The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






If you love your rock forged in the same fires as some of the greats of the Hard Rock and Metal genres then Saturn is a band you need to listen to/ Putting a new slant on the music we all love without sounding derivative or anachronistic these days is a tough ask, but somehow Saturn manages to take you to places you thought you knew... enjoy the ride.

Mark: Hi, Robin thanks for talking to us tonight. We love the album, “Ascending (Live in Space)”, it’s probably up there as one of the best albums I’ve heard all year!

Robin: Oh, wow! Really? Thank you very much!

Mark: Congratulations on that, you must be getting excited on the lead up to the release?

Robin: Absolutely, we are, we are so thrilled about the release.

Mark: It’s a great record label that you’re signed to, Rise Above Records; they’re signing some great artists at the moment. I guess the first thing we need to know is a little bit about Saturn, for people here in Australia,  how the band got together, where you guys all came from, and where you’re going? Can you fill us in?

Robin: Well, me and the singer Oscar, we are old friends, we’ve been friends  since we were like fourteen years old, but I moved to Southern Sweden for two years and we lost contact. When I moved back home, him and another guy, Linkan, they were jamming, playing bass and guitar, nothing else, and so I came along and started playing guitar with them, and we all felt like this could turn out to be something good.
Mark: So how long have you been together?

Robin: We’ve played together since 2011, so three and a half years.

Mark: As far as musical backgrounds go, will we find you are a band that has similar record collections? Do you all come from the same “rock’ backgrounds?

Robin: I think we all love the 70’s era, Heavy Metal and Classic Rock, but I think Linkan is more into the 90’s Thrash Metal, like Slayer and Metallica. So, he’s the one who comes up with the thrash riffs, and we come up with the more classic rock and tend to go more “bluesy”.

Mark: Sweden is producing some very interesting bands at the moment, and it’s hard for us, outside of Sweden, to know if there’s a real scene going on. So, where do you fit in back home, and what sort of people come to your shows?

Robin: People who like rock music! The crowd is very mixed, if we play in a no alcohol area, people are younger than 18, but as far as age, my dad is 56, and many of his friends love our music, so it’s very mixed ages that come to see us.

Mark: So, let’s talk about the album, the title first of all; “Ascending” sounds like a pretty positive title where did that come from?

Robin: Well, ascending as in space, since we play space themes and as our name is Saturn. One album that I really love is Rainbow,” Rising”, so I thought why not Saturn,” Ascending”.

Mark: Yeah, makes sense!

Robin: It’s kind of in honour of Rainbow.

Mark: Tell us a little bit about how you write the music, and what’s the creation process like for the band? Do you all write together, do you jam?

Robin: For myself, I often sit in my apartment and come up with riffs, and song ideas, but they are not always finished. I play an idea for the guys in my band in the rehearsal area, and they come up with other ideas, and so we all together finalise the track.

Mark: “So, You Have Chosen Death” is the first taster video you’ve put out, set in a small club which looks like the clubs we used to go to back in the day, with a good energetic crowd, it sort of makes you remember what getting in to that heavy music was all about! Tell us about the video, was that a local club that you play?

Robin: Yeah, it’s actually a local club, and the place where we have our rehearsal room, so we rehearse on that very stage. It’s a club with a bar, it’s very vintage, retro 70’s furniture, and it’s a very cool place! It’s located in Boras in Western Sweden, not very far from Gothenburg.

Mark: As far as recording goes, are you one of those bands who like to use vintage equipment, technology or do you prefer modern recording techniques?

Robin: We are embracing the modern technique, yeah, absolutely, no doubt about it. Everything goes in to computers, it goes in to Pro-Tools or Cubase,, but as far as the actual recording goes, we record all the instruments at the same time, and there are no overdubs afterwards whatsoever.

Mark: That probably explains the freshness of the sound, there are a lot of bands around at the moment that are going through that whole stoner revival thing, but your sound seems to be a lot more elusive, a lot less derivative, and you can get sort of tastes of bands in there, and you’ll hear a riff and immediately think of someone, and then you’ll hear something else and it’s a real breath of fresh air! What sort of bands are you most influenced by from that sort of era?

Robin: I am very influenced by Ritchie Blackmore, of course, in my way of playing guitar; he’s my personal guitar God! I also love UFO, with Schenker, and just about everything from the 70’s more or less! Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath.

Mark: You’ve also got that progressive element in there, as well, which gets quite interesting towards the end of the album where does that come from?

Robin: I think that it comes from our bass player and vocalist, Oscar, he tends not to be in the background, he’s up front, and he’s holding our lines. He loves Rush and adores Geddy Lee, so I think that’s where that comes from.

Mark: I’ve been listening to the album for a couple of weeks now, and I think my favourite track on there at the moment is “Last Man in Space”, can you tell us a little bit about that song?

Robin: Actually, Oscar wrote most of it, he came up with a bass intro, and we just all came up with the right riffs to go with his baseline. I guess he kind of had an idea in his head that it’s going to be a progressive track, it’s probably the most progressive track that we have.

Mark: “Moonstone” is the perfect closer to the album, mysterious and hypnotic and really opens up the possibilities for the band. I guess you guys must jam a lot?

Robin: Yeah, we jam all the time. We are in the rehearsal place, three days a week and we just jam, after work of course!

Mark: so, if you wanted someone to have their first taste of Saturn, what tracks should they look out for, do you think?

Robin: If you want to get the whole spectrum, you should listen to “So, You Have Chosen Death” it’s a very easy to take in track, and then you should listen to “Tower of Terror”, “Over the Influence” and “Last Man in Space”. Those tracks summarise the album quite well.

Mark: It’s a great album, in that you can sit down and listen to it, in one hit, was that a conscious decision was there many tracks that you discarded?

Robin: We had a lot of tracks when we recorded “Ascending”, but we chose these eight tracks quite wisely, I think. We wanted to show that we can do a little bit of everything, I think we have everything from Blues to real Heavy Metal, to Thrash, the whole spectrum.

Mark: Are you the sort of band that reads the reviews? And what sort of feeling are you getting from those so far?

Robin: I visit Google, quite often! It’s all new, so I’m still so excited about everything!! I think we are getting very good reviews from almost everywhere, we get 7-8 out of 10 on every review. I am really glad that people like the music that I’m creating; it’s a bizarre feeling, for the first time in my life!

Mark: It must be great to finally get it out there as well. Were you in a band prior to Saturn?

Robin: Yeah, I was in a band called Kill Your Darlings, but nothing serious, just a high school band. Linkan was in a punk band called The Vultures about 10 years ago or something!

Mark: So, where can we catch you guys live for the rest of the year, are you doing local shows, or taking this out on the road?

Robin: We don’t have anything planned, unfortunately, we only have our release fest, but hopefully with all these interviews we are doing, we’ll get some promotion, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get out on the road as soon as possible.

Mark: There are a few bands from your label, making it down to Australia over the last few years.

Robin: Yes, the album is just released on CD, so people haven’t been able to listen to it yet.

Mark: Hopefully in the months to come, we can expect something!

Mark: You mentioned Ritchie Blackmore as one of your influences, are you still listening to him, and some of his newer music as well?

Robin: I tend to sit on You Tube and see if he puts out any good solos! That’s about it!

Mark: Like the rest of us, I think!! I think you’ve answered my next question, which was who would you compose with, living or dead, if you had the choice?

Robin: Blackmore, of course! I think that he has done so much with Rainbow and Purple, so I really think he deserves to do what he wants to do.

Mark: That’s right, and he seems very comfortable doing that as well. What’s the plan for Saturn, after the release? Hopefully you’ll get some tour dates, and continue to promote the album for the rest of the year. You’ve also got vinyl coming, which is great for us who still play vinyl!! Do you have a decent collection yourself?

Robin: Yes, I have, most of them I stole from my dad! Rainbow, Purple and Budgie!

Mark: Yeah, Budgie was one of the bands I got a little bit of a taste of in your music, a great band that are still going around today.

Robin: Yes, I heard them first about 5 years ago, and I recognised the name from my father’s vinyl collection! I recognise now, that they were ground breaking back in the day.

Mark: Yeah, a lot of bands cite them as an influence. Taking it back a bit, what was the defining moment for you, what was it that made you want to be in a band?

Robin: I don’t know really, I started to play guitar when I was fifteen years old, it was mostly acoustic guitar, but I think my father led me down the rock and roll track, because all my life he’s been playing these classic bands, so I think it’s because of him.

Mark: There is a resurgence going on, and a lot of young bands I talk to seem to be going back to that classic period of the seventies where rock really had no boundaries. I think, particularly over the past twenty years or so, bands have been trying to fit into a particular genre, and have a particular sound. One of the best things for us, listening to a band like Saturn, is you can certainly tell the music that you love, but it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to copy it. You are creating something new, and interesting and exciting, which is great!

Robin: Thank you very much, I think it’s hard to write new music that doesn’t sound like anything, it’s practically impossible. Of course I love to play the music that I would love to hear, that I like to listen to, and of course I’m influenced by the bands I listen to, no doubt about it! But I’m trying not to steal too many riffs!

Mark: From what you’ve learned so far as a musician, what’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?

Robin: Hard question! I don’t know, I think, do it because you love it, not to earn money.

Mark: I think that’s particularly important these days.

Robin: So many people are out for the money and so much of this mainstream music is very processed and good for radio, and I’m happy for them, but I want to do music that I love, and if that doesn’t bring in any cash, I don’t care!

Mark: You’ve created something for people, and that’s the main thing. Are there any contemporary bands that you do listen to?

Robin: I love the new bands from Gothenburg that are starting to pop up, like Blues Pils, and The Graveyard.

Mark: We saw Blues Pils down here late last year, and they were amazing, the new album is fantastic!

Robin: They are almost late sixties, more Jefferson Airplane kind of music.

Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why?

Robin: Rainbow “Rising”, I would have loved to see when he recorded the guitars for “Stargazer”!
Mark: That would have been amazing! Our final question, that we ask everyone, what is the meaning of life?

Robin: Ask Monty Python!

Mark: I think we’ll have to. It’s been a pleasure talking to you, Robin, congratulations on a great album, and we hope one day to see you here in Australia, you never know! We’ll help spread the word!

Robin: We hope to visit you in Australia as well, we would be honoured to. Thank you, Mark, good talking to you.


Robin spoke to Mark Diggins August 2014





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