Q: When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal?
MOLOSSER: One goal is to make things that surprise ourselves, things that we haven’t heard or played before but that are vivid enough to touch you at a musical and emotional level. Luckily for us, the concept with two downtuned acoustic guitars and vocals is quirky enough to avoid most stereotypes, especially when you don’t do much of the usual strumming/fingerpicking routine.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a band/artist?
MOLOSSER: With Molosser, there are many things to enjoy. The creative process is one, and in this case it is both helped and complicated by that we are two people who make the music in a rather symbiotic relationship. Complicated because both of us are individualists at heart, both with our own musical – and personal – temperament, which is not always that easy to fit together, but is also a great strength since what comes out is something neither of us would have come close to on our own. So, both the process of creating and looking at the final result is clearly enjoyable. Also, of course, it is a kick when people like what we do, when you feel that you have reached someone, musically and emotionally.
Q: How would you describe your music?
MOLOSSER: Genre-wise, it’s hard. Usually people complain that they don’t want to be labelled, but we’d love to – as long as it was something that actually describes what we do. Problem is, there does not seem to be any such genre, which becomes obvious each time we want to publish a track and have to choose which genre it is. We’ve been pretty vague about what we do, just to see what would come back from reviewers and such, and we were rather surprised when that turned out to be different versions of “folk” – “folk rock”, “indie folk”, etc. Since we come from totally different directions – noisy rock, freeform and modal jazz, riff-heavy grunge etc – we didn’t really know what the “folk” label entails, but when we did some research it turned out that maybe there was something to it, soundwise if nothing else. The difference might be that while a lot of folk music – the traditional kind absolutely, but more modern kinds as well – use simple, repetitive patterns of verse and chorus that just goes on and on, our music is more of a changing timeline, going from this place to that and not necessarily coming back to the same places again in the same fashion. Subtle or not so subtle differences makes the song a road to be travelled where you see different stuff along the way. We have used this in the videos, too: the road, the river, the trip from here to there.
But the short answer is that we play alternative jazzy acoustic grungy indie folk stonercana. On some tracks.
Q: Tell us the biggest challenge as a band duo?
MOLOSSER: Molosser set out as a kind of moronic attempt to make two acoustic guitars sound like a full band, since we had no opportunity to work with others at that time. And that, of course, is a challenge in itself. On the album, this is solved not so much by adding more guitar tracks (although there are a few overdubs), but rather by using multiple microphones on the existing ones, splitting them up in the stereo image and using one as a bass, another as melody or rhythm. So, what you hear there is actually still mostly the two guitars. Plus vocals and drums, of course. This proved to be a pretty time-consuming and difficult method, but on the other hand the final results don’t sound quite like anything else.
When playing in the “barebones” format, live with just the guitars, one might think that the challenge would be to fill out the space left vacant by studio work and the possibility of overdubs, but actually it’s rather the other way around; we make the arrangements ever more minimalistic so that the music will be as intelligible as possible. This is needed since all of the three voices – the guitars and the vocals – each tell a different story, at the same time, and this has to be done with great respect to each other.
Q: Would you like to collaborate with anyone? If so who and why?
MOLOSSER: Since Molosser is so dependent on the interplay and dynamics between our two guitars, and the soundscape is really pretty dense already with their voices going parallel with the vocals, it would be hard to let another instrument in at the moment. But of course, a drummer could be of use in live situations. And we don’t close the door to expanding into a full band at some point in the future, while still keeping the smaller format as another line. But we really can’t think of any dream collaborations; the people we like, we like because they do their own stuff, not because we’d like them to do ours or we theirs.
Q: What can we expect from you within the next 6 months, besides your upcoming album? Future gigs?
MOLOSSER: We are working a couple of paths in parallel: The “barebones” track, were we just play the music with the two guitars and vocals, one take, no overdubs, to create an honest, no-frills and rather earthy presentation of the songs. This is done on live videos, of which you can already view a few on the Evil Ear website (https://ev…audiovideo) and our YouTube channel, but we’re also working on audio only versions, with the same basic concept but without having to worry about the cameras and stuff. These tracks will be released as singles and an album, hopefully later this year.
We are also working with material for a new studio album, where we’re aiming for a more straightforward sound than on “Appear” – a bit rougher, a bit rootsier, a bit easier to digest perhaps.
The live scene in Sweden is still recovering from the pandemic, but we aim to get out and play live starting this fall. Until then we have some web gigs in the works, but no set dates yet.
Interviewed by Stephanie Pankewich