In November last year I had the opportunity to chat a bit with the Bellybuster. They had just finished their soundcheck before the gig at Bomber Bar in Motala, Sweden. The band that is from the small town Växjö in Sweden are:
Tomas Olsson, vocals and guitar
Martin Javerbrant, bass
Beo Kjellsson, drums
Wincent Ek, guitar
The band plays classic hard rock with elements of AC/DC, Clutch, The Black Crowes, The Cult etc. In the beginning of the interview I was just talking to Beo while we were waiting for the others, we talked a bit about how Bellybuster is doing today:
Beo: Well, we’re in a face that is really growing, we’re aiming high with our first album. After a lot of years together. It took a while, but now we’re finally here. And now we’re trying to get gigs you know! And here is Tomas as well!
And, at the same time, Wincent joined us so we decided that I won’t try to know which voice belongs to who, so the rest of the answers will just be from Bellybuster.
So, what do you think about the gig tonight?
It’s gonna be so fun! We’ve played here once before, but then we were supporting the great Bonafide. But tonight, it’s just us. We really love this place. They take care of the bands that are performing, have great equipment, and really lovely and professional employees. A really great rock n’ roll place. I really hope that they survive the death of the clubs you know! That would be such a drag if they don’t.
Now we had a short discussion about the death of small venues and my hometown regarding bars and music culture. It got kind of messy, so I skip that! 😊
Whatever! Now we will talk about Bellybuster! You just released your debut album, right?
Yup! First full-length album and a couple of singles before that.
Yeah, the album totally rocks! But how would you describe your sound?
Well… ehh… Somewhere between AC/DC and Clutch. It’s usually where people categorize us. It’s broad bent and like you have to play air-guitar!
Hahaha! Yeah, kind of actually! For me, it was exactly what you said, but a weird kind of Eddie Meduza!!??
Yeah, why not! It sounds that it would cover all how we sound, hahaha! I once played with Eddie Meduza, maybe that’s why? Hahaha! I played with Eddie once. It was some guy that turned 25, we were the band that played, and Eddie was a guest and did a guest performance on two or three songs. And then he started a fight on stage, and we had to abort the whole thing! It was so funny! A highlight in my career! Hahaha!
Btw, this is Eddie Meduza (for all those that don’t understand):
To be a bit more serious, you talked about singles, EP: s and now full album, but you’ve been doing this for a while now. When and how did you start?
We started around 2002/2003. Then it was me, (Tomas), Beo, Martin and a Johan Malmgren on vocals. And just as we were starting to feel that we were ready to take the next step, Johan left the band and I (Tomas) took over as lead vocals, and it took some time to build the new band and for me to be lead vocal, so that’s a reason why it taken so long for our first album. But three years ago, Vincent joined the band and then it really started things.
Feels like a couple of natural steps for a band I think, and I also feel that it might have been a good thing for Bellyuster, because we’ve found our own sound that is good.
Then we started to talk about why there are so many bands from a small town in Sweden like Växjö that produces a lot noise right now. I made an interview with the band Frontback just a couple of days earlier (from the same city), so I had to ask the question:
What’s up with Växjö right now with all the bands?
Well, there are a hell of a lot of bands on the move right now, and of course, we have the band Bullet and Filippa with Thundermother. Guess they started it all. The last outpost of rock is Växjö!
So, how do a band like Bellybuster move forward from this? Just made an album that rocks like hell, but after that.?
Well, we’re a band that loves doing shows, we love it on stage. So, more gigs, festivals and maybe try our luck abroad. A management would be nice. We try to do as much as we can on our side, but we are good making music, not advertising. And then it’s all that administrative stuff and chasing gigs. We’re really struggeling and pushes each other. We’re musicians, not managers….
(Some other guy in in the band, didn’t recognize the voice) I’ve been following the whole journey of the band since Tomas left, must have been 8 to 10 years ago and at the same time I played in a stoner band in the same building. I knew Beo before. And I heard you with that new singer, and I thought that, these guys can really be something. So, you inspired me!
I have a funny story about the album by the way. We contacted the producer of Clutch for the mix and mastering of the album.
We were almost ready with the album, just the final pieces left. And we know a lot of people that do this kind of stuff, and they do int well, so we were thinking, are we gonna go local for this or? So, we started to look for the lowest common denominator. And then Tomas got the idea… We all love Clutch! So, I contacted him and emailed our music and told him that we’re not signed, but we were wondering if you can help us. Sort of. And he replied really fast and he was like: Yeah that’s right up my alley, it suits me perfectly!
Must have ben a great feeling, when you have a sound that you really believe in and then get this really big producer to also feel it!
Yeah, it really boosted our confidence! And he nailed it. We gave him the opportunity to do what ever he wanted. And when he returned the songs, we were like… WOW! It was a bit unexpected sound, but still our sound. He took a classic rock sound and made it modern, and made us super happy!
Yeah, I can really hear in the video to “When the Morning Comes! – Damn, that song is amazing!
But have you seen the video to the song “Hell? Check it out, same dude that made that song!
Here we broke out with some chatter of stuff… About… well it doesn’t matter. I had to abort it and started with some yes or no questions (some of these questions will not be understood of you’re not Swedish!):
Öster or Lakers? (Football or hockey from the local city):
Ahhh, totally impossible!!!
Wine or beer?
Both! As long it’s liquid!
This is bit hard, but… Metallica or Maiden?
Shit! What a question! Hahaha! (like 2 minutes later) We call it a tie!
Refreschments or Eddie Meduza? (Refreshments are debated if they play rock music or other)
And a final question: The band crashes on a deserted island. Who will you eat first?
Everybody except Martin: MARTIN!!! HAHAHA!
Oh, loyalties at stake here….
And about five minutes later (can’t hear what they are saying)
Naa, OK we rather starve… Hahaha!
Well, that’s all I had… But two final things:
What can the Motala audience expect?
Energy! And joy and classic rock n roll!
And, do you have a something to say to your fans?
Well, eh… rock n roll, beer… party… No! Rather this, if you can’t be here tonight, come to Växjö dec 27 for the release party of our vinyl! (Peps: Sorry, my bad. Hadn’t the chance to finish the interview in time) It will be on Bullets bar. The band Bullet started a bar in Växjö. It’s rock and sausage!
Hey guys, thanks a bund for the opportunity to chat with you. I hope this was the first time of many!
Bellybuster: When The Morning Comes:
And here you can find the album on Spotify: