Found this interview från 2008, with one of our favourite bands from that age, and of course still a favourite band.
Interview by Anahi Davila Eriksson
When we get to meet Jonas Jonasson in the dressing room after an excellent performance, I’m very close to greeting him with a: “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” His colonial mustache and safari hat would indeed fit on an explorer in Africa in the 19th century. Bob Hund has seen and experienced a lot over the years, and this spring, fifteen years after the release of their debut album, they are releasing their eighth full-length album; the acclaimed “Folkmusik för folk som inte kan bete sig som folk” (Folk Music for People Who Can’t Behave Like People).
How does it feel to be back, with a new album and everything?
It feels great! We received an incredibly positive response as soon as we released the album, with good reviews, and the audience has embraced it wholeheartedly. We’ve been performing quite a few new songs, and it’s been working well. Now we play fewer new songs when it’s a festival because the audience is often more energetic, so it’s important to engage the crowd.
What have you been up to during the time you’ve been away? I know that Mats Andersson has written a book and has now been replaced by Christian Gabel, but what have you all been doing between albums?
We worked a lot on “Bergman Rock” until ’96/’97, and then Tomas and I pursued other things. For us, it doesn’t quite feel like we’ve taken a break, as “Bergman Rock” has been an extension of Bob Hund in a way, but geared toward a different audience, specifically a Swedish audience.
Me and friends grew up with your music; as teenagers, we were often home in our bedrooms listening… The audience you’re encountering now is different. What’s the difference between the audience then and now?
It’s actually quite interesting because, in a way, this is the second time we’re facing a new audience. We haven’t spanned two generations, but we have gone through the actively listening youth who are into music.
The interesting thing is that it’s quite similar, in a way. However, the audience coming now, those who are listening now, don’t necessarily require rock or drums. There’s so much more acceptance now. When we started, it was very strange to do the things we do, but now there are more bands doing similar things. There’s a much broader acceptance, and that’s actually fun. It means we can do things, and instead of needing to be extremely odd, we can be more ourselves, perhaps showing more heart. We can go on a big stage and try to be genuine. We can be more personal, provide a personal feeling. We’ve always worked on blurring the line between the audience and us.
If we look at the album cover of your new album, designed by Martin Kahn… On the cover itself, the album’s title is repeatedly written with white chalk on a school board. And if we consider the track “bli inte som oss bli värre” (don’t become like us, be worse)… What message do you have for the younger audience?
We believe that all the energy is with the young ones. There’s still a lot of respect, sometimes even too much respect for us. People might think of us as a “great band” or that we’re “established.” The message is more about ignoring that and doing something even more fun, even worse. It’s like a delay button that we might have had, and now we’re tossing it around. It’s a bit like Andres Lokko (a renowned swedish music critic), he’s funny, he said, “It’s the young ones who should make music, I should NOT make music.” Then he couldn’t help but add, “But that album is terribly bad” (laughs). Of course, everyone has an opinion, but it’s important that the ones with the most energy use it the most and get the opportunity to do so.
Yes, it feels like the album is infused with so much more than you’ve created, like revolt, having a revolution. Is that in progress? What do you see when you meet the audience? Like when we see Thomas on stage wearing an eye mask… is he a hero? What are you trying to reflect?
I think we’re quite about inspiring. When we started, it was about grabbing the microphone and hitting someone on the head, saying “Hey, listen!” and not just standing straight up and down, hearing how “talented they are, how well they play.” We wanted them to listen. We kind of argue with everyone, trying to change something. Ignite something in the audience.
You debuted 15 years ago. How does it feel when you play today? Do you notice any differences? Where do you draw your inspiration from? Has anything changed in terms of songwriting?
We have a natural way of writing music. This time, we had help from Per Sunding (Producer), who is really skilled, offering good advice like “That’s great, now let’s try doing it like this,” and we play around. Eventually, we find our own paths. We try to make something new out of ourselves, as there’s something that both we and our audience love about what we do. Many bands play a certain kind of music because they have to. There needs to be a balance. We’re fortunate and energized when we play together. Something happens that none of us can predict, something like “wow, it turned out like this, how fun!”
What do you think of the music industry today? A lot has changed in 15 years, staying within that frame.
We were actually talking about this today. That’s great that there’s a scene that’s quick and reasonable for sharing your creations. But for non-established bands, it’s still tough to make money from it, which is bad. But we shouldn’t romanticize the past either, when only the music industry made a lot of money. There’s something positive, definitely.
Take downloading, for example, how do you view that?
We’re relatively positive about it, but it’s also not reasonable for everyone to just take, like a buffet where everyone just piles on because it’s “free”… that’s not good either. We’re very ambivalent. But it shouldn’t be “you’re not allowed” and “it’s forbidden!” It’s difficult, I find it difficult. But what’s happening right now can be positive, it just needs adjustment from both sides.
As artists, how does it feel to have music as your livelihood and somehow make a living from it? Have you encountered any resistance, where the money doesn’t stretch? Have you been able to make money from what you do?
We haven’t made much money at all, ever. At most, we’ve sold 30,000 copies of our best-selling album, and that’s not much. We make money from playing live, so nothing has changed for us in that regard. We don’t have much money… but we’d rather do this, what we’re passionate about, than anything else.
Now that we’re talking about albums, which album are you most proud of?
I’m most satisfied with the latest album, definitely! Otherwise, that would be dereliction of duty. The idea is to make each album better than the last. There have been individual moments when we could say a certain album was fantastic when it came out, but it shouldn’t come now. You have to look forward. So the latest album, absolutely!
We’ve always wondered about the name “Bob Hund”… why not “Bob Katt” (Bob Cat)?
(Laughter) That’s simple, when we started, there was a cartoon dog on TV named “Bob the Dog” (from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood), which Mats Hellquist and I liked. It was very unique for us to write in Swedish, so we translated it directly!
As said before: Written by Anahi Davila Eriksson