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Progressive Rock Interviews

├śresund Space Collective

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Øresund Space Collective From 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.


Can you catch the readers up on the history of the band?
Scott Heller: The OSC came together starting in 2004 when I had stopped playing synthesizer with Gas Giant and had the idea of getting my friends in Mantic Muse together with my friends in Bland Bladen to jam. Both bands played all instrumental space rock music and did a lot of improvising. We had our first session in April 2004 and it was a blast so I started to organize sessions every 4-6 weeks or so and it evolved into a group. Sadly, Bland Bladen has disbanded but Mantric Muse continues on and will release their first full length CD this year.
MSJ: I know people don't like to describe their music or see it pigeonholed, but care to give it a try?
Scott Heller: If you want to use a general term then we are improvised space rock but I think in the last 6 or 8 months we have really evolved into a group that seeks to find a special groove and experiment with creating colors, textures, and feeling evoking music with our sound. We have no rules or any path we follow. We follow what is coming naturally out of hearts. At the moment, we are playing extremely well and finding amazing grooves and maintaining a very psychedelic feel.


Magnus Hannibal: It is free and improvised.
MSJ: Who do you see as your musical influences, both personally and as a band?
Scott Heller: Personally, I am inspired a lot by bands that experiment and jam a lot like Gov't Mule, Allman Brothers, and Gas Giant. Musically, Doug Walker from Alien Planetscapes has had a major influence on me as well as Larry Boyd (RIP), who had a band called Das Ludicroiux that did purely jamming heavy spaced out stuff. My favorite bands Hawkwind, Ozric Tentacles, Motorhead, Allman Brothers, Fela Kuti, GONG, and others, keep me wanting to play music. As a group, we listen to a lot of our own jams together as well as more modern space rock bands like Mandragora, Unlimbo, Tribe of Cro, Dream Machine, The Spacious Mind, Hidria Spacefolk, Dark Sun, Korai Orom, Djam Karet, etc.


Magnus Hannibal: Personally I'm influenced by many artists. Among them are: Zappa, Ozric Tentacles, Pink Floyd, Gong, Ravi Shankar, Hendrix, Eat Static, Shpongle.. the list goes on and on..
MSJ: Are there musicians out there with whom you'd like to work?
Scott Heller: Absolutely! I really hope that we can pull in Stefan Krey from Gas Giant, Daniel Lars (Long Gone), an amazing California guitarist that I know, Mikkel Nordsø, a Danish jazz fusion guitarist and of course, Ed Wynne from Ozric Tentacles. Violincyndee, is a US based violin player that plays some very cool spacey stuff and I could see her playing with us as well. As for Synthesizer players, it would be great if Doug Walker would jam with us or we could record in his studio in Queens, NY or Joie Hinton, both or which would push us out into space even further! There is also a great spoken word poet named Dan McGuire who released this cool CD called Jamnation that I am on with Gas Giant, where he put his stories over the top of free form jams!


Michael Kroglund: I'm not sure of that. Right now I am happy with this bunch of talented musicians and I feel that we develop our "Telepathic Skills" with each session. On second thought, I'm looking forward to jam with Stefan Krey (Gas Giant), who will hopefully join us for a couple of jams at our next studio session in March. Also, I really enjoyed playing with the amazing Drahk von Trip drummer, Göran, who joined us at our latest jam session in Malmö.


Magnus Hannibal: All of the above please!


Sebastian Welander: Plenty! Changes from time to time. There's this guy that was in his hey days in the early seventies called Mikael Ramel, that did some quite wonderful forest-psych-folk albums. I know somewhat where he lives today and one of these days I would like to harass him :-) Airto Moreira and Fiora Purim would not be to dull either...


Ola Eriksson: Anyone who is open minded and can handle an instrument for space traveling.
MSJ: Where did the name come from?
Scott Heller: The name comes from the bridge that connects Malmö, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark (the Øresund Bridge). As some of the members of the collective live in Malmö and the rest of us in Copenhagen, and our line up is changing with each jam session, we called it a collective.
MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?
Scott Heller: I think that downloading of music helps everyone enjoy our music and spread the word of our music much more quickly. For us, it definitely helps. For a major label band, that produces only 1 CD every few years and this is all they have to offer the fans, then this is a problem, especially if they don't support the taping and free trading of their concerts. As for the major labels, I think they have destroyed their own industry by maintaining such high prices on CDs. We all know that it costs a major label around $1-2 to make a CD including the artwork and prices are just simply too high. IF CD's cost under $10, people would by them as everyone loves to have the artwork, the lyrics, etc… but the prices are just too high. In Denmark, CD prices are really outrageous. A new CD runs between 129-159 Danish kroner, which is about $21-25, which is way too much money and that is why CD sales have dropped in half in the last 5 years here.

We have over 20hrs of free MP3 files on our web site and will continue to provide the jam sessions for free in MP3 format. We have been making a series of the best of our jam sessions called Picks From Space, that people can buy on CD-R, which contain the higher quality wav files and artwork and some of these jams have been edited as well. The sound is much better than on the MP3 format.


Magnus Hannibal: We have no chance of getting on a major label, so for us it's been a very good thing to make so much audio available for free. I guess it's a unique situation we're in since it is 100% improvised stuff that goes on the website. If it was all composed and recorded in a studio I'm not sure we would do quite the same.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans taping and trading live shows?
Scott Heller: We 100% support the taping and trading of our live shows. I make available all of our live concerts for free at the www.archive.org. This is a great way to spread our music and the way I view a concert, is that once we have played it, it belongs to the fans now anyway.. We have no use for it, except to share it with the rest of the world.
MSJ: What's on the road map for the future for Øresund Space Collective?
Scott Heller: March 10-11th, will see us enter the Black Tornado recording studios for a second time in less than a year. We expect to record enough cool material for a double CD from this 2 day session. After that we will try to decide on the best parts and mix it ourselves and send it out to see what labels are interested. A few more editions of Picks from Space will be compiled, we will likely play another concert in Copenhagen in May and our first in Sweden soon after. We eventually hope to get out and do some small tours in Europe (a week at a time or weekends) and maybe some summer festivals. It would be great to get over to the USA but that is a long way off, it would appear.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Scott Heller: The last CD I bought was Secret Saucer- Element 115 and the last LP I bought was Electric Orange- Fleishwerk. As for what I have been listening to…a lot of different stuff, Marble Sheep's latest CD, Sula Bassana and the Nasoni Pop Art Experimental Band, Soundgarden- Louder than Love, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra- Who is this America? and our latest jam sessions.


Michael Kroglund: The last CD I bought was Harmonium- Si on avait besoni dune Cinquieme saison. Lately, I have been listening to HP Lovecraft II, Pan- Pan, Frank Zappa Hot Rats and Michael Sterns- Planatary Unfolding.


Magnus Hannibal: Flexitones: Joyrider by Merv Pepler and Will White. Go out and buy it right now. I've also been listening to Steely Dan and Mirror System.


Sebastian Welander: Gjallarhorn. Swedish/Finnish pagan-music, Ale Möller(folk), The Jimi Hendrix Woodstock DVD(Craziness!)


Ola Eriksson: The latest CD I bought was a compilation named "Hate" released by Golden Dawn Records.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Scott Heller: The last show I was at was Highway Child, a new local Danish band that play great compositions in the style of Led Zeppelin, Foghat, as well as some improvisation. Before that, we had the Ozric Tentacles here in Denmark and that was great but different from the past, as it is much more of an Ed Wynne solo show these days.


Michael Kroglund: Ozric Tentacles at Loppen and the Carpet Knights at Dragens Hule.


Sebastian Welander: The Seeds with Sky Saxon in Örebro, Sweden (as a matter of fact) Good old 60`s garage!


Ola Eriksson: The last concert I went to was Mark Kozelek.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Scott Heller: I guess our biggest Spinal Tap moment was when we all went up to Sebastian's farm in November for a weekend jam session and Dave forgot to load the power supply for the PA so when we got up to the farm to set up, we had no power for the PA. Sebastian's farm is way out in the middle of nowhere in Sweden and sits right next to a beautiful lake. Besides his 4 neighbors, there is nothing for miles except forest. The closest town to rent a power supply is like an hours drive away, so that blew one day of music making, so we had a big party instead on the Friday night!


Michael Kroglund: The power failure 5 minutes into the opening song at our 2nd concert.
MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
Scott Heller: The OSC is a band for the people, creating music for ourselves with the hopes that people will enjoy the music and join the journey to the other side. We don't try to be spaced out, psychedelic, prog masters or anything special. We just try to perform well and have fun and try to find the eternal groove and to keep the music interesting. Come along if you like.


Magnus Hannibal: Remember: Music is the healing force of the universe. Peace
 
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