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Progressive Rock Interviews

Kaipa

Interviewed by Josh Turner
Interview with Hans Lundin of Kaipa from 2005
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

While I thought very highly of Keyholder, I feel the new album, Mindrevolutions, is the best one yet. What are you doing differently in this album?
This time I wanted to focus more on writing strong melodies, both vocal and instrumental. I wanted the songs to be more homogenous and I tried to avoid having all these parts just dropping by once and never return later in the song. This didn't mean any drastic changes. I think all the songs on the album have my significant stamp and I only relied on my ability as a composer and musician when I wrote the songs.
MSJ: Are there any plans to play this music live in the near future?
The 2000 line-up of Kaipa has never played live. We've considered this to be strictly a recording project. For all the other musicians, this is a side project as they all have their regular bands and careers.
MSJ: I'm quite curious. How did you come up with the name Mindrevolution? What does this mean?
Our lives are filled with small or large revolutions. Every day of our lives they're going on even if we're not always aware of them. Many people, including myself, want to change the world and make it a better place for all people living on this planet. But I believe that if we want to make this possible we must start to change ourselves, our way of living and our attitudes. We must be prepared to be truly honest to ourselves. If so, it's time for our mindrevolutions. As a musician I try to be honest to myself when I write and perform music. I'm always searching for a connection between the music and my inner feelings. This is important when I write the songs, when I play, and when I listen to the final result.

One evening, I think it was in 1999, I thought like this: I have a lot of songs that I've written and that I like, but what's the meaning if I can't share them with other people and get their feedback. So I decided to record an album. I thought that if I like this music there must be other people somewhere out there that share my opinions and feelings about the music. At that moment, I didn't know any details for the recording process; I just came to this decision. I wanted to do it just because I enjoy it so much and not because I wanted to earn a lot of money, go out touring, or become famous. I considered the music to be a modern folk-music-orientated pop music with some prog rock elements and I had no idea at that moment that it later should be regarded as a vintage seventies trip. This idea later became the album "Kaipa: Notes from the Past".

After the release of the album I realized to my surprise that I was considered to be a prog rocker and that people had a lot of anticipations. So which way should I go?

Pick up all the traditional prog attributes, playing with all these standard "prog- sounds," doing all these things people expect from a prog band and probably sell more albums? No, I didn't want to go that way; I didn't want to betray myself. I'm happy that I've reached all these people I wanted to reach when I once started this journey in 1999. I don't care about those who are complaining and don't like what I'm doing. I know there are others waiting somewhere out there that will discover my music in the future.

MSJ: All the pieces seem to be uplifting to some degree. Does the album follow a theme?
It's ten separate songs, but sometimes a melody from one song returns later as a small part in another arrangement in another song on the album.
MSJ: The one piece that eludes me is "Last Free Indian". I really like this song musically, but I don't quite understand the message. Can you clarify what this one is about?
The lyrics about the Native Americans are written by Roine Stolt so you have to ask him. When I asked him about this he told me that he is convinced that he was one of them in an earlier life.
MSJ: How did you come up with the name Kaipa? I assume it's Swedish. If so, to let our non-Swedish-speaking fans in on the secret, what does it translate to?
It's just a name, you can't translate it. First the band was called Ura-Kaipa. It referred to a Swedish Stone Age chieftain and came from the book "Svenskarna och deras hövdingar" by Werner von Heidenstam. Later we shortened the name to just Kaipa.

MSJ: I really like the title track off the new album. It's ambitious and it's quite enchanting. I think it's your best composition ever. Out of all the songs you've created with Kaipa, what's your favorite? Which one makes you the most proud?
On the new album I like all of the songs, that's one of the reasons why we recorded the album, but I agree with you about the title track. It incorporates so many different parts and styles, but in a most natural way, so this is a favorite.
MSJ: It is hard to draw comparisons. I can certainly hear a connection between Kaipa and The Flower Kings, but it is difficult coming up with others. I guess I can hear Frank Zappa in there as well. For the most part, Kaipa's music is in a league of its own, so I'm wondering, what music has influenced you?
I react on music when it's touching me deep inside. Then it doesn't matter who's the composer. A lot of the Swedish folk music melodies are traditional melodies and no one knows who has written them. I suppose my influences are a mix of everything I've appreciated in music during all the years of my life since my childhood.
MSJ: I'd be interested in knowing how you put these songs together. Can you give me an idea of how your songwriting process works? How did you come up with all these lush melodies and quirky little passages?
I never sit down and decide to write music in a specific direction. Most songs start with some notes going around inside of me. I don't know where they're coming from, but if I like them I think it's my duty to take care of them. That's the normal starting point for my writing and usually it ends up with a journey filled with unexpected ideas and inspiration leading to the final result.
MSJ: What's planned next for Kaipa as far as what we can expect from the studio?
I am now working with the 30th anniversary 5-CD Kaipa box that will be released later this year. It will include remastered versions of the three first albums from the seventies plus two CD's with early demo recordings and live recordings. I think this is a perfect side job, investigating and listening to all these old tapes. We have recorded three albums with the 2000 lineup of Kaipa during four years so I'm not in a hurry to produce a new album. It's important to take a break and find new inspiration.

MSJ: What else are you doing at this time aside from Kaipa?
In 1978 I stared a record shop together with the seventies Kaipa drummer Ingemar Bergman. I still work with this beside my writing and playing.
MSJ: Is there anybody in particular that you would like to work with who you haven't worked with already?
Maybe some real folk musicians. More real instruments.
MSJ: When did your involvement in music begin?
I started playing in my first band in 1964. Like most bands at that time we were playing mostly covers, but started gradually to write our own songs. In a way it was like a long education in music. In 1965 we recorded our first single, in 1971 the first LP, and in the autumn of 1973 I wanted to form a new band based on my experiences and my interest in writing melodies with roots in the Swedish folk music tradition, and so Kaipa was born.
MSJ: How did you decide you wanted to be a keyboardist?
My parents put me in a piano school when I was seven. I didn't like it at all, but it was an input to start playing by ear. Later, I discovered the organ and when a schoolmate asked me if I wanted to play in a band there was no way back.
MSJ: How did you meet the other members of Kaipa?
The original lineup was the natural way. We were musicians living in the same town and with the same interest in music. The 2000 lineup is in a way like my all-time favorite band. I asked them to participate in the "Notes from the Past" project and after this record we've continued more as a band.
MSJ: I'd like to find out about your current musical tastes. What's the last CD that you purchased?
Todd Rundgren's Utopia
MSJ: Along the same lines, what's the last concert that you attended as a fan?
Fleshquartet (a Swedish band with two cellos, violin and drums)
MSJ: Who is your favorite band?
Beatles
MSJ: What's your favorite TV show?What's your favorite TV show?
I try to avoid looking at all this "modern TV" entertainment. It only makes me angry. I prefer watching serious programs with the intention to expose corruption, cheating and lies and unmask all these dirty politicians, companies, and their related and friends. That is real entertainment.
MSJ: Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans at this time?
We're the key to the hidden tomorrow, we are many, we're proud, we're as one.
Napster, LLC
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