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Interview with The Quill

Every conversation in Sweden starts with a weather report, so when I do this interview with Roger, almost the whole of Sweden is shut down by massive amounts of snow. But it´s very regional, because where he sits he has to use wellingtons as spring is about to come to Småland. When I have to dress in as much clothes as possible.

And then on to what we really were to speak about. The Quill are confirmed to play Sweden Rock Festival 2019 On June 7th.

ON SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL
It is as good as all the rumors – overall it’s typically Swedish, well organized in every aspect. The audience is there for the music (and the beer of course). Last year it was too hot though, a lot of people including myself had to seek shelter during the daytime shows to avoid the burning sun. Not metal at all, haha! Some people say it’s pricey but if you consider how many bands you get to see during 3 or 4 days and how much you have to pay for a ticket to a regular show these days it’s well invested money.

We’ve played the festival 3 times before (twice with me in the band), the first time in 1995 when it was named Karlshamn Festival, also on the bill were soon to be Swedish pop giants Kent, The Pogues mixed up with Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath. In 1999 we played again along acts like Dio and Manowar. The one thing I remember most from 1999 was American cult-band and personal favorite Captain Beyond also played that year. We had just recorded a song for a tribute album made in their honor so we got to meet them and chat a bit backstage. As I’m talking with their drummer Bobby Caldwell he’s realizing Deep Purple is hitting the stage. – We got to go see them he says and grabs me by the arm. All of a sudden I’m standing on main-stage watching Deep Purple with one of my personal heroes – talk about a surreal experience. Then again in 2006 when I was on what became a 7 year hiatus.

GIVE US A REASON WHY YOU WOULD GO TO SWEDEN ROCK?

For the love of good music and all the cool people. You always find someone to chat with and people are always really relaxed. Then there’s the cold beer of course. At Sweden Rock you feel at home – more so than at any other festival in the world.

BEST MEMORY OF THE FESTIVAL?

Me and our drummer Jolle managed to get stuck in Europe’s dressing-room in 2013 together with Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders). Since it was Europe’s 30th anniversary and they were filming the show, the whole backstage area were shut down and closed. So we were left behind in their hospitality lounge and couldn´t leave. At first we thought we’d be okay but soon we realized the only thing available in the dressing-room was non alcoholic beer and pastries. So there we were while Europe was doing this big show a few meters away locked down with this super cool, down-to-earth, musician eating pastries and talking touring memories. At the end we did get out though and manage to see the final songs of the set.

HISTORY OF THE BAND?

We usually say the story of The Quill started “in the 1500s”. It has kind of evolved over the years and gotten more and more serious the older we got. Jolle and Christer started out together in the mid 80´s forming your typical teenage rock band. In the beginning members were changing a lot but in the late 80’s/early 90’s it became more serious with the arrival of vocalist Magnus Ekwall. I joined the band in 1993 and the debut album as The Quill was released on Megarock Records in 1995.

GRUNGE ERA?

When we released the first album grunge was at its height, the type of music we were playing was totally out of fashion. Not that it matter really since it has never been about trends or stardom for us. Then around 1998-1999 the term stoner-rock started to appear labeling all bands with a Sabbath-feel to their music. Somehow we ended up in that scene and started to get recognition from a new audience. But we’ve always consider ourselves a classic rock band in the veins of all the great bands from England; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

INFLUENCES?

Between the four of us we listen to just about everything. From extreme metal to prog, via singer-songwriters and all the way to jazz and classical music. I usually say there’s only two types of music – good and bad.

FROM DEMO TO RECORD CONTRACT

I came into the band in 1993 by which point they had recorded tons of demos over the years and they had already had offers from a few different labels. But when I joined in 1993 we decided to pay for the first album ourselves and then licensed it to Megarock Records.

Just recently some stuff from this time was unearthed when local Swedish Radio got a big donation of unmarked mastertapes. They came from a small local recording-studio were The Quill recorded a few times in the early 90’s. The tapes weren’t labeled so the radio-station have been playing a few songs each week asking listeners to help identify each artist. A few weeks ago they contacted me saying a listener had identified a track as a recording by early The Quill. And after hearing it we realized it was an early demo-version of the track “Lodestar” which was re-recorded for our first album. Since the band recorded there 3 or 4 times in the early 90’s there’s more stuff to be found for sure.

THE QUILL FUTURE PLANS?

Short tour in March through Germany, Italy and Netherlands.(CANCELLED sadly) Then we have some more festivals yet to be officially announced. In October we’re hoping to do some dates in Sweden and the rest of Europe. Then there is an ongoing process writing new material. We aim to start recording this summer with a release planned for january 2020

CLUB GIGS vs FESTIVALS?

Club gigs are usually cooler and more relaxed. You do your soundcheck during the afternoon and then you hang-out, have dinner and have a few beers. Showtime is usually quite late in clubs so you have plenty of time to get everything organized. Festivals are a different animal all together. Schedules are usually super-tight with bands playing all day. The good thing with festivals is that you reach new people whom may never have heard you and are seeing you for the first time. Festivals are also really nice since you also meet with other musicians and people in the industry. Having been around for as long as we have we’ve made a lot of friends over the years and it’s usually at festivals you get to meet. Kind of like a family reunion.:D

THE QUILLS BIGGEST MARKET?

Germany, Netherlands, Sweden are our biggest market. We do sell quite a lot of records in the US but we’ve only toured there once. It´s such a huge country and the logistics is a complete nightmare for a band of our size. If you want to do it the right way you have huge costs applying for visas etc. I know some bands take chances touring on tourist visas but if you get caught you might run into problems if you want to visit the US again in the future. You really need a wealthy record company and a good gameplan if you want to get into the US market. The band did however do some gigs on the west coast in 2011, but at that point I was not in the band myself.

WRITING ROUTINE?

Jolle and Christian are the main writers when it comes to the music. Usually they have an idea which we then all work on together in the rehearsal room. Magnus then writes 99 percent of all the lyrics. But being in a band is also a social thing, chatting away in the rehearsal-room having a few laughs and a good time. The older you get the more humble you are to the fact that we’re still friends 25 years later, still making records and having an audience.

SURPRISING SPOTIFY PLAYLIST?

The Quill playlist consist of everything from heavy metal to smooth jazz. Sometimes you just need to take a break from hard rock music. That´s a thing I never would have thought when I was younger – then it was all about hardrock and heavy metal 24/7.

FIRST ALBUM BOUGHT?

Kiss – Dressed To Kill

FIRST CONCERT ATTENDED?

Canadian band Helix in Oskarshamn back in 1985. Another surreal experience, thanks to the TV-show Bagen they were really big around that time and for them coming to my hometown was out of this world.

BEST CONCERT?

Kiss in 1988 at Johanneshovs Isstadion – I was never the same again. Black Crowes is another favorite I´ve seen a lot of times and they always delivered. Tom Petty is another act I hold really high.

Note from Peter: In 2017 I saw the band perform in a bowling hall in the small town of Östhammar, Sweden. Turns out he and Christer who booked the band knew each other from the early years of The Quill, so when the band unveiled that they were back. Christer was one of the first ones to book the band. A magic night who also contained Abramis Brama by the way.A show he remember well since he said it was strange playing in a bowling hall

Peter Andersson Öhrn

Peter Andersson Öhrn

Writer

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