Spin Gallery: A new name in modern pop.
Spin Gallery frontman and album co-writer and co-producer Christian Antblad talks about the band and how they got started, and all about their great pop debut.
Congratulations on the debut album, a rather fine slice of modern melodic pop rock. Are you pleased with the reaction to the album and the sales so far?
Thanks for the kind words! The reactions I've heard, so far, have been mostly positive, and I guess that is always a good thing. It's reassuring to know that people appreciate what you're doing. As for the sales, I really don't know much about that yet. Ask me again later...
I hear you are having some chart success in Sweden - how is that going?
I just found out about that recently, and it's a lot of fun. Hard to say what will happen. Again, ask me again later!
Do you know who is buying this album? Is it a varied section of the public?
I really have no idea... I hope that we get the opportunity to cross over the hard-to-lose invisible musical dividers, but we'll see.
The band has an unusual set-up for a melodic rock outfit. Firstly it features you alongside Kristoffer and Magnus as dual lead singers. How did you three guys meet and team up?
We wanted to make a strong vocal album and sought out the people involved, accordingly. Kristoffer and Tommy have known each other forever, and Magnus is a friend of a friend. It all panned out in the end.
Did you have a goal in mind or a musical plan?
As I said, we wanted to make an album with strong vocals and melodies, which I think that we managed to our own satisfaction. The goal was to make a record that we would want to listen to ourselves.
You have a wonderful vocal tone and a strong voice. Have you had vocal lessons, or is it just naturally strong? How did you develop your voice?
Thank you! I never had any lessons. I learned singing by the trial and error method and it was mostly out of necessity. I see myself as mainly a writer and song-writing requires the ability to get good demos across. I found that it was both easier, faster and cheaper to learn how to sing, rather than paying someone else. Over the years, the practice has paid off, but one is never fully satisfied, I guess. There are always new things to learn.
Before Spin Gallery, have you had any previous bands/projects or CD releases?
Sure, I've written and produced nine albums on my own label, ranging from singer/songwriter styles to folk music, along appearances as a studio-musician.
How did you hook up with Tommy Denander and also Atenzia Records?
Tommy and I met by accident through a mutual publishing-contact, and started writing together as a result of that. Magnus at Atenzia and Tommy have worked together before, and that's how the original demo-CD ended up there. Magnus has an excellent reputation and we felt that he was the man for the job. Luckily, he agreed.
There seems no expense spared with the production quality of Stand Tall. How long did the album take to record?
This is the kind of album where the music is king. If you are going to do it, you might as well do it right. In the end you probably won't have made any money off of it, and you feel like it has taken forever, but you get the result you wanted. As for time spent, it depends on how you see it. We spent a good part of half a year on it, but some periods were more intense than others.
You obviously take a hands on approach with the album, assisting Tommy with production duties. What makes a record sound great - what elements are needed to make it all come together?
In terms of production, we produced it together (as you may have seen on the album-sleeve). We divided the music and vocals between ourselves, as that was a "fair" way to even out the work-load. Tommy did the music and I did the vocals. As for a record sounding great, I guess it all comes down to taste. The key to a good album is good song-writing. Without that, the result can never be great, or even good. Apart from the songs themselves, all the parts of the sound are equally important. Performance, mixing and so forth...It all comes down to the skills and commitment of the persons involved.
I am really pleased to see you wrote most of the songs on the record - you together with Tommy that is. What influences your songwriting and how do you personally go about the writing process?
I personally get my influences from all parts of the musical spectra. Rock-Pop-Classical... A good melody is a good melody, however you decide to dress and package it. My own favourites range from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Smokie Robinson to people like David Foster or even Sting. It is difficult to name influences as I think that there are lots of good tunes out there, stemming from thousands of different writers. The process varies from time to time, but mostly it's an idea, a phrase, a short melody, from the start that you find is worth working on, and you take it from there. You keep working on it until it is finished.
Of all the songs included - there are 2 notable tracks from outside sources. Why the Clif Magnuss track and why the Mr. Mister track? (Both which I love by the way!)
We decided, in conjunction with Atenzia, to get some outside material to make the album more versatile. Magnus at Atenzia had a few songs in mind, which we liked, and that's how it happened. Again, good melodies.
Are you guys going to play live anywhere in support of the album's release?
Not as far as I know. As for the future, it is really too early to tell. Depends on the demand and the economics of it all.
What are the influences behind the three singers on this record - what artists have you guys admired?
We all have quite different tastes when it comes to listening to music. Personally, my all time favourite is the great Paul Carrack. But I also hold Sting, Eric Martin and Warren Weibe as favourites. It varies with what mood I'm in. As for the others, I'd rather you asked them.
How do you see the scene for a record such as this - pop influenced, but with more hooks and harmonies and that added rock edge?
Hard to tell. I think that a lot of people will like it, if they get the chance to hear it, but there is a huge barrier of music-critics and radio-DJs to get through to, and that takes luck, timing and hard work. Only time will tell I guess, but sadly, I don't think that we are "trendy" enough in order for the decision makers to give the album a fair chance on commercial radio. But hopefully I'm wrong.
What will it take for an album such as this to break through to the youth?
Lot's of promotional resources. Money...You have to realize that we compete against the likes of Britney Spears, George Michael, whoever, for the young audience, and they have promotional budgets of millions of dollars. A grim reality, but one can always get lucky, I guess...
What do you personally think of such shows as Popstars and Idol etc? Do shows like these help unearth talent, or merely exploit it by putting together slick packages designed for instant appeal but not lasting value?
I think the idea in itself is great. It is a good way to find new talent. But I think that the emphasis has been laid too much on making spectacular TV, rather than finding good musical talent, which has made quality suffer. Obviously, the contestants have been chosen much more for how sensational their contribution to the reality-show-intrigue will be, rather than their potential musical future. I would rather see that talent was the priority, but money talks, and the viewers seem to crave sensation and scandal. A real back-side to the whole concept is that it gives people a twisted idea of what it is like to work with music. The layout of many of these shows is far from life as a working performer. Therefore, most of the participants in these shows can't make it once they are on the "outside". I personally find that music involves more commitment and hard work than what is showed on Popstars. I think that you can not learn the craft in three months, and the ones really missing out, is the record buying public. Often, it is good money spent on trash. But that's just my opinion.
What's next for you personally and also next up for Spin Gallery?
I'm back in writing-mode now, and we'll see what happens. Too soon to say. Spin Gallery: one day at a time...
Anything you would like to add Christian?
I want to say thanks to everyone that shows their interest in my music and I hope that you like the album. If you do, and actually buy it, I will be able to give you more good music. Thanks!!!
Thanks again for taking time out to talk about Spin Gallery.