For Fans Of: JJ, I Break Horses, Little May, Air Traffic Controller, Walla, CEO
Swedish supergroup Amason [“Amazon” for the Americans in the room] is comprised of Pontus Winnberg of Miike Snow, Gustav Ejstes of Dungen, Amanda Bergman of Idiot Wind and Petter Winnberg & Nils Törnqvist of Little Majorette. After coming together at the tail end of 2012, the quintet have been churning out a steady supply of crisply indulgent, indie folk tunes ever since. Following the positive reception by listeners from the bands’ first single “Margins”, the group released a self-titled EP via Stockholm-based INGRID Music Collective in August of 2013, which included the single “Went To War”. INGRID, is best known for housing the side-projects of artists’ whose outside musical interests do not conform to their primary ventures, is also a home to Chryssie Hynde, Lykke Li and Peter, Bjorn & John. Most recently, Amason has released two singles this year, “Ålen” in February and “Duvan” in October, through Fairfax Recordings and INGRID and plan to release its highly anticipated debut album, Sky City in early 2015.
This past Monday, I was fortunate enough to catch band member, Pontus Winnberg, for a quick interview to lock down a few details about the up and coming “supergruppen”, which you can see below.
Okay, Pontus, how do you say this name properly? I don’t want to keep saying it incorrectly. Is it Ah-Mason? Am-AH-son?
The Swedish way of saying it is “Ah-Mah-Sone”, but we won’t get offended it you say it like the American version “Amazon”.
Amazon! Okay, that makes more sense now. I had been reading that you took the name from some mythological warrior women and/or an old Volvo.
Ha! I think it’s maybe 3% mythological warrior women and 97% Volvo.
So, for people that maybe haven’t heard of this new group, how would you describe the sound? Is it similar to anything that’s out now or any other artists, or would you call this something new?
I think it was our mission to make music that’s great to drive to, and as it turns out now, I don’t even know.
I read that you and your bandmates all come from different bands. Have you all known each other for a long time?
We all have known each other for quite a long time. The bass player (Petter Winnberg) and me are brothers, and the drummer [Nils Törnqvist], we’ve known each other for a long, long time. They’ve both played in the Miike Snow band and we’ve been touring a lot together. Me and Amanda met like 6 years ago and we talked about making music and kind of just jumped on it all the way. Ir’s been kind of organic.
Wow! So are you and your brother in the same band outside of Amason?
No, I mean Petter and Nils, the drummer, have a band together called Little Majorette, my other band is called Miike Snow, Gustav has a band called Dungen and Amanda’s other persona is Idiot Wind or Hajen which means “the short” in Swedish.
So, would you say that this was just a big group of friends that got together in their off time and started messing around with music?
Yes. Exactly. Just like that.
Awesome. I also came across a Facebook invite from a couple of weeks ago to a listening party for Amason’s debut album Sky City. How was that?
It was great actually. It was kind of weird to travel to the other side of the globe, you know? We didn’t expect anyone to know anything about the music and there were people showing up, so I was excited.
Is there a tentative release date for Sky City?
There’s a “kind-of” release date. Like the end of January, first week of February.
When I was introduced to Amason, I was told this was a “Swedish Super Group”. Have you heard that before and how do you like that term being connected to this band?
You know, someone early on wrote that and it’s been following us. I don’t know what I think about that. I would like pictures of me having supernatural power rather than what they were trying to say. I’d rather them just talk about the music.
Is there anything else, outside of the release of Sky City, planned, maybe tour-wise, that any of you are working on that we should know about?
I think that the one thing that is quite certain is that we will tour in February and March in the States and Europe.
I’m sure that you get a lot of the same questions, but if you could do anything else for a career outside of music, what would it be?
Oh, so many things. I could be a captain on a research ship and go up and on excursions to the North Pole.
Last question. When you are on tour, what do you like to do to relax and unwind from all of the music?
We have bikes and love to go on bike excursions. /
Amason’s currently released tracks have a definite mellow, road trip vibe with an almost haunting palette. The current sound combined with what I know of the individual music ventures of the bands’ members makes the wait for Sky City one of anticipation and excitement. To keep up with the band and watch for tour dates, you can check them out on Facebook, at Fairfax Recordings or on the INGRID site. Be sure to check out the video for “Went to War” below.