Abramis Brama from the south of Stockholm, Sweden, had their first reharsal on
the 28th of April 1997 and began their career playing November-covers since
no-one else were doing it.
They realized they liked singing in their mother tounge together with heavy
music and started writing songs on that note.
In the spring of -99, after a few of the songs from the first recorded demo
were played on national Swedish radio and bass player Dennis had been
interviewed, the label Record Heaven contacted the band and offered to release
the debut album "Dansa tokjavelns vals" (Dance the mad-devils waltz).
To date, more than half the album has been played on national Swedish radio.
Late in 1999 a change of guards came when original singer Christian
Andersen left and in through the out door came Dennis
old school friend Ulf Torkelsson (ex. Sunflower)
to handle the microphone.
Recording sessions for a follow up album called "Nar tystnaden lagt sig..."
(When silence is here/has come) started.
Released in march 2001, so far it has gone into a second pressing, and once
again, more than half of the album has been played on national Swedish radio.
Abramis Brama also contributed one song to Record Heavens
Captain Beyond Tribute (Thousand days of yesterdays, -a
tribute to Captain Beyond).
A truly spaced out re-arranged version of Mesmerazation Eclipse can be
heard, sung in Swedish.
The bands name is Latin for Bream (common freshwater fish).
Abramis Brama is;
Dennis Berg, bass, vocals.
Fredrik Jansson, drums, percussion.
Per-Olof Andersson, guitar.
Ulf Torkelsson, vocals, harmonica, percussion.
|1999 Dansa tokjaevelns vals(Dance the mad-devils waltz)
On the first of november 1999 Abramis Brama released their
first full length album on the label Record Heaven.
Guld och groena skogar
Dansa tokjaevelns vals
what do you think about the debutalbum, Dansa tokjaevelns vals?
'Who doesn’t love their children? This one is like a baby to me, our
first REAL cd. I remember Janssons wet eyes when I gave him
his copies. That says a lot right there.
The songs are wonderfully naive and simple. Most of these songs are the first
complete take in the studio! It was recorded on an old 8-channel tape recorder
and there weren’t space enough on the tape to save different takes (to be able
to chose in-between them), so the first version that contained the fewest
mistakes (which was usually the first complete take) is what you hear.
Because of bad communication (between us and the label) the cd has been
mastered twice so therefore the sound is very compressed.
The first mastering sounds way better. If we do a reprint we’re gonna do it
right this time, you live and learn.
- Favourite Songs(and why)?
'Hard not to say "Mamma talar" since its highly responsible for
putting us where we are.
I wrote the main riff mostly as a joke-version of a Kyuss song
called "Green machine".
When I presented it to Peo and Jansson they
liked it and I took it home again and knocked in some more riffs and wrote the
lyrics at work.
Christian wrote the words for the middle section and that was
We’re obligated to play it every time we play live, I think we’ve done it on
every gig throughout the years except two. A song (I think) we play to seldom
from this album is "Tunga tankar". What a groover! '
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions??
'3 of the songs are from our first recording session in April -98.
The other 6 songs was recorded when we had gotten air-play with "Mamma talar"
and gotten the deal with Record Heaven, so the confidence we
had in ourselves and in our band at that time stands uncompared. The feeling of
knowing that what we record now is gonna end up on album!'
tystnaden lagt sig... (When silence is here/has come)
||Released in march 2001, the second album from Abramis
Kall som sten
Vad jag ser
Kom goer mig klok
Vill inte veta
När aelvorna dansar
- Your Second Album, 'Naer tystnaden lagt sig...' came out 2001, feelings about
'Again this is also one of the baby’s.
First one with Ulf as singer and where we had found ourselves
This is how we sound, this is us then and now.
- Favourite Songs(and why)?
'This is probably an odd one, but I have to say "När älvorna dansar"
since it ’s probably my all time favorite Abramis song. It’s
as Abramis as you can get.
From the very mid 60´s Monica Zetterlund jazzy beginning to
the mega heavy groove that turns into shuffle madness with Ulf
screaming his cords off. I love it. '
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions??
'5 of the songs were recorded in Ulf´s hometown Sollefteå in a
very midsummery environment. Wonderful town with wonderful people. We put our
gear, drums and all on a trailer and drove 550 kilometers and spent 5 days in
an old rehearsal room with a 16-channel tape recorder together with some cheap
The album contains 4 songs from our first album and 5 from our second. The
songs are re-recordings and NOT the original recording with added english
lyrics. Only one of the songs has translated lyrics, "All is black" (Svart),
the rest has new words on new subjects
Abramis Brama (instrumental)
Know your lying (Mamma talar)
Just like me (Vad jag ser)
Anticlockwise man (Nalen)
All is black (Svart)
Nothing changes (Soemnloes)
Promises (Svarta madam)
Never leaving my mind (Dansa tokjaevelns vals)
Parts of my mind (100 dagar)
- Your third album, 'Nothing Changes', released 2003 a sort of best of in
'It’s to be looked at as a best of album in English. Most of the takes are
better than the original ones (performance-wise), and it turned out way better
than what we thought.
As it says in the booklet;
"It’s not a change of plan, the next album kommer att vara på svenska".
And we mean it. We did this one because the label paid for it and we thought it
would be an interesting idea, and as we thought about it we realized that we
would be stupid NOT to do it.
There are zillions of bands in this country, how many of them gets to be asked
by a label;
"can you please make a record in english, we´ll pay for it"?
After all we are in some very good company, November, Pugh
and even Mikael Ramel recorded in English...'
- Favourite Songs(and why)?
'I really like the way that "Never leaving my mind" turned into a
totally new song with the clever song arrangements from Ulf.
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions?
'For me personally it’s sort of a blur.
I went through a rough breaking up kind of period with a girl at the time,
which reflects in some of the lyrics I wrote for the album (Know you’re lying
& Nothing changes).
We learned how to cheat with computers though, editing out mistakes and so
The cd-booklet however, contains some nice stories on what happened when we
recorded the cd.'
Hazelnutz comments: Buy the album!
Live : 05/03/2004 Tantogarden ,Stockholm, Sweden
Abramis Brama's Official Site
Berg interview December 2003
by Claes Hassel
|How did you get into the
||'My dad was already in the business as
a sound technician/roadie so I was kind of in the business even before I picked
up an instrument.
He played bass in a number of outfits and hardrock was always present at home.
He’s still got his original vinyl copies of In Rock, Disraeli Gears and so on.
That was probably the most inspiring environment you could put anybody with a
musical interest, the best music ever made played in the stereo and my dad
laying out the base lines on a Fender precision..'
|Who has been your main
||'Yes, Who is one of my main
I would say for understanding and getting inside the song writing side of it
AC/DC circa 1985 are probably responsible.
The amount of hours spent in front of the stereo finding out what Malcolm is
really playing on “Gone Shooting”… Just trying to understand where
THAT GROOVE came from, see, that’ s what differs ok/mediocre bands from
Anybody can learn the riffs and all but few can master THE GROOVE. That’s why a
cover band like Belford (who only does AC/DC songs
from the Bon Scott era, Belford was Bon´s
middle name) are so damn good, they’ve got THE GROOVE!
Whilst any band can play the songs accurately but it wont be near as good since
the soul and the spirit is not there. No authenticity.
Anyway, back to the influences; I’ve been wearing the apparent Purple/Sabbath/Cream
songs inside and out and getting to know them riffs like the back of my hand in
such a way that they became part of my system.
And they’re still there!
We still play the odd Sabbath song every now and then just to
know they’re still in the planted in the backbone.'
|List five(or more) albums
of the bands/artists that you like the most and why!
||'1. AC/DC, Back in
The most complete album, not a dull moment in there. With the superb production
of Mutt Lange (I wish they would use him again) to get that crunchy sound that
since hasn’t been beaten.
2. AC/DC, Highway to Hell.
Bon´s last, and his best. Again Mutt Lange and his production. Top notch but
not as good as B.I.B.
3. AC/DC, For those about to Rock.
The last one Mutt produced (from then on it went down hill, go figure). The
sound is somewhat more polished than B.I.B. but the songs aren’t as good. Still
C.O.D and Snowballed are highlights.
In no what so ever order but kind of number 4 and onwards;
Black Sabbath, Paranoid.
At their best as performing musicians and as songwriters. The groove. THAT
GROOVE! Just listen to the filmed Paris gig from 1970 (prior to the release of Paranoid)
and you’ll see what I mean.
A year later money and drugs destroyed their performing skills although the
song writing was intact. Listen to the “Live at last” and be amazed how fast a
band can go down hill. Ozzy is constantly out of key and Bill
Ward has the power of a one legged hen. Sad.
Deep Purple, In Rock.
What was it that made an average cover band (Deep Purple Mk1)
into the monster that released In Rock (Mk2)? I’d like to know.
The sound is FAT. Still beats most things I hear today. And the groove…man that
groove. The middle section of Speed King. Goddamn. And the evilness of
Led Zeppelin, 2.
Again, that groove. Still blues based and in focus and not drugged to hell. “What
is and what should never be”. I remember getting this sent to me on a
tape whilst in summer camp (kollo) from my dad with a note saying,
“Get some big earphones and listen to the middle section of Whole lotta love
Still hasn’t really recovered from that, but man what a trip…
The Who, Live at Leeds.
The raw sound of The Who live wasn’t really comparable to the
sound of their records up until “Who’s next”.
Here at their best. Entwistle´s bass sound on this album is
the best ever. Period.
The Cream, Those were the days.
4 cd box set that covers just about everything they did, which in this case is
very important. None of their albums really did them any justice, they were SO
superior live. SO superior.
Ginger Baker is together with Keith Moon (Who)
and Ian Paice (Purple) and Bonham (Zeppelin)
one of my all time favorite drummers. A unique style. He’s sort of “riffing” on
the drums. A genius when it comes to drumming. Simplicity itself, less is more.
Jethro Tull, Stand Up.
Still blues based with the wonderful madness of Ian Anderson and
his flute. The most “hard rock” kind of album they did, live they were (in my
humble opinion) at there best in this period (up until Thick as a brick).
Terra Firma, Harms way.
Sadly overlooked band and album. Everyone seems to have missed out on this one.
If they had been exposed correctly they should have been huge. Chritus
(singer) has a stage presence and is a personality that you seldom see anywhere
these days. The album was released in 2001 and after listening to it for a few
100 times im still not bored with it. It’s got that something. If you’re into
the bands/albums mentioned above and has not yet heard Terra Firma´s
Harms way, do yourself a favor and get it. It’s worth it. Sabbath
riffing in a ¾ beat. Mega.
An album that is not yet released, but soon to be (January 2004 was the last I
heard). The music can sometimes be a bit complicated with weird time changes
but they NEVER LOOSE THAT OH SO IMPORTANT GROOVE! That’s usually the boring
thing about the technical type of bands, they don’ t have the groove. Just
blistering musicianship, but how good is the jazz if you aint got that swing?
These guys can swing all right.
|What time was/is the most
interesting for the rock music, in your opinion and why - 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or
||'I’d say 1968 to 1972.
That’s when the blues based rock exploded into what became the base ingredient
for all hard rock. The doominess of Sabbath, The mega hard
blues powered Zeppelin, the complexity and the depth of Purple,
the riff based grooving of Mountain etc…
It all comes from that very short period of time, and we all ought to it!
None of the hard rock/metal type of music today would exist if it weren’t for
what happened then.'
|Your dream band(living or
dead ;), who would they be, vocal/bass/drums/keyboard/lead guitar/rythm
||'The answer for this would just turn
into a list of favorite singers and guitarist and so on, so I'm not even gonna
try. One very interesting thought however is what would have happened if when
Cream disbanded, they should have replaced the somewhat wimpy Clapton
with the mega heavy Leslie West? A trio consisting of Jack
Bruce (voc/bass/harmonica), Ginger Baker (drums)
and Leslie West on guitar/vocals… Food for thought ey?'
|What kind of equipment/gear
are you using on the road and in the studio?
||'I’m using a Squier Jazz Bass
and a huge Ampeg amp/speaker system.
It’s so big we’ve discussed the possibility of having it registered as a car.'
dont have been in the music business what have you been doing then?
||'Ohh…a philosophical one ey?
Hmmm…more carp fishing, maybe I would have continued with my weightlifting.'
|What are you currently up
||'We are fiddling
about in the studio and recording the last three songs for our next album!
We hope to release it sometime during the spring.
Apart from that we just released a sort of “best of” album in English entitled “Nothing
Changes” (SRR012) that contains four songs from our first album and
five songs from our second, all re-recorded with English lyrics. Very nice
sound to it.'
Your first band, name and when did it begun??
||'My very first real band was when I
was 10 and I think we called ourselves "White" (I found a sign
on my Dad’s bass speaker that said so I figured...).
I played drums and we had a guitarist and a bass player. I’ve actually still
got some tape recordings left. The guitarist didn’t want to play solos so every
song used to contain a 2-minute drum solo. Very interesting stuff.'
of music? ...Influences?
||'We played hard
rock. Period. We did cover Y&T´s "Mean streak"
amongst other things. The main influences were probably AC/DC and
Judas Priest together with Accept.
Maybe some Motörhead on top of that.'
|The Beginning of Abramis
Brama, when and how?
||'In 1997 I gave Jansson
(drummer) a tape with November, and told him:
"Don’t even dare to play this stuff in a band without me being involved".
He sort of thought that early 70´s hard rock sung in Swedish would be wimpy and
felt more embarrassed (abot me saying so) than anything.
Three days later he called me and yelled "We gotto play this stuff"!
I worked with Peo at the time and he turned out to be
interested in playing in a band with me and Jansson.
Later on that summer, first singer Christian overheard a
conversation between me and Peo where we discussed what songs
to play on our next rehearsal.
Christian told us that he used to be a singer and asked if he
could join us with a 6-pack and scream some Sabbath occasionally.
We played some November, Sabbath, Purple
etc for the next 6 months up until I hired this barn where we played our first
ever gig. After that gig the other three said they where interested in
continuing if we did some original material instead of just covers, so I
started writing stuff and Peo was the perfect bounce for that.
He instantly brought up ideas and we wrote tons of songs with stuff that had
just been sitting in there for years.
In a weekend in April the next year (1998) we recorded our first demo
containing 12 original songs, all complete with Swedish lyrics.
Fast forward to dec 98/jan 99 when I threw together a 6 song demo (from the 12
we recorded) and sent them to amongst others Record Heaven and
Håkan Persson (of P3 Rock). Håkan picked up on
the track "Mamma talar" and so on and so forth and here we are!
A copy of the 6 song demo (which was made in 20 copies) has actually been seen
in a record shop in Stockholm for 80SEK standing next to a Sabbath
cd that costed 50SEK!'
|Any New record on the way?
'We’ve just started recording what are to be the last 3 songs for our next
Swedish album, which hopefully will be released in the spring of next year
So far we’ve got some 9 songs that are planned to go on the album. We’ve been
recording when we’ve had finished songs and this has been throughout the last
two years, the first two songs we recorded was in November 2001 so we’ve been
quite a while in the making...
The recorded material is awesome. VERY different in-between the different
From the mega heavy to the ultra bluesy to the very mellow, it has it all and
it all sounds just like Abramis!'
The Concerts with the Abramis Brama:
- First Concert, where/when?
'The first one was on November 21st in 1997 in a barn in Farsta, south suburb
We played some 22 songs in two sets, opened with a very AC/DC version
of Fleetwood Macs "Oh well".'
- Best concert, where/when/why?
Our gig at Sweden Rock Festival in 2000 is where things came
We’ ve done far better gigs and had far better audiences and have gained a lot
of fans since then, but that gig really sticks out.
Ulf really transformed and turned into who he is on stage
nowadays on that gig. My guess is that when we come back this summer (to Sweden
Rock Festival), its gonna be one hell of a gig. Don’t miss it!
- Which songs do/did you like performing live most and why?
'"Mamma talar", -because I wrote most of it and the reaction from the
audience send chills down my spine just thinking about it,
"100 dagar", -because the groove in the middle section where the
audience are either jumping or head banging their necks to oblivion is awesome,
"Nålen", where a surprise sing-along might occur sometimes,
"Men mitt hjärta ska vara gjort av sten" because you CAN’T POSSIBLY
get bored with the audiences reaction to that song.'
- Any anecdotes/special memories from your concerts?
'Too many to mention, but ill tell you a short one.
When we played in Gothemburg in November this year, this guy in a suite walked
on stage after we played "Kom gör mig klok" and asked us to stop
playing ballads and play "I believe in a thing called love" by The
|Any other stories/thoughts
that you want to share with us?
probably too many to mention, but i´ll tell you about one of our favourite
carachters that dont get enough recognition, he´s a huge source of inspiration
to all of us and a great friend.
It´s a guy called Janne that used to sing in a sadly missed
band called HalfMan.
Whenever we´re down south we try to steer the ship his way.
He´s got a big old house filled with strange memorabilia (original November
poster from 1971 amongst other things) and about 4-5000 vinyl records, mostly
strange unheard progressive music from early seventies.
We always get served his special homemade mushroom soup with a short solo on a
military-trumpet. That soup is very special.
His friend once collected no less than four knifes from within the soup whilst
Janne went to change records.
He´d pick one up, make sure the bowl was empty on knifes, next time he turned
his back to the soup he would find another one... -Very weird.
He´s also got a cat named Evil Barbro and a thing about
We love him. Maybe he´ll appear on an albumcover dressed up for hunting
"grisgädda" in his backyard, armed with a 'bandyklubba' and a Jofa helmet. You
might recognize the picture from somewhere.'
Many Thanks to Dennis Berg for spending time on this interview
and sharing it with us!