Hello there. As I have mention earlier, I will interview more musicians that I appreciate here on nickopoet.com (where I mostly write about poets and poetry in swedish).
So far I have made interviews with artists like Wayne Hussey (Sisters of mercy, The Mission), Justin Sullivan (New model army), Jeremy Cunningham (Levellers), Sascha Klein (Neuroticfish) and BLUE MAY ROSE… You can find links to the interviews at the end of the text.
This time I have interview Rikard Tengvall, singer of the Stockholm based dark wave/post punk band A PROJECTION. Besides from singing, Rikard writes both lyrics and music.
For you who don’t know A PROJECTION: the band was started by Rikard Tengvall and Amos Pagin in 2013. After getting a record deal, recruiting members and recording songs they released their first album Exit in 2015.
They have since then released two more albums: Framework and Section and are currently working on their fourth album, which will be released later this year.Their music has been described as “a danceable mixture of post punk and electronica, with both depth and edge”. While their first three albums were firmly rooted in post punk soil, their coming album takes a big leap into the electronic realms of today’s eighties inspired (synth) music.
Nicko: Hello Rikard. Around 28 years has passed by since I met you last time in Stockholm and interviewed you about your old band Decades. What have you been up to since those days?
Rikard: Well, soon after that interview I studied at University of Stockholm (Cultural Studies). After that I started to work within the IT industry as a graphical designer. And I have been doing that ever since, with the exception for two years when I quit my IT job and started to work as a commuter train ticket salesman in order to have time to record the first A PROJECTION album and get the band up and running.
People in my surrounding thought I was nuts but today I am very glad I did it. In my world, there is no higher achievement than to release quality music. The fact that I did so also put an end to my 20 years long depression period and one could argue that I have managed to put my life back together, being married with two kids and having a part time job, while making music.
Nicko: Sounds like you are one of those who follow your dreams, more than listen to what other thinks. I´m happy that you got the insight what means most in life for you and dared to take the steps that you needed to archive it. How important is the lyrics for you in general and within the context of your band A PROJECTION?
Rikard: For me, the sounds and the melodies is the most important when it comes to music. Yet, I tend to gravitate towards bands with really good lyrics, like e.g. Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure (at least their early stuff) and The Smiths. And it is above all important for me, as a songwriter, to write lyrics that mean something and at least reach some kind of worthwhile standard. This is true both within the context of A PROJECTION and in general.
Nicko: Do you ever feel limited, or can you write about whatever you want when writing lyrics for the band? I mean, can you write about dungeons or dragons (metal themes) or about happy love if you really would like to? Would it be possible?
Rikard: I don’t feel limited at all actually. Having grown up listening to dark wave (post punk, goth etc), I guess the limitations you are asking about is already built into my personality . I have never written, and will probably never write, about dungeons or dragons but there will be at least one love song on our upcoming album. The song is called Paris-Stockholm and is about Peter Löwander and Suzanne Goldstein from the Swedish drama series Vår tid är nu.
Nicko: How important are lyrics for you in the music you listen to? Give me some examples on lyrics that stands out in your opinion?
Rikard: Like I mentioned above, the music comes first for me, but maybe I am more affected by lyrics than I think, since the bands that I like usually have quite good lyrics. Examples of lyrics that have really caught my attention is:
The entire B side of Joy Division’s Closer, especially The Eternal. Ian Curtis lyrics have a classical, almost architectural, feeling to it. At the same time, it is very underground.
The entire B side of Sister of Mercy’s First And Last And Always. But especially Nine While Nine is a favorite when it comes to the lyrics. In Andrew Eldritch lyrics, the urban underground feeling is dense.
I also like the burning lyrics of The Cure’s Pornography where twisted visions of impossible events piles on top of each other: “Fall, fall, fall, fall Into the walls / Jump, jump out of time” (The Hanging Garden, 1982).
And no one portrays teenage angst like The Smiths:
“There’s a club if you’d like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry and you want to die” (How soon is now?, Hatful of hollow 1984)
Nicko: What is your relation to poetry?
Rikard: Wasteful unfortunately… I usually really enjoys poetry when I read it (I e.g. love your Hki Rött!). Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read much. Also, when you are living at high speeds (family, work and music career) it can be hard to let your mind rest withing texts that craves certain degrees of attention and empathy.
This means I basically only own work from some bigger local names like Tomas Transrömer, Gunnar Ekelöf, Karin Boye and Bruno K. Öijer. Please give me some tips and I will catch up as soon as I have time .
Nicko: There are so many great poets out there. The more you search, the more you will find. You can begin to read reviews of poetry collections on my site. I think you will find some books that you will like! Have you ever written poems yourself?
Rikard: I used to write poems for a bit when I was younger. None of them have been published so I can use them when writing songs for the band. Sometimes they almost fit 1:1 and I just have to reshape the text slightly, after I have translated it from Swedish to English.
Nicko: We talked a little about Sisters of Mercy, that we both like (and both of us was at the legendary Vision Thing Tour back in 1991 in Annexet – Stockholm). Tell me about your memories from that concert and do you agree with me that Marian is the greatest song Sisters ever have recorded?
Rikard: That was a wild concert! I have never had to fight quite as hard as then just to survive One of the greatest qualities with Sister’s music, if you ask me, is its mesmerizing powers. And those specific powers seemed to be unusually strong that night.
About Marian, I would agree that it is one of their absolutely best songs, and one of the best songs made by anyone. My very favorite is Some Kind Of Stranger though. But hey, the level is so high that it is somewhat futile to rank them.
Nicko: What can we expect on a concert with A PROJECTION?
Rikard: Well, it will be me exposing all my psychoses on stage, which is just a part of a total experience, both visually and musically. Most of our songs are pretty fast and the bandmembers are actually real musicians , so it will be tight and energetic. At the moment we perform both electronic parts and classical post punk.
Nicko: We have come to my last question for this interview: Tell me about the process of your next album that will be out later this year. What is your expectations of the end result of the record?
Rikard: The coming album will be a post punk-synth album. As a result of the Covid situation in combination with our songs being more electronic, we have been recording separately to a pretty big extent. We have also been working a bit longer on this album then we usually do.
The two first singles Darwin’s Eden (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7CndC-CQrw) and No Control (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhBbG1ZrEx8) have gained more appreciation than our earlier singles and this might become our most appreciated album.
Links – A PROJECTION
Links to other interviews with artists I appreciate.