New bands looking to make it in the music industry could learn a lesson or two from iconic stoner rock band Truckfighters. After all, this is a band that’s been described as “the greatest band that’s ever existed” by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, who should know a good band when it comes along.
The Swedes have been around for more than 15 years and released their first album more than 11 years ago. We caught up with singer and bassist Oskar Cedermalm (aka Ozo) and awesome guitarist Niklas Källgren (aka Dango) at their recent London gig, and began by asking them about that quote from Homme, to which Ozo modestly responded: “Yeah that was pretty cool!”
Dango added: “Yeah that made us reach out to some new people but hopefully those that checked us out because of the quote liked us because of the music and not because someone said it.”
Ozo and Dango say their style has changed completely to how they sounded ten years ago and that this evolution is what has probably kept them going for so long, with Ozo explaining: “It’s a natural progress that isn’t something we’ve planned in advance.”
Dango said: “We’ve always done what we thought was good at that time but you’re different as a person over time and I think having progression in the sound keeps us going. And of course it would be less fun to play if less people came to the tours.”
Ozo added: “We’ve always focused on having fun. If you lose that, or try to focus on what other people want you to do, then you’re lost and will probably quit – so it’s important for us to feel the hunger and the excitement in what we do. So that’s why maybe we changed here and there and tried to do new records every time – so we keep young!”
Speaking of youth, we asked the guys for any advice they may have for new bands that are just starting out in the industry.
Ozo said: “I think a lot of new bands want to come somewhere, or go somewhere, too fast. They start listening to some bullshit manager when they should trust themselves to do what they think is fun, and just keep playing. A lot of people want to take a shortcut to stardom.”
And Dango added: “I would say keep on doing what you think is fun and what you like, and if you keep doing it then sooner or later you’re going to have some kind of appreciation for it. You have to do it on your own terms. There’s many stories about labels putting pressure on bands to create music and do things that aren’t on their own terms.”
The band has its own record label Fuzzorama Records, which the guys have run ever since they started out and focuses on trying to release new music from new bands. Ozo explained: “We listen to a lot of bands that send links and when it’s good we try and sign it and release it when we have time with the band commitments.”
Bands on the label include Vancouver rockers We Hunt Buffalo, Deville – who supported Truckfighters on their recent tour and do so again on a couple of shows in Sweden next month, Asteroid, Witchrider and Valley of the Sun – whose drummer supported the band on their recent US tour and the upcoming one next month.
The issue of drummers is not a new one in the world of Truckfighters, with the band having gone through so many there’s now a huge list of names ending in ‘o’ on their Wikipedia page.
Dango said: “We say now that we have session drummers, which has some benefits and negatives. And Ozo added: “It’s hard because we are in a position where we would like to sign someone but we’re not seeking for someone instantly. But if we find the right person then we’ll see what happens.”
Last year saw the release of Truckfighters’ excellent fifth album V, which kept them busy through the first half of 2016. Ozo explained: “I was working 40 hours a week for 4 months in the studio, but it’s not like you go home and switch off – you are still thinking about it constantly. It almost makes you go crazy.”
Dango added: “We thought the album was ready but then we went to tour South America, came back and listened to it again and I was calling Oskar saying there were two or three details we wanted to change, and kept going like that for three weeks.” The labour was well worth it though, and you can see some of that hard work paid off in the video for Calm Before the Storm below:
This talk of touring led us on to discussing life on the road all over the world, from Europe to Australia, South America and North America.
Dango told us: “The organisation can be really crazy. One day in South America the tour manager overslept so we missed the bus to the next city and I had to book another later bus into town. Then when we got there he didn’t know where to go so we ordered a taxi but we didn’t have an address – it was just fucked up.”
Ozo added: “But the gigs were really good and loads of people coming out to the shows. At our first show in Buenos Aires we had 600 or 700 people at the show even though we had never played there.
This year promises to be another big year for the band. Having just wrapped up a tour of the USA, they’ll be back in North America for another 15 show tour before heading back for the festival season in Europe over the summer. Check out all their tour dates here.