The Samuel Jackson Five interview: "Our next album will be more pop and more strange"

21/12/2012 @ 13:37
The Samuel Jackson Five from Norway are one of the most talented bands out there. They put out this year an extremely interesting album with fresh sound called "The Samuel Jackson Five". Blending many genres like post-rock, math rock, jazz and progressive rock, they have managed to gain followers, using only the power of their music. They are currently recording their next studio album. Two of their (three) guitarists, Thomas Meidell and Thomas Kaldhol, were happy to answer to’s questions. Here’s what they said:

I think this is your first interview for greek media, am I right?
Yeah that’s right.

So, I would like you to introduce yourselves... Who are you? Who composes your music?
We are the two Thomases in the band and we do melodies, guitars, effects... Now who composes our music... It is a collaborative effort, usually. Usually me (Meidell) or Sigmund, our bass player to some degree. The other Tom comes with ideas or riffs or something and presents them to the band and we try to work out an arrangement from there, together.

The Samuel Jackson Five - The Samuel Jackson FiveWhy are you called The Samuel Jackson Five?
Τhere is no really good answer... It’s the usual. When we had our first concert the band had to come up with a name quite fast. It was one of the silly names people had been joking with. Someone thought, it’d be cool to call the band The Samuel Jackson Five. Actually we stole the band name from a friend.

I would like to congratulate you on your new album. It was quite a change in your sound. How did that happen?
It’s been awhile between our third album and our fourth album... I guess we just developed. We had some new ideas that changed the sound a little bit. It was four years between them so a lot of stuff happened on the way.

Do you consider yourselves parts of the prog rock or the post rock scene?
I don’t really know. We are not post-rock enough to be called post-rock and we are not progressive enough to be called a prog rock band. We just borrow from both genres. But we are really happy that people are interested into those kinds of music, like us.

Although the instrumental tracks were really great, I think that the two best songs of the album were "Tremulous Silence" and "Electric Crayons". Coincidentally, the only ones with vocals. Would you consider having a singer in your line-up?
Actually live me (Meidell) and the third guitar player, Johnny (aka Knutsen) do the vocals. In the new album we probably gonna incorporate that more. It’s been a natural progression, because we were limited by writing just instrumental music. We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to use, but the songs demanded vocals to be substantiated.

The Samuel Jackson FiveI know you are already writing a new album. Would you like to talk about it?
We started recording drums and bass for our fifth album. When we recorded our last album we had some ideas that we chose to keep for our next album. The songs are a bit shorter... Perhaps it’s more pop in a sense. More popish, but at the same time a little bit more strange. But we’ll see... We just started and don’t know how we’ll end up. A lot of good things are happening for the band and it was nice to stop and start recording some new ideas. We are making a lot of songs now so that’s nice. It won’t take again four years to make an album.

Do you have a timeline? When should we expect it?
We hope to release it in August next year, but we won’t stress it if it’s not finished.

Do we have a name?
We haven’t gone that far, but we’ve always been too bad choosing names. It’s the last thing we usually do. We usually collect cool phrases then we get together and argue. In the end someone wins...

Do you plan to have once again guest musicians or your album?
We are talking with at least two vocalists that we are probably going to use on one song each. We are also going to have our usual suspects on violin, saxophone, clarinets and stuff like that. But I think there are not going to be that many guest musicians this time.

The Samuel Jackson FiveI now want to talk about Norway, which keeps giving us great music. Some of my favorite albums this year come from there... El Doom & The Born Electric, Gazpacho, Susanne Sundfor, Motorpsycho... What’s going on there?
Good question… First I want to agree because I also beliece that we put out a lot of music that gets exported to other countries. Motorpsycho is one of my favorite bands actually (Kaldhol), I grew up listening to them. Now about Norway, I think it’s because it’s so cold and dark up here that we have to do something creative...

You’ve visited Greece once, I think a year and a half ago...
We played in Athens and Thessaloniki...

So I want you to be honest about it... What are the first things that come to your mind when you think of Greece?
Ouzo! I listen a lot to old rebetika and bouzouki music and stuff like that (Meidell). One of the other bands I’ve played certainly had rebetika influences. All in all, Greece has nice people and we want to go back soon.

Are there any touring plans?
We’re planning a short tour in spring, but unfortunately it will only stay in Northern Europe. But we are always checking offers and speaking with booking agents. There might also be a tour after the release of our album, in August.

How difficult is it to stand out when the listener downloads so many albums per month?
I don’t know. I don’t download that much. But because of the internet distribution you know who we are for example. When people get to know new bands it’s a good thing.

The Samuel Jackson FiveDo you have any influences in your music other than other bands/artists?
We are influenced by the place we record an album. We did an album on top of a mountain and we’ve done one in the city and they kind of sound different in some way.

The album you are recording, are you doing it in the city?
Yes. In Oslo.

Nice. I’m looking forward to it. Now one last question: which is the music genre you can’t listen to?
Maybe trance or opera. We ironically listen to dance though...

It was nice talking to you.
Yes it was, thanks a lot.