This week we’re featuring the Swedish group Big Kizz in Meet The Band. They are relatively new, but its members are veterans of groups like Graveyard, Witchcraft and Spiders. Their full-length debut is Music Is Magic. Vocalist/guitarist Pontus Westman and drummer Axel Sjoberg introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Big Kizz.
Axel Sjöberg: Pontus asked me if I’d be in a tribute band with him and some other friends. It was for a Finnish band called Hurriganes (big in Sweden in the ’70s, huge in Finland). So we played some shows with that and one thing led to another, as they say. I remember having a moment when I saw him play with his other band Lady Banana where I sort of got tunnel vision and realized we had to make some of our own music together. Now we have a new album out and a second one coming soon.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Music Is Magic.
Axel: We mostly have ideas before we reach the rehearsal space. It could be a lyric or a melody that we work with together. Sometimes the actual song is ready before we start to practice it. It kind of depends of how far the song has got stuck in that person’s head before showing it to the others. So far we have made like 3 or for songs before we call London up. (London is a great technician with a cool studio). We record them, and then go back home and wait for four new ideas to show up.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Axel: I’d say it’s kicking and swinging in all directions in a coherent way. (laughs) If you want to label it, file under rock with sub genres power pop, punk, soul, garage, blues, post punk and maybe a bit of R&B.
What lyrical subjects do you cover?
Axel: It’s about life and its challenges, often divided into either love or party. Sometimes we use metaphors, sometimes we don’t.
How did you come to sign with Tee Pee Records?
Axel: I knew the people there since the early days with Graveyard. So take someone like Dave Sweetapple, he and I have known each other for ten years. From there it was pretty easy.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Axel: The main goal is, of course, that the people that buy it or hear it, like it. Next goal is that more and more people buy it, so that we can go and play in Australia. We want to go abroad when the weather is shitty in Sweden!
What has been your most memorable Big Kizz live show?
Axel: There’s two in particular. One, last year on a boat in Göteborg. We talked to a very skeptical captain and said we wanted to play there. This was maybe four days before we actually did it. We brought our own P.A. and put a bowl at the bar so if people wanted to pay for the show they were able. We’re actually thinking about turning it into an annual event. The second one was in Oslo earlier this year. It was a big venue and we supported a very popular Norwegian act that none of us had heard.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Axel: We just did two shows connected with the release of the album in Karlstad and Stockholm. Next we have a show back home in Göteborg. We kind of call that a release party also! Later in the summer, we have some shows at festivals. And in the fall we have a festival in Greece coming up!
How did you get started in music?
Pontus Westman: Like most people, I guess. I heard a great song on the radio, and thought, “I wanna do that.” There was also a period in third grade when my mother thought I should play the flute.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Pontus: When I first heard Iggy Pop, he scared the shit out of me. Later he became normal. I have also always loved Roky Erickson, Velvet Underground, British 77 punk.
Axel: I’m influenced by random stuff. Listened to early Metallica when I was a kid and a Swedish artist called Jerry Williams (legend!) and I even had a record with Dr. Alban. But I’ve also just been inspired by going to live shows and seeing people disappear into music on stage r start a riot.
What was the first concert you attended?
Pontus: Can´t remember that, but I remember going to a gig with Johnny Thunders before he died!
Who are your top Swedish bands of all time?
Pontus: There is some cool solo artists, but when you say bands I must say Union Carbide Productions and Mascara Snakes! These kind of questions are really hard because it can depend so much on what your flavor of the week is. There’s a really cool woman called Sarah Klang. She has an amazing voice. Will most likely blow up all over the world. I saw a show with JD Mc Pherson earlier this year. They blew me away. He’s not Swedish, but the concert was a trip. There’s a band called Bäddat För Trubbel that are awesome, too. Great lyrics, but they’re in Swedish.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Pontus: Right now I’m playing a Nuggets compilation called hallucinations. It keeps me up all night.
Axel: Lately I’ve been listening to Woods and Göggs and Betty Davis but they’re not Swedish either. And Des Demonas from Washington.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Pontus: I´d like to mention that Donald Trump is a complete ass, and promote the idea of supporting your local DIY concert organization.
(interview published May 26, 2018)
Watch Big Kizz – “I Want My Girl” Video