For quite some time now, Danish psych/retro/blues rockers Syreregn have been writing new songs while ferociously trying to get some studio-work done so they can finally follow up on their debut album “OCD” from 2009. I caught up with Singer/Bassist/’Band-boss’ Thor Boding on a cold Friday night at Beta in Copenhagen to discuss the new album, his recent endeavors and Syreregn’s future plans.
RF.net: So, Syreregn is making a new album?
(Laughs) Yeah, we are. I suppose we’re just about halfway through the album now, having laid down the basic rhythm tracks. So now we’re working on tracking some solos and vocals, and of course the dubs here and there. Oh, and we’ve got quite a lot of guests we have to track as well.
RF.net: Guests? Who and more importantly, what are they playing?
Thor: Golden Vegas (Dirty Old Town) for example. I was on tour in Germany with Dirty Old Town, and we basically got talking about different bands and what we were involved in. Since I was doing the gigs as a sort of ‘free-of-charge’ favor for Morten (Christensen) I kind of insisted on borrowing one of his musicians (Golden Vegas) for my studio-sessions as a return of the favor. So, Golden Vegas will be playing the organ on at least one track. I’m also trying to convince Morten to sing on a track, but at the moment he’s quite busy with his work on the Dirty Old Town full-length album so that’s still just something I’m hoping for. Oh and then we’ve also convinced Mads (Tamborg) from Larica to put down some saxophone tracks for the album as well. We’re also including at least one of the two recent singles on the album, so technically Freddy from Fuzz Manta is a guest on the album as well. Oh and then we’ve also got Scott ‘Dr. Space’ Heller from Øresund Space Collective joining us as well.
RF.net: Wow. You’re right, that’s quite a few guests. To move this a little further along; I understand you’ve gotten yourself a new guitar-player yet again?
Thor: That’s right. His name is Casper Gyldensøe and he is replacing Knud Damgaard with whom we toured in the fall of 2012. But as you and quite a lot of other reviewers tended to mention, we kind of struggled to achieve the right chemistry with Knud. Don’t get me wrong, Knud is a fantastic guy and a great guitar player but there was just too big of a difference between us – we didn’t seem to want the same thing which led us to some tough times when it came to defining our ‘roles’ in the band. I have this tendency to go into a ‘Roger Waters’ kind of mood, where it’s my way or the highway. You know? Luckily it’s become a little better in recent years, and I am actually surprised to see how much input in the songwriting that I have accepted from Rasmus Kurdahl (drums) and Casper as I tend to become quite dominating about that. Anyway, the problem was that Knud sort of had the same thing going so we tended to clash a little, so I figured it was better to end it before it turned bad. - Which actually reminds me of the fact that Rasmus and I kind of had the same thing going on for quite some time too, but you know, we’ve worked on and off with each other for 10+ years, so over time we’ve sort of established who’s the alpha-male at what times and such, but it seemed to be too much work to do that again with Knud.
RF.net: Alright, I can certainly understand that. But how did you meet Casper then?
Well, I did a couple of stand-in gigs with Casper and his brother which later became the band Sad Sam and His Suspenders. At the time I did this, we were also touring in Syreregn and Knud had to bail from our gig in the Netherlands where we were to support Siena Root. So I asked Casper if he could fill in for Knud, and he accepted.
RF.net: Great! How did it go then, and what is he like as a guitar player?
Thor: Well, it went great. Casper is probably the best guitar player I have ever worked with. He went to Berkeley in the US and when he finished his education there, he was offered a teaching position. So he essentially lived as a professional musician in the US for just about ten years. He then returned home and played a lot of jazz and blues – which is how I met him – and as such, he also tends to play very ‘jazzy’. He is such a great guitar player that he really doesn’t make mistakes, which can actually be a slight problem in itself. He is “almost” a bit too perfect for this type of music. But on the other hand, he is not as limited as many other guitar players, because he is so technically proficient – so that’s great.
RF.net: That’s quite impressive! Rockfreaks.net has brought the news that you are the man behind a two-day psychedelic/retro/blues rock festival at Huset i magstræde in Copenhagen. How is that working out?
That’s exactly right. The Blue Beetle Rock for Charity Festival 2013 which is in favor of a charity which supports a local school-project in India. But uh, tell me what you wanna know about it. I don’t really know where to start. (Laughs)
RF.net: Well, for starters… The lineup has already been revealed, and Syreregn is one of the many bands that are to play the festival. What are your thoughts on that?
Thor: Oh yeah, Syreregn will, of course, be playing. I figured that it wouldn’t be right that I asked many of my comrades and musical colleagues to take the time to play for free, if I didn’t do anything about it myself. So of course, if Syreregn can attract some people as well, then naturally we’ll play – it’s our way of contributing as well. But actually, when I look bad at the period of booking bands for this, I actually feel very privileged that I know all these great bands that were literally asking me, if they could play a gig at the festival because they wanted to help. Especially when a former booking has to drop out of the gig, in this case, Bite the Bullet ran into some troubles so they had no choice but to cancel. But it was okay, because it didn’t really take that much time to find a suitable replacement in the form of Jake Green Band, which again makes me feel very lucky and quite privileged.
RF.net: That’s amazing, and it’s quite nice to see that many bands willing to do something charitable. I’ve noticed a band on the roster that is quite obscure. It’s called Romulus & the Wolves and rumor has it that you’re involved in it somehow. Would you care to elaborate?
Thor: (laughs quite hard) Sure, why not. Romulus & the Wolves is a new project by Stephan Krabsen (Helhorse, Bjergtaget). Syreregn toured with Bjergtaget as support in the fall of 2012, and during that time we talked quite a lot about doing something together. Stephan writes these songs you know, that are sort of a blend between Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age – a bit bluesy, but also noisy and stoner-rock sounding. The whole thing is very ‘tight’ in a sense, as it’s quite the opposite to what I am used to working with, having mostly dealt with the floating forms of psych-blues and such. The third member of Romulus is a guy called Lars Peter (Wallfält) who has actually played a few stand-in gigs with Syreregn as well. He is a great drummer, and quite heavy sounding which is pretty cool. But uhm, essentially that’s all there is to it at this point. We have had a couple of rehearsals and the festival is essentially going to be our debut gig, so we’ll see how it goes and we’ll take it from there (laughs).
RF.net: Let’s hope it works out great then, as it sounds quite intriguing. Speaking of bands scheduled to play the festival, there is also a rumor going on that you (Syreregn) are planning a tour with Paper Tigers?
Thor: Ah yeah, that rumor. Well it is true that we are working on booking a tour with Paper Tigers. We talked about it, and figured that we attract very different kinds of audiences – so in the interest of promotion and such, it would be a smart thing to do, but it would also be loads of fun I think. We are currently trying to make it a fall-tour, but there are still so many things to figure out. For instance we need to figure out how to go about the booking, because usually I handle the booking for Syreregn while Paper Tigers have an external booker and therefore they are a bit more ‘pro’ about it. But none of this is set in stone you know it’s all still very hypothetical, but I hope we can do it.
RF.net: Fair enough, it’ll be exciting to see how this turns out then. To get a bit back on track and back to Syreregn in general, I have two last questions for you. 1) What is ‘new’ on your new album and what kind of bands and sounds have influenced you this time around? 2) When do you expect the album to be released?
In terms of inspiration, it is really varied this time around. The tracks for the album have been written over a long period of time, where we had a long run of changing band-members so they aren’t as coherent in the writing as the songs on OCD were. But they have been inspired by what I was into at certain points during those years. To name a few bands that I think have influenced the writing, I guess I would say Tool which is still new to me. Just a couple of years back, I would have said ‘Tool? Damn metal-loudmouths. I don’t want any of that.’ But you know then you mature as a listener and realize that something you initially disliked is actually really cool. Other influences would have to be Baby Woodrose and a bit of Pink Floyd as well. This time around we’re also messing with samples from old movie classics as well. So the album is a bit more garage as well as progressive than the previous album. But no worries, there are still loads of fuzz guitar on it!
RF.net: That sounds really cool!
Thor: I hope it turns out cool as well (laughs). In terms of a release date, it’s a bit difficult at the moment. Everything is expensive: the recording, the mixing, the mastering, release etc. We are still trying to figure out who should actually mix the album. But we’re aiming for a streamed release this summer and then perhaps a vinyl, or at least a physical release at a later point in time. The important part is that we release it over the summer, since it’s been quite a while since we last released an album and people around us are getting anxious (laughs).
RF.net: Alright, fair enough. I’m looking forward to hearing the album. Thanks for taking the time for this interview, and good luck with your festival, your gigs and everything.
Thor: You’re very welcome.