2017: A year in the life of Billy Momo

It is with equal measures of amusement, trepidation and awe one looks back at a year that’s coming to an end. It always amazes me how we manage to cram such a shitload of events, emotions, logistics, memories and just… stuff into 365 days. 2017 was a fairly intense year for Billy Momo, and I will try to give a non-chronological overview of the highlights (and perhaps an occasional low point).

DSCF38002017 saw the launch of both this very blog you’re reading right now, as well as our visual diary of sorts, MomoTV. With both of these outlets coming hot on the heels of our band documentary ”The dirt road to Seven Rivers Wild” (released in late 2016) this year has been the so far most informative for those who’d like to learn more about the band and its various members. Behind-the-scenes footage, on-the-road shenanigans, navel-gazing rants, we provided the tabloids with ample fodder for slaughter, and yet somehow the big headlines eluded us, again. But do not lose heart children, all that stuff is still available for you, so during the holidays you can binge the entire first season of MomoTV (to be continued in 2018) and read all the blog posts as well as watch the documentary. You will be a BM black belt by the end.

DSCF4359.jpgAs always, we produced a few videos, including two projects in collaboration with Kola Productions for the songs ”Following me, following you” (Kola editing) and ”We need another shovel” (Kola production and editing), as well as a self-produced, and ultimately abandoned attempt at a video for ”Say you’re sorry” (we managed to find use for some of that footage elsewhere). We were very pleased with the two completed videos, and they are of course also available for you to watch at your leisure.

IMG_0693.PNGWe played some nice venues in 2017, and made a lot of new friends.
Franskans Crêperie in Rörum, Österlen was an instant love affair for the band, and we played there three times over the course of the year. The late-nite post-show parties we threw there were pretty legendary too.

IMG_3884.jpgIMG_3882.jpgThe Taube stage at Liseberg fun fair in Gothenburg was another nice gig for us, not only was the show a lot of fun and well received, but we also got to rock out with our cocks out (well, not really) on the various rides and had a great time.

IMG_0371.JPGWe played another of our favorite joints once more, Plan B in Tranås, and we will be back there yet again in the spring of 2018, it’s always a great place to play. The same can be said for Stationen Scen & Konst in Bålsta, possibly the smallest venue we’ve ever played, but also one of the coziest and most intimate (the audience is literally right in your face, surrounding the band on three sides). Another memorable show was when we played a huge party at the old stadium in Stockholm. Perhaps the gig itself wasn’t that exceptional, but it was interesting that we had some real saloon-style fights breaking out in the audience, sort of making you wish for the chicken wire fence from the Blues Brothers.

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We actually managed to win an award for ”Best street music act” at a festival in Askersund, having played our first real busking set. That was a real honor, considering some of the other competing acts.

We released a 3-song EP in the fall, ”Umbrellas, wings and magic things” for which we threw a little intimate release party at The Creak/Knarret, Barba’s new house doing double duty as our new recording facility, and is the place where we record the stuff you will see released during 2018. The construction of the studio is well documented in the MomoTV episodes, as well as some glimpses from our recording sessions there.

All this and more kept us pretty busy throughout the year. Add to that Barba moving house not just once, but twice (!) finally settling at The Creak, various love stories and debaucheries involving band members, plenty of drunken nights and parties where people’s personal belongings may or may not have been severely urinated upon, as well as the utter nightmare of seeing a clean-shaven Preacher Man, and you have plenty of drama going on as well.

DSCF9965-Redigera.jpgStay tuned for more music, videos and scandals coming up next year. Thanks for being with us during this one.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all you crazy kids in love out there!

/Gramps

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Billy Momo’s been busy…

Really long time, and no hear from your favorite bearded band Billy Momo. There’s a reason. The band has been busy writing, recording, releasing new material. And some gigging as well. And shooting what will be a really cool video. For a brief catch-up of the latest months, begin with checking out MomoTV. You will find it all in there. And then some… Start from the beginning or skip through to your latest seen episode. Birgitta/management

Can’t we all just get along?

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Tomas Juto, aka Barba. Photo: Christopher Anderzon.

I’ve always been fascinated by music scenes.
Seattle and grunge, New York and hiphop, L.A. and 80’s rock, Laurel canyon and singer/songwriters, San Fransisco and the flower power scene and so on.
Those are all American of course. But England had Bristol and trip hop, Norway had black metal and Swedens Umeå had the hardcore scene in the 90’s with Refused and similar bands. I’ve never been a part of a scene like that. I think I would love it. I get super inspired when people I know get a break and make it big or make a super obscure but amazing album that gets good reviews in underground blogs or whatever. It pushes me to try harder at whatever I’m doing at the moment.

But these days it’s really hard to reach through the noice with your music. And whenever people manage to carve out a spot in the limelight for themselves they don’t want to share the space.

I can understand that ’cause I know how much work it takes to get ahead. I can see why people tend to be a bit defencive of their spot. But it’s still a drag. I’m not saying I’m not a part of the problem. I’m probably just the same as any other musician. I just wish that I could somehow change the attitude in the business to a more collective kind of focus. Let’s make something really cool, together. Even though we’re not in the same band or whatever.
Let’s do a tour, a collaboration on a track, cameos in videos. Not because it’s a career move or looks good on the CV. Let’s do it ’cause we all love this thing. It’s fun!
Maybe by writing this I can remind myself to be more open to it. And at least that’s a start, ey?

Being open to inspiration

Photo: Christopher Anderzon
Tomas Juto, aka Barba.

I read an interview with Tom Waits the other day about writing music. He said something about making your life a place where songs would like to come and visit. If one song comes, others will follow.

I totally agree with that. So I started thinking about when I get inspired to write. And more importantly, when I don’t get inspired to write. So that I can eliminate those things while I’m writing.

The first thing is turn the TV of. Not if a movie with Tom Hardy is on. Then turn the TV back on. Not because of inspiration. Just because he’s fucking brilliant. And smoking hot.

Red wine always seems to work for me. But being a responsible dad I can’t go around half drunk all the time. So that’s a weekend thing.

Driving is perfect! I write most of my stuff in the car. Recording on my phone and using my voice memo for lyric ideas n stuff.
I even had a keyboard in my car for a while when we where recording the Drunktalk album. I was stuck in crosstown traffic everyday back then, and Stockholm traffic can be a bitch, so I started having my own jam sessions while waiting for the car in front of me to move a few meters.
Anyways, I’m all about getting in to that writing mood right now. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Tomas Juto, aka Barba).

Blowing in the wind or just sucking in general?

wingedwordsYes, Billy Momo does write songs on political and social subjects. But it seems to me it’s kind of hard to do it right.

I love it when a song has a deeper meaning and it’s incredibly cool when music can put out a message that changes the world.
It’s just that to me, the subject doesn’t make it a song. It’s still the way you tell it that counts.

When you express an opinion, you have a responsibility. Especially these days, when your opinions are posted on social media and there are many people reading. With the terrible amount of hate and fear we now have floating around, desperately looking for somewhere to point its finger, there are risks involved with claiming the truth. You need to check your facts and also think about what people may read into your statements.
Here’s the difference between that and writing a song.
Music has to be about expressing your emotions. It cannot be about coming across as politically correct, teaching the youth or taking part in a cause. Those things are welcome as a bonus, but if you’re not expressing an honest feeling, without censoring, you’re violating the artform.
I grew up with a political/musical movement not too different from the flower power movement. People believed that an artist is responsible for the messages they put out and how it’s recieved. I believe putting that on an artist is a big mistake.

Think about it. If only music that seemed responsible, music that expresses views we can stand by, only music that parents would be happy to play to their kids, only music that was never banned from radio, was successful, would any of the music you listen to exist?
A lot of my favorite artists were or are assholes. And I don’t care! They sang it and they meant it. They probably meant it in a fairly twisted way, but they were still sharing a piece of their souls with other people. If anything, it’s beautiful that we can share something really deep and profound with someone we could never get along with outside the music. That should contribute to a lot of love and understanding, right? And to me, it’s deep and profound because you mean it, wether it’s about healing the world or making love.
So, what this all comes down to, in my view, is that artists don’t have to be good guys. They only have to be honest.

If our music is to contribute to world peace, it needs to be free of judgement, so that it can touch people emotionally, because that’s what music is good for.

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’)