Many moons ago, when I was first figuring out what PulverRadio was going to sound like, I spent hours and hours in contact with great indie bands, finding places for them in playlists, trying to help them out any way I could. One of my favorites from that time was a Swedish band called The Confusions.
Lately I've been back in touch with Mikael Andersson-Knut, singer, songwriter, and guitarist for The Confusions. I asked him if he'd do an interview with me over email, and after a few letters back and forth, I think we've put together a decent introduction to the band, who have enjoyed a number of European successes over the years.
The interview follows after this video for "The Pilot."
Mike McClenathan: Easy stuff out of the way first: who's in the band, what do they play, and how long have The Confusions been making music together?
Mikael Andersson-Knut: Mikael Andersson-Knut, songwriter, singer and guitarist
Zarah Edström, keyboards and vocals
Mattias Löfström, drums and percussion
Henrik Svensson, guitars
Magnus Thorsell, bass
The Confusions started up in the early 90's and we released our first record (a split single) back in 1993. Our first ep "Forever" 1994 and our first album "Being Young" 1995. But the line-up of the band was a bit different back then, the new guys :-) in the band are Henrik who joined the band in 1998 (after being our guitar tech.) and Magnus who joined us during the summer 1999.
MM: And where are you from?
MAK: We're all from Sundsvall, Sweden. A town at the east coast, exactly in the middle of the country, about 400 km north of Stockholm.
MM: I spent a week in Stockholm a few years ago and couldn't find anything I liked on the radio. Every station seemed to be an amalgamation of American pop songs I was already sick of and Swedish pop songs that I didn't think were very good. The Confusions are one of many examples of great music being produced in Sweden. Can you comment on the state of music radio and television in Sweden, and on the ways Swedish artists that don't fit that mold are getting their music out there?
MAK: Most of the commercial radio stations have only made the situation worse when it regards playing "good" music on the air. What happened during the last couple of years is that you get this feeling that the public service stations are trying to beat the commercial stations playing the same crap music... which is horrible! The public service stations should be all about special programs and people trying to find out about new and interesting stuff. There are some shows that are good on P3 (public service) and on their Internet channels...but we need more.
There's so much great stuff around here in Sweden, we should be allowed to hear it!
MM: Can you name some other great Swedish artists being ignored by radio?
MAK: There's a lot of them, hard for me to pick out a special one. But I can tell you that there is some weird thing about discovering the "new" band and dropping the old ones. I get a feeling that is different in the US. Maybe because of your live situation is better, you can go on playing live gigs and creating more fans that way in the US.
I think a great older band like The Wannadies [link] are considered in Sweden as "has been" which is awful because they´re just a great band.
A young band like Eskju Divine [link] released their second album in the fall 2006 and got totally ignored in Sweden (it seemed to me anyway)... but they've got things going in Japan etc.
MM: Despite the difficulty of getting traditional airplay, you've had some success with MTV Europe. Is it easier to get on TV than radio?
MAK: We've been lucky with this in a way, being close friends with great young video directors that like to work with us.
We've done great videos with small budgets, it's often all about ideas and locations. So yes, in a way it's been easier for us to get on TV with videos than on the larger radio stations.
MM: Clearly you're promoting yourselves heavily on the Internet, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. What sites/communities have you found to be receptive to what The Confusions are all about?
MAK: Myspace, YouTube, PulverRadio [RIP -ed.], IndieMusic.com some smaller sites...there are a lot of great sites for sure, that's the thing now, the net.
MM: What does the future hold for The Confusions? Are there new releases in the near future? Can we have a sneak preview?
MAK: We released a new acoustic album in May (you'll find it on iTunes [link]) called "It Sure Looks Like The Confusions But It Sounds More Acoustic" in a limited edition of a 1000 copies. This record is only sold at shows and at Internet shops.
But at the same time we're working on a new studio album which will be released in the fall, maybe in October. We have been recording in our own studio Yellow and have been mixing 9 tracks so far in different studios. We're really excited about this new record because we're producing it ourselves... which means freedom and you´ll find different sides of the band on these songs.
A sneak preview could be the video clip Henrik put up on You Tube a few days ago, where we´re mixing a new song called "There Ain´t No Easy Way Out Of Here", check it out. [Video is below -ed.]
You can also download some acoustic (and other songs as well) songs for free at
Bonus mp3: The Confusions - Artificial