Custom Heavy

interview with Göran/Generous Maria

It's been awhile since we last caught up with Generous Maria. How have things changed for you and the band over the last year?

Oh nothing´s changed here in the GM camp. Still heavy duty r'n'r all around the clock. Still tied down to that grinding treadmill y´know.. No, seriously, GM`s been working pretty hard the last year, trying to get our music out, both from the stage and records. Around last New year the "Generous Maria/Skua Split CD" was released here in Europe. And a few months later in the States as well by, well - your label, Custom Heavy Records. Which is great! We´ve contributed with songs for a few compilations, the next one coming up soon is a thing called “First rays of the rising black sun” that´ll be put out thru Dirt Culture Magazine and for sale at the next ShoD in – is it in Dallas? The song “Brother Pain” will be included on that one. We´ve also spent quite a lot of time in the studio. We started recording a set of 11 songs in January and the final, second mix was ready in July, so it´s been an extended process. We´re about to close a record deal with Lunasound Recording and the full-length album is planned for late this year. And that feels really good.

To refresh everyone's memory why don't you give us a short history on where the band is from, how the band formed, who's in it, etc.

Yeah sure – we´re based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed ’98 when, as I like to remember it, Jesper, the bass player, and I reunited after being separated band-wise for maybe five years. He had a thing going, just in the cradle, and well – one thing led to an other… Apart from Jesper and me we´ve got Mats on drums and Ulrik and Dan on guitars.

It's my contention that Generous Maria is one of the most talented...and original ... heavy rock bands out there in the current scene. That's one of the reasons that Custom Heavy partnered with Alone Records to put out the split CD with you and Skua. What do you think it is that makes Generous Maria stand out from other hard rock bands, esp. in the Swedish scene?

To tell you the truth, I´ve got no idea. I´m just happy if that´s the case. What I do know is that the band´s a lucky constellation where the totality is greater then the sum of the parts. And working with people who´s open-minded and musically broad is an inspiring thing. Different ideas and stuff thrown down together in the melting-pot… The heat in our rehearsal-room this summer has sure helped the melting bit…

Let's talk about that voice..... I mean your voice literally blows people away. Was this something you were blessed with from birth, took lessons for or both? Did you sing for other bands before Generous Maria?

Ha ha – do you really think so?! Most kind of you sir! Well, all these years of singing lessons sure was worthwhile.. Joking. No, I guess the degeneration has worked out just fine in this case then… And yeah – I´ve been in other bands. For example me and Jesper made an album together in the mid 90s in a band called Cloud Catchers.

Who would you put down as influences for the band's overall sound?

What we´re always seaching for is that primitive feel that you find in Velvet Underground or some certain parts of Hawkwind´s stuff. And if it wasn´t for albums like “Black Sabbath” and “Funhouse” we wouldn´t sound like we do, so you just can´t give these bands enough credits. What we´re after is that direct feeling, it´s there in things like early Chicago blues, in punkrock and certainly in the heavy acts from the early 70s.

Were you happy the way the songs came out for the split CD?

Yeah I am. The budget and the circumstances didn´t allow us to get too particular about things and that meant we got that presence to the recording that I was talking about. It´s up front.

I've heard the demo of the new Generous Maria songs and they are amazing....when were these recorded, who was involved in the writing process and who produced them?

As I said before, it was a loooong process this time. We started recording in January, mixed it in February and during this time something happened between the producer, Dan Johansson, and the engineering guy who got more and more weird all the time. We started to hate him as well. Well, they ended up not speaking to each other and we ended up with a mix we didn´t all together like, Dan hadn´t been able to steer it the way he had wanted due to their thing and… To make a long story short we had to remix it and that was done in July by Dan and a guy called Sven Jensen and this time it worked out totally fine and we love the mix and we love Dan and we love Sven so, in the end, when we sum it up, more love then hate around.. And the writing process is a band thing, maybe supervised by Jesper´s gentle eyes… but a band thing.

Let's talk about the lyrical content of the Generous Maria songs.... where do they stem from? Personal experience or stuff you see going on around you or both? Who came up with the lyrics "Your love is like a dog with a frisbee, never letting go".... I mean that is CLASSIC!!!

That line must be mine because all of the lyrics are. I´m the sensitive poetry lover of the band. Have to contribute with something when I can´t play anything. And where it comes from… I guess I have to answer like the little kid when someone asked him where he got his ideas to his drawings from – “ehh, my brain..!”

What's next for Generous Maria?

Getting this album out this fall. That´s #1. Doing a few gigs. Writing new material for the next record. We´ll keep ourselves busy..

Any last words?

Check out the Generous Maria/Skua split CD and keep your eyes open for the album! And Chris – thanks for your support!

Interview by Chris Barnes