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Hockey meets metal-core meets Thin Lizzy in this mashup of groovy talent

Playing out of Tullinge, an area just outside of Stockholm, MOONLAND is a unique trio of guys who have known each other for years. Starting out as a typical high school garage band, they traded in their hockey sticks for instruments and pursued music full time. Now they’re on the rise in Stockholm’s south side and they’ll be be playing at the Tower pretty much all day on Saturday the 13th. Nick is the vocals and on the guitar, Wilhelm is on the bass and Sami is on the drums.

So tell me a bit about who you are and what you’re doing:

(W) We’re three people right now but we used to be four actually. One of us had to move to study up north so now we’re three so the regular people in the band right now is me (Wilhelm), Nick and Sami.

How’d you guys meet and how do you know each other?

(N) We knew each other since elementary school but didn’t really become friends until high school. Some of us played ice hockey together when we were younger. We did some cover songs together in school on things like Halloween or Valentine’s Day and things like that. After that we started a metal-core band. There was growling and it was really hard stuff. We were in this music competition called Emergenza which for the whole of Europe. I think we came in 5th of all the Swedish bands. That band split up though because we didn’t have a rehearsal room and then some of us joined other bands. After a while it didn’t work out with those either and Sami and I started MOONLAND.

How have you developed your music style from metal-core to this new funky kind of sound?

(N) I’ve always liked the singer/songwriter stuff and I went to a music school and tried out jazz and soul which I loved. Basically I would start to make these riffs that are inspired by soul and jazz and I figured why not make a beat out of it. Most of music starts out as soul or jazz usually.

Who writes the music? Is it a one man thing or is the whole band working together?

(N) I write mostly the melody and then have thoughts of drums because I can play drums too. I’ll usually start with a beat and tell them that I want it to sound a little more like something, or a little less like something. With the lyrics i’ll sing a random word to the melody and he (WIlhelm) will take it and use it in lyrics.

(W) Some of these random words are cool so I try to fit them in somewhere. So basically what Nick is doing is setting the tone of the song and i’ll be writing the lyrics. It usually goes pretty quick once we’re in the zone. We can write something in like two hours just from playing around and liking what we are coming up with at the time.

Who’s inspiring you to write this stuff?

(N) There’s a lot. Mostly when i’m playing its from Thin Lizzy. That’s probably the base of our sound. Then there is a lot of Jimmi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mayer and even Bruno Mars that’s inspiring us. It changes a lot but probably Thin Lizzy is the most consistent inspiration. That’s the great thing with the sound we have now, we can use all kinds of different sounds for inspiration. You can’t really do that as a metal-core band though.

How is Stockholm or Sweden when starting out as a musician?

(W) It feels like the citizens of Stockholm, and Sweden, aren’t that interested in new music. In England it’s a totally different feel to it. People will go out just because they heard that there’s gonna be a new band playing.

(N) It’s tough I think. People must have heard you first before they go out and see your show it feels like. There’s not that many places that have live bands as well but we’ve been lucky to play at some places. Some places it’s kind of impossible to play your own songs and we don’t do gigs at places where you can’t party.

You’ve just released an EP, are you working on anything right now?

(W) We’re always writing songs. We have so much stuff we could probably do another EP right now but we don’t have the money to record it right now. That’s a good problem to have I guess. We are gonna promote and play this EP first and then see what we can do.

So we’re gonna have you do some cover songs, but how do you feel about covers songs?

(N) We don’t hate them but we don’t want to be a cover band. That’s for sure. This gig we thought would be pretty fun though to play some we picked out figured why not. If we go play somewhere else then we don’t do any covers. We played once at another place and had to do an encore, but didn’t have any song. So we picked Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi and it sucked. We didn’t know all the lyrics but the crowd helped us out.

(W) Full on cover bands, no. In my opinion I am not a big fan of cover bands. I think you should do your own thing. Sure you can do one or two and hopefully have your own touch to it so it’s still unique. Part of the problem here in Stockholm is also that some places only have cover bands on Fridays and Saturdays. If you write your own stuff you get a gig on a Tuesday or something. Groups are getting popular based off of other bands work and it’s not good.

What’s the highlight of playing at Kaknästornet you think?

(N) It’s the publicity definitely. Playing at a bar that’s over 100 meters in the air is a cool thing and not many people have done it.

(W) I think also the length of the gig as well. We will be playing all day basically so that’s pretty cool.