In 2013 I found myself in Stockholm performing a live show and attending a release party for the first MOAT record. As the dust settled, 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.
Below is an overview of the band from their website:
Anekdoten are considered one of the leading bands in contemporary progressive rock. Their intensive, dark, dynamic and for each subsequent release more original music have also made an appeal among metal, goth and post-rock fans all over the world. Anekdoten was formed in 1991 by Anna Sofi Dahlberg, Nicklas Barker, Peter Nordins and Jan Erik Liljeström and the line up has remained intact since the beginning with Marty Willson-Piper joining the band in 2015, after playing guitar on their latest release Until All The Ghosts Are Gone.
Anekdoten have released 5 studio albums on their own Virta-label and 3 live albums in Japan. The Anekdoten album sales have exceeded 85 000 copies. Their debut album Vemod was released in 1993 and caused a considerable stir within the prog community. The success of the debut album opened up for both a first European- and American tour in 1994. The follow up Nucleus, released late 1995, was an uncompromized, grungy and distorted affair. Some found it too heavy and diabolic, others found Nucleus to be a leap forward for the band. Nucleus confirmed the band’s status within the prog community and is considered a cult album by many of the fans. Anekdotens third studio album From Within was released in 1999. On From Within the band moved slightly away from the 70’s influenced progressive rock of its predecessors and towards a more contemporary sound. Their fourth album Gravity is perhaps their most accessible. It was released in 2003 and divided the fan base into two camps – those who thought that Anekdoten had become too mellow and those who found that they were getting better and better. The 5th Anekdoten studio album A Time Of Day saw the light of day in April 2007. The hands-on, D.I.Y-approach they’ve adapted since the beginning made them release this album (CD/LP) on their own label as well. On A Time Of Day the band plunges deeper into their very own universe, still not willing to make any musical compromises. In January 2008 the band returned to Japan for a few dates and in May a European tour followed. Anekdoten’s reputation as a great live act was already established after their performance at Progfest 94 in Los Angeles.
They have been touring in Europe numerous times, played in the USA three times and Japan twice. They have also performed in Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The Japanese Arcángelo label have released 3 live albums by Anekdoten: – a 4 track mini-CD called Live EP (1997) – the 2-CD Official Bootleg, Live In Japan (1998) – the CD Waking The Dead, Live In Japan 2005 (also released as a 2 LP by the band).
Their last album Until All The Ghosts Are Gone was released on April 10th 2015 via the Swedish outfit’s own label, Virta and has received outstanding reviews. Marty is featured on the album’s title track.
Photos by: Camilla Storbjörk, Alice Bellati & Jakub Michalski
Until All The Ghosts Are Gone Album Credits.