Mustasch - 02/07/2007

Mustasch is a heavy metal band that was founded in the fall of 1998 by Ralf Gyllenhammar, Hannes Hansson, Mats Hansson and Mats Johansson on the Mustasch farm on the island Orust in Sweden. All members have been active members of punk band Grindstone.


In that same year the band recorded their first demo which found its way to numerous singles and compilations. Soon, the band is picked up by EMI Music Sweden and early 2001 the EP `The True Sound Of The New West´ is released. The 2002 Mustasch debut album entitled `Above All´ takes a spot in the Swedish chart top 40 for an astounding 17 weeks, resulting in an extensive tour of Scandinavia and Germany with Gluecifer and Rose Tattoo. Producer Jacob Hellner (Rammstein, Clawfinger) produces the third album `Ratsafari´ in 2003 which leads to more touring. Barely a year later the band hits the studio once more and June 2005 sees the release of the album `Powerhouse´. When their contract with EMI comes to an end the band produces the EP `Parasite!´ on its own account in 2006. Shortly after, the Swedes sign a deal with Regain Records.


Mustasch´s latest accomplishment `Latest Version Of The Truth´ is packed with energetic rock ´n roll, stoner rock and 70´s heavy metal along the lines of bands such as Black Sabbath, Danzig and My Sister´s Machine. Singer Ralf Gyllenhammar´s adds extra flavour to the Mustasch sound with his Ian Astbury-like voice (The Cult).



Armed with this new album (which has been available through Regain Records since May 21), Mustasch is ready for an international break-through. 'Latest Version Of The Truth´ was recorded with Tobias Lindell at Bohus Sound Studios and mastered by the impeccable Vlado Meller (Audioslave, Metallica, Slayer) at Sony Music Studios, New York.


Today it is our pleasure to discuss the latest Mustasch album with bass player Mats Johansson, read on to find out what he had to say about it!


First of all, I would like to congratulate you with the new album. So lets talk about your new album ‘Latest Version Of The Truth’ now.


First question, can you introduce the band to our readers and tell us how the band got together?

We started in 1998 as a kind of reincarnation of a previous band, of which the lead guitarist and drummer both committed suicide. So Ralf took up the lead guitar together with the vocals, and we had known Dojan for a while, so it was easy to choose a drummer.


How did you launch into writing the material for ‘Latest Version Of The Truth’ after your previous album, did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

We did as we always do. Ralf comes to the rehearsal studio with a bunch of riffs, some of them already arranged into half-ready songs, and the rest we arrange  together.




Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Latest Version Of The Truth’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

We wanted to make an album that you would listen to straight through, an album with the focus on track order and overlaps in order to make it a solid one.


Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?

Yes. Thanks to our new label, we were given the total freedom of choosing the songs and sound by ourselves.


Can you tell me something about the writing process? Who was responsible for the songs and the lyrics on the new album?

Ralf writes 99% of the music and lyrics, but we all put our mark on the songs. Either just by playing our instruments, or the way we edit or emphasize the songs before and/or after they have been recorded.


What would you say are the main themes in your lyrics and how important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?

Personally I don't listen to lyrics at all. I only listen to the way they are sung, but I can fully understand that the bulk of all music lovers do think lyrics are important. In our case the lyrics are mainly about Ralf's life, way of life and his aspects of life, which of course most often apply to the rest of us.


What do you think are the main differences between your previous album and ‘Latest Version Of The Truth’?

If you're referring to "Powerhouse", then the biggest difference is the sound, I think. Tobias Lindell has the great taste of having as many sound effects as we always wanted to.



In song writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to Mustasch?  

The riff is the first one. Without a descent one, it's not a metal song.


You recently signed a deal with Regain records, what was the reason you joined them and were there other labels interested in your band?

Our contract with EMI ran out, and we started looking for a metal oriented label who then would have the proper channels for such music. Regain Records showed their interest and is based only 3 hours from Göteborg, so it seemed like the obvious choice.


How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?

We put the drums on tape first. Of course we all played together with Dojan for the sake of his listening, but we only taped the drums at that stage. Then on with the guitars fast, so Ralf could concentrate on getting the vocals right, which were all written in the studio, by the way. All in all it took 4 months of studio time, but then we changed the key of some songs, and had to re-record all bass and guitars.


Did you have a larger budget for this album than for the previous albums and, if so, did this change the way you worked?

We had the largest budget so far, so we practically made the whole album in the studio. We also hired a real string section and had Vlado Meller do the master in New York, which we never could have afforded otherwise.


Have you received any feedback on the new album yet? How do you feel about this album – are you satisfied with the outcome or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

This is the one album that every member of the band feels is by far the best one we've made. And we've received great reviews, mainly from outside Sweden, where it seems reviewers do their homework a lot better.



Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Latest Version Of The Truth’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

"The Truth" is, simply enough, our music, and this is the "Latest Version Of" it.

 The title also has a connection to our first release, the EP "The True Sound Of The New West", in the sense that this is sort of a restart with the new label and all.


With all the touring and over four albums and several EP’s under your belt, how far has Mustasch surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?

We had from the start the dream of getting paid for what you would like to do the most. Not necessarily to get rich, but at least to get by, so that we fully could concentrate on our music.


What can we expect from the band in the future and do you think, for instance that the band will still exist ten years from now?

We are touring Sweden this summer, and this fall we are coming to central Europe, hopefully together with Hellfueled and Crucified Barbara as a mini-festival on tour. There will also most likely be a visit to Japan and USA some time later on.

If we somehow could find a way to combine our music lives with our personal lives, then I can think of no reason why we shouldn't continue.



Ok, now some questions to enable our readers to get to know you a little better:


How do you feel about the illegal downloading of music from the internet, many albums these days are already on the internet before they are officially released?

Our latest album was actually on the internet 3 weeks before it was released, which is unfortunate because it takes the edge off a release party. But we do not disapprove in illegal downloading. I mean, if you really like something you hear, you probably will buy the album sooner or later anyway. Or at least you want to go and see a concert, which is actually better because that will bring more Pesos to the artist's pockets.


How did you get involved in the music business?

I've been playing the bass since I was 15, and for a while I worked as a live sound engineer until we landed a record deal with EMI in 2000.


What songs and bands do you listen to these days?

I listen to so much metal and hard rock music at work, so on my free time I mostly listen film scores, such as Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman etc.


I assume you are not yet capable of making a living out of Mustasch; what is a common day like for you?

You assume wrong. I live on the music. Right now, at least.


What is your opinion on the metal and rock scene these days, especially the Swedish and Scandinavian scene, is there anything missing?

I think it's pretty well developed as it is. Maybe we could use some more independent and international acts. It is always interesting to hear fresh music from abroad.


Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?

Pink Floyd - "The Dark Side Of The Moon". You can hardly find a more cinematographic album.


Okay, if you could choose three bands to get on stage with, who would they be?

If you mean the whole Mustasch, I think Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden and Lolo Ferrari.


Is there anything you’d still like to share with us?

If you'd download the album and you should like it, then buy it.

Heavy Metal In The Sky!

Thanks for your time!





2001 The True Sound of the New West

2002 Above All

2003 Ratsafari

2005 Powerhouse

2006 Parasite!

2007 Latest Version of the Truth



Ralf Gyllenhammar - Lead Guitar, Vocals  

Hannes Hansson - Rhythm Guitar

Mats Johansson - Bass

Mats Hansson - Drums