ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

Interviews of Prog

Jonas Christophs
Jonas Christophs
Interview by Vitaly Menshikov

Welcome to Progressor - The Battle Station on the Virtual Rock Front Supported the Progressive Rock Movement.

Thank you for doing the interview, Jonas.

1. Please tell me briefly what's a Story of Isildurs Bane.

Isildurs Bane is an electronic chamber orchestra. We started in 1976... The older members of Isildurs Bane were musically brought up at the time when ELP, Yes and Genesis were appearing in the charts. New members come and go, and things changed to a degree in some ways, but all the fundamental ideas still remain unchanged. As to influences by some bands of the 70s years, we grew up with them, we thought we'll carry on their way, though none of our bandmembers wasn't back to listen to those bands anymore, apart from the King Crimson 'being', who was the only exception. And the younger members have too little listened to progressive rock bands to be really influenced by them. There seems to be some problems regarding newer progressive bands, many of whose are mostly concerned with an idea of belonging to a genre than with a real work. This will never happen if the music is truly progressive. Isildurs Bane 2000 - line-up: Klas Assarsson - Mallets & Percussion; Jonas Christophs - Guitars; Fredrick "Gicken" Joahansson - Bass; Mats Johansson - Keyboards; Kjell Severinsson - Drums & Percussion; Jan Severinsson - Sound.

2. Please explain the name of your band. It is always interesting...

Isildurs Bane, in the original English version and in its translation into Swedish as well, is one of the several names of "The Ring" in J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy "The Lord of the Rings". When the band was formed in 1976, there was a huge interest in the fantasy style displayed in all the possible kinds of Art, so it was quite natural to choose a name associated with the kind of music we create.

3. You are mostly writing all instrumental stuff. Is the lyrics less important to you?

Wrighting the music without vocals gives 'you' more freedom in a way. You have not to get some lyrics and to pay your special attention to them. Isildurs Bane haven't any vocalist already for many years - mainly just because we have never had a good lyrics... One has only to remember that when we started in the middle of the 70's the instrumental music was a common thing, more even common than the vocal based music, so, in this exact case, we're OK, we feel free writing the all instrumental music.

4. You have your own record label. What is its name?
How many Isildurs Bane's albums were released by it?
Who (was and/or) is your distribution dealer?
Are you happy with your (last/current) distribution deal?

Isildurs Bane have their own label called "Svenska Unikum" where all the cd productions are at stock. Having your own music label is a good alternative if 'you' want to control your music. Of course, it's difficult to do a large promotional marketing, but you'll find the same problem - with the majors or any other more or less respectable label as well - if only you're not "a famous group". We have a pretty good coperation with some international distributors, though it is really good when they really pay for our cd's!.. I can't tell you more... Some distribution companies have many bands that are unhappy with their work, but there's a large number of prog distributors whose work was really OK for us during the many years.

5. How did the Isildurs Bane first tour come about, and what memories, musical or social, do you have of those times?

It's hard to describe our very first tour, it was many, many (more than 20) years ago. There was a different spirit of the time with all things that come with it. Maybe, there was a more sincere interest to music and it helped many bands to be in a way during a long time. Well, the money problem was such a hard (to reach) rock in the music business always, but there was also a good alternative, such a 'prog' spirit of freedom, which has nothing to do with the music business, which made so many people happy. Of course, we have plenty of memories from our tours and other projects, but it is hard to put the feelings from our past into words now.

6. It's a nice surprise for some people that will see your show at the Baja Prog Progressive Rock festival starting on March 1 in Mexicali. What can you tell about the musical material selected for your Baja Prog IV performance?

Well, we've selected the songs from our latest three cd-productions: "Cheval", "The Voyage" and "MIND, Vol. 1", plus something more.

7. What other things do you have in line for the future?

During this year Isildurs Bane will release two new cd-productions. First, 'Isildurs Bane - Live' is coming late spring. A new studio cd-production called "Screenplay", which is a result of our cooperation with a talented artist, writer and designer Bernt Daniel, who lives sometimes in Sweden and sometimes in Passau, just outside Regensburg Germany, will be completed in the fall of the year. ScreenPlay is such a complex of arts that combines music, lyrics and pictures. Mats Johansson and Isildurs Bane compose a new music being deeply impressed by Bernt's "Libretto" called ScreenPlay, which itself consists already of two Arts: literature & paintings.

ScreenPlay is a suite of twentythree poems 'accompanied' by 23 pictures, each of whose was created with the employment of photography, collages, acrylics, oils, pastels and some other special things, and finally, reproduced into the laser copying machine so as to unite all these colours, lines and dimensions into a single whole, a unique thing called "Lasergraphics". During the composing several pictures will be reworked into a gradually changing series, each phase of which must be captured in only three original lasergraphics. This musical, lyrical and visual project, apart from a combined live performance/art show tour, will be released as a box (with a unique holistic artwork) consisting of four CD's with all instrumental music pieces, vocals based pieces, poems, sheet music, etc. Also, all pictures will be gathered together and printed as a large-size book to be released together with other materials as a united set in the year 2000.

Discography: "Sagan om den Irlandska algen"/"Sagan om Ringen" - 82; "Sea Reflections"/"Eight Moments of Eternity" - 85/87; "Cheval" - 89; "The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere" - 92; "Lost Eggs" - 94; "The Zorn Trio play Mats Johansson" - 96; "MIND, Volume I"- 97.

VM: Thank you very much - I appreciate your time.

February 21, 2000

ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages