“Releasing this album feels like having a baby. And now we just wanna have another baby”

Last time we had a talk (plus a walk, a smoke and a pizza) with Stockholm quartet Tussilago they were putting the finishing touches to their album. Now when it’s finally out, we met up to talk about the full-length debut, the band members’ former wetsuit project and dancing naked on tables.

They’ve been working for a long time on getting this album out (“You’ve almost gotten a bit bored with it, just wanting to move on”, says drummer Zacharias Zachrisson) but now the release day for Tussilago’s debut album has come.

Radar met up with base player Pierre Riddez who just got back from looking at a place for the band’s release party. The interview starts out with just Pierre, while drummer Zacke hops on his skateboard to head to Spegelteatern/Ingrid Studios where we’re sitting.

Tell me about the meaning behind the album title Holy Train.
– It’s about what we’ve experienced when we’ve made music. We’ve said in interviews before that we like to listen to music when we’re travelling, when sitting on a train or a plane…

You’ve said that the album title is about travelling to another place/dimension, so you can interpret that literally?
– No, not really, but it’s still the same feeling. When you’re on a train you’re sort of stuck in one place and you’re not doing anything else which makes it possible for you to really go deep into the music. And it’s the same thing when we’re writing music or jamming; we go into another dimension.

– It’s like you know one side of your friends and then you start playing together and you see another side to that person. You enter another world, but in that world you have the other band members too. It’s hard to explain… But I sort of know my fellow band members as two different people, both persons outside the band and “jam-friends”.

Has that got to do with the four of you becoming really close linked when playing together?
– Yeah, we can be on different levels, and then when we play we become in sync. And that’s what we mean with “travelling to another dimension”, all the songs on the album are created when being in that dimension, in sync with each other. And the album, Holy Train, is that way of transporting us to another state of mind.

When we played our first gigs, it felt like a matter of life and death almost

Does playing live enhance that experience of reaching another level?
– It depends on the feeling really. The thing with having an audience is that every feeling is enhanced, both the positive and the scary. If it’s a good show… like when we played at the Gagnef festival last year, you where there right?

Yeah, that was sort of gig I was thinking of. That must have been amazing for you guys too.
– Yeah, when we played there it felt like everyone was sharing the same emotion, and even though we were on stage it still felt like everyone, both the audience and us, were on the same level, feeling the same things.

Have you ever been afraid of standing on stage?
– No, since I was little I’ve been in the centre of attention quite a lot. I’ve seen old videos of me standing on the table dancing naked and running around like crazy. So I think I’ve always been drawn to the stage, even though I can get nervous.

Haha. Well, maybe the nervousness can work as a trigger too.
– Yes. When we played our first gigs, it felt like a matter of life and death almost. We stood backstage, lit incense and held each other and we’re like “Ok, we have one shot. Let’s do this”. That feeling is so powerful and I miss it sometimes.

Pierre Riddez

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Zacke joins the conversation, the wheels still spinning on his skateboard from the rapid ride. We start talking about the friendship between the band members.
– I was probably the closest to everybody in the beginning, he explains.

Pierre: Yeah, you were the one bringing us all together. We talked about it the other day, that it’s quite funny how the two of us worked at the same bar for several years. And it was this one time, after we’d been partying a lot, that we said “What are we going to do about our lives? We have to figure out what to do next.” And so we had this meeting at a café where we started planning what we should do, and decided that we should design wetsuits.

Haha, the two of you?
Zacke: Yeah, we we’re gonna design different, cool prints. Like a skeleton print, a robot, just different funny wetsuits.

Pierre: It’s kind of funny thinking back at that café meeting…

Zacke: I remember we even went to a surf store to pitch our idea!

Pierre: We we’re quite serious about it. That was before making music together was anything we could ever imagine.

Zacharias Zachrisson

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Back to talking about the album. How do you feel about releasing it?
Pierre: Great. It feels like having a baby. And now you just wanna have another baby.

Do you guys already know what that new baby will be like, what you wanna do next?
Zacke: Yes, we’ve written a lot of new material, so we could make another album quite fast, if we had the time.

Do you have a favourite song on the record?
Pierre: Wondergirl.

Zacke: I would choose Love Your Demons and… I think Say Hello is a really good song.

When talking about songs, You Make Me Cry is slightly different than the rest of the songs on the album. Do you agree?
Pierre: Yes, definitely. It’s the best song to play live in my opinion.

Zacke: It’s a weird song.

Did you set out to try something new when you made it?
Zacke: I think it was you and me who sat down, and you we’re jamming on a bassline and then we added the drums and so on. I think you and I we’re the ones pushing for that song.

Pierre: That song is the one where most work has been put into it in the post-production. Petter (Winnberg, Amason) added a synth bass and created a long intro.

You’ve worked with Petter, and also other people, on this album but that’s been in the production chiefly. If you could choose to work with an artist or band to make a song together as a collab, who would that be?
Pierre: Dungen is the band I would say I’d most of all would want to collaborate with. But it would’ve been really exciting to see what would happen if we worked together with Tame Impala…

Zacke: I would rather choose a completely unknown artist who you have a great relationship to and like doing stuff together with. But a person I feel would be really cool working with is Brian Eno. And my dream is also to make a song with the singer in Deerhunter, Bradford Cox. He’s a genius.

Pierre: Hold on, what version of this song are they playing?!

Pierre walks out, listening closely.

Pierre: Haha, oh shit it’s the printer! I was like “what is that version? It’s really good!” and it was the sound the printer was making. I would like to do an album featuring a printer. That’s my choice!

We’ve written a lot of new material, so we could make another album quite fast, if we had the time

What are your plans for the summer?
Zacke: I want to play more live. We’re working on that.

Pierre: Yeah, I have some good news to tell you regarding that later on…

Zacke: Oh really? Our plan is also to head to the States after the summer. That’s where we want to go.

Pierre: And we have some recording to do. We’re doing this project together with Studio Barnhus, but it’s still in the planning process so we can’t say much more about it than that. Plus we want to do an EP during the summer, both with material that didn’t end up on the album, and with new stuff that we’re gonna record.

When will that EP be out?
Pierre: It might be out in the fall but we don’t have a deadline. It’s something we’re doing on a whim rather than really planned.

Will you make more songs with Swedish lyrics?
Zacke: Definitely.

Great! I really love it when you put some Swedish into your songs.
Zacke: We ended up not doing it at all on this album. But the next one!

Pierre: Yes, on the next one.

Pierre Riddez, Samuel Lundin, Zacharias Zachrisson and Rickard Renström.

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Photos by: Liam Warton