The latest solo release from Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, ex-Opeth) is the EP All Is Well In The Land Of The Living, But For The Rest Of Us… Lights Out. Wiberg plays all instruments except drums and handles the vocals. He gives us the scoop on the EP and some of his other projects.
Chad Bowar: How did the songwriting process for All Is Well… compare to Head Without Eyes?
Per Wiberg: Both were pretty much the same, maybe a little easier with the EP since I found a way that works for me to get stuff done. I initially wanted the EP to showcase the acoustic and laid back side, but after a while I scrapped that and just went with it, so to speak.
Who else played on the album?
Tor Sjödén played drums, great musician and all around top dude. I’ve known him for awhile and he’s in the Swedish band Viagra Boys and a bunch of other cool projects. Metal related would be that he played in New Keepers of The Water Towers.
What will be your strongest memory of recording the EP?
The most fun part was recording drums/perc with Tor Sjödén. For me there’s a certain humility and a lot of positive energy in watching another musician take on the music I’ve written, especially the improv bits (“But For The Rest Of Us…”) which definitely wouldn’t have been as cool without his input.
Did the pandemic affect the recording of the album?
Not the actual recording, but the mix and the release was affected, meaning a little later than the original plan. It’s nothing I thought too much about though, since it’s the same for everyone. I’m just super happy it’ll finally be out there!
How has your sound evolved from Head Without Eyes?
They’re kinda tied together so in my opinion they’re fairly similar. There’s a few new flavors though, like the third song (“BFTROU..”) which is based on a piano improvisation. I set a timer for 6 minutes, went for it and didn’t edit anything. Then I added stuff on top and arranged things to fit accordingly. It’s a new way of working for me so that was a nice challenge and something I enjoyed doing. Heard from quite a few that they think the EP’s darker than the Head Without Eyes album. Difficult for me to say if that’s the case. Maybe!?
What inspired your lyrics this time around?
All of the lyrics are based on a song from the first album Head Without Eyes. There’s a song on there called “Anywhere The Blood Flows” which has a loose story about the afterlife which was cool to explore further. So if Interested and want to nerd out, listen to that track first and then the EP.
Do you have plans to play live shows to support the EP?
Yes, I want to try to get out there and play live as soon as possible. There are no booked tours/gigs at the moment so realistically I’d say a few shows in Sweden to start with would be the best bet. Then of course we’ll see what happens from the winter and onwards with the touring possibilities.
What are your goals for the EP?
The original goal for the EP was to get started playing live. When the Head Without Eyes album was released I wasn’t dead set on if I wanted to do more than the odd show and possibly a few festivals but the more I thought about it I wanted to go out there and play like a ”normal” band. Musically it feels like I’m finished with part one of my solo adventure now, which is a good feeling.
How has the pandemic affected you personally?
Workwise it means I lost the majority of my income as touring has been my livelihood the last 30 plus years. I’m fortunate to do freelance graphics on the side now and then and people have been kind enough to throw work at me, I’m very grateful for that. It’s been a year of reflection for most people I guess and I’ll just keep on keeping on with music as long as I can. It could end tomorrow, I don’t take things for granted but I’m gonna continue and give it a shot. We’ll see what the future holds I guess.
What’s the status of the next Spiritual Beggars album?
None, there’s no Beggars activity really and I can’t see anything happening in the near future with that.
Is Kamchatka working on new material?
Yes, we are. Obviously it’s difficult to say these days if gigs/tours are happening, but we’ve got a German Tour in December which is not cancelled yet and we’d like to have new music out in time for that, fingers crossed!
Give us a preview of the album you’re doing with Martin Axenrot.
It’ll be called Axemountain. Besides being a good friend we’ve always had a great musical connection and he’s one of the most talented musicians I know. He writes riffs and music as well and it’s very easy for us to come up with stuff together. We didn’t start with the intention to make a record as such, but as we went along and worked on ideas it felt natural to aim for an album. It hints at stuff both of us been involved in through the years, the metal, the progressive and the doom. It’s got an organic rock and roll feel to it though and if so, it would be a pleasure to play live someday.
What other bands/projects are you currently involved with?
I’ve played keys with the Swedish band Switchblade since 2012. There’s been a few lineup changes and I’m promoted to bass player now. Rickard from Svartkonst will do the lead vocals and a new album is in the works. The majority of the music is finished and we’ll start to record in the summer hopefully.
I’m playing bass with a punk band called Slutavverkning as well. It’s a good mix of punk rock/hardcore and noise/free jazz with Swedish lyrics. Same there, full length is in the works but won’t be released until winter 21/22 I think. Apart from these I’ve done quite a few sessions for friends and bands the last year, mainly for recordings. I started to put a fairly accurate and up to date discography on perwibergmusic.com for those interested.
You play several different instruments. Which came first?
Keys, and then guitar/bass at the same time, early teens basically. When it comes to heavier music there’s a million guitar players and bassists out there so usually people want me to play keys when it comes to recordings. Live I’ve mostly been playing bass in bands the last 6-7 years. I haven’t played guitar live in a long time though, so that’s mostly been a studio thing but it’s good fun to be able to switch it up.
Is there an instrument you like to learn to play but haven’t yet?
Yes, I suck so bad at drums! I got a few friends who are great drummers so I’m hoping for some guidance to learn the rudimentary stuff. That would be a dream come true, one day though.
You’ve played in bands in numerous genres. When you’re listening to music for pleasure, what genres are your favorites?
It changes daily, music is life and I’m a complete music junkie. I love to go to shows and check out new music of all kinds as well. If it’s a ”normal” year with lots of touring and studio work I always make time to go to a few festivals to just hang out and indulge in music. Preferably Roadburn Festival for the riff driven stuff and the Le Guess Who? Festival for the experimental, improv and avantgarde music.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Graphics/art, which most of the times tend to be music related anyway. I’m into sports a lot, big hockey fan and an avid watcher of winter sports, skiing and biathlon mostly. Movies and books of course as well, should read more fiction though, I usually end up reading music related stuff.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thanks for the interview, check out the EP and sincerely hope I can bring this on the road when it’s possible later on. perwibergmusic.com is a good place to start with regarding bands/sessions and collabs. Stay safe!
(interview published May 14, 2021)