Interview with Göran/Generous Maria

Its been a while since my first meeting with Generous Maria. Their debutep disc Strict Nurse was promising but after their first album for Lunasound, have this unit made a giant step forward. Command Of The New Rock is a excellent album, 45 minutes of wellmade heavyrock. Here is a special on the band, a interview with frontman Göran Florström

You have finally issued your debut Command Of The New Rock, how has reception been so far to the album ?

Göran Florström: It couldn´t have been much better! The reviews we´re getting just blows me away. People seem to have waited for the album and that makes me really happy. And the launch party we had the other week was good fun. And it´s only just released so I guess it´s just gonna get better..

Fill us in on the origins of the band, how was the band formed ?

GF: We started off back in '98. It´s been four years now but it doesn´t feel like a long time at all, I´m having so much fun in this band.. It all started when the bassist Jeppe moved back to Gothenburg and brought the guitarist Ulrik with him and we started to jam a bit, nothing too serious to begin with, just wanted to jam.. We had another drummer then, but soon we found Mats, or he found us, and we started to realise that this was good, this was exactly what we wanted to do. The response to our demos was great, we were almost surprised y´know..

Speaking of the response, how pleased are you with the following and the support from the reviews and your fanbase and do you reckon the following will be even better after the release of this album ?

GF: Well, considering we´ve only released an ep and appeared on a few compilations up 'til now, the response´s really overwhelming. I mean, getting all these emails from people all over the place and people buying the records, it makes it worthwhile, doesn´t it. And of course I´ve got high hopes for this album, there´s no denying that..

Command Of The New Rock is to me a major step forward compare to the Strict Nurse disc, not only musically but also the production, how pleased are you with the direction that this album have ?

GF: What can I say, I´m REALLY pleased with it, we worked hard with it and I just love the way it came out in the end. Musically I think the weight and groove and the variations, the different moods are great. And our producer Dan Johansson did a splendid job!

More on the production, did you make the album live or did you do tracking fill us in on the studioprocess ?

GF: Most of the tracks are recorded live in the studio, to get the groove down on tape, it easily gets lost otherwise.. The vocals are recorded separately as well as the different guitar overdubs and other additional stuff, like the tiny tiny finger cymbals..

Engineer on the album are Rune Johansson infamous for his production work on the Stillborn records. How much of a outside influence was he and the producer Dan Johansson of Mary Beats Jane fame for you in the studio process ?

GF: Pretty much, I should say. We trust these guys quite a lot so we let them use us as clay. No, just kidding, but especially Dan we wanted to have a leading role, I mean, it´s no point having a producer if you won´t let yourself be influenced by him, right. And later he advanced from producer to guitarist in the band, we kinda liked the little fella.

Playing the album I feel that there is quite a experimental spectrum here Fender Rhodes, Wind Chimes and finger cymbals string arrangements and percussion work, was all that planned before you entered the studio or did that come during the studioprocess ?

GF: Some was and some wasn´t. We prepared ourselves pretty well before entering the studio so some of the things we knew that we wanted to do. But still, during the process, it´s always a lot of things coming up in the heat of the moment - "hey, it would sound really great with a Fender Rhodes here!" or "why not try wind chimes on this part" and things like that y´know. It´s one of the best parts in the studio, watching a song finding it´s true shape, thru growing or shrinking or whatever..

Talking about the visual standpoint, what visions did you have in the studioprocess ?

GF: To put it shortly; to make a great - both instant and growing - album.

There is also a moody and melancholic feel over the album, a bit of alternative I would say do you agree or do you have a different point of view ?

GF: Well, the word "alternative" everyone seems to have their own definition for, so I dunno... But I agree that there´s a melancholic touch to it in places. And that´s the way I want it to be, I really like it when it´s a little dark..

When I saw you live recently at the release party I got a positive vibe from your show, in your opinion what is the main difference between Generous Maria in a live environment and Generous Maria in the studio ?

GF: Live is live, right. It´s more just rocking out, disconnecting your cerebral parts 'cept for maybe the reptile brain and, I dunno.. just have fun I guess. It´s a lot of that feeling in the studio as well, but you know, you´re gonna live with the result for the rest of your life so you gotta be a little bit more careful..

Playing Command Of The New Rock there is one band that pops up in my head quite often in similiartiy that is Alice In Chains, have they affected you in any way on the musical direction that you have ?

GF: No, can´t say they have, never listened that much to them and I don´t think the other guys have neither. But they´re alright. Some say I sound a bit like Staley but I don´t think so.

Speaking of influences, what is the main musical influences for you ?

GF: For me personally it´s always been good old Iggy (Pop-Ed), ah the way he comes across.. Don´t really like all the stuff he´s done recently, but as a whole - my housegod. For Generous Maria in general we´re mostly digging in the rich mould of the 70s. We just love it.

Looking at the lyrical subjects on the album, what is the main subjects in here ?

GF: Ah, I hate that question, not because it´s a stupid question or anything, but because I find it difficult to talk about my lyrics. And, yeah, they are there on our website. It´s not too serious stuff, it´s mostly about feeling weird in different ways. Yeah I think that pretty much covers it; feeling weird..

You signed with Lunasound, how did you hook up with them and how pleased are you with the support and promotion so far ?

GF: We were sending our stuff around and Lunasound got interested in us and we got interested in Lunasound. Y´know, it´s almost like boy meets girl, tiptoeing around eachother for a while and if things feel right they start to kiss.. hm, that turned into a pretty gross metaphor... Anyway, Stuart is a really cool guy and so far we´re really pleased, they´re doing a great job!

I really dig the cover made by Malleus a fantastic combination of Kubricks Space Oddesey, 10 Commandments and Planet Of The Apes how pleased are you with the cover and do you feel the cover match the title Command Of The New Rock ?

GF: I´m glad you dig it! I like it too. Actually it´s inspired by Kubrick´s "2001 - a space oddessey". Or Clarke´s book. Well, both... Y´know the first part of the film when these ape-men are running around in this rocky landscape and suddenly there´s this monolith, this "new rock", in the middle of everything. And this new rock changes things a great deal.. In our version the rock of course is a r'n'r guitar.. and the five apes around it, gazing in awe, gotta be us. It might be a bit far-fetched but I love it, and I love the way Malleus painted it, they just rule.

Talking about the Ep you did for Alone Records, how much response did you get in terms of reviews and fansupport ?

GF: First it was released by Alone which is a Spanish label, and after some months it was re-issued by the American label Custom Heavy. It has reached quite many people and has given us a lot in many different aspects. We owe these guys a lot!

Talking about the name Generous Maria, how did the name came up ?

GF: We had this simultaneous dream in the band, and there she was. It gotta be something archian... We just don´t have a clue, we´re totally puzzled.

Speaking of concept, do you have any specific concept ?

GF: Yeah we do, and the concept is spelled R O C K.

In your opinion what can Command Of The New Rock offer fans of heavyrock and those who are looking for a alternative ?

GF: First of all, as you say, it´s about heavy rock. So, in my opinion, if you´re into heavy rock you´ll dig Command of the new rock. And what goes for the alternative bit, sometimes I think that it might be considered alternative not doing the same song like ten times over. Even records that I really like tend to get a bit "the same" after a certain amount of tracks.. And that´s one part of the strength with this album; it´s got variation and dynamics to it, without losing the heavyness.

Whats up in the Generous Maria camp at the moment after the release of the album, have you set up any shows are you planning any eps, the next album fill us in what is happening ?

GF: Right now it´s a lot of promotion work going on, like doing a lot of interviews and stuff. At the same time we´re working on songs for the next album, there´s quite a few finished and more to go. We tried out a couple of them live at our last gig and they seemed to work just fine. As for shows we´re certainly gonna do plenty, the dates are not quite set yet, as far as I know.. And we´d love to release Command.. on vinyl, that would be cool, we´re talking about it, we´ll see..

Any last words ?

GF: Thanks for your interest and support Gabriel! And what´s there left to say apart from Rock On!!

Thanks to you too for the interview, all the best wishes with Command Of The New Rock it's a damn fine album.

By Gabriel Lilliehook