Truckfighters are an absolute class act. One of the most energetic, passionate and hard working bands in the desert scene. They’re a band who sold their souls for rock and roll and it’s paid off. They’ve won fans across the globe with their lively fuzz rock, strong DIY attitude and killer riffs. They’re a band I’ve adored since I discovered Gravity X at University and I’ve not looked back since. In September I got the chance to speak to Ozo from the band about the band’s history, their latest album V, Gravity X and what else was occurring in planet Truckfighters.
Jack: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Oskar ‘Ozo’ Cedermalm (Bass/Vocals): I’m fine, really good actually.. but these are busy days, but I’m not complaining, love to be busy as hell!
Jack: You’re about to release your fifth album V! Do you get nervous before the release of an album?
Ozo: [Laughs] No… we don’t even get nervous when we play live anymore. I mean, not that much to be nervous about, we’ve done the best album we can possible do. I spent four months recording the vocal and bass. Mostly of that time were doing vocals though. So I know I did my absolute best on this album, so [whether] people like it or not is not really up to me anymore.
Jack: V seems to me to be very different to Gravity X and it seems your sound has mellowed a bit. How would you say Truckfighters’ sound has progressed?
Ozo: I would say we got a bit tired of making the same songs again and we always tried to make a “new” album if you know what I mean? I mean a lot of bands especially after releasing a few albums tend to try to re-create something they did in the past that worked out good. I think all our albums have been a bit different but from Mania and forward maybe we’ve embraced a bit more progressive stuff? For me it’s natural though that you wanna compose something that is unique at the time and not something that sounds three years old already [Laughs]. Hope we did it!
Jack: What was the writing and recording process like?
Ozo: Usually me and Dango just meet up for a writing session. We close our e-mail clients and focus on being a creative force instead for a full day and usually we also manage to compose a one song a day. We only record a bass and guitar really roughly along with a click track. So it’s really just a structure of a song, then we of course re-record everything again.
Jack: What’s it been like working with Century Media?
Ozo: It’s good, mainly cause it eased our workload a bit. We work all the time and almost every day you feel like there’s more things you could do that you simply don’t have time for. So for us letting go a bit from our own label and leave some stuff in the hands of a bigger label is a relief. We’re still one of the hardest working bands/labels around though, so we still work our asses off [Laughs]. Can’t resist it, we love playing music but we also love the process behind the music.
Jack: Why do you think so many people are attracted to fuzzy guitar sounds?
Ozo: I think it’s an ongoing process; people get tired of the slicked overproduced shit that radio’s trying to pump into your brains on a daily basis. Sure there are some rock bands that also get a lot of airtime but in Sweden maybe 0.1% of the music is rock-oriented and when that small amount of rock is played, then it’s some cheesy bad song from the ’80s or something. People wanna feel the music and hear music that is about real life, blood and sweat.
Jack: How was it to return to Desertfest this year?
Ozo: Desertfest is always good. I mean we’ve been around for so many years, also having played Desertfest first year around, for us it’s almost like being home. We also knew the people behind the festival for many years so it’s nice to catch up with them if only briefly. Also it’s a festival where people seem even more dedicated to the music. I mean a lot of festivals is also about getting together to just enjoy and relax, but Desertfest is more where you check who’s playing where and when and also attend more bands, I think at least.
Jack: Have festivals like Desertfest helped save the stoner and desert scenes?
Ozo: Absolutely, hopefully this can grow and Desertfest can be something bigger and wider, just as long as they don’t “sacrifice” their roots. I mean start booking bands that are too far away from being anything that has something to do with desert rock. I’ve seen a few nice festivals go under that way, in an attempt to grow bigger they book bands that are bigger but not necessarily spot on what people actually wanna see at that particular festival. These festivals kill themselves quite fast. So be careful Desertfest people!
Jack: You’re going to be returning to London at the Electric Ballroom as part of your European tour. Will the setlist be mainly new material or a mixture?
Ozo: We always play a lot of old stuff. I think in general maybe around three or maybe four songs will be played from the new album, so don’t worry you’ll get your dose of old stuff [Laughs].
Jack: Gravity X, which is one of my favourite stoner albums, is 11 years old. Is it strange to think that not only is it 11 years old, but is still being listened to and discussed online after all these years?
Ozo: It’s strange but also in some way understandable. Even though I’m personally involved in the album I can see why people do like that album so much. First of all it’s a very long album [Laughs]. But you can also hear the enthusiasm we had at that time and we really worked hard to do that album. I always think honesty and hard work when creating music and art shines through, and that’s probably what people like. We’re not any bullshitters or posers or anything like that. On the other hand, then people would have like all the other albums just as much so… [Laughs] don’t really know. It’s a fine piece of handcrafted music that stands alone as a bit unique at that time I guess.
Jack: Do you have fond memories of making the album?
Ozo: Yes of course. Many! I love recording albums even though I’m super close to losing my mind every time. Seriously, I’m this close to checking myself in at a mental hospital, because you pour so much of your mental energy into the albums, the melodies, lyrics, producing and so on. So in the end you’re totally blank and it takes a while to get on your feet again after producing an album. This time was tough, since I more or less locked myself in into the studio for four months. Maybe I can thank my family that I will go home to every night for still being mentally stable, at least enough to act “normal.” [Laughs]
Jack: Did you feel when writing it you were onto something special when making the album?
Ozo: Kind of. We were really, really determined, both me and Dango. We had a lot of angst towards our old management that fucked things up for us so we had an “us-against-them” feeling and felt like we wanted to prove ourselves. Not that we needed to towards those douchebags, but it felt good, doing the best album of our careers, perhaps just when people least expect it. I really think it’s the best album we’ve ever done. All the songs gives me something extra when listening to ’em. Usually you have like 3-4 songs that you’re really eager to play live or so, but this time all the songs feels like that. So it must be a sign?
Jack: Truckfighters tour a lot. Do you have day jobs outside of the band?
Ozo: Not since five years back, but that doesn’t mean we earn a lot of money. We’ve done basically everything true DIY style since the start so we own everything we do, we invested money in smart things and we only take out money so we can pay the rent and eat, so no extra luxuries. A lot of bands these days think you need tour managers, managers, people who drive their cars etc. But all those things you can do yourself, but you need to be prepared to work hard. People are just lazy I think. So all looks good on our end and for Truckfighters in the future!
Jack: You made a documentary in 2011 called Truckfighters. Why did you decide to make a documentary?
Ozo: Basically it was the filmmakers’ idea. In the beginning we didn’t really believe that they actually were going to make a full movie about us. You know in this business there’s a lot of talkers but not as many walkers. So suddenly they came to Sweden to film a bit and a few weeks later they sent an idea of the movie and that was basically how the movie turned out in the end. So they were really skilled and also understood our kind of humour, kind of!
Jack: Would you consider making a sequel in the future?
Ozo: Sure why not? It would be rad. But that also means we should have had someone to film with us for the past years and we didn’t. So then it needs to start from 2016 and forward or something. We’ll see; maybe [we’ll] make something completely different but still some kind of movie.
Jack: What plans do you have for the future?
Ozo: Do what we do now, but maybe play [some] bigger venues and hopefully better slots at festivals. Do more and even better records, if possible. [Laughs]
Jack: What is the best Black Sabbath album?
Ozo: I’m actually fan of all the Ozzy albums they did in the ’70s. I’m not necessarily a fan of the really early stuff, I think they have a few better albums later on in the ’70s, but you know I’m more of a Deep Purple, Rainbow guy, at least back in the days that was what I listened to. I hadn’t “discovered” Black Sabbath until a few years later.
Jack: Finally, Nirvana’s Nevermind is 25 years old this year, how does this make you feel?
Ozo: Shit where did all the years go!?
Jack: Thank you so much for your time.
Ozo: Thanks mate.