The magic of physical presence

Photo: The Coffa.

These days it’s very much possible to start a band, with a musician you’ve never met, on the other side of the planet. Super super cool and it opens up possibilities for collaborations that probably never would have happened without the technology we have today. I think it’s awesome and I’d love to make more use of that possibility.

But I can’t help thinking it doesn’t come close to the satisfaction of getting in a room with some friends and jam out or write a song together. The feeling when Hotlips hit a magical note on his harp in a solo and it puts a smile on the faces of everybody in the room. Or when I mess up on the piano with my poor piano playing and somebody just loses it and starts laughing. Or when everybody in the room gets into the zone all at once and you get the chills from what you’re building together.

I haven’t been able to reach that feeling from writing songs and sending them by email or whatever to somebody. Even if the person really loves the song and get super inspired by what I’ve written. It’s a good feeling indeed. Just not as good at being in a room together.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that when you’re able to work with people from your sofa in front of the tv.

Don’t underestimate the magic of physical presence. (Tomas Juto, aka ‘Barba’)


Mint conditions


Mint condition it said… but it sure didn’t taste mint.

There’s a whole lot of different kinds of harmonicas out there, and I had been looking for quite some time for a bass harmonica, and finally one day, I found one I could afford on EBay, the seller located in the US. In the description of the instrument it said that the used harmonica was in mint condition.
A few weeks later after I bought it, I got a notice that I had a package to pick up at the mail office. After picking up the harmonica, I opened the package as I sat down in my car, I put my lips to the harmonica it and blew air carefully into it. I instantly got a hunch of what kind of a person had used the harmonica before me.
An artist, probably traveling around the world with a circus, mesmerizing the audience by playing the harmonica and smoking a cigarette at the same time. Inhaling the smoke and then exhaling it through the harmonica… two shows every night, six days a week, and not to mention all the hours put to practicing… such a dedication to the art.. Wow!

Anyhow, I took it apart carefully, and cleaned it.. and cleaned it, aaaaand cleaned it.
It works great now and the bad taste is gone! I’m using it on a tune not released yet, so let’s see if you hear it when it’s released. Keep your ears open! (Mårten ‘Hotlips’ Forssman, harmonica)

Does vanity kill kindness?


A friend of mine posted on facebook the other day that people shouldn’t give to charity and then post about it on social media. They should keep it to themselves for it to be an honest act of kindness. And I said something along the lines that ‘isn’t it better to post about it so that you remind other people to give what they can’? And he said that he just wanted to make people look harder at themselves why they do that. Is it a vanity project or do they really wanna help people?

And then I started thinking, does it matter? At least they are giving. Posting that people should think about why they post on social media that they give to charity isn’t helping anybody at all.

In fact it says more about that persons vanity, caring about what it looks like than about the person who in fact gave something. Or am I wrong? I’m confused here.

Anyway! We met a new friend here through the blog. A wonderful guy who straight away started spreading our music to his friends and even to radio. We should focus more on that on social media. If you see a great drawing, film clip or a piece of music you like, share it! Tell a friend! The person who made it will be forever grateful and you get to be the one who found something nice and made some other person’s day better by showing this great find to them.
I will definitely try to get better at doing that. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks Timothy! (Tomas Juto, aka Barba).

The importance of being earnest. And grumpy.


What’s the best part of simultaneously being a grumpy old guy and an instrument owner (a.k.a. ”musician”)?

Well, first of all, you’ve had years and years of honing your craft and your artistic voice, in other words, you should by now at least have some vague sort of idea what you’re doing. You should have your shit together. This is a good thing.

Second, you have hopefully gained enough experience to come to the conclusion that putting up with assholes, bullies and fake people is not worth your time of day just because you want a gig. You’ve grown enough backbone and cultivated enough character to make awesome music together with equally awesome people. If the very thought of spending 12 hours non-stop in a car going down the highway with this person makes you cringe, don’t play with them, because you will spend a lot more time in that car than on that stage. Get your priorities straight.

You have hopefully also learned a lot of lessons the hard way, and understood that it’s way better to be a good person than a huge success. Walking all over people in order to build a career is a despicable thing to do, so don’t. Build solid relationships, be trustworthy and reliable, deliver on your promises and don’t talk shit behind people’s backs. The respect of your peers is earned by doing these things. Seasoned players know this. In essence, don’t be an asshole.

What’s the worst part of simultaneously being a grumpy old guy and an instrument owner (a.k.a. ”musician”)?

Well, adult diapers kinda suck. Also, my back hurts. (Gramps: drums, vocals)

Moving house


It’s finally happening! I bought my own house. Not big. Not fancy. But all mine!
And it has a livingroom juuuuust big enough to squeeze in a drumkit, a grand piano and some guitar amplifiers.
What more do you need, ey?
I can watch tv in the bedroom and every good house party always ends up in the kitchen anyway, right? So who needs a livingroom? (Barba: lead vocal, keyboards)

New album, new drama

Tomas_928 copy
Barba. Photo: Robert Eldrim.

I’ve never been one of those great lyricists that can just make up a story about a heart broken blind man who is unhappily in love with a deaf woman cause he can’t find a way to chat her up, and build an amazing story around that. I’m more of a hands on kind of guy. I have to fuck things up a little to have something to write about.

So going into another writing period as we are at the moment is always interesting. I’m in a quite peaceful and calm state of mind at the moment and have been for a while now. I guess times they are a changing.
Hold on to your hats friends. New songs in the making.

Compare yourself to others


Orren. Photo: Robert Eldrim


Who the hell is ” Yourself”?

We all heard it when we were kids. Over and over again. “Don’t compare yourself to others, just be yourself!” And yet, few of us thought “Oh! Yourself! Wow! It’s that easy??”
That’s because they were all wrong.
You have to compare yourself to others to know who the hell yourself is. How else would you know? Short, fat, funny, generous, grumpy, hot tempered.. it’s all relative, right?

Same goes for an artist. Did you know that kids with guitars are still playing “Stairway To Heaven” and “Little Wing”? Same tunes we were all playing when we first started. After all these years, how could they not have found anything new? Well, maybe the point is to play the same old tunes. Guitarists find their own special style in the way they play that intro to “Little Wing”. Singers find the unique sound of their voice by the way their “Hello” stands out.
We all start off wanting to be like someone else. We compare ourselves and first we find only imperfections. But slowly, slowly we find something likeably in the way we can’t seem to resemble anyone else. (Orren, lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)

Music and the need to alienate our parents

youngBMBilly Momo enjoys a whole lot of support from our parents. They turn up at gigs, buy too many T-shirts and share everything we do on social media. This is a bad thing.

It’s not bad parenting at all. On the contrary, it says a lot about our parents ability to adjust and support us no matter what we do. They’re just the way fans should be. Interactive and interested.

It does however say something less flattering about us as a band.

In my opinion, a signinicant part of all music innovation comes from the young man and womans urge to piss their parents off. Some of the greatest innovaters of our time are proof. What might Jimi Hendrix’ care takers have had to say when he started making his guitar sound like a monster? What was the one most important characteristic of early Beatles? Why do rappers say “fuck”, support violence and drugs? How many people know Pussy Riot by who they pissed off and how many people could actually hum one of their songs? Listen to any significant music genre at an early stage and tell me these kids’ parents were fine with this!

So, just as it’s an important part of growing up, revolting against your parents is a crucial part of innovating sounds. It goes hand in hand, really. You can’t stay out till too late, forget to take out the trash and refuse to put your feet down from the coffee table all the time. You need a weapon. And the weapon needs you. If it weren’t for teenage revolts, music might still sound like Blind Willie Nelson. Which is great music of course, but we like to have the options, right?

So, what to do? We are clearly not pissing our parents off as we should. In fact, I’m not sure we’re pissing anybody off. The reason probably being that we are now parents ourselves, most of us. Somehow, in the moment we first held our little ones, the switch was pulled. We are now designed to be pissed of and confused about the strange and very annoying things our kids are doing. Hopefully, though – and I’m pretty convinced that’s the case – we did piss them off when we were younger and by doing that, planted a seed to innovation which we do now reap. (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)

The importance of daydreaming


Orren. Photo by The Coffa.


As musicians/songwriters/producers/music video directors/artists/photographers (and now even bloggers) like us, there’s a whole lot of extra work to be done, free of charge.
At gigs, we’re roadies and drivers as well as musicians. At video shoots, we’re actors as well as directors and photographers, and so on.
If only we didn’t love it so much, we might learn how to charge for the extra hours.
One of the things I know I should not do for free is daydreaming. In fact, I believe anybody in a creative line of business should charge for their daydreams by the hour. It is probably the most productive part of your day.
You’re doing all the things you’re supposed to do according to all of the inspirational Ted talks you’ve ever seen. You’re setting goals completely without limitations, visualising them, making them feel real in your mind. You’re pumping fuel into your creative process and you’re reminding yourself of what it is that drives you to work hard.
I almost never daydream without result. There’s always at least one new idea to work with once I get back to reality. And the ideas are real, totally doable most of the time and ready to go. One of the most common ways for me to write a song – I daydream about a stage, a venue or a festival I want to perform at and suddenly, in the middle of the fantasy, I discover that the song we’re playing has not been written yet.
When I build my home studio – in Barba’s new house, this summer – I’m getting a daydream room. (There may be an argument to be won here, with Barba’s daughter, but hey! She’s seven. How hard can it be?)
A nice enough sofa so you’re comfortable without falling asleep and pictures of the nicest stages and studios in the world. That room alone will write us the next album! (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)

Finally back in Billy Momo business


Billy has been licking his wounds after having to cancel no less than three shows in February, due to lead singer’s pneumonia.

Billy does not normally cancel shows. Three shows are more than we have cancelled in our career so far, put together. Anyway, we’re now all back on our feet and we’re preparing two days of video shoot this weekend. As usual, we are shooting it in the middle of nowhere and we’ll be lucky if there is even electricity, so we need to come well prepared.

We’re basically doing a classic saloon fight, in a church. It’s a small and very old church and it’s beautiful. Perfect setting for a good fight! So, we’ll need to pack a thermos of coffee, a camera and some baseball bats I guess. The day after, Barba will be tied up from top to toe and Orren will be on a chair, hanging off a cliff. Keep a look out in the near future for “Following Me Following You” and “Say You’re Sorry” music videos! (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)