From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
The Spacious Mind is a very psychedelic space rock band from the far north of Sweden (from Lövånger and Skelfteå). If you look on your map and and go to Alaska and find Nome, that is about how far north in the hemisphere they live. This provides very long nights in the winter and very long days in the summer in which to get together with friends, smoke a little, eat a few mushrooms and generally make some far out music. I have been a fan of the band for many years and have been writing to them for some time as well. Although the band has been slow to produce some records of late, this has mainly been due to the fact that they have several side projects going and some of the members moved away from the area, as well as some delays by record companies. I had questions I was curious about and recently got Jens Unosson, the synthesizer and keyboard wizard of the band to answer them. At the end I have provided a detailed discography of the bands work as well as the side projects.
SH: How long did the band rehearse and play together before the first CD?
JU: The line-up for Cosmic had been around since October '92. In the seven months prior to the recordings. we'd never cared much for rehearsals and such, but for this one we did come together more often than usual. Of course it helped that we all lived in the same city then. We probably rehearsed twice a week for a month or so, but at least as much time went into creating the ideas for the soundscapes & general ideas.
SH: What are the three compilation tracks that the band recorded for West Side like, since most of the fans have never heard these? Are they long improvised tracks or more like the compositions on Sailing the Seagoat?
JU: The first one, "druid two", recorded when we were a duo ( myself & Anders Sundbom), is a four minutes long electronic-psych lullaby... The second one, "magic meadows of yasgur", was done by the first-CD line-up & sounded fairly close to the sound of the album, though in comparison to those tracks it was sold short at 5:55. It originally was a much, much longer improvisation entitled "mushroom valley", that Henrik & I performed at a local festival in summer '92. The third track was done as Sons of the Space Tribe and called "kacrakash". A fairly kraut-ish piece. It was 4 minutes long and as all the others instrumental.
SH: The bands last two CD's have put together shorter more concise songs as opposed to the long spaced out numbers on the first 2 releases? Any reason?
JU: The reason for Sailing The Seagoat being shaped in to slightly more concrete songs are several. The main reason is of course that is was basically an acoustic record in terms of guitars, and at least for us it's harder to keep up long jamming songs in this mode. The acoustic setting was, as it says in the liner notes, something that was tried out on our Eurotour a couple of times due to small locations. And obviously we really enjoyed playing like this, so we wanted to document it. Still, the songs remain quite stretched; I believe the shortest one is eight minutes long... it seems like most people find this our weakest record, but those who do like it, like it a LOT, in fact quoting it as our best disc ever. On "Garden of a Well Fed Head", those shorter tracks just happened. We don't have any special kind of system that we follow when writing songs, so if the idea's only good for five minutes, than we'll leave it with that, and if it feels like a jammer we go for a ride.
SH: The bands members have been involved in numerous side projects. Can you describe them so the rest of us can get them straight? Cauldron, Holy River Family Band, Gracious Pond, Henrik's band Heed, etc.
JU: Ok! Cauldron is myself & Arne Jonasson. We are also part of Holy River Family Band, which has a third member by the name of Mathias Barder. Together with Arne. I have a few other things coming up as well. The Gracious Pond is myself and Henrik. Heed is a trip-hop kinda thing that's on a major label. Amongst the members, apart from Henrik, Fredrik Kallander is in there, ex-Optical Blue who released a CD on Garageland a few years ago.
SH: At what time point were the extra songs that were on Sleepy Eyes and Butterflies recorded? Cosmic or Organic recording sessions?
JU: During the summer '94 sessions for Organic Mind Solution.
SH: How was the effect on the vocals In the Land of Roses and Snow created on the Garden LP?
JU: Well, there were some distortion, some delay, some serious stereopanning, and a whole lot that I don't know, courtesy of our electronic musical genius, the golden master.
SH: One friend of mine described experiencing the Spacious Mind live must have been like the sonic assault experience seeing Hawkwind in 1971, the same sort of cosmic intensity, flowing endlessly but cohesively through space..
JU: That's a good description I guess... and it's my fave Hawkwind-era!
SH: Garden of a Well Fed Head is very Pink Floyd influenced at times. A truly excellent album.
JU: The Floyd-comparison is by far the most used one, and while I can see why, I don't like it that much. The reason is that there are so many Floyd-clones around and I don't want us to be lumped together with them. I'm not awfully keen on labeling us as a spacerock band either, since I find that we have more to it than that. I prefer acid rock! Still, other bands that we get compared to are Amon Düül II, Hawkwind, and the Grateful Dead, in terms of our attitude towards improvisation. Obviously. I'm most pleased with the latter, but the combination of those four bands probably do make a fair description of our sound.
SH: How did the band go down at Terrastock III and what was the set list that you played?
JU: We played "House In The Country" and all three parts of the "Interplanetarian Lovemachine" suite. It was great to play there, and the audience seemed very pleased with us.
SH: Is there a lot of unreleased Spacious Mind material that appeared during the jam sessions the band has had to create the first two albums or before?
JU: No, not really. We do have a few ones though, like a 14 minutes long song called "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls". There's also a well over 30 minutes long take of "The One That Really Won The War"... there are some things left over from later sessions as well. We do intend to release them later on, the problem being that almost all of them are very long so it could well end up being a box!
SH: What can the band expect for the future?
JU: We hope to gig a bit more frequently now in support of our new album. For the first time in several years we now have four of our five members close to each other in geographical terms, so this will aid our live mission. We'd like to go on tour in Europe as well. Sooner or later we'll start thinking of recording again.
SH: Is there a chance the band will play any gigs in Europe in the year 2000?
JU: As I said above, we'd love to. Perhaps, if we find someone interested in helping us out, we could do a few gigs in the States too.
Spacious Mind and Related Discography:
The Spacious Mind
1992 15 Songs for the Spring Compilation CD (West Side)
Song: Druid Two
1993 West Side Volume IV CD (West Side) Song: Magic Meadows of Yasgur
1993 Cosmic Minds at Play CD (Garageland GRCD 006)
1994 We're all Part of a family CD (West Side) Song: Kacrakash performed by Sons of the Space Tribe
1994 Organic Mind Solution CD (Garageland GRCD 011)
1994 Let your Freak Flag Fly Compilation CD (Garageland GRCD 007) Song: Interplanetarian Lovemachine pt1
1995 Sleepy Eyes and Butterflies LP (Gates of Dawn GOD 001)
1996 Sailing the Seagoat CD (Garageland GRCD 018)
1998 Garden of a Well Fed Head LP (Lone Starfighter Records LSD 003)
1999 The Mind of a Brother CD (Delerium CD )
Holy River Family Band
1996 Haida Deities (The Wild Places Wild 003)
1998 Welcome to Riverhouse...an abbreviated Journey CD (The Wild Places Wild 004)
1999 Welcome to Riverhouse...an abbreviated Journey LP (The Wild Places)
1996 Gracious Pond- Wizards of Pond
1999 The Sanctuary Suite (The Wild Places Wild 006)
You can visit The Spacious Mind at their web site.