Interview: Robert Pehrsson’s Humbucker

You’re releasing your solo debut tomorrow, Friday November 8th. Congratulations. What are your expectations on the response?

– Thank you! I did not have big expectations besides the one’s on my self when doing this album. But the response so far has been very good and it just seems to be getting better.

From what I’ve heard from it so far it sounds a lot like Thin Lizzy clashing into Imperial State Electric … And naturally, it sounds just awesome. How would you describe your sound and influences?

– It’s a mix of a lot of bands I like, most of them from the 70’s and early 80’s. Maybe the Lizzy thing can be heard in the guitars in some songs, but I’m actually more influenced by for example Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I like a lot of the bands that these days go under the classic rock moniker. Everybody seems to be referring to my album as a classic rock album and I have no problem with that.

The album features Nicke Andersson, Dolf De Borst and Tomas Eriksson from Imperial State Electric, Peter Stjärnvind (Nifelheim, Black Trip), Joseph Tholl (Enforcer, Black Trip), Robert Eriksson (The Hellacopters), Olle Dahlstedt (Entombed), Johan Bäckman (Necrocourse), Fred Estby (Carnage, Dismember, Dagger) and Johannes Borgström. It’s a pretty broad team of rockers. How did they help to form the creative process and outcome?

– Most of the guys played an instrument, did percussion or sang backing and did not have much to do with the creative outcome. Nicke have song credits on 2 trax together with me and Joseph Tholl and Peter Stjärnvind have one. So those are the only guys who co wrote anything. I have all these names on the album because they are my friends and they also happen to be very talented. So my album benefits from having them play on it.

What does your process of composing look like?

– It’s a mix of sudden inspiration and discipline. Sometimes a song can be written quite fast and other times it will take a few tries and demos before you nail it. Lyrics are the hardest I think. I often come up with melodies when I run or drive my car.

Was there any song on the album that was more difficult getting done than the others?

– Yes. Wasted Time got rewritten quite a few times before I finally got it right.

Calling it a debut album for someone of your merits is kind of misleading … The Wrecks, Thunder Express, Dundertåget, Death Breath, Imperial State Electric, Slingblade, Necronaut and Dagger among others. How do you feel about now going solo and fronting?

– I don’t know yet to be honest. I’m very proud of my album, probably never been so proud. But I also worked so much on it on my own so it’s hard for me to have a relationship with the songs now. I just wanna go out and try them live and make them live again. If my voice holds up I don’t think I will have to much of a problem fronting the band. I’m looking forward taking responsibility for my band and myself.

What are your plans for touring now?

– I’m just in the process of putting the band together. Then I know more. I’d like to start of a bit easy so I don’t book a 3 week tour the fist thing I do. Maybe more like 3-4 shows just to get the feel of things and then take it from there.

What is working with High Roller Records and Gutterview Recorders like?

– It’s a breeze. I have nothing but good things to say about HRR and the same with the studio. I know the studio boys personally, we are friends so it’s really simple to work with them, and we want the same thing when it comes to recording.

What are your thoughts on the cover artwork and how it captures your sound?

– It’s a live picture from a show in Spain from when I was touring there with Imperial State Electric. I just thought it was a cool picture that really captures the moment and the sound of my album. It’s a classy oldschool pic, at least I think so.

What are your five favorite album artworks through history?

– Those are too hard to answer. I like an album cover that has some sort of connection to the music on the actual album. So if you really like the music you end up liking the artwork or the other way around. Here are a few I really like because of the music on the actual album.

Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

Led Zeppelin – S/T

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

Accept – Metal Heart

I went to see the Dagger debut gig at KGB in September and you guys really blew my mind. The expectations on the upcoming album cannot be anything else than sky high. What are your thoughts on Dagger?

– Thanks, that’s nice to hear. I have not been part of that band for very long so I have not yet contributed with any songwriting. My main priority is my album now. But I will do anything I can to fulfill all my commitments to Dagger of course; I’m just not running that show so much. I think the coming album is sounding super good.

The Swedish rock scene, from metal to blues rock to power pop, seems more prosperous than ever, in times when the general music industry seems pretty much left without soul and ambition. What’s your take on that?

– The music industry is fucked up and has always been that way. Luckily I’m not making music to be part of the industry, so I don’t care really. I want to work with people likewise so I choose to do so. It’s simple. I don’t know if that was an answer to your question though.

You are also the lead singer and guitarist of retro death metal rockers Death Breath. When I asked Nicke Andersson in June 2010 on the upcoming album he commented; “Yes, we’ve recorded all the music for a new full-length album and we’re waiting to do vocals. But since I’m kinda in the middle of something right now it’ll have to wait. A release later this year/early next year seems likely. And by the way, it’s gonna kick ass.” So what’s happening with Death Breath, what’s the current situation?

– It’s pretty much the same. We are both busy. The DB album will come out eventually when we have time and the feeling is right again.

Is it possible to keep Humbucker, ISE and Death Breath spinning simultaneously? And if so, when will we see Death Breath back on stage again?

– No it’s not. You can’t do all the things you want at the same time unfortunately; it’s just not possible. So I focus on my album now and then we’ll see.

Finally, can you name five essential albums that have been extra important to you and the development of your sound?

– No, I cant narrow it down to five albums. Thats just not possible for me because I like a wide variety of music and draw influences from a lot of genres. Here are some artists that really inspired me making my solo album though. ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Neil Young, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Dinosaur JR, Nirvana, Kiss, Fleetwood Mac, UFO. I also like some early aor music. There is some type of drama in that music that I sometimes is a sucker for, like the song Keep Pushin with REO Speedwagon or Surrender by ELO.

Excellent. Thanks for taking the time. Best of luck with the album.

Thanks for the support!