Interview: Oh Laura on Success of Album.
by Daniel Haim
After a long week, I present you a fantastic interview with Jorgen Kjellgren guitarist/songwriter of Swedish band Oh Laura. Our team is very proud of it. Haven’t heard of Oh Laura? See what you’ve been missing.
A drowsy, sensual alternative country-rock outfit based in Stockholm, Sweden, Oh Laura were launched into the European mainstream in 2007 thanks to their breakaway hit, “Release Me.” The group, which was originally called Laura, grew out of a collaboration between Jörgen Kjellgren and Jocke Olovsson, and eventually expanded to include lead singer Frida Öhrn (recruited by Olovsson, who fell in love with Öhrn’s voice when he caught one of her early live performances), bassist Rikard Lidhamn, and drummer Magnus Olsson. Cosmos Records signed the band in early 2006, and Oh Laura’s debut full-length, A Song Inside My Head, a Demon in My Bed, hit stores in Sweden later that year. One year later, the album’s first single, “Release Me,” went platinum in Sweden and was featured in a popular Saab television commercial that aired throughout Europe. The track went on to snag the title of “Song of the Year” at that year’s MPA awards.
Daniel: First of all we’d like to ask: how is your music progressing? what kind of change you think your fans will see in the upcoming album?
Jörgen: “We’ve came a long way as a live band. Since we recorded the first album and I’m sure that
will come through on the next one. Also we have decided not to spend so much time recording it as the debut. That will probably affect the sound as well.
Daniel: What about the change in the songs? Are we going to see any change in the upcoming album?
Jörgen: “As for the actual songs, it really is anyone’s guess as to what they are gonna be like. It’s still going to be a lot about Fridas voice, the lyrics and stuff obviously.”
Most of Oh Laura interviews, articles, even their MySpace page they always say “It’s all about Frida’s voice” and that is the actual reason why Oh Laura formed into a band.
When asked to describe the album, Jörgen says “the kind that works well late on a rainy night, listened to with whisky.”.
Daniel: Who’s Oh Laura’s major influences in the music industry?
Jörgen: If you would ask all of us individually you would no doubt come up with five completely different answers. It ranges from Billie Holiday to The Beatles via Madonna, The Cure, The Band, Bob Dylan and thousands of others.
Daniel: Jörgen, I’m sorry but I had to ask this story again! Could we hear the story again, in your words, how ‘Oh Laura’ formed as a band?
Jörgen: Ugh ok..…Jocke-heard-Frida-sing-at-a-party. He asked if she would like to sing some songs that he had. I guess around the same time Jocke and me (Jörgen) had already started writing together and when we heard Fridas voice on our songs there was really no choice but to start a band.
We’ve been telling this story so many times now that I’m not exactly sure of what the true version is but this should be pretty close to it. I think Thunderbird Motel was the first song we wrote together. Or maybe it was Mess You Left Behind…
Daniel: I’m sure you’ve noticed the decline in lyrical depth in popular music the last 15 years or so. Obviously you are making an effort to convey a message or a feeling with your lyrics. How do you feel about this trend?
Jörgen: There’s always been crap music alongside good music. If people feel that we are making good music it makes us real happy. I don’t really have a problem with people singing about silly topics but what I do have a problem with is the way that rock music is molded to fit in the sound systems of shopping malls. It just makes for really bland music.
Daniel: What inspired you guys to make this incredible music together?
Jörgen: Basically we just tried it and when we liked what we heard we just kept going. It’s really what we still do. Try some stuff out and if it’s good we keep it.
Daniel: I think that small random events in life—sometimes have enormous consequences. Have you had moments like this in your early band history?
Jörgen: I’d have to say when we brought Magnus into the band. We were a bit reluctant at fist since he’s the boyfriend of Jockes sister. Turns out he’s the best drummer this side of Levon Helm so—He and Rickard has a real beautiful thing going back there in the rhythm section.
Daniel: Which songs do you perform more frequently?
Jörgen: We like to play Mess You Left Behind, It Ain’t Enough and Black And Blue among others but it varies from gig to gig. We rarely play Raining In N.Y.
Daniel: Are you planning to come for a visit anytime? New York City?
Jörgen: There are no set dates for NYC. We hope it’s in the cards but at the moment we’re keeping busy with promotion around Europa and Australia.
Daniel: Hey ofcourse I’m gonna ask you Jörgen, What can you tell us about the upcoming albums? Any dates? Any news??
Jörgen: We plan to write te next album before Christmas.
Daniel: What else have you got for me?
Jörgen: About the next album? Rumour has it it’s going to be a mix between Billie Holiday and The Great Lake Swimmers. How’s that sound?