Tibble Transsibiriska’s new album Swedisko with 11 new and extremely swinging songs will be released on November 15. The album was recorded at Omnivox together with producer Martin Karlegård. The songs were tracked on 2″ tapes with additions and mixing done at Martin’s studio, SubMob Studio, in Stockholm.
How did the music come into your life, Johan Testad, front person, singer and guitarist in Tibble Transsibiriska?
– My life has been music for as long as I can remember, Johan says. The first band I had was in kindergarten. I built a stage, my dad made me an electric guitar.
– My early influences was blues rock, Beatles and Stones and all those other great artists. But also lots of Swedish and Russian folk music as well as classical music. In the 70s it was popular with Balalaika music and my mother, Gunnel, started up a Balalaika music orchestra.
Romani music in Swedish
A fellow traveler in music, friend, neighbor and band colleague Jonas Runefelt, who also plays Domra in Tibble Transsibiriska.
– The Russian music, which both Jonas and I have grown up with, is close to the Romani song treasure. We simply became curious about the Romani music which deeply touched us both. So we started exploring it. The movie “Time of the Gypsies” affected me a lot. The title track is absolutely magical. I think it’s one of the songs that has affected me the most.
– But while Tibble is inspired by Roman music, we are not looking to “imitate” it. You have to search in your own identity if it is to be “for real”. Something that is also reflected in the title of the new album, Swedisko, which is the Roman word for “Swedish”.
– The title is a game of language, identity and identification. When is something Swedish and when is it not? And how does something become Swedish? In music, I think it’s pretty simple. Music is a language you understand wherever you come from!
How is the new record different from the previous ones?
– We hope that we have developed within the Balkan-Gypsy world. Feels like we’ve grown also in terms of text. And it is also a great inspiration to us having three new members adding a new touch to the sound.
– Anton, our new tubaist … I’ve never heard anyone playing tuba like he does. A super gifted musician. Hiroko, who plays the saxophone, comes from the world of jazz, but has also performed ska music in Japan.
– She really has an attack and expression in her way of playing! And a strong presence in the room, which I think is evident in the recordings as well. Sierhejo, who now plays accordion with us, is Romani with his roots in Poland and Russia. For us it is absolutely fantastic to have his sound mix with ours. With all our cultural backgrounds we become a melting pot.
– We really enrich each other!
You know you work with film music, too. In 2019 you won the prestigous swedish award Guldbagge for best soundtrack. What are you working on right now?
– Right now I’m working with the music for a Swedish TV series for HBO called Björnstad, based on the book of the same name. The work is mostly done from my Sunny Hill Studio.
– I also play some with other artists, such as Swedish blues man Pelle Lindström.
“It’s a great atmosphere in the Omnivox studio. I could hang in there every day!”
To get away and record in a studio
– You can really catch the energy to tape in a fantastic way if you record live in the studio! It’s a big difference. To share the vibe, the soul if you like. That moment when something really pushes through. When the energy behind shoots through and touches the listener. Like, if you take for example Dylan’s Highway 61 revisited as an example: the piano is extremely out-of-tune but the energy behind the music is extremely catchy and powerful!
– At the same time I am friends with the computer and I like to work digitally a lot as well.
About recording in the Omnivox studio:
– Everyone was super happy with the studio! Fantastic environment, with vintage synths and classic recording equipment. – It’s a great atmosphere there. I could hang out there every day!
What happens next?
– First and foremost, there will be a release party for Swedisko at Gårdscafeet in Leksand on November 15 and the day after the is a release party at Södra Bar in Stockholm.
– The weekend after, we go to Finland and play. In 2020 we plan to tour a lot in Europe!