UBUS TELLUS is just the kind of rock album that we need right now. For those of you who came of age in the nineties, there was a time when rock n roll was loud and synonymous with the word 'fun', before it became a platform for rage and flannel shirts. The embrace of rock's more joyous qualities is hopefully a sign of the times. ROCKWIRED has seen it embraced by bands like STATION and BOBAFLEX and doesn't GRETA VAN FLEET have the number one album on the BILLBOARD charts this week? Yes, RUBUS TELLUS is an old fashioned melodic rock party, but what's interesting is the fact that the Scandinavian band S.K.o.R. (an acronym for SOME KIND OF RUBUS) was once a band that embraced a more folk rock approach to their sound that they put to fine use on a bunch of EPs and one LP called SMORGASBORD. Their folky approach did yield one Swedish radio hit with CHOP SONG in 2011, but the goal of band founder EMIL GAMMELTOFT was to make a bigger bang and in 2015, he and the band decided to go guns blazing with a bombastic rock sound reminiscent of the days of NAZARETH, SWEET and SLADE. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with EMIL GAMMELTOFT regarding the new album from S.K.o.R. Here is how the interview went.
The album RUBUS TELLUS is the kind of album that we never get enough of coming ROCKWIRED's way. The album is a blast, and now that it's out there for people to hear, how do you feel about the finished work?
I like the album a lot. It's a more pop oriented album. It's been out for a month now and we're happy with the album and the reviews that we've been geeting for it.
And of those reactions, has there been anything that you've heard that has surprised you?
People say that it's something completely new and different compared to most stuff that's out there. It's like a mix of classic rock with some punk influences and some metal influences. It's a classic rock album with a modern touch and you've got me screaming the hell out of it. It's a mix of everything, but I think people feel that it's a real party album.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR BUBBLEMAN!!!
And who helped you guys with the production of this album?
This is something that we've done ourselves so we had our drummer MALLY HOXELL doing the production. We recorded everything here in Stockholm where we live.
The name of the band S.K.o.R. stands for SOME KIND OF RUBUS. I rarely ask bands what their moniker means but in this case I might have to. What does it mean?
This band has been together for some year years now and we were a folk rock band in the beginning and even had a guy playing electric fiddle in the band. Rubus comes from the Latin word Rubus Arcticus berries that come from the north of Sweden. It was the national flower of Sweden so I decided to name the band RUBUS, but of course there was already a band named that so we decided to name the band SOME KIND OF RUBUS so S.K.o.R. is just the acronym.
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It's interesting to hear that you guys started out as a more of a folk rock band and then morphing into the more straight ahead rock approach that you guys have now. What inspired the change?
Everyone in this band comes from the hard rock school of thought. We've been dealing with bands in the Stockholm area for a long time now with more or less success. I was just fed up with that. In 2015, we had decided that we wanted to rock. I do a lot of projects outside of this band. I've have a previous band called SQUEALER and I've been working with NAZARETH's guitar player MANNY CHARLTON. So we decided to make an album where we rock a little harder.
Talk about how this band got started.
It was in 2006. I came home from Texas. I was there doing some vocals for MANNY CHARLTON. I got this idea to come up with a sound that combined folk music and rock and when I got back to Sweden, I had decided to do something about it. I started the band and got some really great musicians. We did some folk rock tunes and started to get some airplay in Sweden and performed at all of these folk rock festivals and stuff like that. Over time, the band just evolved into a more of a hard rock band. The members of the band have changed quite a a bit. As a band we changed quite a but in the course of eight years.
Talk about the other members of the band. Tell me who they are and what it is that you think each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work.
MALLY HOXELL was the producer of the album but he is also our drummer. He is the genius of the band. He comes up with a lot of sounds and he is an excellent drummer and a great songwriter. The guitar player is from Italy and he's been in the band for three years now. His name is LORENZO FUGAZZA. He is a really good guitar player. The bass player is ANDERS THORGREN and he has a real heavy punk rock influence. He's been coming up with some of the melodies for the songs that are little more rooted in punk music. And I'm EMIL and I try to sing. That's us and here we are today! We want to come to the States and play for you. That would be great!
And what was your musical history before forming this band?
I grew up with classic rock bands. Everything from AC/DC to AOR stuff like BOSTON and everything that came out of the eighties. Those were the things that got me going musically. I really didn't like the whole grunge thing when it came.
Yeah, I hated grunge too!
Yes, back then I was with a band called SQUEALER in 1992. We tried to get a record contract back then but it was hopeless. It wasn't going to happen for us because grunge had just arrived and changed everything. For rockers like me, it wasn't so easy to get from point a to point b but somehow I made it happen and I'm still here.
How does the songwriting get accomplished in this band?
It can start with a melody in my head or a melody in the head of any other member of the group. It usually starts with a melody or a feel and then, quite often, the lyrics are the last thing that we do. Coming up with the melody is the most important thing. It is first and foremost.
There are a lot of songs on this album that stand out for me and I'd like for you to talk about them. One of those songs is the first single BUBBLEMAN.
That is a crazy song! There is also a video for it on YOUTUBE. You can find it there. It started with an idea that our drummer had. We just jammed on the idea and then put it together. It's a completely crazy song. Someone from outside of the band told us that it starts out like something from DEPECHE MODE or IGGY POP but then it turns into more of a classic rock type song. It's a mix of everything you could say.
RHYTHM AND BLUES?
It's a song about growing up and falling in love with the rhythms and blues and rock music in general and trying to get a band started and play the guitar. As you know, it's not easy to live on music today. Music is something that you do for the love of it. You do it for the art of great music. It's not something that you can necessarily make a living at. Certainly not us in the beginning! You never know how it's going to work out. Just look at a band like GRETA VAN FLEET. They are getting a lot of attention and I think they are going to be huge. Of course they sound like a certain band from the seventies, but they do what they do very very well and I admire that and they also have good songs. Maybe this is what people need - something that reminds them of something else but with new songs and new energy and I think we can be one of those bands also.
HELL TO PAY?
The song is about a toxic workplace where you don't feel welcomed there. It's about that kind of a situation and I wrote that song at the end of the recording sessions for the album.
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Have there been any chances to play these songs on a live stage and if so, what songs have live audiences responded to the most?
People really like the songs BUBBLE MAN, RHYTHM AND BLUES, TELECASTER, HELL TO PAY and MYSTIFY. At the moment we're trying to open up for bigger bands because it's the best way for us to get the word out about this new album, so for right now, we're trying to find more gigs throughout this year and hopefully we will land the chance to play abroad. We'll be doing a tour of Europe this coming Spring of 2019. That is the plan at the moment.
With RUBUS TELLES, what is the big idea? What would you like for people to come away with after they hear it?
I would love for them to say that they really really liked it of course and that they can enjoy the fact that it is a poppier album and that it is not so serious in it's subject matter. The album is all about having good time!
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