TruckfightersTruckfighters Ė V
by Dave Schwartz

The Truckfighters are an anomaly. They are a stoner rock band that has continued to evolve its sound by cultivating more significant progressive elements within their music. Yes this sounds unusual, particularly for a first time listener like myself. But one listen of the Truckfighters latest record, ďVĒ (pronounced FIVE), and youíll want to hear more. Youíll want to dig deeper and learn what you can about this small band from Sweden. I sat down with Truckfighters guitarist Dango (Niklas Kšllgren) to discuss ďVĒ and learn everything I could about this anomaly.

DB: Congrats on ďVĒ Niklas! Please take a moment and tell me about the record.

NK: Well, the record itself, it is nice. We are very happy with it. I would say that it is the most progressive record that we have made so far. This is us continuing more toward a more melodic, progressive hard rock I guess. We are going away a little bit from our older stoner rock sound. I feel that we have a good foundation in the stoner rock thing.

DB: I will say that I was very surprised with your music. I am new to your music and I recognize that you have been a stoner band. The progressive sound is very prevalent on this record and that surprised me when I first heard ďV.Ē

NK: I think that if you didnít know about the band and read that weíre stoner rock and then listen to the last 2 or 3 albums then you might be a bit surprised. But if you listen and have been following the band from the start, itís quite a natural progress over the albums Ė a little bit more and more each album.

DB: I agree with your comments, yes. I have listened to several of the tracks from your first album. Based on that first record, I couldnít have predicted that your music would grow in a progressive direction. I think the way your music has evolved is very interesting.

NK: We donít ever have a set idea of how or what to write so we try to do something a little different each time at least than we have done before. We donít want to repeat ourselves or go down the same footsteps. That is about the only thing that we intentionally do when we write music. Apart from that, yes, it comes naturally. We never have a plan to make a hit song or a long or a short song or anything like that.

DB: Thank you for explaining that. I wondered if you and Ozo (Oskar Cedermalm) had an agenda when writing a new record. You have a very striped down approach to writing. I read that itís just you and Oskar in a room at home. Can you tell us a little about that process?

NK: Our writing? The past years we have just sort of met up and composed stuff because we havenít had a fixed drummer in so long. We change drummers so often that itís been hard to find that special feeling with one when writing stuff. So instead we just record a riff at sound check or rehearsal or anything. And then we just schedule time to go over all the ideas. Then itís just me and Oskar and the computer recording other riffs and stuff and structuring out what could be a song. We really focus. Itís different than what it used to be like back in the day. As a band we used to meet down in the rehearsal room and jammed out and made songs. Now thereís more writing in the sense of writing music.

DB: Do you find that you write many songs and pick the best few or do you just write 10 songs and youíre done?

NK: We had an idea to write a few more songs than we used. This time we wrote two songs that we started recording but never finished. We donít have finished songs when we start recording. We just have a loose idea or a foundation of how it should be. All the parts come as we go. So there were two songs that we werenít really happy with. So itís both ways. We donít have more songs than we put on the album but there are songs that are almost finished. So we kind of have a few more songs! So no, we donít write 20 songs and then pick out the best 8!

DB: How would you contrast this record, ďVĒ with ďUniverseĒ? Where do you find changes between the two records?

NK: I like the sound a little bit better on ďVĒ. Itís a little bit atmospheric, more organic somehow. Itís faster and the volume is louder. Itís nice in that sense. Song writing wise, we have gone a bit more progressive like we mentioned before and I think more melodic at the same time. You know itís quite hard rock and metal at some parts as well. I think itís just another step on the ladder I think.

DB: I think itís a good step. I really do enjoy the record! You have a couple of videos out. The first was ďCalm Before The StormĒ which stirred up a great deal of controversy in your native Sweden. Is that controversy pretty much behind the band? Has everything settled out for you?

NK: Yeah, we donít hear very much about it anymore which is quite nice because we felt very misunderstood at that point. I think the main argument was that we used the tragic event to make money. Thatís what people thought. But we donít really make much money on a song and if you want to do a song that would get played on the radio, this isnít it. Itís an 8-minute song. So I think the argument in itself kind of failed. But what a big discussion we had about that song. Lots of critics and it seemed that a click of people really wanted to be angry about something and they didnít really listen to what we had to say at first. So we just sort of stop talking during that time.

DB: Seems like a logical solution. The video itself is really well done. Itís very cinematic, much like watching a movie. Itís very well put together.

NK: Yeah, the video itself, we didnít really have that much to do with it other than discussing the main idea with the director. We said that we would like a video that was related to the lyric. And yeah, something like a short movie almost. And then he was the one who came up with all of the details and did the recording. The video was recorded in Minnesota actually. We were in Sweden the whole time and got a video that was ready. We were like, wow, this is a really good video! Itís really heavy but really good! We really didnít thank that people could consider it to be a controversial video because in our heads we could even imagine it. Weíre just a really small rock band in Sweden. We didnít think anyone would see it and care that much.

Db: As you mentioned earlier, sometime people look for a reason to be angry.

NK: We did three shows in Sweden just a couple weeks ago. And no one came up to us and was angry. Nothing was strange. It was the same as it is always. So I think those who were angry have found other things to be angry about.

DB: Youíve got a second video out called ďHawkshaw,Ē this is an animation, tell me a little about that.

NK: Well, the thing with the second video is that we had a totally different idea. But then the guy who was supposed to do the video said he didnít have time. We had to look around for other options and having an animated video meant that we didnít have to take any part ourselves. And since we were already planning on a tour we didnít feel that we had time to be in a video. So thatís why we went for this idea to do animation.

DB: The video is unusual and therefore interesting to watch. Animation of a girl being chased.

NK: Yeah, I think itís nice. Like you say, itís a bit unusual. We can debate good or bad but being unusual is a very good thing.

DB: Obviously youíre touring. You are here in America and weíre happy that you are back. What are your plans for touring this year?

NK: We are doing some one-off shows in the spring and some of the festivals during the summer. We havenít planned on fall and winter yet. I donít know what weíre going to do. Maybe support for a bigger band or possibly weíll go to places where we havenít had times to tour yet. Weíve had requests to go to Australia and South America. Who knows, maybe back to the United States and Canada? Weíve had really good turn out on this tour.

I want to thank Niklas Kšllgren for sharing a moment with DaBelly. Check out their new record ďVĒ and see them when they come to your town.   

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