Kaipa was the leading Scandinavian progressive rock band in the 80s and early 90s, returned in 2002 to record more major albums including their latest astounding release “Vittjar”.
This interview was conducted with the founder and mastermind behind the band, Hans Lundin.
Tell us, who is Kaipa? Does it have a message? What makes it different than other prog rock bands?
Kaipa is a Swedish progressive rock band with influences from Swedish folk music.
I started to play in my first band in 1964. After nine years of playing I had grown as a musician and songwriter and I wanted to start a new band. Kaipa was originally a trio (Hans Lundin: keyboards & vocal, Tomas Eriksson: bass & vocal and Ingemar Bergman: drums & vocal) formed during the autumn of 1973. In the summer of 1974 guitar player Roine Stolt joined the band. Kaipa was active 1973 – 1982, recorded five albums and became the leading Scandinavian progressive rock band.
After a hiatus of twenty years the band returned 2002 with a new line-up and the album “Notes from the past”. The new album “Vittjar” is the 11th studio album by Kaipa.
Kaipa has been active since 1973, what keeps the band going?
I’m still curious and I want to explore new paths, write new music and see how it develops in the hands of the other band members.
How was the response to Vittjar’s release? Reviews show very positive opinions; do you know when your album will be a big hit?
Yes there were a lot of positive reviews but I don’t think we’ll ever make a big hit album. That is not what we are aiming for.
Can you describe Vittjar to the readers, tell them what to expect/what no to expect when they first hear the album. How “Progressive” you think the album is?
I’ve always liked and been fascinated by the special feeling in Swedish folk music. It’s like a strange and beautiful mix of joy, melancholy and sadness. I think my intention to incorporate more folk influences into the music has grown more and more with each album we’ve recorded since 2002. In my opinion we have succeeded with this and I think the definition “progressive folk fusion rock” is a good description of the music we are playing today.
‘Vittjar” is a logical development and continuation of the previous album ‘In the wake of evolution”. I think that we have now developed a unique Kaipa sound making it possible for all that are familiar with the band to distinguish Kaipa from other similar bands when they hear the music. This sound is a combination of the songwriting, the folk influences and the charismatic performance of the individual musicians.
What does the symmetry symbolize in the album covers of “In the wake of evolution” and the latest album “Vittjar”?
On both of these albums I’ve tried to create a connection between the artwork and the spirit in the music.
What is your Muse and Inspiration when composing?
I never decide in advance what I shall write and I almost never sit down trying to write a new song. I know that there are always situations, often when I don’t expect it, when a small melody or idea starts to play in my head. If I have the possibility I record a small rough outline just to remember it. Then I can return later and listen to it. If it still captures my interest I start working with this basic idea. Often it leads me into a concentrated period of songwriting where one thing leads to another in a very natural but sometimes also unexpected way.
I’ve always been fascinated of what’s going on in my sub-consciousness. All these silent activities, the never ending streams of words, ideas, pictures and melodies floating around often without a clear direction. They come and they go and mostly they’re forgotten very quickly. Sometimes it’s like if a silent band is touring and playing in my head. This was the inspiration to the 22 minutes song “Our silent ballroom band” on the album “Vittjar”.
Morgan Ågren has been with the band from the start, describe to us your relation with Morgan, how much do you both cooperate to put on the next album?
Morgan didn’t play with Kaipa in the 70’s but he’s playing on all the six albums we’ve recorded since 2002. His way of playing drums is unique and a very important part of the total Kaipa sound today.
How did the talented Per Nilsson join the band and will he be part of Kaipa’s future work?
Per joined the band 2006 when we recorded the album “Angling feelings” and he’s since then a permanent member of Kaipa. I met Per in the late 90’s when we worked together in the band “Hagen” and recorded the album “Corridors of time”.
Shall we expect an album soon? Will it be close to what “Vittjar” is?
After recording a new album I always use to think this is the last album, what more is possible to do within the Kaipa frame. But for some reason there use to come up some new ideas especially during the autumn when darkness comes, days are getting shorter and I still have the energy from the summer in my blood. So if I find inspiration and can write something that feels new and fresh, and not just a copy of what we’ve done so far, maybe there will be some new Kaipa music, time will tell.
Any last message to those musicians who want to be successful “Prog” ?
Be true to yourself and develop your own ideas. Of course you can learn from other artists and bands but never try to copy them, you must find your own sound and identity if you want to be successful.