In my world, the guitar solo is where the guitarists personality is shown. – Interview with Christian Carlsson of The Quill

photo credit Goran Markov

Ages ago in another lifetime and in a time when Metal Hammer was a magazine who didn’t turn their sails by the wind as much as they did in the late 90s, they had a part named “Their Own Words”.

I have thought a lot about doing kind of the same thing here on Stargazed Magazine. So first one out is Christian Karlsson of The Quill who just released their new album “Live new borrowed and blue”. As the title reveals it’s an album filled with songs that almost made it on to earlier The Quill albums, songs that appear on tribute albums and some live recordings made at Sweden Rock Festival 2019.

Nice to see a “new” The Quill album out. Sort of a Corona album?

The thought was that we were supposed to be out on a European Tour at this point, and since its almost a year since “Earthrise” was released the thought was that we needed to have something new along with it. Releasing a new album means more media attention and to promote the album with a tour. But as with everything else the corona came, and the tour got cancelled (the tour was planned for the whole of January). Instead, we are rescheduling it for January 2023. A long time ahead so we hope to do some more live shows before that of course.

Lets turn to the new album

Keep On Moving” is a The Quill song for starter.

Yes, it is our own song. And it is the original version of the song, it has a slower middle part. We wrote the song like that but then when we had decided what songs we wanted to have on the album we felt that there were quite a few songs that is too long and got slow parts in the middle. When we tried to get a kind of an over all picture of the record, we thought of what song we might re arrange. And we came up with the idea of scratching the whole middle part of the track, then it turns out as an energy filled up tempo shuffle song. We agreed to disagree to do it like that. But we said that we would probably release the original in some way and here it is. A future question is what version to play live in the future.

What is the song about? Or shall I say do you have some specific subjects or format to stand on when writing material?

We all have our parts in the writing process. Magnus our singer writes all the lyrics. The rest of us can sometimes of course come up with ideas for melodies and such. Sometimes he keeps it and sometimes he doesn’t. The lyrics is all his anyway. Mostly kind of: Go for it, grind on, carry on and” Don’t give up” kind of lyrics.
It’s a lot of reflections on how the world is around us and how we behave against each other. Small considerations. That is how I have perceived them. And it’s a lot of the four elements and of course a bit of the space on the “Earthrise” album.

Track number two: The Aerosmith song ”S.O.S.” Who in the band is the biggest Aerosmith fan?

I am a very big fan of the band. Foremost the 70s. They started out good and then became better and better but at the end of the 70´s they kind of faded out as the drugs started to take over. But then with” Permanent Vacation” it felt like they came back. A lot of good songs through their 80s too, but after that it is a lot of highs and lows, But it’s a band I try to see live if I get the chance.

What impact has Aerosmith had on The Quill?

We are big fans of the whole 70´s era of rock / hard rock. But they are not that obvious in our music. It’s a band who really are respected. They have so many ingredients in the whole concept. A fantastic frontman in Steven Tyler and a big influence in many ways.
We are represented on a tribute/cover album to Aerosmith. And that goes for every one of the covers on the album. This album was released in 2000 (a tribute to Aerosmith” Right in The Nuts”) on small Stone Records. Almost only stoner bands on it and a lot of the bands on the album are no longer active (Fireball Ministry, Atomic Bitchwax, Alabama Thunderpussy among others). But I don’t know why we choose that song, maybe the record company wanted us to do the song?

What’s the difference between your and Aerosmith’s version?

Vocal melodies are quite the same and it’s that melody that carries the song onwards. We took it down in kind of a half tempo. Doomier and stoner. We try to make the riffs more like The Quill riffs. Less rock n roll. Rearranged the riffs and the chords to make it ours.

Children of the sun”.

It was written during the “Earthrise” sessions. We finalized the whole song but felt that the album was too long because we wanted it to fit into a vinyl. It was scratched very late in the process, it was between this song and “The Soul” but still, we felt that we would release “Children of the sun” in one way or the other. “The soul” is kind of similar to “Children of the sun”, they remind themselves of each other. But it feels very good that it is released. The song itself is an observation on how we live our lives here on planet earth

Where eagles dare”. I think it was a good thing that you choose a song like that instead of the more well-known songs. Of course, metalheads and die-hard Maiden fans know the song but apart from that, it’s kind of unknown.

Iron Maiden is a band that everyone in The Quill can agree on. And it’s one of my absolute favourite tracks by the band and I am very happy it wasn’t taken. And it’s the same with this as with the other covers, it was released on a cover album “Slave to The Power – The Iron Maiden Tribute”
It was kind of a thing back then Stoner bands doing cover albums. And we thought it was a good thing to do. We were frequently visiting Berno Studio back then. We recorded our first few albums there. “Silver Haze”, “Voodoo Caravan” and partly “Hooray! It’s a death trip” (2003). It was our home studio for the first eight years or so. I think we did 15 sessions where we recorded songs and demos and covers. This song is recorded there.

What’s the difference between your version and the Iron Maiden version?

I think it is true to the original version. There is a drum part where the typical Iron Maiden drums are replaced into a heavier hard rock riff. The guitar solo is more my way. I have never been the one to play guitar solos straight off the original. In my world, the guitar solo is where the guitarists personality is shown.

Is there anyone in the band that don’t like or listen to Iron Maiden?

No its not. None of us got the band as a big favourite but no one think they are bad.

Keep It Together” is next one up.

It’s from” Born from fire” and it made its way into our setlist. It’s one of my all-time favourite The Quill songs ever made. It is a real firestarter live. This version is recorded live at Sweden rock festival 2019 because we were able to record it live. So of course, we will try to release more songs from that show in the future. I think it’s nice that you really hear that it is recorded live, you hear the audience. On those songs you can really hear it, because they are very dynamic, we slow them down a bit and there you hear the audience

Mount Everest”.

Recorded by November. It was a project run by Lennart Larsson (the man behind the now defunct festival 2000 decibel). Back then he was a lot involved in the business, nowadays not that much. He is more of a fan today. This project where this song is from is called “Power from The North”. An album made of bands at that time who did covers of older Swedish bands (it was released in 2000). I think it was Lennart who asked us to do the song since we are a band with a lot of 70s in us. The tricky part is that November sang In Swedish in almost every song but this song they did in English. I think we did a good version, heavier than the original. Back then it was kind of heavy but if you compared to today’s music, they are not that heavy. Magnus (Ekwall) sings with a bit more power, so it turns out more of a hard rock song.
During the last part of the song we took a riff from a different November song, at the end we changed it into a more heavy and groovier song. I don’t remember the title but it’s on the same November album (“En ny tid ar har”). But no one has taken notice of it.

What has November meant to The Quill?

It was a band that I discovered around that time 15-20 years ago. There were actually more Swedish bands before Europe, there were a lot of heavy bands in the 70s but November was the coolest of them all.

“Burning Tree” is next.

It’s a very special song. A bit of guitars and vocals, tambourine and foot stomps and Magnus sings through a megaphone! He sometimes uses that, if you listen to “Spinning Around” from “Hooray! It’s a death trip” there is a very peculiar sound on the vocals, and if we do it live, he brings out the megaphone. On almost every album we have done there is a track where its only guitars and vocals. This is one of those songs with kind of a bluesy vibe to it. I came up with this riff and asked Magnus if he could try and sing over it, it’s easy to make it a Muddy Waters song out of it. It fell out of the frame of the rest of the “Earthrise” songs, we recorded it during a few hours and took it from there.
We do have another song like that actually, let’s see if it ever comes out.

Second to last song “Frozen Over”.

A cover of a song made by Captain Beyond (from the album “Thousand Days of Yesterdays – A Tribute to Captain Beyond).

When listening to the song on the cover album you can hear it was a long time ago. You hear it on Magnus vocals. It’s lighter and more nasal which make it very obvious that it’s a long time ago.

What has Captain Beyond meant to The Quill or a member of the band?

I think it was Roger, our bass player who introduced us to the band one or two years before we recorded this song. He is or maybe were the one who botanized around in kind of more obscure bands from the 70s. I got hooked on this record too, Magnus and Jolle weren’t that into it in the beginning, but they’ve learned to like it

Either November or Captain Beyond are bands I am into that much. Where should I begin when listening to Captain Beyond?

As far as I remember the tribute album is made from their first album. And I think that is their best album. I think they did two more albums. The drummer on the first album left the band and was replaced by some other drummer so that album is very different. And on the third there were more personnel changes in the band, so their musical timeline is like a rollercoaster, I think. Back to the song, I remember it as a very tricky song with a lot of changes in it. We had a hard time even playing it. We are not used to play this kind of songs at all. But it was a fun challenge, we couldn’t change a lot because we had a hard time making the song as it is.

Final song “Hole in My Head”. A real personal favourite of mine.

It’s a song that has been with us since it was recorded (Voodoo caravan, released 2002). It’s Magnus favourite song. We are jamming a lot live when we play this song and he gets to catch his breath. The jamming part in the middle is different from time to time. It happens different things all the time we play it.
Lyrically I can’t really say anything about the song, not my table.

All in all, a very good album. And I hope to see you soon on a stage. I saw you guys at Nalen this past December with Evergrey.

We did a couple of shows with them in Sweden. We were happy to do any shows during the “Earthrise” era. We took the chance when society opened a bit back then.
They are very cool guys. And they are popular, and we got to play cool places.
We differ a lot musically. Hard rock maybe but not much more similarities.
They are so massive, like a steamroller hitting you. We are a lot more dynamic. But they have two guitar players and a keyboard player so there is one big difference.
But I don’t think metalheads and hard rock fans are insular. But you might not gonna see Mayhem touring with Nestor. But the older you get the more you broaden your musical horizons and don’t really care about genres that much. When you are such a huge music nerd as I am and probably you too / you are curious. It is such a big source for happiness.

What happens in The Quill world now?

We are doing a thing now, so we are releasing something soon. But the vinyl press situation is crazy right now. Nobody knows when this new album will be released on vinyl.
A few festivals are booked. Maybe we can book some Swedish gigs anyway.

This pandemic must have struck you hard. Imagine having a tour planned and then the world shut down. And suddenly reopens again.

Nobody really knows, because it’s a procedure to do a gig. From the booking agents and promotion, but now with this one they cannot go back (speaking of eased restrictions which came around the time of the interview).
We have a few things that we will confirm soon. And started a new cycle for a new album. Maybe studio time this summer. And the album can be released before the next tour.
We are really looking forward to this. People are holding on to tickets for gigs that are postponed and such.

Everyone is ready for touring now. But It will be a hard competition when everyone will be touring.

 

In my world, the guitar solo is where the guitarists personality is shown. – Interview with Christian Carlsson of The Quill

March 28, 2022

photo credit Goran Markov Ages ago in another lifetime and in a time when Metal Hammer was a magazine who didn’t turn their sails by the wind as much as they did in the late 90s, they had a part named “Their Own Words”. I have thought a lot about doing kind of the same thing here on Stargazed Magazine. So first one out is Christian Karlsson of The Quill who just released their new album “Live new borrowed and blue”. As the title reveals it’s an album filled with songs that almost made it on to earlier The Quill albums, songs that appear on tribute albums and some live recordings made at Sweden Rock Festival 2019. Nice to see a “new” The Quill album out. Sort of a Corona album? The thought was that we were supposed to be out on a European Tour at this point, and since its almost a year since “Earthrise” was released the thought was that we needed to have something new along with it. Releasing a new album means more media attention and to promote the album with a tour. But as with everything else the corona came, and the tour got cancelled…

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