Artist To Artist: Malcolm Pardon & Peder Mannerfelt
This month the enigmatic duo will release a new album on The New Black titled "Born To Ruin". The pair have worked closely for several years having produced cinematic soundscapes and scores. However, their new release is a step removed from the grand halls and open spaces their music was previously linked to. It reflects the pair's evolving tastes and emodies some of the energy featured as part of Peder Mannerfelts driving take on club music.
They interview one another below.
Peder: Malcolm do you remember when we first met?
Malcolm: I think it was the time when we ended up at the same xmas party for a publishing company here in Stockholm, which included a dead serious drunken go kart race in which you elbowed yourself into first place. A smug little face you had too…
P: Oh yeah that´s right, did you even manage to finish that race?
P: What year was that?
M: Must have been 2003 or 2004…
P: But I guess we didn’t really interact before we ended up in the same studio complex 10 years ago.
M: Yeah and we started ”jamming” together the year after that.
P: Which led to our first album. The process of our songwriting has changed quite a bit since back then.
M: But we’ve always based our music around a theme.
P: Yes but I’m talking about the actual writing and recording, we didn’t set out to be a band or to write an album in the first place. It was about afterhours session noodling about and drinking some wine in the studios.
M: But how did that album end up being released on Digitalis?! I can´t recall we sent out any demos or anything like that.
P: No, it was through John Twells aka Xela aka Type Records head honcho. He did a few shows supporting Fever Ray (whom I was touring with at the time) and I played him the rough versions of our jams. Something must have caught his ear, at least enough for him to forward it to Brad Rose who ran Digitalis
M: Hang on, ran? He´s not running it anymore?!
P: Yeah he kind of dropped off the radar a few years ago, don´t really know what happened there. I put out my first solo album through him as well but since then it´s been total radio silence… BRAD if you’re reading this please get in touch!!
M: Hmm strange, always felt he was a really nice guy! Anyway I guess we still have the foundation of how everything goes though, but it´s a bit more planned and evolved now. A pretty natural progression after doing 4 albums together.
P: You getting Billie (the dog) changed things this time around, what breed is she now again?
M: She’s a Staffordshire Bullterrier, Staffie for short.
P: I reckon you having to take her for walks and me joining you actually solved more than a few problems these last 2 years.
M: Yes it´s a very good time to reflect and test your ideas by removing yourself physically from the studio.
P: It’s the same with kids, when I’m at home or in the park or whatever, it’s when I do most of my thought process. The time in the studio is all about executing. And it also comes back to us starting from a concept or idea before we start writing the music, it´s a great backbone to hang the music on.
P: We always have a vision which evolves from each album, and in the early process of each album the idea or concept comes hand in hand with the composing ..don´t you think.?
M: I would say that this way to work is Important for us to get going with the ideas ..I think that with this album the only idea initially was to bring the sound back to more of a tight and hard feel ,as opposed to the open and wide sound of the previous album ” Until Silence”.
P: That was basically all we had. Then that thought led to another and we toyed around with the thought of the depression era ,what makes the big city appealing ,bright lights etc…
M: Which gave us the ” jazz” angle. The music of the big smoke. Hard life ,drugs ..and desolation. Which is also when the Idea started to emerge to use a saxophone ,wasn’t it ?
P: Yeah ,it’s something I have mentioned we should use for a long time even before this album ? Right?
M: True..I was always a bit hesitant in using horns for the only reason that the ” jazzy ” touch in any music besides jazz is bloody horrendous. But we managed somehow…so , yeah yeah -you were right all along…!
M: Now that we have a saxophone all over the album ,I guess we will have to bring a horn section on tour with us for the gigs. ..that will be cheap. How to solve that then , Mr Smartass ?
P: Even in your days there must have been the option of using samples ? ? or ? Either we bring someone with us ,or samples. No problem.
M: Now that we have embarked on the DIY journey ,with our own label and everything we should probably keep things pretty basic and low tech. So no horn section. One spotlight maybe?
P: Well the artwork suggests a departure from the ”design ” cover that we have used previously ..now with a simple photograph and album title as the only attraction ,so I agree. we should try and stick to the basic and simplistic aesthetic..less is alway more.
M: I Like the way that we have brought everything back to the way things we´re when we started. Or at least our expectations ..basically see what happens ,rather than trying to plan everything to detail . Especially when nothing really ever goes according to plan anyway.. Like our first gigs .We never really put any effort into finding gigs . Like when we did the festival in Sao Paulo? ..that kind of set the tone for how we wanted to go about things. Basically if it sounds like a fun place to go to..lets do it.
P: Yeah ,we are not really a ”touring ” band are we ? We are not the ones who jump into a van and treks around for ages…
M: We did that for a little while around the release of ”In Dust ” though. It was fun and all ,but not really our thing.
P: No ,we like flights and cab-rides to the venue…
P: But as you mentioned ,there is something nice about the fact that we try to keep the random aspect open with as many situations as possible ,be it where to do gigs or who we work with from videos to artwork .I mean we are called Roll the Dice after all.
M: Like with the cover photo on ”Born to Ruin ” .? That was pure coincidence if ever there was one. When I was on a flight back from Athens what was the chance that I was going to start talking to a photographer that Id never met before , and that we would 6 months later end up using his photo on the cover ?`That’s the Roll the Dice spirit in the purest form.
P:Exactly and that would not have happened if we had planned everything beforehand. If there´s a common thread from the first album til this one , this willingness to leave ourselves open to try different things and avoid repetition would be the thread.
M: And that is of course also the reason why we release dthe album ourselves this time. Not because we needed to leave Leaf ,but more that we just wanted to try something different.
P: It can easily become a monotonous procedure ,the whole process from recording to releasing albums- so nothing wrong with rocking the boat a bit..
M : I heard somewhere that John Lennon used to change instruments between writing songs ,so he didn’t become too comfortable in the process…This is kind of our Lennon approach to album making I suppose.