» Dennis Berg - Abramis Brama
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Shortly after my review of Abramis Brama's English album Nothing Changes I received an e-mail from Dennis Berg in the band and he offered his services if I would like to know more about the band, and how could I turn this opportunity down? I got back to him and he agreed on doing a interview in order to let me find out more about the band, their upcoming festival appearance and their new album which is in its works.

Thomas: Good day to you, Dennis of Abramis Brama! Let me just start with saying that I really appreciate that you are taking the time to answer my questions and letting me and the readers of Metal Covenant know what's up with Abramis Brama.

  • Dennis: Time is all we have. And you can quote me on that.

Thomas: First off I'm curious about your bandname; Abramis Brama. I have done my homework and learned that it is the Latin name for a freshwater fish called Bream, you must agree that it isn't very much of hardrock to name your band after a fish, is it now? I guess you all must be real fish enthusiasts?

  • Dennis: Im the big fish enthusiast. I spend about 150 day's + per year fishing. Now, that's not full days, it´s a mix of shorter sessions and full weekends. If it wasn't for the damn winter it would be even more days fishing. In the winter one is limited to weekends only and that sucks big time. Other than me, Uffe enjoys fishing when time permits and the other two enjoy beer. And fishing. If no beer are available whilst fishing, no fishing will be done on their behalf. I guess the name "Abramis Brama" isn't very metal, but that wasn't the idea in any way. Picture the name drawn in "Death Metal Style logo" and it turns VERY metal all of a sudden. What is a proper name for a metal/hard rock outfit? The idea of calling ourself Abramis Brama was more or less a joke and before anyone had a thought about changing it, we´d been on national radio under that name and it was too late to change! And actually, people tend to have hard times remembering names, but remembering the meaning of the name associated with the band comes easier. Therefore it´s quite a good name, your average Joe wont remember it but if your even the slightest interested I bet you will remember "those hairy, bearded men making that oh so groovy music with Swedish lyrics named after an ugly fish".

Thomas: To me Abramis Brama is a relatively new acquaintance and my guess is that there are many people that have yet to discover your great music, could you tell a little about your background?

  • Dennis: This month (april 2004) we turn seven years old as a band. In -97 me and Jansson decided to form a band to play some November songs. A guitarplayer was needed and I worked with Peo at the time, very convenient. Later on in the summer me and Peo worked with Christian our first singer whom insisted on joining in for a few beers and a laugh. We continued into writing our own material and did so in Swedish which felt natural. We went on to release our first album in 1999, exit Christian enter Uffe. Fast forward to 2004, throw in some singles, cd´s, old girlfriends to inspire lyrics, about 70-80 gigs and voila´; -enter stage left on Sweden Rock festival June 10th!

Thomas: Which are the bands that have influenced you in the past and are there any contemporary bands that you take impression from?

  • Dennis: From way back when the kind of music we play was born and representing the kind of music I personally grew up on (in no particular order); Sabbath, Purple, Cream, AC/DC, Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pretty Things etc…Contemporary artist that inspires me personally including bands that has existed and called it a day within the last ten years (in no particular order); Kyuss, Sir Hedgehog, Terra Firma, Blind Dog, Black Debbath, Qoph, BigElf...Then there are the artist that made great music back then (circa 68-72) but one has not discovered them until later days when someone introduces you to them, such as (in no particular order either); Pugh Rogefeldt, Mikael Ramel, November, Mountain, Leafhound, May Blitz, Kebnekaise, Threeman army, Ten Years After, Tear Gas...

Thomas: How do you respond to be compared with Black Sabbath, In my review of Nothing Changes I referred your music quite a bit to Sabbath and my feeling is that I ain't the only one to have done so, is that something that you are sick to your guts off or do you find it flattering to be compared with them?

  • Dennis: It all depends on who's making the comparison. If you're a noddy and knows fuck all about hard rock then to you everything sounds "just like Sabbath". If you're "in the in" and know what your talking about and have worn your Sabbath vinyl's inside out since 1976 and say "sounds just like Sabbath" -THEN it's flattering. To me personally, even being mentioned in the same sentence as THE MIGHTY SABBATH is in it self an honour.

Thomas: To label bands and sort them in to a category is probably not fair at all times since most bands are hard to categorise, but when you are to describe how a band sound that is kind of inevitable. I would chose to categorise you as stoner-rock even if I know that there is more to your music than that, but how would you self describe the music of Abramis Brama?

  • Dennis: Groovy 70´s hardrock with Swedish lyrics. Period. It´s all in there. I understand the connection to stonerrock and in the early days we chose to get labelled as that. But as the years has passed, stonerrock has turned into something I´d rather not get associated with, kind of garage/punk/sleazy shit that just about anybody can play and it all sounds the same; a downtuned boogie riff with Bob Dylan/Montgomery Burns on vocals. Boooooooring. If somebody thinks we remind them of Kyuss that's fine with me, but if somebody thinks we remind them of a horrible watered down Kyuss clone…that´s when I DON'T want to be associated with stonerrock...

Thomas: You have chosen to record your first albums with lyrics in the Swedish language, doesnt that set a limitation upon you? I mean it must be hard to reach out towards an audience outside of Sweden when the lyrics are in a language only a small part of the world understands?

  • Dennis: Yes it limits us when it comes to reaching people outside the Swedish borders, but reaching outside Swedish borders is NOT the reason for me making music. Not even reaching outside the rehearsal room. Im making music for me. Pure egotism. Music is an artform. I choose to paint the music I make with Swedish words that most of the times means something to me. If it means something to someone else -great, if it doesn't touch you, -that's also fine. The universal thing here is the music in itself. If the music moves you no matter what language it´s sung in, THAT´S when I´ve succeded. And since we´ve sold albums in Greece, Israel, Argentina, UK, USA, Germany, Philipines and many more, we must be doing something right, and actually not being limited by a language barrier. To some people its even exotic that we sing in Swedish.

Thomas: With Nothing Changes you did the lyrics in English, something that turned out rather well in my ears, and in the booklet you declared that is was for this time only and will return with your next album with once again lyrics in Swedish. Have you closed all possibilities for another album in English?

  • Dennis: You´d be really stupid to close the doors on something like that. It´s just not our priority, never has been. If the album (Nothing Changes) sold shitloads of course we would think about making an english album again. Artisticly however, I´d like us NOT to do anything more in English under the name of Abramis Brama.

Thomas: Are you able to live as professional musicians, or are you forced to have jobs on the side of Abramis Brama? Or is that a goal that you are trying to achieve, to be able to live as fulltime musicians?

  • Dennis: Answer; We are forced to have Abramis Brama on the side of full time jobs. :) Very few people can actually live on their music only, in this country we have so many talents that the guy behind the cheese disc in the grocery store is most probably a guitar virtuoso. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to live on the music, but then again, when you have to depend on something is it really that fun and inspiring? When my hobby becomes my job, what am I gonna do for a hobby? Balance is the keyword here. But one cant really comment on something like that without trying it first, and since no-one I know has tried/lived that way, it sounds a bit "sour grapes" to say that I wouldn't want to live on my music…

Thomas: You are returning to play at Sweden Rock Festival this summer, how many times have you been there before? Is that something you are looking forward to?

  • Dennis: We played on their "demo-stage" (the one that turned into the "Spendrups-stage" the year after) in 2000. Playing this years festival is something I´ve personally been looking forward to for the last four years! The 2000 gig opened a lot of doors for us and made us many a good friends and fans that has been very loyal to us over the years since. Back then hardly no-one knew who we were and we managed to cause a lot of interest through that gig. This year…I get chills just thinking about the gig this year. It´s going to be awesome. I really, truly look forward to it. A lot.

Thomas: How has the festival audience responded to your earlier performances? Gigs at festivals like this one must be a great opportunity to reach out to a bigger audience?

  • Dennis: Actually, other than the SRF gig we haven't done that many festival gigs but the ones we have done has usually been good and as I said exposed us to a bigger audience. That's a good thing with festivals, you get to see bands you wouldn't take the time to listen to otherwise. From our point of view this means being exposed to people not nececerely interested but getting the opportunity to play for them since they are already there.

Thomas: While you are there, are there any bands that you have planned for yourselves to go and check out and listen to?

  • Dennis: For me personally im going to try to combine a fishing trip with attending the festival (surprise!), so if something sort of "half interesting" plays close enough to something else "half interesting" I will try to see it. One band I´ll see no matter what is Grand Magus, our friends and brothers in arms, they do deliver the goods yes indeed. Other than that its more like "if I happen to be in the neightberhood" I´ll see Monster Magnet, Judas Priest, DAD (always good live), Wasa Express… We´ll see if my fishingscedule can be combined with the festivals running order.

Thomas: Have you any other plans made for touring this summer?

  • Dennis: We don't do much touring, more like odd gigs here and there. In august we´ll play another outdoor event that takes place in Gothemburg, a festival for progressive music. Headliners are classical "Trettioåriga kriget". I hear the ponds in Slottskogen (where the festival is) holds carp, might do some poaching whilst down there…

Thomas: You have an upcoming album on the way called Rubicon, how far gone are you with that one? When is it planned to be released?

  • Dennis: "Rubicon" is very close to being completed. Just a few more vocals and mixing of three songs and then were done for mastering! As it looks right now the album will be released in September this year through Sweden Rock Records the same people who released "Nothing Changes". However, as we speak, a "special-festival-single" to be released and sold prior and during the Sweden Rock Festival. The single contains three tracks. One song from Rubicon, one song that wont make it onto the album and a killerversion of Mamma Talar recorded at the time of the recording of Nothing Changes.

Thomas: On your website www.abramisbrama.com you have an entire track entitled "Drottning Av Is" available for download and clips from the track Mjölk & Honung from your upcoming album, have you been getting any reactions on those, what has your visitors said about them?

  • Dennis: The reactions has been very good to those clips. "Drottning av is" was a regulart part in our live set for a full year some time back now, so our oldest fans already know it. Mjölk & Honung in itself is a beast. We´ve played that song live a few times and had great reactions to it. It contains so much, and the studioversion is awesome. Acoustic guitars and percussions that will make yo momma dance.

Thomas: Since this album is once again with Swedish lyrics, how do your foreign fans response to the lyrics? Are your albums at all available outside of Sweden?

  • Dennis: Yes they are available usually through mailorders and the likes. Usually we don't get any response to the lyrics other than "I wish I understood" from fans abroad. They don't know Swedish you see… -but music is a universal language, that's why Pedros mom in Argentina also will dance to the second part of Mjölk & Honung, -it´s got that schwing!

Thomas: We have a section on our site called; The Odd interview question and I thought I would pop in one of those here as well: What is the one question that you never have got during an interview in your musical career, but you wish you had, and what would the answer to it be…?

  • Dennis: Question; How did you discover your distinct and very personal bass-sound and what made you combine/choose the gear you use?

    Answer; Actually, it´s not my discovery at all. The gear I use which consist of a huge Ampeg top V4B and an Ampeg speaker big enough to be registred as a car and of course my Fender Squire complete with a Cheech & Chong sticker, used to belong to our drummer Jansson when he played in a punk band! Once upon a time, he oughed me money and I put down some money inbetween and the gear that by now has made many a man crying in envy became mine entirely by coincidence/convenience!

Thomas: And to round this off I would only like to say a big thank you for taking the time to share this with us, and if there is anything more you would like to add or share with the readers of Metal Covenant, feel free to use this last space as you like…

  • Dennis: Please visit our website for a mean dose of Abramis, if you have the opportunity -check us out live because that's where we really deliver. May Vishnu be with y´all and remember that a HNV bait is more long term, at all times -think ahead of the carp and follow the warm south west wind. And use an unhookingmat.

That will be all that I have for now - thank you for bringing your heavy hard rock to us and Metal Covenant wishes you all the best for what the future has in store for Abramis Brama. Keep it heavy.

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