New grounds: Some updates from the road.

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Gramps (Tony Lind). Photo: Christopher Anderzon.

All quiet on the Billy front? Not quite. But we’ve been really busy lately, so the blog posts have been conspicuous by their absence, and for this we apologize.

The summer concerts are coming along nicely, and we are still adding shows, so the initial itinerary may be subject to change over the coming weeks, stay tuned on facebook for updates.

Summer weather in Sweden is, at best, fickle, but so far we have been lucky, and Helios has mostly been smiling on our outdoor shows, unlike some big stadium shows that were halted this past weekend by heavy rainfall.

We’ve been extending the setlist quite a bit lately, which is cool for fans who might have missed some of their old favorites from earlier tours when they saw the first Seven Rivers Wild shows. We have added several golden oldies for your pleasure, so make sure you catch at least one of our summer performances!

We are also playing mostly new venues (to us) on this tour, so we are breaking new ground, meeting new people and making new friends, and havin’ a blast doin’ it.

Midsummer is coming up, and for this holiday, which is a pretty big deal in Sweden, we will pull the breaks on the tour bus and engage in some hardcore Billy-style partying which should go down in band folklore gloriously. But once the hangovers have been endured it is back to work.

All the audiences so far have been great, and we can’t express enough how much we appreciate you guys comin’ out and enjoying the ride with us, our old, trusted fans who stay with us through thick and thin, as well as new friends who brighten our day with your presence.

Oh, yeah! For those who read my post a while ago about the post-gig blues, I’m currently trying out some supplements that seem to ease my PGB symptoms, a nice development that might save me many hours of insomnia in the future.

See you guys on the road!

/Gramps

Recommended listening:

Choosing the chosen ones

This is another track from the Seven Rivers Wild album, titled Choosing The Chosen Ones. Although this song has a message we feel strongly about, the actual video is mostly snippets detailing the past year of the band, life on the road in general, and a celebration of how much we love being musicians. Horns performed by Viktor Brobacke and Magnus Jonsson Szatek. Enjoy!

We also just released the full album on Soundcloud. Hope you’ll enjoy it! https://soundcloud.com/billymomo/sets/seven-rivers-wild-mixes

Seven Rivers Wild

Seven Rivers Wild_CD_frontcover

Seven Rivers Wild is our third album and the latest we’ve released so far. But there is more to come, don’t you worry.

I would say that this is the first album we’ve released as a seven piece group. We are not a duo with musicians anymore.
Me and Orren still write all the songs and do most of the arrangements. But the whole process of recording it was much more of a group effort on this one.
Everybody had an input on the material.

We wanted to do a proper studio album. Much more serious recording from start to finish. On the first two albums we used way more programming and loops. But for this album we wanted to play everything. We even took in live strings and horns.

A lot of the lyrics on this album are a bit darker than before, I think. A big part in that is probably me going through a divorce in the middle of recording it. I had some shit to deal with to say the least. But hey, that’s why we have music, right? Way better to write a song like Seven Rivers Wild than actually hitting somebody upside the head with a hammer.

When time came to deal with the cover artwork we happened to meet this wonderful artist/photographer named Robert Eldrim.

He wanted to do our album cover and had loads of ideas. We started talking about building a machine that somehow would represent us as a group. So he started doing interviews with us to get a good feeling of who everybody was and what the dynamics within the group was.
And then he came up with a machine that was a sailboat and a fish, but at the same time a zeppelin that was an instrument that played our music. And we were supposed to fly it over the seven rivers wild. There might have been some mushrooms involved or maybe he’s just some sort of genius. But when he showed us the end result we fell completely in love with it. And him. Billy Momo loves Robert Eldrim. Check him out!

 

And now we are in the middle of touring this album and we are having a blast!
The years of grinding it out on the road playing in half empty bars are slowly starting to pay off. People are starting to find us and we are starting to build a very nice and close relationship with people who enjoy our music all over the world. And we love every second of it. The second I get off stage I’m looking forward to the next show.
Life is very very exciting at the moment.

And while we are touring we are making plans for how we will record the next album. I can’t tell you much about it at the moment since we haven’t decided yet. I’ll have to get back to you on that. But I can tell you that it will be different from the last album. We always want to do something different when we start a new recording process. We are forever changing and forever inspired to try new stuff.
Let’s keep things interesting y’all!
See you soon!
/Barba

Drunktalk

Albumcover-Billy Momo

Drunktalk was our second album.

It was written and recorded during a time that on paper should have been a really bad time to get shit done. In the beginning of the process I was on parental leave with my daughter, and in the end of the process Orrens son was born. But we were really focused anyway somehow. I recorded a lot of stuff with my daughter on my lap. You can probably even hear her doing her best googoo gaah gaah in the backround on some tracks. Orre recorded his ideas at home and sent them to me and I arranged them so that we could record them with the band when we had time to meet up in the studio.

This is the first album that the band was more involved. Maybe not so much in the arrangements still, but we didn’t play all the instruments ourselves as we did on Ordinary Men. We had been playing live with the band for awhile and really wanted their playing and attitude on the album. So we were comfortable with letting go of the control a bit.

The Coffa (bass) was the only new guy on this album. His audition is what you hear on The Weekend.

We were in the studio fiddling around with that track when he stopped by. Tony had played with him before and thought that he would be perfect for Billy Momo. He literally was in the studio for 20 minutes. He came in, said hi. Heard the track once. Played it through once and then we pushed record and played it once more. And that is what you hear on the record. That is also the first track that I started pretending like I could play the piano. And that was fun so I just stayed behind the piano from then on. Up until then I had mostly been playing guitar and banjo in Billy Momo. I think everybody was happy I stopped doing that. I’m even worse at guitar.

With Drunktalk we experienced our first two hits (from our perspective they are anyway). First we had the title track Drunktalk. It got a lot of love in the press and blogs all over the world. For awhile it had a thousand spins a day on Spotify. We were super happy and thought we had peaked.

And then out of the blue we got an email from a friend. He attached a link to a trailer for HBO series Better Call Saul, and asked us if the track in the trailer wasn’t a Billy Momo song.

Sure was! They had used our track Wishing Ain’t No Sin as the main theme in the trailer. The trailer had over a million views already and we didn’t know anything about it. That changed a lot for us. Suddenly we were able to reach way beyond the Swedish borders and got some real attention by press and radio. Super exciting times in camp Billy Momo.

We spent the rest of that year on the road going all over Sweden and even reaching UK and the U.S. That banjo riff on Wishing Ain’t No Sin changed the world for us, and it just happened by chance. We had just finished recording Wishing and were just sitting in the studio talking before we went home. While we were talking we had the track on in the backround and Orren was just noodling about on the banjo while we were talking. And I just stopped him in the middle of conversation like, “Dude! What are you doing? We have to record that before you forget it.” Orren was like “You think we need to? I’ll probably remember it.” But I just fell in love with it straight away and wouldn’t take any chances. It made me think of hooks like Timbalands production on Missy Elliotts Get ur freak on. Sometimes stuff like that just happens if you create a creative space for yourself where everything is allowed. You don’t have to think things out. They will come to you if you let it. That whole album was like that. We were just in a super creative space in time and just went with it. We weren’t in control. Good times and good people makes great music. Simple as that! (Tomas Juto, aka Barba)

Words

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Orren. Photo: Christopher Anderzon.

“Words are very unnessecary, they can only do harm”.
I love that line. Simple, but so true. In romantic situations like the one in the song as well as in many others.

Love pop lyrics. Simple, down to earth and to the point. It’s a damn shame that people don’t pay attention to lyrics – and I’ll get back to that – but I think it’s also a fact that have helped evolve the art of pop poetry. When you know you have two lines to fit into the listeners attention span, you have to make them count. This I believe have made songwriters step up their game when it comes to oneliners. I love it.

“Oh my god! Look at her butt!” is a brilliant line, to me. Tells quite a story really. The attitude, everything. Brilliant!
“Fuck you-ou-ou” with a sweet, classic Motown groove. Very simple but totally uniqe. The way he lets the words play with the music, it’s beyond poetry. It’s something else, an artform of its own. Words that are nothing at all, written down, come alive with the music and becomes poetry in the song. It’s the words that gives you that feeling, backed by everything else. And you don’t know why. It can seem so simple, so corny out of context and still give you such a kick when the arrangement build up for that vowel. Make the word shift it’s meaning, depending on the way it’s accompained in the song. Magic!

Yes, love pop lyrics, hate bad pop lyrics. They ruin everything!
It’s like painting Mona Lisa and then tell everyone she’s doing the face because I just farted.

Words often have that effect. I find myself feeling stupid, trying to describe music. It’s like rebuilding Taj Mahal using plywood. Words are very unnecessary.

Songwriters, don’t write lyrics if you’re not inspired! And the rest of the team – AnRs, producers, publishers – tell them! You’re not twelve! This won’t do! Find something believable to say or at least form one sentence that works! If you can’t, I’m afraid words will only do harm.

I’m not saying I am better than anyone at this. Only that I won’t do it if I don’t feel inspired. I ask Barba. If none of us feel inspired, well, then we don’t have a song!

5 great lines according to me:

  1. “Huh! ” Always works. You kind of have to mean it to say it. It always feels sincere (fav one: “I’ve got a feeling”, the Beatles at 1:31)
  2. “Aint no grave can hold my body down” (Johny Cash, song titled the same) There are a lot of cocky lines to be heard for those like me who love them. This is one of my favourites. Very dramatic.
  3. “Put on my gazoline boots and walk through hell” (Methodman in “Protect ya neck (the Jump off)” by Wu-tang clan. Same goes for that one I guess. A great mantra when you’re in trouble.)
  4. “Leave the bourbon on the shelf and I’ll drink it by myself” (the Killers, song titled the same. A well painted picture of loneliness).
  5. “When we meet again, introduced as friends, please don’t let on that you knew me when I was hungry and it was your world” (Bob Dylan, “Just like a woman”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had moments when I’ve been such a sucker for someone that I could beg her now, in retrospect, not to tell anybody about it.). /Orren

The Friday night of a rock’n’roller

mobettermugI have a confession to make.

Don’t judge me. I know I’m a musician and all, and therefore have responsibilities. I’m supposed to be out clubbing or hanging out at some decadent burlesque party drinking and smoking way too much.
I do that too on Fridays, sometimes, I promise!
But most Friday nights I’m actually at home. These days it’s quite hard to make a living out of being a rock’n’roller. Especially if you’re not that into the whole mainstream thing. Which means – day jobs!
Day jobs means writing, recording and doing gigs is a weekend thing most of the time.
This Friday for example I’ve been drinking coffee, writing lyrics and planting a plum tree given to me by Mr Preacherman himself. Not very rock’n’roll but way more productive than lying passed out at some after party. That’s a Saturday night thing. (Tomas Juto, aka Barba).