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Gösta Berlings Saga

WITH: Einar Baldursson



Richard Hawey - December 2016

PROFIL - First, thank you so much for accepting the invite on Profil

EINAR BALDURSSON - Thank you for having us.

PR – On December 16th, you will release your 4th album titled « Sersophane ». Can you briefly talk about it and does the title hold a particular meaning?

EB – For us it marks a return to the raw, spontaneous feel of our sophomore album Detta Har Hänt as opposed to the layered parts style of Glue Works that followed it. We recorded all the basic tracks live over a weekend and were determined to retain that atmosphere during post-production. The title Sersophane for us represents the unknown or what is yet to come, a symbol of hope in an otherwise dystopian worldview.

PR – Was Gösta Berlings’ name taken from the 1891’s novel written by Selma Lagerlöf under the same name or was it taken from the 1924 muted movie? Or, does it have a totally different origin?

EB – Mainly the novel I think. This was of course before my time with the band but Lagerlöf’s language is so rich and moving, filled with colourful characters and beautiful descriptions of pastoral landscapes. Although the band’s sound has become decidedly more urban in recent years, the name still rings true.

PR – It’s been 5 years since the release of « Glue Works », what happened during this period?

EB – After playing Nearfest Apocalypse in 2012 we started working on new material with the intent to release something later that year but after a while it became clear to us that we weren’t ready yet. The things we were working on needed more care and energy than we could give them at that time and in many ways we consciously slowed everything related to GBS down for a year or two to focus on other things for a while. In hindsight, this allowed us to come back to our core project with renewed power and a determination to make the best album we possibly could.

PR – Tell us about the process of writing an album.

EB - For us it is a slow and laborious process. No stone is left unturned and everybody gets a say. We try to keep an open mind in the creative phase, no idea is too strange or crazy to try at least once. Then of course in the latter stages tough decisions need to be made in order to carve out the finished product. After the material is released however, the creative thinking returns when we prepare our live shows and in some ways a song is never truly finished as we like to change things around to keep everything fresh for us.

PR – To me, I would say that your music is a mix of electric prog, jazz, R.I.O. and improvisation. How would you personally describe it?

EB – I can certainly agree with that but as always the music comes first and definitions second, we usually just think about it as being instrumental rock. Although we are obviously very much influenced by kraut, minimalism, electronic music etc, it does seem to me that any attempt at definition risks narrowing one’s choices aesthetically and as such should be best left to others.

PR – Scandinavian music is often perceived to dark and sometimes difficult to approach. Would you agree with this statement and why?

EB – It would seem there is a predominance of somber minor key themes to accompany the dark winters but once you scratch beneath the surface there is of course plenty of carefree cheerfulness in these parts as well…

PR – The formation of the band members comes from the fusion of musicians from several groups who played a similar style of music. For example: Mathias Danielsson – My Brother To Wind, David Lundberg – Anima Morte et Einar Baldursson – Simon Steensland. Tell us about how this association came to exist.

EB – We have all played in various bands or projects before and during our time with GBS and many of those are interrelated since Stockholm isn’t all that big. It’s simply a matter of finding some friends to jam with.

PR – What about you? Knowing that you are the new musical partner of such a talented group, tell us about your background.

EB – I have been studying, playing and teaching music for many years now although I started out as a self-taught metal guitar player back in the days. I was involved in the
free improvisation scene in Stockholm for some time and met Simon Steensland in 2004 during a stint with The Great Learning Orchestra and that was the beginning of my affair with progressive rock two years prior to joining Gösta Berlings Saga.

PR – Are you guys planning a tour to support « Sersophane » ?

EB – We are currently looking into it and may well do a short tour in 2017 but no definitive plans at this point.

PR – What type of music do you listen to? Any favourite bands or artists?

EB - We all listen do different stuff but some of the things that have influenced us collectively at one time or another are Miles Davis electric period and Philip Glass. The other guys love bands like Cardiacs and Magma and for a while the Mahavishnu Orchestra was it for me but these days it’s mainly jazz and Hawaiian steel guitar music that gets played around the house.

PR – If you could rewrite the Progressive Rock music’s definition, what would it be?

EB – Well I’m not sure what the current definition is actually but for us it is important to remember what the term progressive stands for. Although roots are obviously very important it is even more important to be daring and forward thinking and that means being prepared to go beyond convention as well as one’s comfort zone. This, I believe, is what keeps any kind of music vital. As soon as you stop you’re dead.

PR – I would like to wish you the best success with this brand new album to be released in time for Xmas; I know many of us look forward to hearing it. Thank you so much for being on Profil! Anything you would like to add before I let you go?

EB – Thank you and I hope you like it, other than that I am out of words.

PR – I wish to see you guys in Quebec City, Canada soon!

EB - We would love to play there!

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