Live vs recording

Orren (aka Oskar Hovell). Photo of course by Christopher Anderzon.

There are very few things I love as much as performing live with Billy Momo.
Except for a few things I do with family and friends, the only thing I can think of is recording music with Billy Momo.

Billy Momo is a great live band.
We haven’t always been, though. We started as a duo. It was hard to find a way to reconstruct everything we did in recording, live. There were laptops and backtracks and different complicated solutions. We barely had time to see the audience out there for all the instruments we had to focus on simultaneously.

I am ever so greatful for my band and what they’ve done to the show. Not only as a solution of course. It’s hard to even imagine us now whitout the crude and decadent Preacherman, the cute but mischievous Hotlips, the ever-happy Gramps, the silent but violent The Coffa, the dandy rockstar The Head. We are not only sounding (and looking) good, we are fun to hang with up there, which I think means a lot.

So, sometimes people – especially people in the music business – tell us they were suprised to see how good we are, after having listened to our recordings. Some would even say they were not that impressed by the recorded material, but almost chocked by the live experience.

Well, here’s why that is: If you decide for yourself that you want to check out a band, if you believe you are going to like it, if you think you might be about to make a real rescovery, you’ll give the band your best. You’ll put the music on without sending emails, feeding your kids or talking on the phone simultaneously. You may even listen to a full album instead of the random “most popular”. You might be checking out album covers, pictures or even biographies. You are digging in!

Barba, Hotlips and The Head. Photo: Birgitta Haller.

And that’s pretty much what you do every time you see a band live. You invest in the experience. You get yourself a drink, you probably brought a friend and you give it your evening. These are the proper ways to check out a band.

However, if you’re listening at home and have no specific expectations, no reason to feel like this should be right up your alley, or if it’s your job to listen to alot of new stuff that some manager or booking agent or whatever claims to be hot shit, you won’t give it that same time, focus and energy. It would be a better investment of your time even if you were dragged down to the venue against your will.

Yes, we are great live. It’s not only the joy of our lives, it’s our job. Doing the best that can be done with the live show is a responsibility. Just like it is to use the opportunity of a recording studio to do crazy creative stuff.
So, when people say we should sound more on recording as we do live, I say sure! But would you go home, put on any one of our records really loud, invite a few friends and make sure you got a beer in hand at all times while listening for an hour and then see what you think?
We very well may still try sounding more “live” on recording. It is a life of it’s own, the recording, and we will not try to recreate the live show. But you could try to recreate yourself as a live audience!

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Swedish 7 piece urban folk band. Tomas Juto: keyboard/lead vocals | Oskar Hovell: acoustic guitar/banjo/lead vocals | Tony Lind: drums/vocals | Oscar Harryson: guitar | Christopher Anderzon: bass/vocals | Mårten Forssman: harmonica | Andreas Prybil: percussion/vocals

4 thoughts on “Live vs recording”

  1. I love good live performances and some of the best live performances I’ve experienced have been one, two or three performers. The first real concert I experience in 1971 was Grand Funk. I was 12 years old, and they were three guys who blew me away. By that time I was a big a fan of the Beatles and other groups were doing a lot of experimental music that would require a lot of musicians to reproduce their records live, so when Grand Funk came to town I was skeptical of a three man band being worth a hoot live. Boy I was wrong, and that was one great lesson for a skeptical young man about what a few talented musicians can do.

    In 1986 there was a guitar series at the Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque. We got tickets to all the shows, and one of the performers on the series was Don McLean, yep the “American Pie” guy. I was a little skeptical, since McLean was at his peak in the 70’s, and I was surprised McLean was part of the series, because the guitar series was mostly local guitarists. The show was Don McLean and his guitar. The Kimo is an intimate theater, so he had the rather small audience all gather up front and center, and he gave what I have to say is still one of the best performances I have ever experienced.

    We experienced some flamenco show in Spain that were just the singer and guitarist that were phenomenal, also. But then we have also experienced concerts and performances by full bands, like Billy Momo, that were simply fantastic. While it’s wonderful we can listen to recordings, good live performances are simply unforgettable experiences that enhance our lives. Keep up the good work both recording and performing. The world needs to listen to Billy Momo.


    1. Always great to hear about memorable musical experiences! I agree, the live experience is something else. I think the audiance has a lot to do with it. They contribute more than ome might think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you see “The Blues Brothers” movie? The scene where they end up playing “Rawhide” behind the chickenwire fence is a good example of playing the right music to get the audience involved.


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