Wolfmother, The Sword and Dungen: Irony Men
When, as a teenager, he decided to turn that noise into music, his genre of choice was hip-hop. “I could see the similarities between [Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer] Mitch Mitchell and Public Enemy,” he says. “It was all hard beats and chaos.” He and a few friends formed their own hip-hop crew and began pillaging his mother’s records for sounds to sample. The sampling aesthetic, so essential to hip-hop, had a profound influence on Ejstes’ work, which combines elements of the various music, from Swedish folk to rock to hip-hop, that he absorbed in his youth. “A friend of mine talks about these people called ‘crate diggers,’ meaning people who listen to music without caring so much what kind of music it is,” he says. “That’s the way I listen to things. I don’t care if it’s rock or hip-hop or classical or jazz. If it’s good music, it’s good music.”
Ejstes’ first two releases as Dungen, the sprawling and wildly eclectic 2001 self-titled debut and the next year’s Stadsvandringar, both ably adhered to this credo. But it was on Ta Det Lugnt that Ejstes’ vision reached full bloom, his penchant for cut-and-paste genre hopping balanced by more focused songwriting. “For Ta Det Lugnt, my goal was to create a collage of sound, where I could take parts of different recordings and put them together,” he says. “At the same time, I wanted things to be more open. To that end, I tried to approach the songs as if they were being played by a power trio.”
But it was a power trio with, for the most part, one member. Ejstes tracked the bulk of Ta Det Lugnt on his own at a secluded farmhouse outside of Stockholm that belongs to his mother. Except for the minimal involvement from guests like Dungen touring drummer Fredrik Bjorling and Lars-Olaf, the only other musician to contribute in large doses was Fiske, who played lead guitar, as well as some bass and percussion.
Ejstes is currently working on songs for the next Dungen album, which is tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2006. After this round of touring he plans to head into the studio, but it remains to be seen whether he will bring some company along with him. “Now that we have been playing together so much as a four piece I am seeing the benefits of making music as a band,” he says. “So maybe there will be a little more of that on the next record.”
As for the direction the new music may take, Ejstes laughs. “I don’t really know what it will sound like, because I don’t really know how to describe the sound of what I do. I don’t make music that is hard rock or punk rock or retro rock or anything like that. I just make the music that I like to hear.”
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