From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
Numbah Ten is a new Swedish band from the southeast area of Sweden. The band plays a pretty cool style of psychedelic rock with some clear stoner and blues influences. I recently reviewed their great debut CD and wanted to learn a bit more about the band and spoke with Mattias (guitar).
Mattias: First of all we're not really a new band. The first seed for Numbah Ten was planted back in 1997. But the plant didn't grow that well at the beginning. We were just three dudes playing together for fun. Our goal was to play punkrock or something. But already on the first rehearse we failed and tuned down and played some Black Sabbath like music. That without even having heard about the expression Stonerrock and so on. The same year the drummer left the band and the bassplayer Per and I only made songs and recorded on a PC. We tried out about 12 drummers during 3 years before we found Anders in 2000 or something.
First demo was selftitled and released 2002.
Second demo Thou was released 2003.
Third demo The end...of the beginning was released 2004.
All those three demos are more "Kyuss-stoner"/"Black Sabbath"/Q.O.T.S.A. alike maybe. Between 2001 (or something) until 2005 or so we made about 50 gigs in different places around Sweden. The drummer Anders left the band in 2004 and was almost replaced by Gregory and he stayed for about 2 years or so. Per the bassplayer left the band in 2005 and got replaced by Nicklas Brännström who's still in the band. Ola Bäckman the present drummer joined the band back in 2006. (Ha,ha it's hard to remember the exact times!!)
It took a couple of years to form out a new shape of Numbah Ten that pleased us all since we have broad tastes in music. Than finally we started to record a new CD in a studio 2008 but the result didn't please us, so we decided to do everything on our own and so we did. 2009 we recorded Reborn in 3D in our rehearsel, but we didn't really release it until 2010. Well that's the short story.
Scott Heller (SH): When did Numbah Ten start and where did you get the name?
Mattias: As I wrote first idea of the band came up 1997 but we didn't become a real band until 2000-2001 somewhere. The name came up from an American slang dictionary and is an expression the American soldiers used during the Vietnam-war. It means "The worst that can happen".
SH: Nearly all your songs on the CD are quite long and seem to have evolved from some pretty cool jams. Is it correct to assume that your songs evolve out of long stoned sessions in the rehearsal room?
Mattias: Here at first I will write outside the interview since I prefer not to talk about the stoned part due to some circumstances. But to answer the question, the songs come both from long jaming sessions and also from totally arranged and written pieces. Nicklas and me are like slaves under our instruments and just can't get enough of being creative. Ola is more like adding his drums on the top of our ideas except for the free jams. Some songs or parts of songs take form during rehearsals and some are more arranged and written by one of us.
SH: What kinds of bands are you listening to these days and who has had a noticeable influence on you?
Mattias: We are all three different kinds of consumers of music and we're listening to a lot of genres. What we have together is that we all like to explore and discover new ways to create music and sounds. The key to music is to stay curious. To mention bands I just drop a list - Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Santana , Mahavishnu Orchestra , Gentle Giant ,Primus, Hawkwind, Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet, Kyuss, Shpongle, Bill Frisell , Jonas Hellborg ,J.S Bach , Voivod ,Opeth , Rush , Leo Kottke, Orange goblin, Led Zeppelin, Deep purple, Ozric tentacles, Ufomammut, Monkey 3, Neil Young, Soundgarden, Tool, Captain Beyond, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Fu Manchu, Ten years after, King Crimson, J.J. Cale, The Who, Paul Bley, Porcupine tree, Budgie, Esbjörn Svensson, Groundhogs, Sleep, 35007, Infected muchrooms, Keith Jarret, Uriah Heep, Sons of Otis, Fluidage, Los Natas, Earthless, Asylum street spankers, Atomic Roosters, ZZ top, Slayer, Evpatoria report, White hills, Colour haze, Dead meadow, Om, ... well I can go on for ages. We're listening to jazz, stonerrock, doom, blues, spacerock, folkmusic, country, hardrock, metal, whatever comes our way and our ears like.
SH: What kind of gear was used in the recording and playing of your record?
Mattias: Hiwattamp, homebuild electric guitar with several effects like fuzz, phaser, delay, lesleysimulator, wha-wha, slide, e-bow and more. Accoustic guitar for some dubbing. Microphone, megaphone and telephone for voice. Tamadrums and percussion like djembe, tambourine, triangle (if it's called that in english?), egg. Background soundscapes made out of different secret things and hammondorgan. Warwick bass and warwick amp with modified wha-wha, phaser and distortion. And maybe some more stuff I can't remember.
SH: How many gigs have you played and do you do any jamming live?
Mattias: We have played about 60-70 gigs or so and in the early days we didn't' do much jamming live. Nowadays we often do jams on stage but it also depends on the time and what kind of gigs we're doing. Often it's hard to get gigs where you really can space out around here because of the time. But when we jam it's appreciated so it's like a moment 22.
SH: If you were to play a few cover songs, what might you choose to play?
Mattias: It's a difficult question because that's not what we really do. We have talked about to maybe record some covers but we haven't really decided yet. And we only do covers if we can be creative and make 'em sound as us and not as a copies of the original tunes.
SH: Has the band always been a trio?
Mattias: Yes except for a few sad moments. But we have added some extra instruments, former members and friends for some shows and that has been fun.
SH: You decided to release this CD on your own. Did you approach any labels or decide to push it yourselves? What do you think are the challenges today in creating new bands and reaching an audience and selling any music?
Mattias: We really didn't decide to release on our own, it just sort of happened. But at first Smallstone were interested to remix and release it but suddenly we lost contact with them and they refused to answer our e-mails. I don't know what happened there but the way we got treated I can only say fuck you! Well I don't really have a clue to be honest how to sell a lot of CDs and reach out far. What we do is to make and play music because we love it. What happens next is not only up to us. We're sort of silly believers in "if you making good shit it will pay off in the end". If someone wants to sign us we are ready to talk about it but we don't sell our asses only to say we have a record deal. At the moment we handle everything on our own and of course it goes slowly because we don't have all the resources or the money to cover it all. We're about to send out the CD to labels and so on but all things has its time. We would rather get some good deals and work slowly with control than just jump into the fire and get burned. The record business as almost all businesses in the world seems a little bit fucked up. Like the product doesn't count anymore and it's all about the money. And there's no use to be on a label that actually don't do a thing for you. So if we're gonna be on a label we need to feel that we get support and help from them and not just some shit-talking. Today there is bands putting out their music for free on the net and still end up with a fortune. So what to think, hell I don't know? Whatever happens, happens!
SH: What lies ahead for Numbah Ten? Will you record a new record this year?
Mattias: Yes we have plans to record more stuff this year and we've several ideas for songs written already. But we also have plans to maybe do a jam album or maybe even try to do some covers. All we know is that we've started to look forward to the next album. But first of all we're gonna work to get as much shows as we can get. So if any clubs wherever are interested in having us on stage don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org