A Sunday Conversation With Space Probe Taurus

Space Probe Taurus exploded out of nowhere to fill our humble Ripple office with the most glorious mess of scuzzed out, fuzzed out acid biker rock that we'd heard in ages. Naturally, we couldn't resist the opportunity to have Ola, the main madman behind the SPT mayhem, plop on down and join us on the Ripple couch for a little Sunday chat.

When I was a kid, growi
ng up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkle, the first time I ever hear Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

I think that my first real epiphany moment was when my uncle played Motorhead for me back when their Bomber album was just released. I was only 6 years old at the time and the thing I remember that blew my mind was the drums... oh, the drums. I had heard bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and such from my Uncle before this, but Motorhead was the first band that I just felt "WOW!" about. A couple of years later it was time for Iron Maiden and I fell in love for real for the first time in a band. Even to this day I feel that Iron Maiden might be one of the best bands ever. I later got into thrash metal (mostly the german wave of thrash bands) and then after hearing Bathory on a Swedish radio show (promoting the Under the Sign of the Black Mark album) I was sold on even more extreme music... At the same time I found death metal and that is my main love still to this day... Hearing Nihilist on a crappy Swedish hardcore/punk compilation LP changed everything. I had played in bands before hearing them, but that was the start for me and some friends to take this seriously.

After a bunch of years of playing in a death metal band we split up and the vocalist and I from that band discovered the first Monster Magnet Mini-CD and the first Mudhoney album at the same time (early 90's) and that was without a doubt the reason we started playing what I do still to this day.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

It usually starts with me or the other string benders coming up with a main riff. If someone has a riff we usually start jamming a little trying things out... Let's say that I have come up with a riff we like we then try and see what we can add to it. If we need a bridge, pre-chorus or if we should head straight into the chorus... Then comes the jamming and we just try out ideas that we improvise together. If we're lucky someone manages to come up with something that sounds ok and that I feel I can add a vocal "melody".

The lyrics are the last thing that gets added to a song for us... I usually stay up all night before a studio recording and write the lyrics I'm gonna sing the next day/same day. I work best that way... Often the other guys in the band haven't heard all of my vocal ideas until I have recorded them.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

This will sound so stupid, but one of the main inspirations nowadays are our own band... Not like we sit and think "god damn we're good! we need to do another song like that one!" It's more like "does this sound SPT? or how can I make sound more SPT???" I think we've come to a point that whatever we have in us will fit for the band.

The motivation is always there though as this is something I have inside of me and I need to get it out... I love working on songs and playing them with the band, so that is really all the motivation I need.

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

Yep, I do know that labels are misleading at times and can piss people off :-) It's happened to us... I would like to describe our music as dirty rock. I mean, it's a primitive dirty rock inspired by the old garage rock bands from the late 60s.

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

This is where I will probably come off as a shallow kinda guy, but the main thing I want people to feel is that we're doing cool music that they wouldn't mind hearing more than once. The reason I play in a band is to have a way for me to let out some of my creativity in a way I like and my main thought behind the music is to do something I would like to listen to myself.

So, what I'm trying to express is probably just "this is what I have inside me, hopefully you like it." If people don't like it it doesn't matter as I love playing it and that is all I really care about.

The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living. What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

We think kinda small with the band... Our plans to move the band forward is to hopefully be able to do another album, showing people that we are a lot better today than we were back in 2004 when we recorded the first album. Then we would try and start to play live more to spread the name a little... It's always fun when some people actually know you exist.

I think the motivation that keeps us going is that we have fun together, that is the most important thing of all with this. If we didn't have fun we would have split up a long time ago. I don't think we ever could make a living out of this, but I think we all feel that we have too much in us still to do to let that dampen our spirit. Who cares as long as we get to do what we think is the most fun thing you can do?

Describe to us the ideal (realistic) record label and how you'd work with them, and they with you.

The ideal label for a band like us would be a smaller label that would have time for all of their bands. A label that also feel that if they have signed a band they signed them because of what they do and not what the label can make them do... Too many bands have to change things because of their labels and in the end they don't sound close to how they did when they were unsigned.

I'm very much the kind of person who wants the band and the label to let each other do what they know best.

The ideal label would of course also be one that doesn't rip the bands off... That is just too damn common no matter how big or small the label is."

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments.

Oh, we are so damn boring we don't really have any moments like that... we are dull people who don't do anything naughty ;-)."

Where do you see you and your music going in ten years?

Well, that would make me 45 years old and I hope I'm still playing with the band. You never know though, but I have a hard time seeing the end of the band and I really don't like to think of us stopping to play.

Hopefully we'll be around, playing live, releasing music and just having fun as always.

What makes a great song?

I'm not really sure about this... I mean, I can say that this or that song is the best song I've heard, but I can't say why it is so damn great. It just is... It's like it found my personal frequency and I can't do anything else than to love it.

But, I do feel that the music part is what makes the song what it is... well, together with the vocal melodies. I don't think the lyrics matters that much if a song is great or not... Many great songs have the worst ever lyrics, but it doesn't make the song bad for me. And the best lyrics in the world can't save a song where the music sucks.

Hm... back to your question there... It's hard to say why a song is good for me as either I like a song or I don't. I don't really think too much about why I don't like a song... or like one. If it's good it goes straight into my heart and I can't dislike it even if I wanted to (well, that would be kinda stupid, to want to dislike a song you like ;-)). There are a few that can write songs that I just can't get enough of and I have three "house gods" that just can't do anything wrong if you ask me. Those are Nick Cave, Frank Black and J. Mascis. Sure, there are many, many that write songs that I love, but these three are special to me and they never let me down.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote.

Oh, that was so long ago, man! It was a very cliché sounding punk song that I think was called "Suicide." I know I sang that in the chorus at least... probably sounds emo by today's standards, huh? ;-) Well, it was just a silly punk ditty that I don't think I really had any thought behind, just a crappy main riff and an awful chorus."

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Well, I have to go with all three... Vinyl, because it's the format I grew up with and I still feel it sounds warmer when you listen to a vinyl record. I like the smell as well ;-) This is also the format I would love to release stuff with SPT on... CD, because it's easier to find CD players than vinyl players nowadays and you can store a shitload more CDs in a small apartment than vinyls... Digital, because I love listening to music when I'm out of the house as well.

What's the best record store in your town?

That's the shitty part... we don't have one that's remotely good in my town. It's all done online (mail order) nowadays, but that way you can also find the stuff you could never find in my town record store or not.

Thanks, Ola. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We wish you and SPT all the best and huge masses of much deserved success.

Thanks for the interest in doing something like this with our crappy band and for all this help with promoting our name I think the first beer will be on me.