A Private Press Dream
THE STORY OF GRANNENS FÖRFLUTNA
The year is 1983 and three youngsters from the rural town of Karlsborg enters a local studio to record a 12-inch single. The record would later become one of the most mysterious private presses to come out of Scandinavia. More than three decades later, we have managed to track down the mastermind behind it all.
Now working with his laser light rental service in Stockholm, Filip Lundqvist has a truly unique insight in Swedish music history, possibly without knowing it himself. Wildlife joined his company a sunny afternoon in central Stockholm to have a chat about his musical endeavours and forgotten times.
Who made the artwork?
– It was the studio owners girl friend, Åsa, but as I remember it, it was Martin who came up with the idea.
Did he come up with the band name aswell?
– I can't really recall, but i think he had a finger in that process, yes.
It's a very mysterious band name, you could say. And very unusual, you where in high school, right?
– Yes, exactly.
Grannens Förflutna rehearsing in 1983. To the left Conny Andersson and to the right Filip Lundqvist. (Photo by Mats Ståhl)
The equipment, and all the synthesizers you are using, how did you get a hold of those?
– We didn't own any of that stuff. We had to go to the local music store, Musikmagazinet, who also got a spot on the sleeve. They where very modest with the rental fees, and as I remember it, they where pretty forward-thinking when it came to stocking drum machines and synthesizers. I mean, this wasn't Stockholm. I instructed some of the local kids on how to manage the keyboards, and in return I got to rent the equipment at a very low price.
There's a Roland 808, a Juno 60 and a PPG synthesizer. So you built the whole record on the fact that you could rent the equipment from the music store, and you recorded it at Studio Vanäs?
– Yes, it was recorded at Studio Vanäs, and there's also supposed to be a recording of the live concert we did in december -82. On the 12", aswell as that live recording, we rented equipment from Musikmagazinet.
How well-planned was the recording of the 12" when you went in to the studio? Where you well prepared or where the synthesizers completely new for you?
– Some of them where new, compared to the ones we used on the live show, and compared to my first cassette demos of the tracks that ended up on the 12".
Ah, so you made a demo of both "Strategi Gul" and "Utvandring"?
– Yes, precisely, I recorded sketches of the songs, a structure, so to speak.
Are Conny and Martin brothers?
– No, they're not.
How did you end up in this constellation together?
– We went to the same school, basically.
Did you share a specific interest in electronic music?
– Yeah, I guess. I composed the music, both the songs on the 12" and some other tracks, and I thought that it would be fun to do it live. So we ended up together.
What where you inspired of in the making of the tracks?
– Well, from the time that I developed an own taste in music, around fifteen, I had listened a lot to symphonic rock. Yes, Genesis, Camel and Jethro Tull, stuff with a lot of harmonies and melodies. Big keyboard stacks, that was so fascinating and cool. I guess that was the musical background that i had, not that much electronic music actually. I found that later on.
I've heard that in the eighties, you where either listening to synth or heavy metal, was that the case or did that division in youth culture occur later on?
– I guess that came later on, that wasn't the case when I grow up. I was involved in some other bands at that time, when I was about 16-17. And all of them where aiming for the same sound - symphonic rock, and if it wasn't 25-minutes song the setting was always synthesizer, bass and guitar. Martin, who plays guitar on the record, must have merged into the band from one of those projects. But, we didn't think that much about that then, we just played.
There's also a drum machine on the record,. Did it end up in there by coincidence or where you aiming for that specific sound?
– Yes, we where. I started using the machine that fall, I remember when the Roland 808 arrived at the music store. I went there every day after school hanging around and testing it.
So I guess the staff at the music store must have been pretty easy to deal with?
– It was a good place to hang out at. I knew some of the people working there, and basically all the people who played music in the area and who didn't have anything to do hung out there.
So it became some kind of centre for all kids who where into music?
– Yeah, definitely.
Was Studio Vanäs also some kind of centre for young musicians and bands to record at?
– No, I wouldn't say that, It was located at Vanäs in Karlsborg in an old military quarter that they rented. They where two guys, i believe, who bought a mixer and a reel-to-reel machine and isolated the place.
Did you also record there for a reasonable price?
– Yeah, I mean, it was a bit expensive, we where just about to graduate from high school.
Did you record any other demos?
– I think we had around 6-7 songs in our set list. I think two of them where covers.
Are those tracks also on the live recording?
– Yes, they where recorded on a reel-to-reel, maybe someone has a cassette copy, i don't know.
Where was it recorded?
– In the auditorium at our high school, at the annual christmas concert.
And how was the response?
– Very good. That's why we where so keen to sell the record at the school.
What kind of covers where you playing?
– I guess it was some tunes from the bands i mentioned earlier. They would do all kinds of tunes, careless of which genre it might fit into, some of them where more listening friendly. Those where the ones we played.
Where you only playing instrumental music?
Filip in his synthesizer room.
I've seen that you made music later on which is distinctly fantasy-themed. Does that come from your interest in symphonic rock?
– Yes, that's safe to say. And somewhat typical for the genre. When the records arrived I had to do the mandatory military service, and on top of it, even before I graduated. So the record didn't get a proper release and ended up in some storage room somewhere.
Do you know if Conny and Martin has continued making music?
– We haven't had any contact since then. I haven't had contact with that many people from those days at all.
Did you move away after high school?
– Yes. After military service, I moved to Skövde, the nearby "big city". Then I moved to Stockholm in 1990.
Where you still composing at that time?
– I had some different projects, but nothing that really broke through. I still had an interest, but moved here (to Stockholm) for work, and that also meant moving away from the people that I made music with. So it was a total restart, one might say.
Have you noticed any interest in the record during the last years? I've seen that DJ Zyron uploaded one of the tracks on Youtube. It was very exciting, because there was actually some commotion around it. Some had heard about it, but most people haven't, so it has become somewhat a holy grail. How does that feel?
– That makes me very happy. I was thrilled to find these copies. It's inspiring, but the laser business is taking up all of my time. It would be fun to lift it up from where it all started though, with electronic live music.
Interview by Emanuel Sundin and Simon Eliasson
Wildlife have had the opportunity to sell some of the few copies left, exclusively for Filip. You can purchase the record here