MP3: Mattias Hellberg & The White Moose - Why is it so?

After a couple failed interview attempts with artists who shall go unnamed, our Göteborg Spotlight Series is back with this week's guest Mattias Hellberg. For those of you with your heads in the ground, Mattias has been around for many years performing with acts such as Nymphet Noodlers, The Hellacopters, Hederos & Hellberg, The Solution, Nationalteatern besides working under his own name and is now back with a new group, The White Moose. That group's debut album "Out of the frying pan, into the woods" came out earlier this month and so I tracked down Mattias for a few questions...

You're still based in Gbg, right? What's kept you there all these years? Ever considering picking up and relocating somewhere else?

Yes I'm still here. Well one reason is I'm quite happy to have an apartment... some kind of safety thing I guess. I'd love to have a little shack in the Caribbean to go to in the wintertime though.

What makes the Gbg music scene special, if it's even special at all? The people, the geography, the weather... what are the primary characteristics that define the city and its artists?

I dunno if there is a special scene here. Think there's quite a good diversity of scenes/bands/clubs. People tend to say that the music from here is more working-class with a more "rough" touch. Maybe it used to be that way, but I don't think it's a general "tag" to put on the Gothenburg "sound" anymore. Maybe I'm wrong...

So you've started to do shows with Martin Hederos (The Soundtrack of Our Lives) again as Hederos & Hellberg -- why resurrect that project now? Why'd you even stop playing together in the first place?

Well, we were asked to close the Way Out West festival this summer in a big beautiful church. An offer we couldn't refuse. It was a bit scary but great fun at the same time and it was an amazing vibe in a packed church way after midnight. And of course nice to play together again. Then we did a weekend in our old hometown Karlstad and Oslo in November. But now we both got new albums to tour and promote (TSOOL & mine), so now there wont be much time for anymore reunions for a while...

Why we stopped playing together was because the project started to grow out of proportion, we had to say no to some quite good offers (tours) because it would interfere with TSOOL. So it was better to call it off and quit.

And now the new band The White Moose - how did this group come together? Do you see it as an extension of your solo career or it is more of a full band project?

I wrote the songs early this year and had already talked to Ludwig (Dahlberg, The (International) Noise Conspiracy) about him playing drums with me. Then I just asked Olle and Henke (Hagberg, Whyte Seeds and Lindén, Fox Machine respectively) to join in and the band was goin'.

I don't think I've had much of a "solo" career. This is something new. It can't really be a full-band project as I have to consider the other guys got other bands. We'll find a way to make it work though.

Obviously you keep yourself very busy with all sorts of musical adventures - got any more surprises we should look forward to? Anyone in particular you'd really like to worth with?

I'd love to learn how to play the Oud. I also have a dream about going to some foreign country and making music with local musicians.

Lastly, got a song you'd like to share? Tell me about it.

Ok I choose "Why is it so?" from the new album "Out of the frying pan, into the woods". It's actually the first song I wrote after Nymphet Noodlers split up back in '96.

I think I had some plans for a solo album back then already, but I was not much of a songwriter, so it got put on hold for sometime... The original version was an acoustic Stooges kinda "ballad" with different lyrics, same refrain though. This new version is something else... Maximum White Moose Jazz.

Mattias Hellberg & The White Moose - Why is it so?