Chips from Sator on prehistoric age and the future: No The Boys, no Sator!

Photo: Mattias Hjortzberg (stolen från sator.se)
Photo: Mattias Hjortzberg (stulen från sator.se)

So, finally, my interview with Chips from Sator continues, slightly delayed. I blame it to Christmas, mourning Lemmy, and then came new year. But here is the rest of the interview, and it’s amazing! I’m so proud of this!

At the bottom of the interview I have made a playlist (Spotify) with my favorite Sator-songs!

(The first part of the interview, you will find it here…: http://www.crannk.com/chips-from-sator-on-prehistoric-age-and-the-future-too-few-influences-just-makes-you-a-copy/)

So, please enjoy – and don’t be afraid to comment!

Here it goes:

What’s the best thing about beeing a member of Sator?

“Besides that it is very fulfilling to play together, it’s also the friendship. We’re truly good friends and have a hell of a good time outside the stage as well. There’s no sauerkrauts in the band. We’ve all grew up with each other and spend so much time together that we’re more like brothers than work-mates.”

I remembered that I read reviews from the festival in Hultsfred, and especially one time when you and Thåström did a show together. Thåström is my biggest Swedish rock-god (sorry about that….!)! How was it, playing the biggest festival in Sweden and together with Thåström as a special guest?

“It was gigantic of course! Thåström was a big idol. Later when you get to know each other, some of the idol-gloria kind of fades off, and you become friends for real instead. Turned out he was a fan of Sator actually.

We still have a huge respect for him as an artist. He’s always gone his own way you know.

That time in Hultsfred was very spontaneous. He never used to play songs from the “Ebba Grön“-era at that time. But since we’ve got to know each other we dared to say that we knew how to play the song Tystför fan”, and asked if he wanted to tag along. And he said, OK, let’s do it! And the rest is history! 🙂

The year after that we did a whole tour together. We played his songs and he played guitar on our songs. Kind of an unusual position for him, but he loved it! That was a really fun tour!”

Speaking of Thåström, I went to a concert in Eskilstuna earlier this spring to watch Thåström. Thought I saw you (Chips) on stage (stood very far from the stage, but still…)?

Me and Heikki played with his band between 1998 and 2002, so it wasn’t me on the stage. It was probably PelleOssler

Before this interview I checked out the members of Sator on Wikipedia, and it turns out that NO ONE of you guys still live in Borlänge…. But do you still feel that you’re a band from Borlänge? Do you get some cred from the city (like the band Kent gets from my hometown Eskilstuna)?

“None of us have lived in Borlänge since 1986. Me, Hasse and Micke have relatives in the area, so sometimes we’re “home”. We still say that we’re a band from Borlänge, because that’s where we started and was formed as people and musicians.

We never got any help or support from the city of Borlänge in those days. There was a reason we moved. That was a terrible town to grow up in. I don’t really know how they look at us now, but it’s usually a lot of people watching our shows in Borlänge anyway. And the festival “Peace and Love” has really made wonders to the city!”

I know that you, Chips, has been involved in a lot of music in Sweden (as a producer and even as a musician), but the other guys are a bit in the dark for me. In short, what do you do, besides being Sator?

“Well, Kent released a solo album in Swedish earlier this year. He actually a lot of stuff for himself, or with different people.

Heikki also plays with all and everybody and also doing a lot of jobs in the studio. Hasse also plays with “BäddatförTrubbel sometimes.

It’s only Hasse and Micke that have “regular” jobs besides the music. The rest of earn our livings of the music. Or, at least try to survive.

Sator, stolen from www.ogir.se
Sator, stolen from www.ogir.se

Last year we did a lot of shows with the “acoustic Sator-trio. That’s me, Kent and Heikki. Micke and Hasse are sometimes “guests”. That was because Hasse and Micke couldn’t take so much time of the regular work in 2014, and because we wanted to try something new.

The songs really get a new life when you take away the volume-button and the distortion-pedal. Very interesting and useful. The reception was way over our expectation. So the “Sator-trio” will live on as well as “el Sator”!
-Maybe the trio will make their own album
someday, who knows…?!

Kent is also a permanent member of the classic English punk band ”The Boys”. I’ve also been a substitute in “The Boys” when their guitarist Honest John Plain was ill. That’s huge in our world. That’s a band that we grew up with and one the reasons that me and Kent started to talk to each other in the first place! So, if never there was a “The Boys”, there would never be a “Sator”!!”

You said “at least try to survive” on our music. How hard is it for a band like Sator to survive on their music? Where does the money come from? Spotify, YouTube? We don’t hear you that often on radio these days, so I guess that the STIM-money is rather… low? (STIM = STIM is a Swedish collective management organization for music creators and publishers. On their behalf, STIM administers and licenses performing and mechanical rights to music and lyrics (https://www.stim.se/en/node/6158))

“There aren’t any rock bands in Sweden today that are able to live on their music only. We get by because we do other stuff as well. I’m lucky in that way that all I do for a living has to do with music. So I’m not complaining.

Spotify generates shows, and that’s good, but the pay-off for streamed songs to the musicians is very low.

If I put it like this, the song “I wanna go home” has been streamed 3 million times, but still I don’t have a house on the luxury hill. STIM is usuallya payoff that I look forward to! In all, it’s a pretty good outcome. Get a lot from abroad as well.”

Speaking of Spotify, what’s your opinion about Spotify? I know that the artists don’t get that much money from Spotify, and yet they got like 22 BILLIONS in income last year from advertising and users, and they still don’t show any profit! For me, I think the future lies in services like Spotify, but right now the record-companies are pulling them down.

“There’s both positive and negative stuff with Spotify and similar services. On the positive side, it’the attitude towards illegal downloading. The illegal downloading has decreased a lot.

It’s kind of boring to discuss money, but people has finally understand that if you don’t pay, you won’t get any new albums. The ones that suffered are the small rock-bands, because they don’t earn any money on tours.

Any jackass can make a song, programming the lap-top today. But a real band need more microphones so they have to go to a studio.

Even if the band do it for free, you still have to pay for technicians and studio-time. And that isn’t cheap. Had evolution continued, we’ve only had the big companies and a lot of home-made left.

And still, it’s pretty bad the way it is today. You can’t listen to radio these days. I think that everything that’s on the radio is shit! The really good music, is “Under the Radar”, so to speak.

But, one good thing about today, that could help smaller bands, is the way to connect directly to the listener. You could do a song on Friday and post it online on Monday for downloading without spending a lot of money of doing CD:sUnfortunately, most people are not that curious on new music, so it’s still the same old bands selling anyway. But maybe it will get better in the future.

The downside is, where does all that billions go? Not to the musicians anyway.

We get by because we tour, but it’s not easy for a new band to cope today. But it’s still the future. The CD-album will end up in the dump anyway, and I would’t miss it! Vinyl and downloading is fine by me.

I actually remember the acoustic Sator. Not that I heard you guys then, but I read a lot about you, and I’ve seen some YouTube-clips. But, as usual I read that you HAD done a show in the neigbourhood. How do you spread the word today that you’re doing a show in some smalltown? We drown in advertising and shit  in the papers and the papers seldom presents future shows!!

“Well, the Internet is a good tool to spread the information, but it’s hard to been seen in all the info there. We’ve noticed that it take some time. You have to book your shows a long time ahead if it’s gonna be good.”

Speaking of acoustic Sator, are you thinking of an album?

“We will record the acoustic set in a studio, but if it will be released, I don’t know. It depends if we think it’s good enough.”

Sator, the acoustic way!:

Stolen from: www.allgigs.co.uk
Stolen from: www.allgigs.co.uk

And I was thinking, you said, no “The Boys”, then no “Sator”. Well, excuse a “young one” 😉 That’s not a band that I’ve heard about. But now, after this interview I looked them up, and then, yes! I realize the connection Sator/The Boys. But that raises another question… How old are you guys really? 🙂 Coz, The Boys were big a REALLY LONG time ago!! And after that comes the questions, how did you discover these guys, and how did you and Kent got to be members of that band?

“We’re ancient! Born 1962-1967, so we were there when the punk entered. The Boys was one of the first punk band and equally big as Sex Pistols, 999, The Clash, The Vibrators and Buzzcocks in the beginning, but after that they missed a turn. Wrong record-company for example, and then were a bit forgotten. That’s why not so many people today have heard about The Boys.

It’s a long story how Kent ended up in The Boys;

 The Boys’s drummer, Martin “H:son” Hansson, is an old friend from the punk-gang in Dalarna (a province in Sweden) in the late 70s. He played in bands like Sune Studs and Grönlandsrockarna at the time. He also lived in Gothenburg and play with a lot of bands, like Full Metal Jacketz and Troublemakers. 

Then he moved to Oslo and started to play with Backstreet Girls, also good friends to us. And the Backstreet guys are friends to the “The Boys”.

And when the bass-player Duncan Reid quit, Martin suggested that they would invite Kent. Kent knew almost every song they ever made, and he also have the looks like he was in the band from the beginning! And of course, it was Kent that suggested me as a replacement when Honest John were on recovery.

It all fits together. We had all these friends over Europe so it felt live we’ve known the Boys for a very long time, even if it was just “now” we met for the first time.”

And then I have a question from my oldest and best friend (Klas Holgersson), also a hardcore fan at the time. “Could you tell us something about the making of the classic album “Slammer”?”

“Well, after that Sator Codex was put down to sleep, we wanted to go back to our roots, but at the same time do something completely new. slammerWe talked a lot with in the band of what we wanted to do. It was a pretty long process.

We did a lot of demos on a so called portastudio, a 4-channel tape-recorder for cassettes. We tested all and everthing, and there was a lot of ideas that didn’t make it in the end. But finally we had a plan and a goal.

We’ve gotten to know the band Minimal Compact from Brussels. They recommended the “Daylight Studios” and the technician Gilles Martin that they used to work with. We’ve heard about him before and we liked his work. Since we didn’t have that much money we only worked at nights. Wich gave the studio name a bit of ironic tone. We never saw daylight during the whole recording! We started at midnight and worked to 7 or 8 in the morning. We also brought our own technician; Michael Ilbert.

When we ran out of money, we went home to Gothenburg and made the rest of it in the “Music A Matic”-studio. Later on, we bought a piece of that studio and we run it together with Henryk Lipp that we worked with a lot these last  years. We learned incredible much from Gilles Martin, and we continued to develop that together with Michael Ilbert.

It took us 6 months to finish the album since we needed more studio-time. We were completely broke! We did all we could to put the album together with our limeted budget. We painted the celing of the studio and I did a lot of technician work on other bands to get some extra time in the studio. It was a rough time, but at the same time, truly exiting. We were convinced that we were doing something really big!

The last thing we did was to get rid of a song called “Angel Angel”. It was the first song written to “Slammer”. We played it live for a long time before we recored it. There was a lot of people that thougt that it was our best song and that it would be a hit! But we thought it sounded a bit too much of old “Sator Codex” and too little of new “Sator”, so it had to go! We still haven’t put it out on a record, but maybe, some day… I listend to it the other day, and actually, It was better than I remembered it.

It all changed when the Slammer-album was released. Suddenly we got more shows, we got to TV and radio and a lot of interviews. All of a sudden there was a lot more interest in what we did.

The album was the result of 7 to 8 years of labour… There was no luck involved in this, just really hard work.

We kept on working with Ilbert on 2 more albums. He’s a great part of the Sator-sound to be. Nowadays, Ilbert lives in Berlin and working in the legendary Hansa studio. There is a long biograpy on our website, sator.se

All that work that you guys did just to record your first album “Slammer”, do you think that the kids of today understand what it takes to make it (exept maybe for the ones that actually plays some kind of rock-music)? When I read about all the work you put in, then I also has to ask you, what’s your opinion of the TV-show Idol?

“I guess it applies to all of the jobs with careers, you have to work your ass off to get somewere. It’s never good enough  with just talant. I don’t really have an opinion about the whole Idol-thing. It’s completly NOT pinteresting on my behalf, so I don’t watch it. Doesn’t feel like it will do something for me.

Let them play I say. It’s boring to be annoyed about things. There’s so much good music out there, and it’s more fun to concentrate on the positive.”

The other day I found the “Ebba-the movie” on YouTube. My thoughts were that you guys have had to have that same kind of living every day. It doesn’t feel all that glamorous really…. Is it worth it?

“That’s how it is in the music-industry really. There is a back-side to it that “ordinary” people don’t know, but it’s still worth it every day of the week!

All the people we’ve gotten to know through out the music, and all the strange places we’ve played, like Greenland, Swalbard, Iceland, Helgoland and so on… It would never had happend if we would have a regular job.

And then it’s the time when we’re on stage, it’s almost better today than before! So I don’t regret for a second all that work and all that we gave up during that time!”

One of my all-time favourit songs is the song 23 B.C. I think it’s amazingly funny! If you had written it today, do think that the lyrics had been different? In those days we didn’t talk about selfies….!

“I think that it would pretty much be the same, because we never “wrote” 23BC.

Funny story actually! I dreamt that I had written a hit-song and woke up in the middle of the night, in the middle of the dream. I immediately hit “REC” on my tape-recorder that I had beside my bed, and I record it, barly awake. Then I fell asleep again, convinced that our fortune was made….

When I woke the next morning I listend to that hit-song I made in the middle of the night… As I recalled it, it was a 3 minute song with lyrics and all, but when I listened to it, it was just one minute long and not quite that hit-song that heard in the middle of the night! 😀

But the band and I thought that it was so funny that we recorded the song as it was. I still have the original somewhere!”

Are there anymore classic Swedish pop-songs that you might think of doing a cover song on, like “Ring-Ring” (ABBA) or “Oh Mama” (Lilli & Sussie)? I think it would be really cool to have a “Tomas Ledin” – song by Sator! 🙂

“You never know. Don’t think that we ever do a Tomas Ledin song. We never listen to him. But maybe a song from Magnus Uggla, Pugh Rogefeld and Ola Magnell. There are many good Swedish songs to choose from. And then we have our neighbour-countries. Maybe a song from “Hurriganes” maybe. We’ve played a couple of theire songs live sometimes. And we’ve also did an Raga Rockers (from Norway) song as well; “Blakk”.

 It’s always fun to do a cover. We’ve done a lot of Swedish songs through out the years; Dag Vag, Grisen Skriker, Docenterna, Ebba Grön, Cortex, The Leather Nun amongst others. We recently did a “Backstreet Girl”-song, which might end up as a split-single.”

What about your plans for the future? When are you gonna release Barbie-Q-Killers vol 2? When I checked in on your webiste it seemed like you were about to finish it. Are you about to finish it, and will it be a tour? And if so, will you do a show in my town, Eskilstuna?

“We’re pausing the live-shows for a while after new-years, and then we will finish the albums we’ve started with. We have a lot of singles on different companies, and we are working on THREE albums simultaneously!

BBQ vol2 is probably the first album to be released. It’s almost finished after 15 years!!

We will probably do a show in Eskilstuna during 2016, but nothing’s final yet.”

That would be so cool if you would come and play in Eskilstuna! What are the chances to meet and have a beer if and when you’re in town?

“Absolutly. We usually go out and mingle and talk to people after the show. We’re not a band that hide!”

And to finish it all off, here is five quick-questions:
•  Beer or Wine? Sator’s own brew from Stallhagen
•   Kent or Mando Diao?Kent Norberg of course!
•   Borlänge or Stockholm?Borlänge despite all!
•   Clash or the Ramones?  Heikki would proborly say The Clash, the rest of us are leaning towards The Ramomes.
•   Elfsborg or all other teams? LEKSAND IF!

That’s all folks!

First of all, I would like to get a big thanks to Chips from Sator! I’m no journalist, and probably don’t ask the right questions, but Chips has been so patient with me, and took the time to answer all of my questions. I couldn’t dream of this! So, I would really wanna give a big hug to Chips for doing this, Sator was, and is one of my favorite bands. Thank you!

Below is my Spotify-playlist with my favorite songs with Sator, and after that list, I found some nice videos from the good ol’ days!

\m/ Peps

Spotify:

Pigvalley Beach (live 1986)

Ring Ring (1992)

World: (Live 1992)

Oh mama (?)

I wanna go home:

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