ABOUT THE ALBUM
Till Skogen is the story of four friends, a family and a place. It is music dedicated to the band's homeland and the forest outside the farm where the family grew up. It’s about the importance of those places in people’s lives. How human memories and experiences are stored in the surroundings around us. Since their previous album Drömmarnas Land was released in 2015, Kolonien’s oldest relatives have passed away, and new lives have been created. The course of life and time has made itself clear.
“It can be so damn lonely to leave your childhood and grow up, your worldview becomes more complex, and life suddenly strikes you with both sadness and joy.”
Kolonien is really an old-fashioned band-band, where the collective creative process is in focus. It is music that always arises from the common, where all members fulfill their own specific functions and are needed for the whole to work. This means that the process of writing new music requires strong friendship and trust, if that does not exist, there will be nothing. After many years of diligent and arduous touring, which probably eroded both friendships and desire, Kolonien felt a strong need to return to its roots. To the place where it all began.
“We decided to return to our old log cabin back home where everything started ten years ago. There we built a recording studio to unconditionally start playing music again, quite unsure of what would come out. Slowly, new music began to creep in and now, almost five years and a pandemic later, the record is finally finished.”
Kolonien started just over ten years ago as a Dylan-inspired progressive folk band in the Swedish environmental movement. The ideological dimension has always taken a large place in the music. Like the progressive music of the 70s, Kolonien’s music is used as a carrier of both personal and ideological messages. Overt political stances have, however, been set aside for a more complex worldview, but on this album the environmental perspective is again strong.
Till Skogen is a tribute to nature as a being in itself. The human exploitation of forests and land has become a literal burning political issue, which also takes its natural place in Kolonien’s music. What happens when our physical roots are cut down and burned? The nature and environment we live in tells us something about our time here on earth. Something that cannot be replaced or compensated afterwards.
“Today’s forest policy has enormous shortcomings and puts short-term profit ahead of long-term sustainability. Our natural heritage disappears in every moment and it’s enormously frightening. It is a mistake that younger generations will blame us for.”
For Kolonien, the forest at home has also always had a highly personal essence, with trees that have stood for generations and branched out through time.
“It is as if the forest has always symbolized our own family tree in some way, from the root and stem to the leaves at the far end of the thinnest branch.”
And the family tree is also artistically represented on the album:
“We gathered our extended family, which partly forms the album’s wind section, but above all the large family choir with children, grandchildren, siblings and parents that form the album’s musical thread. Even the dog Alfons sang along to a song. The music deals in different ways with a person’s relationship to their homeland, roots and place on earth. To then be able to gather our own human family tree and collective of friends felt super nice.”
How can we talk about the value of nature without being dismissed as unscientific hippie-talk? What happens to a society where man has completely eradicated or tamed a free and wild nature? Perhaps a little symptomatic of our time is the term “Survival of the fittest” which has been incorrectly interpreted as “Survival of the strongest” when it’s really about the best adapted: adapted to their surroundings, their resources and their social context. How can we change the individualistic perspective that promotes being self-centered and instead see collective, common values, in nature, socially and economically? These are questions we ask ourselves on this record.
AT A GLANCE: SONG BY SONG
Time Will Tell
Erik: References to Dylan, environmental issues and world music. The first single from the new album. The text grew out of a frustration I often feel around the constant nitpicking concerning people’s differences and shortcomings, all these pointers. We are all incomplete with shortcomings and if we are to get somewhere and change something, we need to put more focus on what we have in common and focus less on who is doing right or wrong. Social change requires that many people choose to go in the same direction, and for that to happen there must be a positive enthusiasm. One thought I had in the back of my mind for the lyrics was a slogan we used for a performance about climate change when we were teenagers: "It should be fun to save the world." It all started when Arvid came up with a folk inspired guitar melody in the rehearsal room that was trans- formed by an Afroblues-inspired groove, and then everything fell into place piece by piece. It’s incredibly fun to listen to how the song started, and compare it to the finished track, that became something completely different.
Drömmen (The Dream)
Arvid: Just as the song title suggests, this song started in a dream I had one night after a particularly busy day. I often dream of music when I sleep, but I always tend to forget all the melodies when I wake up. This morning I surprisingly remembered how the melody sounded and the basic idea of the guitar that was played in a dark green forest. The title "Drömmen" literally means “the dream," and the song reflects on certain kinds of dreams. The ones we had for our future, but never realized. The ones that for one reason or another stayed hidden in the drawer, but we never really let go of. Those dreams that jump up out of nowhere again and again, to challenge your current direction in life. The ones that just keep piling up if ignored for too long, and eventually come crashing down upon you like rain in the forest. Some of my dreams can turn out to be someone else’s dream or an idealized image that I unconsciously have collected and carried around. If I knew how, I would let go of those. In this song, the forest became the symbol of the place where you can find both your own path and be enveloped in a larger context.
Alla Andra (All the Others)
Arvid: In this song, my love for the guitar playing of masters like Habib Koité and D’Gary is unleashed. This riff, which arose during a sound check on the Swedish west coast, blossomed into a song about my struggle with fatigue, which, despite how common it is, can be difficult to talk about. And that in a moment when you may need community and collective support more than ever, you instead withdraw into the feeling of not being enough. This is a song about the need for community.
Luftpalats (Palace in the Air)
Arvid: It hurts to change, to grow. And everything changed when I was 23. I had to rise to the new role of becoming a father for the first time. Looking back I remember the struggle my younger self had with making the youthful, impulsive dreamer fit into this new frame and the scheduled order of family life. This song tells of stepping into the unknown, hopefully arriving as a new person at the end of the tunnel...and trying not to lose yourself along the way.
Anna: Inspired by master melody makers such as Aidan O'Rourke (LAU) and Magnus Stinnerbom (Harv, Västanå Teater) this violin explosion tries to capture the hectic mind of a person who is always on the go. How thoughts are born, die and are resurrected on a moment's notice, and never have time to gain footing before the next thought takes over.
Anna: This music is about me and my dad. And in the first part of the song, we also play together. He on his mandola, whose tone and sound symbolize safety to me, as much as his own voice does. And I play the violin that finds its way into this music, just like the stumbling journey it is to grow up and both break free and become your own, and at the same time always be the child you once were. Not least in relation to a mother or a father.
Farfars Jord (Grandfather's Land)
Arvid: This song is dedicated to our grandfather Hans Möller, who passed away from Covid-19 in 2020. It speaks about how his generation built this place, with all its wonders and all its fallacies. Words derived from a conversation between Hans and ourselves, the young and the old. Perhaps also echoing the conversations between earth and man, as they appear in the search for a sustainable future.
Tiden Går För Fort (Time Goes By Too Fast)
Anna: My grandmother Margit was a very warm human being. One of those old, powerful ladies with strong arms, soft skin and a never-failing energy for others. She was always ready to listen, help out or refill plates of food or glasses of water. Margit was warm and kind, but also very experienced and clever. I remember she gave me my first ever perspective on aging and the passage of time. I was at her place when she walked by the hallway mirror and suddenly stopped, just looking at the old woman in the mirror staring back at her. Genuinely surprised she said: “I can not understand what I am doing inside that old wrinkled lady.” She made me understand that she had been a little child once, just as I was; that her old body carried all the ages of a lifetime. At that moment I realized that time goes way too fast.
Varandra (Each Other)
Erik: A melody got stuck in my mind after a late night jam session and years later we picked it up and it became this song. What happens when people stop speaking out and keep quiet? If we increasingly withdraw from taking a stand when faced with inaccuracies and wrongdoings, and let those who are the angriest get all the public space? This song came out of a desire for something else. As with many other things, it is our differences that are highlighted in today's society. Groups and behaviors are set against each other when we actually have so much more in common.
Anna: There is something magical about the very moment of change. The shift, the breaking point, the minutes just before dawn. The limbo between darkness and light, being lost and having a purpose. That moment when both darkness and light co-exist is what we tried to capture in this song; the feeling when you reach the top of the hill, let go and can suddenly breathe again. There is always a breaking point. “Genom natten gryr det en ny dag” - “Through the night a new day is borne.”
Till Skogen (To the Forest)
Mischa: The song came about during the year 2020, which was the warmest measured so far. The song is based on my frustration with how clearly research shows where we are headed versus how contradictory our leaders act. All the forests around the world are burning and no one wants to acknowledge it. I also bought a pedal organ the same year and finally managed to open the door within that wanted to write my own music and sing my heart's grief loud and clear.
Hjältesaga (Hero's Journey)
Arvid: The song was created in GarageBand on my mobile phone after the longest and most depressing scrolling session on social media. I was endlessly swiping for something to fulfill me. Through sampled synth sounds, these melodies emerged like a saving grace, helping me out of my indifference. "Hjältesaga" is about finding motivation to carry yourself through life, through its inevitable trials and depressions. It is about the dreams that have taken hold inside you and seem to stand up to the pressures of everyday trials. It is about he endless scrolling in search for something bigger and more meaningful.
Arvid: The song is directly inspired by Charles Eisenstein’s thinking and ideas, to leave what he calls “the story of separation” and enter into a new story - “the story of interbeing.” When I listened to a podcast with him for the first time during a forest walk, it created a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings.
I had always thought of the challenges of the world as various concrete facts that required concrete solutions: taxes, rules, laws, etc. But can it be that phenomena such as climate change and deforestation are symptoms of a deeper story we create together every day? And that as long as this story continues, the symptoms continue? And if so, how could one behave to seek another story, to learn about? This song tries to fumble after these answers.