Sitting in with Pekkanini

Sitting in with Pekkanini

Hello, Pekkanini. How’s Uppsala this December?

Hi, James.

Yes, I was born i Uppsala (not far from the capitol of Sweden, Stockholm) but I’ve moved around quite a bit and in the last few years, I’ve lived in Gothenburg on the west coast. The weather here this time of the year use to be cold with some snow, but not this year. Well, cold of course, but no snow so far, which is a blessing. 🙂

Readers may be familiar with your work in “Ensamma Hjärtan” or Danielsson & Pekkanini. Can you give us a bit of information regarding your back story?

When I came to Gothenburg in 1975, the independent music scene of the city had started to develop a lot and I came in the middle of that. I was in my early twenties and together with my new friend Gunnar Danielsson I started the rock band ”Ensamma Hjärtan” (The Lonely Hearts). We got to be popular very fast in Gothenburg, recorded 4 full length albums and some singles and toured around, not only in Sweden, but also in Denmark and Norway.

The band ended in 1982 and after that Gunnar and I started a pop duo called Danielsson & Pekkanini. My artist name Pekkanini came from my first solo album I made in between. We got a national hit with that duo, participated in a whole series of TV shows, hosted by Gunnar and as myself as some kind of musical leader.

Guitars and Theramins is your latest release.  What is your creative process and what sources of inspiration (e.g. books, television, film) get your creative juices flowing?

In 2002 I got my first theremin, the world’s first electronic instrument, in my hands. You play it without touching, waving your hands in front of two antennas on a wooden box. That will make a tone to appear, you manage the pitch with one hand and the volume with the other. You can read all about that in Wikipedia. That inspired me to start to write music for this odd instrument. Since the early 80’s I had been composing music for more than 100 Swedish theater plays, so I had that musical luggage with me, as well. ”Guitars and Theremins” is actually my 4th instrumental album. It’s special since I now have my own band and that is also an inspiration.

What sort of performers have the largest influence on your music? Have the list of who is influencing you changed over time?

Sure. The reason I started to play when I was a kid was, of course, The Beatles. Then came all the other new music from the UK and US. At that time it was Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Doors, The Yardbirds and a lot of other bands. Later came Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Yohn Mayall and all the American black artists. In the late 70’s and early 80’s I was so inspired by Bowie, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, Lou Reed and others. Also film music has been a huge inspiration. I had a long period in the 70s when I listened a lot to hard rock and metal, as well. For the last years I have come to like the classic American big jazz bands and crooner singers a lot.

What sort of plans do you have for the start of 2017?

Right now we’re rehearsing with the band in order to have a fairly big repertoire for the spring. I’m working to get gigs, mostly here in Gothenburg. I have also started to write some new songs for the band. Two of the musicians, the guitar players in my band, are old friends that played in ”Ensamma Hjärtan”, the drummer is also an old friend but we have not played together until now, and the bass player I know since 5-6 years, he’s an old metal bass player.

Let’s talk gear and technology. What does your current recording and music production set up look like? What sort of upgrades do you want to add in the future?

One of the guitar players in the band, Tommy Natta, owns a studio which is mainly analog, with a lot of very good old analog recording gear and microphones, so everything is recorded in an analog mode, but are mixed down digitally. Tommy always look for better equipment, of course, and maybe in the future he will combine the analog gear with more digital recording.

Guitars and Theramins has ten distinct tracks, all with a different overall sound and influenced laced throughout. What is your favorite track off of the new album?

It’s difficult, you know, it’s like saying you have a favorite child, almost. 🙂 But if I have to choose I’d say ”Down” because of of the relatively complexity in it, and it’s still a rock tune. But also ”To The Heads” because it’s a tribute to Talking Heads who were such an inspiration in the early 80:s.

How can listeners find samples of your music and additional information about yourself?

First of all they can find me on my website: and Facebook of course. All my albums can be found on iTunes, Spotify etc. but I also have several Soundcloud sites were you can listen to and/or download some of the music for free.

Thanks for speaking with us tonight. Do you have anything else that you would like to tell NeuFutur?

Maybe this: Don’t be afraid to look for the more unusual music, but I guess you already do since you read NeuFutur!

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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