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Red Surface

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Afresh: What is your name, and name your group/band/act?

Mats Bjuhr, plays drums in Red Surface.

Afresh: Where are the artists from?  What is their talent in the group?
Red Surface comes from Kiruna, Sweden and the current line up is.

Stefan Svanstrom/Lead Guitar
Mats Bjuhr/Drums
Stefan Riekkola/Rythm Guitar
Anders Hedman/Bass

Afresh: How did the band get the name?
Stefan Svanstrom blured it out our first week as a band during rehearsal back in 1995. We didnt object and the name stuck with us. A lot of reporters and fans has asked us about the name believing we were a left wing political band but it has no meaning really, every band needs a name or identity, Red Surface is ours.
Afresh: What instrument do you play now?
I play the drums.
Afresh: What does your act consist of?
We play our own original music. We used to spice up our shows with a few covers back in the day but now days we only play our own music.
When we did covers it was usually Metallica songs, although we did spice up CCR’s old classic Fortunate Son and made it a little bit more Metal at one point. We also did Sharped Dressed Man by ZZ Top for a birthday party once, just because the man celebrated always dresses like a real working man, nothing fancy that is. We did
that one a little bit more Metal too.
Afresh: How would you describe your music/art/entertainment for the public audience if they have never seen you before?
I wouldnt describe it, i think it becomes pretty clear when you hear it. But just so that no Celine Dion fans waste their precious time, we play easy, straight, in your face metal, nothing fancy or pretty, just a lot of anger, frustration, hate and love all pressed down in the same space.
Afresh: Give me some details about the group?
Everyone in the band is divorced with kids except for Baus who is happily married (go figure), so at one point we were thinking about changing the band name to “The Divorced” (Just kidding). Besides that we did release a CD back in 97 or 98..
Afresh: How long have you been performing live or making music?

We started Red Surface back in 1995, and were active until 2001 when we went our separate ways, did a reunion gig in 2003, had kids, got married, got divorced and reformed as a band in 2009. But me personally, as far as music in general i’ve been at it since the end of the 80’s beginning of the 90’s, trying to find my way.
Afresh: Where did you meet your group and how long have you been together now?

The original members (Jonas Olsson (left the band in 2001), Stefan Svanstrom and myself) met back in 1995 at Tusen Toner wich is a local hangout for bands and music people in our hometown. We all had our rehearsal spaces there.
We all played in different bands and kinda came together to just rock some tunes,
and we just clicked right of the bat.
We still needed a singer and tried out a few brave souls but no one had the right stuff.
So we called up Baus who was my long time friend and he came in and owned the mic, just dominating.
We added another guitarist 3 years later in 1998 (Hans Carlsten, left the band in 2001).
Then when we reformed in 2009 we needed replacements for Jonas and Hans, so we just added longtime friend Stefan Riekkola on the rythm guitar and a friend of a friend Anders Hedman on bass.
So the original members has been together for 15 years but current line up is just 1 year old.
Afresh: What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?

Not killing each other, we are emotional people and fight like brothers. No, i guess finding the right people, it’s not always easy to find people that fit in and that you click with. Someone could be amazing at their instrument but if ther personality sucks or it doesnt work out with personalitys within the band you need to replace people until you find the right chemistry.
Afresh: You’ve heard of the term “starving artists” before, how do you cope with major obstacles?
I guess we try to make the best out of every situation, and we try to concentrate on
finding solutions and fixing problems instead of just sitting around bitching about it.
We always help each other out and since 4/5 is single parents we understand when someone might not make practice when having a sick kid at home or no baysitter. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade..
We truly are a band of brothers.
Afresh: Everyone loves a celebrity so what advice do you have for the youth of today?
Dont get married, Lifes too short.. Nah, just kidding.
Don’t hesitate, if you wanna do something, just go ahead and do it, take a risk, do not find yourself old in a retirement home with a bag full of regrets, missed oppurtunitys and what if’s. Life will beat you down many times over, you just need to get up and try again. Learn from your mistakes, cause everyone makes them, but not everyone learns from them.
Afresh: What does your family think of your performance and do they support you?
I can only speak for my family, but they have been great in every way possible.
Dad was very supportive in my youth when the only thing i knew was that i wanted to play music, but i didnt know what. First he bought me a mic cause i was gonna be a great singer like Ian Gillan (Deep Purple). Then after 3 rehearsals with a band i realised i couldnt sing even if my life depended on it.
So then i wanted to shred strings like James Hetfield, so he bought me an amp and two electric guitars. I soon figured out that first of all i have no talent, i have no patience, i have short fat fingers and i can’t tune a guitar, so its not gonna do it for me.
Dad didnt find it funny when i said that guitar is not as cool as rocking the bass like Cliff Burton, but he still got me a bass and an amp. I figured that bass must be freakin easy being only four strings and according to D.A.D (Danish rockband) you only needed two of those strings. I learned to play the bassline for Queen’s
“Another One Bites The Dust” but that was about it, frankly i was bored and i still couldnt tune a guitar no matter the amount of strings.
Finaly i told my dear dad that drums, thats my thing, i just know it. Dad told me in the nicest way he could that this is it, learn to play the drums and like it, or find something else to do besides music. He bought me this White Pearl kit with  5 toms, dubbel kick drum and a bunch of hardware and cymbals..and i loved it. He also drove many of the bands i’ve been in to concerts, helped us moving all of our equipment from place to place and in recent years babysitting my son… I don’t think one could be more supportive.
Mom’s helped out too, babysitting, free dinners and a buck here and there..
im blessed and a little bit spoiled that way. Horns up mom and dad!
Afresh: Thinking back, did your family carry on the same musical/artistic interests?
No one in my family has ever played any instruments, well dad says that he played the clarinette when he was a kid but i have yet to see or hear any evidence of that.
They have always been into listening though, and i still remember mom cleaning the house when i was a kid, dancing around like crazy blasting Tina Turner and Roy Orbison on the stereo.
She still does that i’ve learned.
Afresh: Do you have your own favorite type of music and is it any different from what you play now?
Me personally have a really wide taste in music, it’s almost easier to name the things i don’t like. However Hard/Heavy Rock/Metal has always been the favourite ever since i heard Deep Purple and Metallica back in the early/mid 80’s. But as far as inspiration i find it in all kinds of music.
Cat Stevens can inspire me as much as Pantera when i wanna create new music.
Afresh: Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?
I Don’t know about talents, but we all have interests besides music.

Stefan Svanstrom loves fishing and taking photos of nature and the northern lights.

Baus is a snowmobile freak, so in spring time, if the temperature and weather conditions are right, we can forget about him being closed up in any rehearsals.

Stefan Riekkola is an old chef and a musher (sleddogs i’ve been told) so he likes to take a trip into the wild and cook up some food..He lives outside of the city in a house in the middle of nowhere, he’s funny that way, and a bit odd.

Anders owns his own business and i really dont think he has any time to do anything else than work and play music.

Myself, well i like movies, tv-series/shows, documentarys and so on. You could say pretty much anything that allowes me to stay on the couch.
Afresh: What has been your strong influence to continue performing?
I don’t know, we just love it, and since we are very proud of the music that we create we want everyone to hear it and live it in a way.
Afresh: Does anyone in particular influence your artistic/musical talent?
It’s such a hard question since we are five different people that all love different artists and bands.
But i think we can all agree on Metallica and Pantera, they are the biggest inspiration for us as a band. But again, there are so many that has inspired us as individuals and hence influenced us as a band.
Afresh: Who does most of the song writing?
First it is usually Stefan Svanstrom and I, we build a foundation of a song and record our idea. Sometimes we do the whole thing except for the lyrics, but usually we then as a band get together and put the last touch on things.
Stefan Riekkola usually put something on there and of course Baus gives the song its identity with lyrics and vocals, it’s his world. Everyone that wants to contribute will and can do so as long as it serves the song.
Afresh: If you had to change one thing about your music/group what do you feel would be the best change to benefit the group overall and why?
I’ll have to take the 5:th on that one.. Nah man, i don’t know. We would love to have more time to concentrate more on our music and of course there are things we need for our studio to make our recordings better. But as far as our band we just need more time. As things are right now we work our asses of every other week when our children is with their mothers, but that also means that we get almost nothing done the weeks we have the kids. We need more hours in a day thats for sure. But we always make things work.
Afresh: Have you ever had any strange or stalker type fans that you are aware of?
No stalkers but a bunch of original people that went to every show we did back in the day, and they all stood out in their own special way.
One of the guys, and this one is dear to my heart, he used to show up at our rehearsal space, just hanging out, always bringing us beverages and snacks.
He was always at the frontline during every show doing his own special rock moves and poses.
You could see that he was in his own world and it always put a smile on my face thinking about it.
Truly dedicated guy, i hope that he will return now that we are back.
Afresh: While getting ready to perform have you ever been interrupted by fans who snuck in to the dressing room/rehearsal?
It has happend but we are always so pumped before a show that we probably would’nt notice if a naked chick did pole vaults in the dressing room.
Afresh: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment if you care to share it with us?
Our current rythm guitarist (Stefan Riekkola) used to play in a popband (hey it’s better to come clean now). It really does’nt become more embarrassing than that… Like the chick cries out drunk at the party in the old 80’s movie “Can’t Buy Me Love” – “At least…at least i got paid”- (yeah he claims he did it for the money.)
Afresh: What has been the most bizarre thing (thrown) on the stage with you?  How did you react?
Nothing that i can remember. But Security had to throw a small army of kids off stage during a show back in ’99 when we got stormed during our last song.
We have that one on video, and some of the kids were airborne for a while, i was impressed. We wil make sure to make the video available on our site or on youtube in the future.
Afresh: What is your wildest story with the group?
We did a show in Riksgransen for the employes that work there during the season (its a ski-resort). Anyways they opened the bar for us in the band and we made a deal to not have more than a few bears before the show. The thing is that former guitarist Hans Carlsten and bass player Jonas Olsson went ahead and had a private little party, doing shots and what not. Our gig got pushed back for 2 hours or something and that only ment more time for them to get wasted. By the time we were about to take the stage i went backstage to get my gear and i saw Hans standing with both hands on the wall, guitar hanging around his neck, spitting into the case while telling himself “i can’t do this”.. i might add that he didnt have a clue that i or anyone else were there. Well we went on stage and began playing the first song, and that went great, only problem was Hans who played a completly different song than the rest of us.
He then continued the rest of the show playing that same song. Our bass player tried to sneak up behind him to cut the volume on his amp, but he noticed and put the volume up again… and then some. The result was that he was the only one the crowd could hear so it was a painfull 40 minutes. After the show the rest of the band was not amuzed, and he went on to drop his case in a riverlike stream when we were leaving for our “hotel”.
Hans and Jonas had to chase the guitarcase down the stream. Ever since that day we’ve had a rule that there will be no drinking before or during shows, break that rule and you are out. We do laugh about that one now days, but it was embarrassing for us.
Afresh: What has been the worst nightmare for the group?  How did you get through it all?
Well besides the previous story i guess it had to be when the band split up in 2001, it was a nightmare for sure. We had come so far since day one and in just a month or two it was all over. It sure does feel good to be back.
Afresh: What are your up-to-date performance plans?  New releases?  Tours? News?
We are currently writing material for a full length album that we plan to record during this year or the early months of next year. We will write and record demos for about 20-30 songs and then we will select 12-14 songs and put them on an album. We are also working hard on a new site that we hope to launch in a month or two. We are working on a video archive of old shows and rehearsal videos aswell as new video material that we shoot a little bit here and there.
So you could say that we are keeping busy. We are gonna do a show when a dear friend and mentor to the band “Bengan” celebrates his 50th birthday on the 20th of this month.And finaly we are gonna be on a colabaration cd that an american label is gonna put out. We have signed a contract for one song and we will see what might come out of it.
Afresh: If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead or alive who would it be? Why? (Name up to three)
Man that is one hard question to answer.. But for me the first choice will have to be Metallica, they have been my main source of inspiration for my entire music loving life.
Cat Stevens is another cool dude i would have loved to perform with, just because of him being a genious on so many levels. His music has had a major inpact on me and the man was ahead of his time. Pantera and Elton John comes in tied on third i guess, both for different reasons but it would be awsome. Pink would be cool too, she seems like a fun, cool, smart chick and my 4yo son has a big big crush on her,
so that would mean a “daddy of the year” award for me if it would ever happen.
Afresh: What is the furthest show from your home that you have done?

I don’t know, we were a regional band back in the day but this time around we hope to change that and go wherever we can, and wherever we are welcome to kick some serious ass.
Afresh: Have you been involved in any benefit performances?  What was it and how did you become involved?
Yeah we have played one show against street violence and one antidrug thing. As far as i can remember.
Afresh: Do you currently have an agent, endorsement, record label, sponsor, etc.?
No agents, labels, record companies, sponsors or anything like that.. we have had some offers but nothing we’ve felt was right for us yet. But we are open to anything that can help us get our music out there. Oh except for the label that we have signed one song with, we’ll see where that takes us.
Afresh: Is this your first interview or do you have some other articles/stories about you posted somewhere for public viewing?
We have done interviews before with papers, magazines, tv and so on but i don’t know where you could find it. I know i have some tv stuff on video somewhere
and some old newspapers articles. We will probably make it available on our site when its readu to launch. It’s all in swedish tough, so i guess we will have to get some subtitles on it.
Afresh: Do you have any video links where people can see you?
We have registered a youtube thingy but we have’nt put anything on it yet. It will all be up and running shortly. We will update our myspace when things are ready for the public. Until then we have some shitty test video thing from our rehearsal room, wich you can view at our myspace or facebook, come join and watch.
Afresh: Do you have a website of any type? (under construction)!/group.php?gid=
(come and join us)
and some youtube thingy that even i don’t know the address to, check myspace for updates regarding that one.
Afresh: Please feel free to add any other information you want to share with the public audience/readers.
We would like to send a big thanks and horns up to all our american and worldwide friends that has showed us nothing but love and support on myspace and
sent us a bunch of messages, e-mails and cool comments.We appreciate it. Also we would love for all of you to come join us on facebook and everywhere else
where we hang out. Keep checking in on myspace for new demos and stuff until we launch our website, Stay in touch.

Horns up And Spread The Word!

Cheers! Mats/Red Surface.

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