Hey! Good to hear from you guys! How has 2017 been for the band?
Errka: You mean 1967? ;) It's been great! Some of our greatest achievements as a band happened this year.
Sam: Yeah I agree, a new album release that came out in a strong way and some really nice experiences on the road, is what I can recall at least!
Haha, that’s a great year musically to be living in! Sam mentioned nice experiences on the road; how has touring been? I know you spent some time with Deep Purple, that must’ve been incredible!
Errka: Touring with Siena Root is always great! We've built a solid fanbase in Europe and it feels like home going there. However we're really eager to go other places too. The Deep Purple gigs turned out to be way above our childish expectations! There were good vibes all over, both on and off stage.
Sam: Yes, I enjoy life on the road a lot. You know what to do and you can focus on that but, on the other hand, you never know what will happen...as Erik said, DP was really great in so many ways. 1. Probably the all time high in gigs I enjoyed most. 2. We met our heroes and they were really nice. 3. They listened to our gig and liked it; they even asked who we were influenced by! They where not ironic :) they were actually curious. Maybe they didn't listen so closely to our gig after all haha! 4. the list could go on and on but I'll just sum it up as great in all regards!
Tell me a little bit about the processes you go through as a band when you're recording.
Love: Apart from the practical issues of recording, there's also a lot of psychology involved in the process. Once the red light goes on you notice that it doesn't sound as in you head anymore. All in the band experience that once in a while and then the group dynamics have to be in tune.
Errka: We always try new ways of recording! On our latest album we went to a studio in the forest and were totally isolated for a week. The only thing that we never change is that we do everything 100% analog!
Sam: Yes, we've experimented with a lot of different ways of recording over the years. Usually we go "live" everybody in the same room playing at the same time, but we've also tried to record one instrument at the time occasionally. The later can be quite good sound wise but for a band like us, that likes to improvise and generally don't know how long the song is gonna be beforehand, it's not very common. One compromise of the two is that everybody goes live at the same time, but in different rooms. It works ok, but you tend to lose a bit of the feel when you hear your bandmates in headphones, instead of loud tube amps...
Is going 100% analog a difficult thing to commit to, especially in a digital age where recording technology can recreate specific sounds if you want them?
Love: Yes, it can be difficult sometimes, but it makes the process easier too. If you make no limits for your work, it tends to get out of hand. The analog way of working puts most of the effort into preparations, not the after effects.
Sam: I often get that question but, besides some small issues I actually think it's easier and a lot less time consuming than digital recording. And to this day I haven't heard any digital recording sounding as good, or even almost as good, as a well made state of the art all analog recording. Take any classic record from the analog heyday and compare to a modern one, you will be surprised and maybe also frightened!!!
Errka: As a producer, I'm experienced with both analog and digital, and I can say that analog has its clear benefits. As long as the musicians really know what they're doing, that is...
Sam: That's a very good question! And yes, I think it does but I can't remember what I was into when we prepared ourselves for the A dream of Lasting Peace sessions. Judging by the result would maybe call for a bit more of the earlier 1960s than the usual late 60s/early 70s thing but I don't think it's that simple in this case haha!
Errka: When we started preparing for the recording session, Sam and Love introduced me to the obscure Scottish band Tear Gas, and their self-titled album from 1971. They had been listening to it since founding Siena Root but I hadn't heard it before. I liked the album and started listening to it. I think it may have influenced the making of our album, particularly when it comes to the sound.
There’s nothing more satisfying than the discovery of something that passed you by that you can fall in love with decades after its release. Are you one of those bands that argue about what goes on the tourbus stereo?
Love: I love discovering lost old gems.
Errka: We don't really argue, haha! For the most part I think we're curious of each others' tastes and influences.
Sam: In the tourbus we also do lots of "ironic" music-listening, It's funny but sometimes it gets out of hand a bit hehe!
Now that the record has been released, do you start thinking about writing the next one? How do look at writing music together as a band?
Matte: Now we're planning to go somewhere else to write the songs for the next album, maybe the very north of Sweden or maybe India! I think it's a good idea because you have to push yourself in a creative way and maybe the whole album can get a more complete feeling... we'll see! We've never done something like that before.
Errka: Yes, we're already planning the next album. When writing music, we often jam on some riff or groove that somebody came up with, and then build out the songs from there. Sometimes, one of us can write an almost complete song and then we do the final touches together. We're all more or less equally involved as songwriters, it's a collective way rather than having a band leader/front person writing everything.
Sam: There is no right or wrong in song writing to me, it can obviously be done in lots of different ways but as Errka says we tend to come back to the writing while jamming type of style although it's not always the case for us either. It has happened that one of us just sits at home with the acoustic guitar or whatever and then shows up to rehearsal and there you have it - the song is complete!
I really love the cover art, I said in my review the LP is like one of those cool records you discover in an elder siblings record collection, there’s something beautifully vintage about it. How did you come up with the concept?
Errka: We had thousands of ideas for the cover art, but there was always at least one of us who didn't like it. I don't remember who came up with the airplane but as soon as it was mentioned everyone went: "Oh yeah, that's what we're gonna do!"
Love: It was an idea of ours to make a photo shoot by this plane, but then I came across this very skilled artist who was into our songs and it all went towards a more imaginary, almost surreal style. It was a lot of work, but it turned out very good in the end.
Sam: When the airplane idea came up I was talking to some people I know a bit, they take care of an old DC3 and we wanted to do a photo with it. It never really worked out but I hope we can fly it for the next tour instead!
Do you have any favourite albums of the year and are there any newer bands emerging now you’d recommend seeking out?
Sam: I'm afraid I tend to live in the past when it comes to albums. That said, I really think that there is a lot of fantastic stuff coming out nowadays and we often have the luxury to catch many of them live during our tours. I was recently impressed by the band "welcome inside the brain" and also the band "Belphi" that we crossed paths with earlier this year.
Errka: Yeah, I'm sorry to say that I'm terrible at keeping track of emerging bands! I'd recommend listening to The Sonic Dawn, a Danish psych trio. They do really cool stuff and I'm honored that they asked me to arrange and record keyboard tracks on both their albums.
Thanks for catching up today! Happy New Year Siena Root!