An Echosynthetic Conversation with Swedish Electronic Pop Pioneers, PAGE + New Music!

The newest album from PAGE, “Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut” tells a dark and sad, yet beautiful story. The music in itself is in the usual PAGE fashion, sounding quite “happy” or “upbeat”, with darker tones hanging over it. Even if you might not understand Swedish, you still get the general feel that it’s trying to mediate.

The album single “Krasch” is in my opinion the perfect song chosen to represent the album. It has the perfect blend of PAGE’s variety to show who they are as a band. There’s no bullshit, straight up – this is life, and you’ve gotta deal with it. That’s what I really love about this band, some of the lyrics are so deep if you read between the lines. If you would listen to an instrumental version, you’d be up on the dance floor rocking out. It’s quite confusing if you think about it, but I also admire their ability to mix these things together and create such an amazing album.

I would also like to say that the album is a good example of what reality looks like today. Things that we do not talk about. Such a thing is still taboo in many parts of our world. If someone asks you how you’re feeling, what do you say? Usually “I’m fine thanks, you?” and go on with your day. I think Eddie is one of the few that can put words onto the feelings many of us have. That dullness that creeps up, to cover our thoughts with a wet blanket. Things aren’t what they used to be. You could also say it’s about being an adult, and what follows if you get stuck in a routine. About a relationship becoming stagnant and generally just existing. I believe that is one of the greatest fears these days. The album really makes you think twice about the meaning behind each song.

However, the bonus tracks are a whole other story. But I’ll leave those out for this review, please support the band and buy the CD or vinyl (EP available on iTunes).

”I remember everything that was good, it was nothing”

Echosynthetic’s Tristan called PAGE’s Eddie Bengtsson to talk a bit about the new album, how it is to be an electronic band in Sweden and PAGE’s unique sound.

Hi Eddie, what’s up?

”I’m good, the weather’s nice”

You recently released a new album that has a lot of that ”PAGE sound.”

”Yes we do have our own sound and when people buy a PAGE album they know what they’re getting. No one gets disappointed really because we haven’t made any radical changes.

When you went into production, was there a meaning behind the fact that the sound on the album is ”hollow”?

”Yes, I feel that a voice is as much of an instrument as any other and should be a part of the music. If the voice is too loud, the music will become a package that you miss out on and the focus stays on the voice only. When I make a song I start with a little music and then just go for it so that the singing and the music fight each other to be heard. The music should bury the singing. If you have difficulty hearing what I’m singing we have a booklet with lyrics that can help you. The booklet is also there for you to read the lyrics and analyse what they’re about. It gives the music more purpose.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is ”Det var ingenting” (”It was nothing”) which starts off a bit gentle and then turns dark.

(I agree and considers the song to be a very good example of PAGE’s sound and feeling.)

Where do you get your inspiration?

”It’s been a pretty tough year for me in different ways. Full of anger and frustration, you almost start to wonder; what’s the point of it all. No matter what, nothing comes of it.

Of course PAGE is a teenage heart’s dream, but also something a lot of us can identify ourselves with now. How do you try and reach out to people today?

”People don’t want ”synth”, I hate that word. The media came up with it to try and ridicule those who listen to electronic music. If you tell someone you listen to synth you’re almost deemed an idiot. –“No we can’t talk music with that guy, he only listens to synthpop”. That’s why instead I think we should use the word ”pop” or ”electronic pop”.

It’s hard to reach out to a new crowd, before there were music magazines where we would be featured in big spreads, but they’re not around anymore. Nowadays there are blogs, Facebook [social media] and different forums to help you reach out. Public media like newspapers and radio write about and play the more commercial music that the record companies want to promote. More than often these are targeted towards kids and young people and that’s why we hardly stand a chance. (Listen to “Spottar Långt” from the album.)

During our conversation we talk a lot about the ”similarities” between the Swedish popband Kent and PAGE.

”If I had given one song to Jocke Berg (singer of Kent) and he one song to me, it would have been a commercial hit. If we could have come into contact with them before they decided to quit, which is very hard, and maybe had a chance to be their opening act, I’m sure we’d have a whole lot more listeners today. PAGE’s music is very much alike the kind that Kent did and it’s a band that I like very much.”

(PAGE found their way into music earlier than Kent though)

You’re not releasing that many albums and you’re rarely on stage. I’m guessing you’re doing this out of pocket? You obviously haven’t given up on your music yet?

”We pay for and arrange everything ourselves, we have never been able to live off of our music. At the same time it’s nice to live by this tempo that we’ve got. Me and Marina are good friends and that’s why the band lives on. We make music because it’s fun and we play for those who like what we do. So if we play three gigs per year, that’s why it’s more festive when we do it.

You’re playing at Electronic Summer in Gothenburg this August/September, how do you feel about that?

”It’s going to be fun. There’s no pressure on us to release albums or tour like many other bands. When we’re out playing, we want to deliver something new and not just the same 20 year old songs.

How do you think the live scene has changed in Sweden through the years?

”During the 80’s and 90’s there were a lot of live opportunities. We had loads of music associations arranging concerts and festivals. They were given funds from the county to do so. Today there aren’t many left and the attitude is completely different from before. Sometimes we’re expected to do a gig for free because ‘it would be fun if you could stop by and play’. You almost have to go overseas to find a really cool festival.

Talk about a bad attitude considering what you put into your music and to get it out into the world. Speaking of, will you be releasing the albums digitally?

”No I don’t like Spotify and other media where it’s free and you’re only getting a few pennies. But today it’s like that, you’re expecting everything to be free and available. If I like an album or a book, I’ll buy it. It’s not that hard to transfer a CD to your computer or phone, at least you’ve paid for it. But when the vinyl is released*, the album will be available on iTunes. Apart from that we have a few tracks on YouTube and Spotify.”

Eddie asks me what I think about the album and I reply that I think it’s really good, exactly what I like about PAGE and electronic music in general. He says:

”If this album had been made by any other, I still would have bought it and listened, just because it’s so good. I’m proud of it and it’s distinctive from the others we’ve put out. Other albums you can grow tired of, but this one will last.

Lastly, is there a band that you would like to push for that you think deserves more listeners?

”I like Machinista. But I would also like to push for a band called Datapop. Two guys who just recently released an album. They’re playing Kraftwerk pastisches, they’re not imitators, just staying true to their sound. Datapop sounds like Kraftwerk when they were as cool as can be.

And here’s when I thank Eddie for our chat.

This interview is based on a phone call from July 19th 2017.

* Vinyl is now available for sale.

PAGE will be performing at the Electronic Summer festival in Gothenburg, September 2nd.

A huge thanks to Eddie for proofreading the interview, and also to my mom, Jana for translating it for me.

Album available here:

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