WHO ARE YOU? I’m Christer Lundberg, vocalist and songwriter with UNIVERSAL POPLAB. HOW ARE YOU? OK. A bit tired after a long day’s work but in a pretty good mood. WHERE ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE 15 MIN. AGO? I’m in my office at Swedish Radio, where I’ve just finished broadcasting the daytime show I host. I GOT YOUR NEW RECORD „UPRISING“ FOR REVIEW AND THE FIRST SONG „SOMA GENERATION“ SURPRISED ME VERY MUCH. IT’S A QUITE UNUSUAL BEGINNING, EVEN FOR A SYNTHPOP-CD, VERY MUCH HAPPINESS IN HERE. DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE „EUROVISION SONG CONTEST“ OR IS HAPPINESS YOUR WAY OF LIFE;-)? I’m kind of surprised that you call „Soma Generation“ a happy song. I’d say it’s a song with desperate, even depressing, lyrics that deal with the sad fact that most people are so scared of thinking, saying or doing the „wrong“ thing that they prefer to follow the views and orders of others than to listen to their own hearts. But, yes the song’s chorus is kind of catchy, and that’s exactly how we like it* J WHICH ARE THE REASONS YOUR NEW OUTPUT BEING YOUR BEST EFFORT SO FAR? OR MAYBE YOU EVEN WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT THAT IT IS NOT? When Paul and I started UNIVERSAL POPLAB five years ago we were just two guys playing and experimenting in the studio without any clear plan or goal. I think since then we’ve transformed into a real band. We now know exactly what kind of music we want to make. And since sound magician Hans Olsson became a permanent group member we’ve had the technical ability to achieve the sound we’re after. „Uprising“ is the record we ourselves would love to hear at a club or at a party. Whether it’s better or worse than the stuff we’ve done before is for others to judge. COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE SPECIAL KIND OF INSPIRATION/ FORCE CREATING YOUR NEW PIECE OF ART? Most of the time the songwriting starts with my old aucoustic guitar and me. If the song works with just vocals and bad guitar playing I know it’s gonna be great once Paul and Hans have added their musical magic to it. The process from song sketch to finished album – or even a single track – can take months in the studio since we’re all pretty much perfectionists. Early in the process of recording „Uprising“, we talked about making a more „pure“ sounding album using fewer, but more intricately woven, sounds. And mainly songs that we ourselves would like to hear on the radio. Considering the energy it takes to make an album from beginning to end we can never be sure if there’ll be another Universal Poplab album. Having the attitude that each record could be the last leaves no room for carelessness or imprecision. In my case, I’ve been working a lot harder on the lyrics. I often feel cheated when I listen to a catchy pop song and find the lyrics are copy-and-paste mixtures of cool phrases and tired clichés. I want UNIVERSAL POPLAB’s music to be genuine. Hits, but with content. On „Uprising“ I have focused on factual things or issues that are truly dear to me. Writing complicated lyrics isn’t hard. The challenge lies in trying to explain difficult themes or events in an understandable way. YOUR MUSIC IS A GOOD MIX OF 80S COMPONENTS, I RECOGNIZE MANY ELEMENTS OF THE GOOD OLD TIMES/ BANDS, ESPECIALLY ERASURE, CAMOUFLAGE AND MAYBE SOMETIMES DISCO FEELING LIKE THE TWINS. YOU EVEN HAVE, WITH VERY MUCH IMAGINATION, A TOUCH OF BOYGROUPS LIKE US5. AM I WRONG OR IS MY FEELING RIGHT? HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF? DO YOU WANT TO CONQUER DUPONT’S THRONE AS BEST LOOKING SYNTHPOP BOYBAND FROM SWEDEN? 🙂 Erasure is the only band you’ve mentioned that I listen to, so it’s really hard for me to comment. I’m happy to hear you think we’re good looking, but we tend to focus a little more on the music we create than on our looks, so it’s okay for us if DUPONT (?) stays on the throne* J YOUR SONGS DEAL WITH ANY DAY PROBLEMS OF YOU AND ME AND EVERYBODY, ABOUT NORMAL DAILY LIVE. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF QUITE „NORMAL“ OR DO YOU HAVE A DARK SIDE, TOO? As MORRISSEY puts it, „There is no such thing as normal“. I believe that we all have a dark side and a bright side and a clever side and a stupid side. WHAT OR WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE AS AN ARTIST? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS PART OF A CERTAIN TRADITION OR AS PART OF A MOVEMENT? I love SOFT CELL and the solo work of MARC ALMOND, but there are loads of other artists across very varied genres that I really respect. In fact, there’s so much music I like that this would be the longest answer in history if I wrote them all down. I don’t think there’s any tradition that we fit in with perfectly. And I can’t think of a suitable name for the movement either. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW GENERATION OF WAVE OR HAS THIS ORIGINAL FEELING EXPIRED FOR ALL TIME? ???? Could you rephrase your question? (THIS IS OBVIOUSLY DIFFICULT WITH AN EMAILER…) WHEN WOULD YOU FEEL A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR MUSICAL CAREER? Every time we perform live and we see the audience go mad! You can’t beat that feeling. IMAGINE YOUR MUSIC HAS BEEN CHOSEN AS A SOUNDTRACK. WHICH FILM WOULD IT FIT BEST? I’m not sure if there is a film like that, or even if I’d like to see it* YOU ARE ASKED TO EQUIP A SPACE-SAGGAR, WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE MENS CULTURAL HERITAGE – WHICH 3 ALBUMS MIGHT NOT BE MISSED? SOFT CELL’s „Non Stop Erotic Cabaret“, BJÖRK’s „Debut“ and PATRICK WOLF’s „The Magic Position“ DO YOU FEEL AN ARTIST HAS A CERTAIN DUTY TOWARDS ANYONE BUT HIMSELF? OR TO PUT IT DIFFERENTLY: SHOULD ART HAVE A POLITICAL/ SOCIAL OR ANY OTHER ASPECT APART FROM A PERSONAL SENSATION? I think artists and everybody else should be less concerned about what they „should“ or „should not“ do according to „respectable“ values. The idea that an artist should only advocate or demonstrate conformist behaviour is a stick often used by two-faced hypocrites and knee-jerk puritans to try to control and narrow the range of ideas that can be publicly discussed. It’s ridiculous that artists can get the blame for problems in society. MARILYN MANSON getting blamed for the Columbine high school massacre is one clear example of this. Personally, I write lyrics to reflect my thoughts, my feelings and my values. To stand behind a veneer of impersonal respectability is a cynical act that cheats the audience of genuine content. We surely get enough of that already from our politicians and other windbags! JUST IN CASE YOU WOULD HAVE FREE CHOICE: IS THERE A BAND/ ARTIST; DEAD OR ALIVE, (REGARDLESS OF GENRE) YOU WOULD LIKE TO PERFORM WITH LIVE? KRAFTWERK & BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS. The mix would be great. HOW GOOD ARE YOUR POSSIBILITIES TO PLAY LIVE IN SWEDEN, AND DO YOU ATTEND „NORMAL“ EVENTS OR MAINLY GIGS IN THE DARK SCENE? ARE YOU PLANNING TO MAKE SOME LIVE APPEARANCES IN EUROPE OR GERMANY? The possibilities for us to get gigs in Sweden are fairly good. We’ve played everything from big open-air festivals to really small clubs. We’d love to come to Germany to perform. That would be a dream come true, so just give us a call* CONSIDERING YOURSELF BEING A FESTIVAL DIRECTOR. WHICH ACTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO INVITE TO PLAY ON „YOUR“ STAGE? PATRICK WOLF, NITZER EBB, MARC ALMOND and BJÖRK. THE WORLD WIDE WEB: CURSE OR BLESSING FOR INDEPENDENT MUSIC? Blessing. Since we don’t have the backing of a big fat powerful record company, our web page and Myspace site are our windows to the world. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS IN THE NEAR FUTURE ON A PERSONAL RESPECTIVELY ARTISTICAL LEVEL? We are now focusing on doing as many gigs as we possibly can. And I’ve just started writing some new songs that hopefully will be the basis for our third album. On a personal level, I’m dying for some sleep*. (I know this isn’t a very sexy answer. But at least I’m being honest.) WHICH ARE YOUR OTHER TALENTS BESIDES PLAYING MUSIC? I’m a great vegan cook and a quite good radio host. I’ve also made some TV documentaries and I once took part in Sweden’s national judo championship. (I didn’t do very well, though.) WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER BEING PART OF A CASTING SHOW IF OFFERED THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF MONEY* DRUGS* OR WHATEVER YOU WISH FOR? I doubt it. I’d really like to see a casting show where all the participants were on drugs, but that’s another story. FEEL FREE TO ADRESS YOUR SUPPORTERS/ ENEMIES DIRECTLY IN YOUR OWN WORDS! There is nothing to be afraid of! THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK FOR „UPRISING“ SUCCESS! Thank you!