Interview: The Bombhappies – Boléro

After 10 years of silence, the Swedish 90s alternative rock band The Bombhappies are back. Their new single “Boléro” consists of only one melody and one rhythm, repeated over and over again, but with different orchestrations.

Q: Hey, super nice to have the chance to chat with you. Can you tell us
about your early career? Where did you get the idea for the music

A: We formed the band back in 1995 when we all went to the same high
school in Karlstad (Sweden). All members of The Bombhappies used to play
in other (more short-lived) bands who were all a part of the same local
music scene (sometimes referred to as “Karlstad Grunge” [sounding
completely different to the globally known “Seattle Grunge”] where bands
where playing a special mix between punk, heavy rock, brit pop and
Swedish progressive [70’s psychedelic] rock.) When we formed The
Bombhappies our previous bands’ influences and experiences ended up
working a a melting pot and a foundation for our somewhat “bespoke”

Being a part of “the music industry” has never been a goal for us, and
that is probably one of the reasons we have never reached a wider
audience than couple of thousand hard-core fans spread all over the
world. We have been a “niche” band for 27 years now. We play together
because its fun and we all like to hang out in the studio with our best
friends, listeners and feedback is a bonus 🙂 We also love playing live,
but it doesn’t have to be a big venue.

Q: Where do you start when producing songs?

A: What used to be a one-man task (someone wrote the basis for a new
song and brought it – almost ready – to the studio) had to change some
years back – when we all had kids. It became harder and harder to gather
the whole band for rehearsal at the same time, and this also changed our
song writing process. Since there is less time and focus on music when
you take care of small kids, the music making had to be done – on site –
in the studio. And since not everyone is there at the same time, 2-5
members of the group meet in the studio to create something. With this
method we have built a library of “song building blocks” full of
recordings done on mobile phones and other devices. We have a couple of
thousand clips and I’d say it could be formed to a couple of hundred
album worthy songs, if we just had the time to finish 🙂

Q: Your latest song is ‘Boléro’. Can you tell us more about the making
of it and if there were any unusual things happening during the process?

A: With Boléro it started as a spontaneous riff, that became one of
those “phone recordings”. During one weekend during the pandemic we
packed our gear in two cars and went to a summer house in the woods of
Värmland (the countryside area where we spent our childhood summers) and
finished a few songs during a weekend. Boléro was one of these songs,
and while usually adding a chorus and a verse to a riff like that, we
loved the melody of the riff so much that we decided to just repeat it
for 9 minutes. It sounded amazing and when having lunch listening to
what we had recorded, we started talking about Ravel’s “Boléro”, that is
structured in the same way. From that moment I think it took 20 minutes
to write the lyrics, because the concept was so strong.

Q: What was the most difficult challenge you faced?

A: For all members of the band, whilst working full-time jobs (and
taking care of families when not working), lack of time is the only
really difficult challenge. Musically, we are one of the tightest live
bands we’ve ever heard (not strange rehearsing for 27 years in a row
though) and we (still) have fun together. Full throttle on the rock n’
roll part of being in a band, not so much on the sex n’ drugs parts,

Q: What is your goal in artistic activities?

A: Firstly: Making even better songs, secondly: meaningful listing
experciences for those that find us.

Q: How do you know when a work is finished?

A: You just know don’t you?! The song doesn’t leave your head for a
week. You just have to play it again.

Q: What is your trademark? It’s about unique sounds or behaviors on

A: The co-dependence between music and lyrics, although we have long
parts of many songs that are only instrumental. The space between the
vocal parts are always there for a reason, because pausing is also a
part of telling stories.

For The Bombhappies it has always been like this: the lyrics are equally
important to the (rest of the) music, and it is only when lyrics and
music are combined that a song is “whole”. In my opinion, pop music
lyrics should (almost) never be read like poetry (without its music)
because the two parts (music+lyrics) combined make a greater whole than
the parts separately would calculate to (if we were doing math). This is
what makes pop music “holy” in my eyes.

Q: What are your biggest achievements so far as a band, but also

A: Haha, to be frank: we are a very “unsuccessful” band, if “success” is
fame and fortune. At least so far, haha! But if we conclude that the
highlight itself _is_ that we are still best friends after 27 years,
that we still love to hang out (in and outside of the studio), and that
we are still making (what we consider) to be some of the best music in
the world – then I would choose that over any other scenario that didn’t
include all this friendship common history.

Q: What memorable responses have you had to your work?

A: There has been a few times during the years when we have been close
to signing with one of the major record labels, but it has always fell
on that we are uncompromisingly “indie”, haha. I usually say “indie
bands don’t make radio edits” and nor would we let anyone that we
haven’t chosen for the task (like a producer of our choice), be a part
of the decision making regarding our song writing. That would be like
selling your soul.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: We are planning to keep on keeping on 🙂 A more direct answer would
be: We will record and finish a few more songs this fall, release an EP
or an LP and maybe book a few gigs for spring of 2023.

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