This is one of the conversations/interviews that you are kind of glad you are doing, for the simple reason that this person wants to talk about the thing that he really loves, his music. He doesn’t exchange words just to promote his work, nor to sell a few more CD’s. Robert Pehrsson speaks like a true artist, and like a true musician. Let’s get to know him better.
Even though you are only 42 years old you are a professional guitarist for more than 20 years, playing for …let’s say 13-14 bands already? Still there are many that may are not familiar with your name. Please give us a small bio, if possible!
It’s hard to try and write a short bio for such a long period of time. But I started out playing guitar when I was just a kid. I wanted to be able to play like Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” basically. From there it escalated into playing death metal and also black metal. After a while I wanted to learn how to play other music as well. If I discover a music style that I like I always want to learn how to do that too. So as the years have gone by I’ve played many different styles of music with many different bands. It’s not like I’m searching for something, I still love all the bands I grew up with, It’s basically that I love even more music now. I guess since I mostly been the guitarist, writer and not the front man in most bands, that’s probably why my name is not more known. And I never really played commercial music either. You could argue that Humbucker is easy listening and commercial, and it is, but playing classic rock these days is hard work. Believe me!
Do you remember all the band’s names you have been playing? You were active as guitarist & vocalist in Death Breath and also a former member of Dundertåget and Thunder Express. You were/are also involved with Slingblade, Dagger and Imperial State Electric,right? How easy is to be involved in so many projects/bands?
Yes, I remember them all. I don’t think it’s that hard to play many different styles of music. I can go from rock to death metal easily. The hardest part is the logistics concerning playing in 2-3 bands at the same time. But for the most part I focus on one band at a time. Humbucker is my main priority these days.
This is your sophomore album; how many things actually have changed in the gap between the 2 albums?
The biggest change was getting to play the first album live and going on tour. I also engineered and recorded most of “Long Way To The Light” myself. I built a studio since the first record and really got into engineering and producing.
Your debut – under the name of “Robert Pehrsson’s Humbucker”- made expectations for the follow-up album “Long Way To The Light” extremely high. Do you feel that the audience and the Press welcomed your new effort? Tells us about the feedback so far.
I’m very grateful for that. The new album has got at least the same reviews if not better to be honest. That feels great. I worked very hard on the new one as I did with the first one too.
As Nicke Andersson & Joseph Tholl have been involved a lot in the recordings don’t you think that the audience would think that you are a kind of a supergroup and not a personal project?
They are my friends so it’s only natural to work with them. We hang out in our personal life too and do other things. I don’t worry about those things at all. I co wrote a few of the songs on the new album with different people. I don’t feel like all the focus needs to be on me. I just do what I feel like and what is fun for me to do. Working with other people is always a good idea I think.
Which is your favorite guitar? What is the equipment you are using?
I’ve been playing Les Pauls for many years. But I have a few different Gibson models and also some Fenders. When I record I use just about all my guitars. They all have their own sound and that’s really nice. On the road I’ve been playing Les Pauls exclusively. To me it’s like the Rolls Royce of guitars. I bought gear and tested stuff out over the years. I always return to my JMP 100w Marshall head that I bought 25 years ago. I have a bunch of pedals and stuff. Its fun to try things out, but I got my tone down years ago.
Some of the songs on the album remind me to Thin Lizzy and I guess that they are one of your favorite bands? I can see many UFO elements too. Can you name your main influences?
I don’t have any main influences. I have so many it’s hard to say. I don’t listen to only one genre of music. I listen to a lot. I can be influenced by a lyric in a song for example. People write in reviews about Thin Lizzy and Kiss. I don’t hear that much Kiss in my music to be honest. I listen to Neil Young more than I listen to Kiss and I listen to Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac than all of the above. I like a good song, to me it doesn’t matter who played it, and if I hear a good tune I can’t help but like it.
You been touring for your debut with Imperial State Electric, have this infected your writing turning it to more mainstream/power pop like sound or something? Do you agree with those that claim that “Long Way To The Light” is a bit more pop compared to the debut?
No I don’t think so. I think the difference is that I have got better at arranging and writing songs. It’s all about the songs for me. I leave all the unnecessary stuff out of the songs. There are no guitar riffs and solos in there just for the sake of it.
Why is it 9 songs on both of your LP’s? Is it something personal or it just happened?
I don’t want any filler songs on there. The other songs I recorded were not good enough. It’s just a coincidence that there are 9 on both.
Is it time for a new start, let’s say signing on a bigger label? Are you satisfied with High Roller?
I like working with High Roller. They are great. The only issue is that Humbucker don’t get much exposure in Scandinavia where I live. If I lived in Germany we could play every weekend. Over here we are not as well known as in the rest of Europe and even the US. I don’t rule anything out at this point. If a bigger label made contact I would look in to it and see what they could do for us that High Roller can’t. Sometimes it can be better to be on the smaller label. I feel I have a really healthy relationship with Steffen, the boss of HRR and that is worth a lot to me.
Are there more new bands which are worth to listen to sounding similar to your sound? Do you feel that you are in a retro revival 70’s hard rock movement or that you are a continue of the 70’s legacy to nowadays?
I don’t see Humbucker as retro at all. I don’t strive to, or even want to be retro. The thing is, we have a classic lineup with vocals, drums, bass and two guitars. We record in an old school manner. But I work like this because I like this format. I enjoy recording this way. I’m very interested in the engineering and recording process with live instruments. I have built my own studio now and I love learning more and more about recording and producing. I think Humbucker has a unique sound today. I have not really heard any other bands sounding like us. I’m not in any retro movement nor am I interested to be part of that.
Is Rock n’ Roll is less dangerous now or it is just a fact that in our years the audience is more suspicious and informed?
Everything has already been done. If you are into being dangerous or shock people you would have to try really hard. I just want to play the music I love as best I can. I get kicks out of seeing people smile and dance in the audience when we play. That means they are really enjoying the show.
Please name your top 5 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of all time.
I couldn’t even if I tried really hard. I don’t think there is such thing as “number one” or “the best” in any form of music. That what is so unique about playing music, it is impossible to compete and nor should you try to do so. I can list 5 albums that was important to me as a kid in no particular order.
Metallica – Kill ‘Em All
Kiss – Rock and Roll Over
Accept – Balls to the Wall
Bathory – The Return
Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
Any plans on visiting Greece for live performances?
I would love to play in Greece; can you guys help us make it happen? It’s not up to us where we get to play. There must be a promoter interested in booking us. I go on vacation to Greece every summer, I love your country.
The closing is yours.
Please visit our Facebook page and follow it. I post all the important stuff there and on our website www.robertpehrssonshumbucker.com
We need more likes, I’m not that great with promotion on the web, I rather write songs, but I realize it is important to be seen on social media so I’m doing my best. Thank you for the support and I hope to see you on a show in Greece in the near future!