Established in 2012 by massive fans of anything electronica, Roger Tell and Daniel Önnerby, before being joined by multi-talented singer John Andersson, VOGON POETRY have gone from strength to strength.
Continuing a concept based around Douglas Adams’ comedy science fiction series ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy’, the trio celebrated a marked success last summer with their second album summer ‘The Prefect Stories’, following their debut long player ‘Don’t Panic’.
In the field of multi-faceted electronic beats, there’s something about Sweden, which distinguishes the country from all others, and VOGON POETRY certainly confirm that.
Uncomplicated, tuneful pieces, turned out with ease, are what they do best; at all times supporting their colleagues from other bands and actively promoting what The Nordic Land does best – pioneering synthscapes with pride.
With a remix collection ‘The Dented Stories’ on the way, The Electricity Club had the pleasure of chatting to the founding member of VOGON POETRY, Roger Tell about the history of the project and what the future holds for the Swedish trio.
How did the band came into existence?
VOGON POETRY, or the first signs of a band at least, were put together at mine and Daniel’s work, where a music contest was held. The mission was to create a song, only using an iPad and then, somehow, present it at a special event. Myself and Daniel happened to be put in the same team and after finishing the song, we realized that we had to find someone who could sing, since we were quite incapable of it.
We knew John from our local gym and we were also aware of his singing talent; he had before been part of the Swedish version of ‘The Voice’ and ‘X-Factor’. We had no name though, and held a voting session on Facebook where VOGON POETRY won in competition with names such as SKIP TRACK, CLOSE TO ZERO, GURU MEDITATION, NO ADMITTANCE and DOES NOT COMPUTE.
So, actually, the first performance of VOGON POETRY was at the music contest, where we performed the song ‘Spectacular’ 🙂
There are quite a lot of bands in Sweden that were active during the 80s and 90s that have come to life again the last few years. I think with their revival, they triggered a lot of people around the country to start their own bands and solo projects.
The electronic music scene in Sweden is unfortunately rather small, but very dedicated and also very interested in everything regarding the music scene.
There are also quite a lot of those dedicated music lovers that are doing music as well as listening to it. You could call it the ‘Swedish Electronic Music Family’, and if you need help with anything or have questions regarding your music, you can always ask those great people and get answers or opinions.
So John was on ‘X Factor’ and ‘The Voice’, were there any concerns regarding that?
Well actually… 😉
Haha, no absolutely not. John loves to sing and is very good at it. The fact that he chose to jump aboard the VOGON POETRY spaceship is fantastic, but he has never been or will probably never be an electronic music lover although we try to brainwash him all the time. He actually loves a lot of different music genres and sings in a couple of other constellations, far from what we do, his favourite probably being country.
It was our first physical release and, by releasing it on CD, we were able to get more attention through reviews in different magazines. We had released two EPs before, but only digital. Most of those songs are also found on ‘Don’t Panic’, but it was only when the album was released that they also got more attention.
Things have changed a bit since we released ‘Don’t Panic’ and physical releases are getting less important, since most music is consumed through digital downloads and streaming, but we will always love the real thing and would be thrilled to even release a Vogon vinyl something someday…
German duo FROZEN PLASMA’s influence is audible on your latest production, was that something you set out to do?
That’s really an interesting question, since you are not the first to mention it. Seriously, we had never listened to FROZEN PLASMA before it was mentioned to us that we have a similar sound. Now we have listened to them and of course we like them :).
Lyrically, we find inspiration through science fiction and fantasy works, but also in everyday situations. Often with a twist towards the darker parts of reality and thoughts that tend to wander when they get the chance. Somehow it’s a lot easier to write about the dark sentimental part of life than it is to write about the more joy filled moments.
Influences in our music are a little bit harder to pinpoint. IAMX is one of our heroes and perhaps we get some inspiration from his works.
Rhys Fulber, best known as a member of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and DELERIUM, is another guru on our soundscape heaven. Everything we do seem to take the shape of synthpop, but we listen to quite a lot of different music although most of it in the electronic genres.
The ‘Spit It Out’ cover on your latest album celebrates IAMX who is a fantastic artist…
As mentioned earlier, he is our true hero. The way he succeeds to create melodies wrapped in rather simple but ingenious soundscapes is pure magic. His voice adds even more to the picture and he really is an artist that deserves more attention than he is getting!
What is your favourite track from ‘The Prefect Stories’?
Depending on who you ask in the band, it differs a little bit but ‘Hyperspace Bypass’ or ‘Moments’ would probably be our mutual picks.
Do you enjoy live gigs more than studio?
That’s a tough question to answer. Since we are quite occupied with different agendas and we all have families, it’s quite hard to get us on the road even for a single live performance.
That said, we absolutely love to play live. When we started VOGON POETRY, it was all about getting together, creating and recording music, drinking beer and JD but most importantly, having fun. That is something we take very seriously 🙂
It has to be fun and as long as it stays fun, I guess we will continue creating music together.
You have a new remix album to be released shortly. How did that come about?
Most of the remixes are from Swedish bands, with a few exceptions. The Swedish electro scene is doing really well and we like much of what we hear. We thought, that it would be a great thing to hear other musicians interpret our songs in their way. That way we also get inspiration to continue our work with new material. We are extremely satisfied with the remixes we have received and the album will be released in February 2016 and will include remixes from acts such as JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM, AUTODAFEH, VANGUARD, ME THE TIGER and GLENN MAIN, to mention a few.
You love working so much, even train journeys are filled with music writing activities?
Haha, well it’s more like that is the only time available for writing songs. Journeys and hotel stays. It’s a fantastic way of relaxing and letting everything else on your mind just go away for a few hours. Without travels, there would probably never have been a VOGON POETRY.
There will probably be something new released during 2016 but we haven’t come so far that we have decided where we want to go next. We have a few tracks waiting to be finalized and recorded, but 2014 and 2015 were quite busy years so 2016 might be a little bit more relaxed. Then again, when inspiration kicks in, you’d better catch it while it lasts so who knows…
What’s the future for VOGON POETRY?
Actually we only have one humble goal and that is to conquer the world. Or wait… was it to destroy the Earth and making a way for a hyperspace bypass…?
What we do know, is that we will visit London for a live gig in September 2016 and perhaps there will be a few more live gigs throughout the year. Otherwise, the future will hopefully bring new songs with more weird sci-fi lyrics and a lot of VOGON POETRY beer / JD / recording sessions.
The Electricity Club gives its grateful thanks to Roger Tell of VOGON POETRY
‘The Dented Stories’ is released by ScentAir in February 2016 and available from https://vogonpoetrymusic.bandcamp.com/ where ‘Don’t Panic’ and ‘The Prefect Stories’ can also still be purchased
VOGON POETRY’s ‘Hyperspace Bypass’ is included on ‘Swedish Electro Vol 3’, a free download compilation available from https://swedishelectroscene.bandcamp.com/album/swedish-electro-vol-3
Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Goss
16th January 2016