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Progressive Rock Interviews

Makajodama

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Mathias Danielsson of Makajodama from 2010
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of the group and your involvement in music?

I've been playing in bands since the age of 12, first punk bands and then all kinds of music.

The history of Makajodama is a tale of coincidences really. I met the drummer Mattias Ankarbranth at an audition for another band I used to be in, he didn't really fit in there but we felt that we had something in common. We started jamming with different people and began to find some kind of direction. Through the walls of the rehearsal studio I could hear someone practicing violin pretty seriously. I decided to hunt him/her down which wasn't an easy task. How can you tell if a person plays violin? After a month or so he was located and Johan shared our interest for improvisation and experimentation with sounds. He knew a cellist that was interested, too, so Karin came along as well, and they added their virtuosity and the classical tone to the ensemble.

I used to work at the Stockholm Concert Hall where the Philharmonic Orchestra is playing. That's where I really got into contemporary music and how the composers use the different parts of the orchestra. While listening to the music in the Concert Hall I tried to figure out how to use a rock band in a similar way. When I met Johan, Karin and Mattias I had an experienced ensemble to practice that with. The tunes on the album are mostly written in movements rather than a verse/chorus kind of way, and the themes jump between instrument the way they do in classical pieces. 

MSJ:

Where does the name Makajodama come from? Is there some significance to it?

I wanted a name that signals that this is something different, but also a personal name. Let's see if any of you readers can guess how the name is related to its members...
MSJ: If you weren’t involved in music what do you think you’d be doing?
I like the arrangement part of music and make space for the unpredictable, try to reap magic moments. Film making would be an interesting alternative.
MSJ:

How would you describe the sound of Makajodama?

Well, it's a hard one. Maybe contemporary music meets ancient music..

MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences - both as a group and  individually?
Well, I'm collecting records and I dig in all the crates literally! Besides progrock, kraut and psych from the 60s and 70s, I'm influenced by Swedish contemporary composers Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Allan Pettersson, Shostakovitch and Stravinsky, folk music from all over the world, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, John Fahey, Robert Kirby's string arrangements on the Nick Drake albums, Third Ear Band and Pentangle, Henry Cow, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Univers Zero just to mention a few. 
MSJ: What’s ahead for you?
I'm giving interviews and promoting the Makajodama album. I and Nicklas Barker of Anekdoten, who has mixed the album, are releasing an album of instrumental improvised psychedelic rock May 20th. It's a band called “My Brother The Wind” and the album is called "Twillight In The Crystal Cabinet". The record company is Transubstans Records.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Sure, a lot of course. Anyone that plays from the heart and are honest to the music, and are dying to play with me! (laughter)

MSJ: Do you think that illegal 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?
For Makajodama as a relatively unknown band, every penny is crucial for making ends meet. To be able to do this full time and not be forced to have a day job every sold album is important. A major label has a lot more margin to cope with it than a small one. Sure, it may spread the music faster but I think the artist should decide if he/she wants to give it away for free.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading  them?

That is OK by me, as long as they are not making money out of it.

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it and  why?
Makajodama and My Brother The Wind are my ultimate bands.
MSJ:

If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Faust, Terry Riley, The Jayhawks, Bert Jansch, The Bevis Frond, Tinariwen, Baby Grandmothers, Seven That Spells, Octopus Syng, Marty Stuart & Fabulous Superlatives, Gong. 
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to  lately? 
I mostly buy vinyls, the last couple was Magic Muscle & Come And Have Some Tea With The Tea Company. Last CD I bought was Tim Hardins first two albums.

Lately I've been listening to Green On Red, The Bevis Frond, Jan Dukes De Grey, Jimi Hendrix, Lovin Spoonful, Barefoot Jerry, and the above.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
An acoustic concert with Siena Root.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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