We had a chat with three Swedish jazz groups that will preform at Jazzahead in Bremen this weekend.
You started with the goal to overcome fears and performance anxiety, hence the name, could you tell us a bit more about that?
Earlier I have had problems with stage fright, performance anxiety and inferiority complex. Nothing that wasn’t perfect was good enough, and of course nothing is. After some experimentation I came to the conclusion that forcing myself to perform in situations that felt uncomfortable or too challenging actually lowered my anxiety. I didn’t die, the audience didn’t boo nor threw tomatoes, in fact they liked it even more. When I started Cure-a-Phobia all members played instruments that wasn’t their first choice or they couldn’t master completely. Over time we loosened up the experiment but we keep challenging ourselves and developing the band constantly.
Everyone in the band are from different genres, like improvised music, classical music and musical. How did you find each other?
We actually met at Malmö Academy of Music but we attended in different programs and all of us have even more diverse musical backgrounds. That’s why the music we make together is transboundary and without a specific genre.
You are doing a tour in Germany this spring, including playing at Jazzahead, what are your expectations from the German crowd?
We have huge expectations from the German crowd. We went on a small tour last October and were overwhelmed by the open, inter- ested and loving audience. I have been on tours in Germany with other bands as well and have had the same experience. I feel that people of all ages are less sceptical and more open to experimental and unusual music. They don’t get scared by the weird and strange but, they are interested and engaged.
One of Sweden’s most prolific piano trios teams up with sensational vocalist Ellekari Sander to form The Other Woman. This new band’s debut album features the unmistakable Scandinavian sound, hard-swinging jazz, eccentric and playful arrangements, and a voice as distinct as that of Björk or Lady Day.
Your name, The Other Woman, what are you referring to?
Many of the old songs we love to play seem to be written from a wistful woman’s point of view. It’s easy to feel thoose old words and melodies. This is our mistress-band. We are only in it for the vibe and swing that is happening between us. It’s unpretentious and we are full of love for the music we dive into, together.
Ellekari, you sing in the band and have been involved in different genres, most- ly pop. How did you end up in jazz?
For me it is about presence and contact/ connection when singing. It’s my drug, and what i want to hear when I listen to music. What ever gets me going, does it for me. If
it ‘s pop or evergreens or free improvising, that’s secondary. My father is a jazz musician and dedicated to big-band music, so I grew up with him playing with artists such as Rolf Ericsson, Gugge Hedrenius, Sammy Davis Jr, and of course a lot of records were played at home. When I was a baby, my dad was a part of James Last Orchestra, and it was a close call to me being born in Berlin 1977, where my parents lived part time. I ended up in jazz when Landaeus Trio invited me to sing with them. It took us that one show to book a studio and start a band. Love at first sight (or first listen/play rather). Jazz is like home. The approach to the music and your fellow musicians.
Do you think Swedish jazz is anyhow different from other jazz?
If someone referred to music as “swedish jazz”, I wouldn’t know what they meant. Probably there must be something different, as all cultures and places seem to put recog- nisable prints on its people and music. But I could not say what that would be.
What are your expectations on playing at Jazzahead?
I hope to meet people who might want to work with us and our music internationally. I expect to meet curious people and other musicians. We will enjoy ourselves and be open minded, and you can expect us to give all we’ve got at the Swedish Sunday Brunch Showcase.
Susanna Risberg has since a young age been described by great musicians and critics things such as ”a rising star”, ”a brilliant and fearless improviser” and that she ”undoubt- ably will become one of Swedens foremost guitarists”. Now here she is at age 24, with her trio of musical soul mates, and more than ready for an international career
You started out at a very early age and made your first shows at only 12 years old, what drove you?
I was more or less obsessed with Jimi Hen- drix at that time, and very motivated to be a guitarist just like he was. There was little else that interested me besides playing the guitar, and was already convinced that I wanted to keep doing it for the rest of my life!
You have been building up a steady music career in Sweden and Scandina- via for the last ten years or so. Now you are ready for international stages, what are your goals?
Even though Sweden is a great place to be for a jazz musician, it is rather small. My plan is to release my next album (which is being recorded at the moment) internation- ally, go touring all over Europe and reach out to a new and bigger audience with my music. Visit new places, meet new people and play music, all at the same time, is what I love to do the most.
How many guitars do you own?
At the moment I only use one, but I have too many of them just lying around, waiting to be played on.
What are your expectations on playing at Jazzahead?
I am very excited to come to Bremen and play with my wonderful group. I hope to meet lots of interesting people, make new connections in the music world, and play a really good show so that the audience will want to hear more from us!