Interview: Abramis Brama
Interview Abramis Brama: Abramis Brama was formed in 1997 in Stockholm. Dennis Berg interview December 2003.

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
Mamma talar
Svarta Madam
Tunga tankar
Dansa tokjaevelns vals

- Dennis, 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.
Down sides;
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 it.
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!'

2001 Naer tystnaden lagt sig... (When silence is here/has come)
Released in march 2001, the second album from Abramis Brama .

Abramis Brama
Kall som sten
Vad jag ser
100 dagar
Kom goer mig klok
Vill inte veta
När aelvorna dansar
Anemone Nemorosa

- Your Second Album, 'Naer tystnaden lagt sig...' came out 2001, feelings about it?
'Again this is also one of the baby’s.
First one with Ulf as singer and where we had found ourselves musically.
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 beer.'

2003 Nothing Changes
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 English ?
'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 on...
The cd-booklet however, contains some nice stories on what happened when we recorded the cd.'

Hazelnutz comments: Buy the album!
Abramis Live : 05/03/2004 Tantogarden ,Stockholm, Sweden
Abramis Links 

Abramis Brama's Official Site

Dennis Berg interview December 2003
by Claes Hassel
General Questions:
How did you get into the music business?
   '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 influences?
   'Yes, Who is one of my main influences.
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 fantastic bands.
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 black.
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 Bloodsucker
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 very loud”.
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.
Qoph, Woodrose.
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 00s?
   '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 guitar/producer?
   '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.'
If you 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 to?
   '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.'
Artist/album related questions:
The Beginning
    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.'
    Sort 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.'
Abramis Brama:
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? When?

'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 (2004).
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 songs.
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 of Stockholm.
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 into place.
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 Darkness (!)...

Any other stories/thoughts that you want to share with us?
   ' Again 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 orchids...
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!