Anekdoten 2017 – Photo: Camilla Storbjörk
“In 2013 I found myself in Stockholm. I decided to stay in the city, one of my daughters lives there and I have a long history with the place. At that point I was very much concentrating on the In Deep Music Archive website, writing about music and collecting records for the archive, when I was asked by Pet Sounds Records to get involved with them for a project involving interviewing artists for their website and adding my writings to their music blog. As it happened, the interview side of things struggled to take off but I’d always wanted to have a spell working in a record store, so I asked if I could also work in the shop. Around the same time I was asked to help sort out the storage facility of another Stockholm record store, Micke’s in Hornstull. So suddenly I found myself working in two Stockholm record stores.
Working in the latter of the two stores was Anekdoten’s singer/guitarist/composer Nicklas Barker. It wasn’t long before we struck up a friendship that led to Nicklas asking me in to the studio to play some guitar on a track on their almost completed album Until All The Ghosts Are Gone. I obliged and the session went well. Before I knew it, we were talking about the possibility of expanding Anekdoten’s sound to two guitars and consequently I met the rest of the band: Peter Nordins on drums, Jan Erik Liljeström on bass/vocals/lyrics and cellist and mellotron player Anna Sofi Dahlberg.
Nicklas began to send me songs, songs that we would potentially play in a live set. He said “have a play around with these see what you can pick up”. It wasn’t long before I got back to him and told him that I had no idea what he was doing on the guitars, what the notes were, what the chords were, and what the timing was. To my amazement his response was to sit me down and painstakingly go through every little nuance and teach me all the parts – it took months. As I was still learning these songs the band flew to Canada to play, I wasn’t ready, but on the 30 July 2015 I was and I flew with the band to Germany to play my first show at the Burg Herzberg Festival, near Frankfurt. We were last on, it was one in the morning, my fingers were cold but I did it and I had played my first show with this legendary Swedish Progressive Rock band. I might add that I left for Stockholm the next day – that day Olivia, my future wife, would arrive at the festival as tour manager for another band. We missed each other by a day, a year before we actually met.
We rehearsed more and I started to fit more in to the band, playing guitar and percussion, usually because the songs were so complex it was hard to learn them quick enough for upcoming gigs. We played in Sweden and Norway (I think) and soon the news came that we were on our way to Japan with another legendary Swedish band, Änglagård, for a sold out show in Tokyo.
Since then we’ve played in Poland, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Norway again, as well as Germany’s Night Of The Prog Festival, where I met Olivia, who was hosting the festival – and last but not least Armenia. Progressive Rock certainly appeals to people in places I don’t usually go with a band. It’s so cool to be in a band like this, interesting music, complex, a real challenge, something I haven’t done before. Looking forward to the future with gigs announced already in France and Norway.”
Photos by: Camilla Storbjörk, Alice Bellati & Jakub Michalski
Until All The Ghosts Are Gone Album Credits.