I would like to share a few things about a little (understatement) music project that Forbes and I attempted to create back in high school. There is a reason I'm bringing this up now. That reason is because in 2015 close to August or September, it will be 20 years since it all began in 1995. Technically, this makes it the longest incomplete and unreleased project we've ever done.
A brief history of a band we once named Swede...
At first, Swede was my own doing. For a few years building up to its conception (mentioned above), I would listen to my music collection (which was quite small back then, especially compared to my recent list...that's another story), and as I would lay there (or do something else while it was in the background), I would imagine (or daydream) that I was one of the band members playing the song I was hearing, while I would picture one of or a group of my friends as the other bandmates. During this, I came up with a vocal trio (much like The Bee Gees or TLC) with me as one of the 3. The other 2 would be a couple of my school friends (bear in mind that none of these other people knew about this). So, as I would listen to selected albums, I would imagine the 3 of us were performing the tracks. I even 'assigned' certain types of song for each member - myself singing the ballads (I had a major crush on someone at the time), friend #1 singing the breakup songs (as he had someone, but lost her), and friend #2 would be in charge of any songs I didn't really like as much as the rest (cleaning up the scraps, you could say). Because some of these albums I'd listen to had songs by female vocalists as well, I even came up with a female equivalent of my trio - my crush singing the ballads (open for duets!), friend #1's ex singing the breakup songs (would make an interesting duet, for sure), and a third female filling the same role as friend #2 (this role had more than 1 female fill it as I didn't know if friend #2 liked a particular girl, so I picked her at random...more than once).
All of that took place in primary school, so as I got into high school it would change ever so slightly. By this time I was getting into a particular band called Roxette. Their biggest hit, "It Must Have Been Love" was on one of the compilation albums I would play to death while imagining I was in the trio. After having the song grow on me so much, I got my first Roxette album (their 1992 release, "Tourism"), and - while referencing a Roxette song to help tell the story - things would never be the same. The days of the 2 trios were no more. I decided to keep my imagination flowing by merging the 2 together and forming a single band, assigning certain people with instruments. My role emulated Per Gessle, the male half of Roxette, while the girl I had a crush on at the time was to fill the role of Marie Fredriksson, the female half (obviously). Taking my role seriously, this lead to me considering taking guitar lessons. This didn't take place until sometime in 1995, my second year of high school.
By the way, Swede was named after the fact that Roxette are Swedish...
For a few years by this time I had been imagining myself in a music group performing cover songs. But one night in either August or September in 1995, I was reading a book called "Love & Marriage" by Bill Cosby (and if you want to know what my thoughts on his recent news stories are, here's the short version - "Where's the proof? It's yet another celebrity witch-hunt"). In this book, I came to a passage that would change the direction of my musical fantasies forever. I can't remember at the top of my head how it goes, but it contained the words, "Overnight Arrival". This became my first song title.
It wasn't long after "Overnight Arrival" appeared when I suddenly had a flood of other song titles, such as "Time Traveller" or "Do You Have to Go?" It seemed that Bill Cosby's book had opened a new door in my life, and it wasn't even relevant to the book's subject. Life is weird like that sometimes.
After more and more titles came to me over time, I got into a new musical idea - creating album tracklists. "Time Traveller", one of my first titles and the first song to actually have my own lyrics, would be the name of the first of these fictional albums. Little did I know in late 1995 how much larger the list of 'albums' would be over time...
Jumping forward to the crossover period of 1995/96, Forbes learned about my intentions in the music scene and offered his assistance. Keen on getting things started as soon as...yesterday, he was basically hired on the spot. Together we would create something so big, almost nobody knew about it. Either everybody was blind or our marketing skills sucked. On a serious note though, we were far from ready in 1996. I was still a beginner with the guitar, which was more than I can say about our vocal skills back then...
The original line-up of the 'band' before Forbes came along was very similar in structure to Roxette (intentionally). After he tweaked it a little bit, the end result was a 5-piece pop/rock band consisting of myself on vocals and guitar, Forbes on vocals and bass, 'Woody' (we won't use real names) on keyboards and backing vocals, 'Bob' on drums (trivia: I originally had him listed as a second guitarist), and 'Toad' as the trumpet player...yes, you read that correctly. The only reason I enlisted a trumpet player was because he was the only other person I knew who could play a real instrument. I'm not joking about this. I was 14 going on 15... Stop laughing!
Only 6 months into the year, Forbes and I had a falling out. Swede as we knew it back then was over, but not out for the count. In Forbes' absence, I continued writing for the project until I joined a real band, Supertrip, in late 1997. Eventually in 1998, Forbes and I found ourselves placed in the same class as each other for one subject. With the hopes of making the year a pleasant one, we decided to bury the hatchet that very moment. We had 1.5 years to cool off, so it was pretty easy. At that particular time, we had no desire to resurrect Swede. Besides, I was still with Supertrip then.
Sometime in 2001, Forbes made a phone call to me one night. He had this idea that would give Swede a proper ending. This, of course, is funny in hindsight, as the band never really existed in the first place. But I went along with the ideas we discussed that evening. Little did I know though, this 'brief' reunion wouldn't be as short as we'd planned. More ideas came to me, and history tells what happens when that occurs. Meanwhile in 2005... Yeah, I was still going.
My inspiration for Swede-related titles/albums has been quiet since the mid-2000's. This is mostly because of my involvement with Kingrow and n-Somnia, as well as our Ducksel Comedy projects. But Swede would always be in the back of my mind saying, "These songs need to be made. Do eet!" In the meantime, I would make numerous attempts at writing a fictional story about the 5-piece band from Christchurch, but compared to Forbes, I'm not that much of a novelist. If I'm to tell a story, it's through either videos or songs. The latter of which is the only way Swede can truly exist. So, I came up with a plan...
In the last year or two, I decided that time is ticking on and there are many songs going to waste in my overweight archive. It was long overdue to do something about it. The 20th anniversary of Swede is approaching after all, dang it!
Which is why I've come to this particular blog post. You may be thinking by now, "What's the point? That's old history. Why make me read all that stuff?" A single statement should settle the argument right here, right now...
As of Tuesday 16 December 2014, the first recording for what will be called "The Swede Legacy" has commenced!
That's right, I have started recording some of the Swede material dating as far back as late 1995, and I intend on making them sound as close to their age as possible as well. It's time to get this thing over and done with!
I also said 'some' of the material. That's because there's so many titles I've come up with over the years (trivia: I counted more than 600 titles once, and that was in 1997...), and also the fact that a lot of them weren't that great (ask Forbes about "Grimace - The Big Purple Thing" and "Fruit Salad"). Therefore, I came up with a plan to make no more than 5 albums in total. Only 1 of them will have enough songs to fill a single CD. The rest may be capable of filling 2. Neither of which will actually be released on CD, as I'm kind of exclusive to Bandcamp.com these days.
The first album will be "Time Traveller", respectively, and will feature 'most of' the songs from the fictional version, but adopting a few from another one to fill the gaps. Album #2 will be called "The L Word" (disclaimer: the TV series of the same name was made many years AFTER we came up with the music album concept). This album will be a collection of ballads I wrote between late 1995 and mid-1996. Both albums up to this point will be pop/rock. Album #3 will be called "Revolution". This is my collection of guitar-based rock songs I wrote (along with a few collaborated songs with Forbes) written in 1996. Album #4 is to be called "The Dark Ages". Forbes and I refer to the time period we weren't talking to each other as The Dark Ages, and this album represents the songs I wrote during that time. Finally, album #5 will be "The Return of the Time Traveller", which is one of the concepts we came up with in the mid-2000's and is a sequel to the first album, which will make a good conclusion to the project overall.
For those interested in which song I started off with on Tuesday, the song of choice was... "Visitors" ... not the title you expected, right? This track was one I wrote for the fictional follow-up to "Time Traveller", called "Didn't See You Coming", so I guess the song is living up to its parent album's name by being the first instead of "Time Traveller" or "Overnight Arrival". The song is currently in its 'demo' stage, and will probably stay that way until the new year begins.
These are exciting times and I can't wait to have this chapter of my life complete. It's taken long enough!
Sorry this blog has taken longer than expected, but I feel that context is important and you needed to know the backstory of the project before you could fully understand what's in store for 2015 and beyond. In saying that, if you're a fan of my solo project, n-Somnia, I'm still doing that! Bear in mind that I even started the next EP for that project recently as well. But now, I suppose, you understand why I'm doing a solo EP instead of an album this time.
Time for me to go. It's late as I type this, but it wasn't when I started...typical.