I think people have been surprised to see that we are so straight on. We were rehearsing for 8 months before we had our first show, although we talked a lot about our band. I think they probably expected us to be softer.
W: People were very curious about what we had been doing and it felt very exciting to finally show them what we´d been working on. Especially, we notice it when we play live. ”The hype was real, it was worth waiting for” is probably the best compliment I´ve been told.
J: Someone actually thought we were just pretending to be a band.

'The Mad Mackerel' detected echoes of The Stooges, Spacemen 3 and Asteroid #4 in your sound (2)- but how would you describe your music? Did the ideas for The Presolar Sands' sound gradually emerge or did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to create from the start?
J: Those are bands I really love and feel connected to. But we were very clear from the beginning to try not to be defined by a genre. It doesn´t excite me to recreate other peoples music. Of course nothing can be created that hasn´t been done before but I´d rather not go into something new planning exactly how it should be and feel and what it should generate.
M: I just need to ”destroy” the sound so it won´t get into radio charts. You don´t want to be there.. so I just try to make the highest and weirdest noises there is to (not) get there.
W: We sound a bit harder and more noisy now than when we started. This is evident in the new recordings compared to our premiere release. We are a constellation from different backgrounds and our music is very reflected of it. The Presolar Sands sound has evolved into what you hear today, and will probably evolve even more in the future.
Photo by The Presolar Sands.
What is the grassroots rock scene like in Sweden-are there plenty of rock venues and opportunities to play? I saw you in Oslo-do you play a lot outside of Sweden?
M: It sucks. It´s reduced to just have venues in the three biggest cities in Sweden.
J: There are loads of bands and people interested in different kinds of music, but unfortunately I feel that there is not a lot of creativity in getting new exciting venues going. At least Stockholm is playing it a bit safe, following the trends of bigger international movements. I wish there was more of a daring transboundary cultural scene. I guess that´s why we are looking forward to play a lot outside of Sweden, to get in contact with other ways and ideas.
C: Well I think there are quite a few places to play in Stockholm on a grassroot level, I can think of 20 something places. Rest of Sweden I don't know really, but there is at least one place in every city I think. But there should and could really be more! I guess it´s not profitable enough.
W: The scene in Stockholm is really not that limited, however it feels limited, given the crowd that goes to our gigs. It feels like we know all the musicians and music fans within our crowd, so it´ll be the same people who go to the same gigs, which means that you have to watch out a bit to not play too often. You don´t wanna become one of those bands that never leaves Stockholm, who just gets stuck and plays on small venues. That´s why we want to come out and play. To come to Norway feels great, and to get to play in Denmark in a couple of weeks also feels absolutely amazing. And that is exactly what we want. We don´t want to get caught up in Stockholm. Actually, we want to get away from there.

Do you prefer the studio or playing live-which context suits your music best or do the different situations emphasise different aspects?
M: I´m more of a live guy. It´s too much pressure in the studio, it feels like my freedom of playing however I want is taken away from me and the only thing you´ve got left is the technique and the abillity to be on time.
W: The most fun is definitely playing live, but also, while it´s great and all, you can always have those days when you are standing there, backstage, swine nervous and wondering why the hell you have chosen this. But after the gig you always know why.
C: I´d go for live also – any day of the week! It brings another dimension that you can´t get from playing one at a time. (I never recorded live yet though but I´d really love to!)
J: Not to forget is the lonely aspect of pre production that I really enjoy and need. But live is something else. Writing, and building songs up together is like dreaming, while playing a show is like living.

The vocals are an important part of the sound-what sort of subject matter are you engaging with lyrically?
J: I tend to write a lot about everything's finiteness. And usually that comes with the vision of an infinite state on a bigger scale, though not in a religious way but rather in a scientific sense, the fact that we are stardust and that nothing in the world can ever be created or destroyed fascinates me a lot. I also write about corruption. Corruption of the mind caused by desire or destructive patterns.

What are your plans for the next year? An album on the horizon at all?  
W: We have a new EP which we will release within a close future, that we recorded this summer. Next year we have plans for an album and to go on a larger tour.

 Who would you cite as influences both as people and musicians?
C: Nina Simone, she had to fight unbelievably hard to do what she wanted musically and in her personal life. She didn´t care if she went against the grain, she was a radical, (she was even pro violence when it came to stop the racism and attacks against black people). She was also a fucking brilliant pianist and singer (obviously). Her playing was hard and wild and dead confident. And most important, she seemed completely free on stage.
J: Well the music of the 60s and 70s has become such a big part of my identity that it must effect everything I do musically. I admire bands who try to stay out of a genre, that pushes boundaries and take influences from different contexts. I find that in people like Syd Barrett and in the music of Sonic Youth and  Soundtrack of our Lives. I look up to musicians that seem sympathetic and honest, like Ty Segall, Iggy Pop, Graham Coxon...
M: Fred Sonic Smith, Slash and people who plays really loud guitars.
W: I grew up with the lovely mix of indie pop / rock and garage. Radiohead, The Strokes, Nirvana and the Swedish band Broder Daniel were present throughout my youth. I am inspired by artists who don´t care what others think and just go their own way.

and what current bands are you excited by?
J: Black Market Karma, Quilt, The Wands, Dead Skeletons, Ty Segall and Dungen.
C: Hanged man. I love everything about that band; its kind of eerie childish weirdness, its vocals, the lyrics, the darkness, I could go on and on..
W: The best new band right now is Moon City Boys. Otherwise, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Swedish band Solen are always exiting! And I´m stoked to hear the new Dungen and Libertines record!
M: Sleep, always Sleep.

Big thanks to The Presolar Sands for their time and answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment