Face 2 face

Face to face with Christoffer Lundquist. Pt. 3: “The clothes they gave me were designed for women”

K: I agree. Now back to your study times. You studied one year of philosophy, one year of English.
C: I think it was half a year of philosophy, actually. I shouldn’t boast! I think it was one and a half year in total. I also took an astronomy course, and I didn’t finish it. I also took with my wife evening courses in history of the arts. Which was great because I was working in the daytime with taking care of elderly people…
K: Yes, this was exactly the sense of my question. I was wondering because you left high school and you still had your music running of which you didn’t believe you could live from that.
C: No…
K: So there must have been a perspective, something like “I have to keep myself going, I have to buy my bread“…

C: Yes. After high school, I took a couple of… any job just to have a job. And also I started to discover that the bubble I grew up in is not the world. There are different ways to live, different ways to view things. In the academic world, no one ever works. They go to university, they don’t know what a factory is, they have no contact with this. I felt that this is not good, I want to learn. I want to meet people that are not exactly like me. So I started in factories and stuff. Which was difficult because you’re from different cultures, you speak differently, have different dialects, different ways of expressing terms. So it took some time to learn that…
K: …real life…
C: …and learn that people are different only on the surface and you shouldn’t be afraid of the differences on the surface because it doesn’t matter. But you have to learn that from experience, I think. The first job, it was a great job, I was in a factory with a production line where you put pills into boxes. Like headache pills. They came out of a machine into those little packs and you put them into boxes. This factory only had female workers doing the actual putting of the pills and all the men to carry the machines and heavy tools and stuff. I got the job as the first ever man to pack the pills. I was 19 and very shy and had no self-consciousness. Of course the clothes that they gave me, because everyone had factory clothes, they were designed for women [everyone in the room bursting out laughing]. So I had a little nice hat and really tight thin trousers and a little hand bag with a key for the machine. Yes. You can imagine the guys with the tools when I came in and they went “Yeah, yeah, great!“ That was a little bit rough at times. But then I started to work at a place that takes care of seriously mentally retarded people. Because my friends worked there. That was a lot easier. I was feeling better there. So I worked there on and off for a couple of years.
K: Just sorry, one question in-between. David Birde, he also worked with the band Beagle, with Magnus Börjeson.
C: No, not then.
K: That came later?
C: Yeah.
K: Just to get it right because I couldn’t sort that in.
C:  Beagle was slightly before Brainpool, we’re from the same city. For us, they were big stars and they had made it, they had a record contract and we thought their music was great. So we listened to it and wanted to compete of course and be better. But back then we only knew each other superficially like “Hi“, not that much. And then Magnus, we asked him to be a musician on a Brainpool tour in ’97 for the “You are here” album. So he came in and played some keyboards and guitars on the tour and then we got to know each other and we started working together in all kinds of different projects ever since, actually.
K: Quite a long relationship already.
C: Oh yeah. We’ve done many things. David and Magnus have worked on several projects, I and Magnus have done things, the three of us have produced other artists et cetera.
K: Can you call it an artist bubble around Lund?
C: Yes, a little bit.
K: Because for me it’s like you go to Lund or Malmö and meet the same people again and again, you go to Stockholm and meet the same people from there, you go to Halmstad, meet their same people…
C: I guess it’s called networks. That’s how people tend to organize themselves. Even when you have a proper organization, there are always networks in the organization that are actually the real organization, so to speak. So yes, we have a sort of a gang. When I need horn players or violin players, it’s always the same people. It’s been the same people for 15 years. That’s really nice.
K: I guess that’s also where Helena Josefsson comes from?
C: Yes sure, she sent “Sandy Mouche” demos to me roughly around the time of “Mazarin”, I think… Yeah, it was because I heard the demos and I played them for Per and he was “Wow, this is amazing!“ and he called them and said “You’re the best band ever, woohoo!“. Then she came in and did the Mazarin record. But that was a little later, so we met a little later.
K: When did you feel that Brainpool was getting successful? That is actually the first thing one can find about your biography and now we can start talking about the topics everybody knows already, we just go deeper now. So when did you feel it’s something for real?
C: The year before we released our first record, Brainpool started to take off. But I didn’t understand that at all. We made demos that we produced together and we started to find our style and that was great. Then we started to send the demos around to indie magazines. Because at that time, that was really big, the whole indie scene. And we got fantastic reviews! It started to build like a hype around us and I didn’t understand any of this. I was sort of on the side. We were making the music together but I didn’t understand the pop star dream so much. Of course, I had that too. But it was sort of a parallel track for me. Then we got a deal with Jimmy Fun Music.
K: …run by Per Gessle.
C: Yeah, they heard the demos. Per and Ben Marlene who was running the company, they wanted to sign us and I didn’t understand what that meant either. Then they fixed a record contract for us and that was also “Jaha? Uh, what does this mean?“ and then we recorded a record which was great and it was released and came to #7 or so. I remember this because the rest of the band was like “We’re on the charts, we’re on the charts“ and I didn’t get it! For me it was “Well, #7, yes, okay.“ I never thought in all those long lines. I learned that later . I was just reacting slowly. It still felt like it is very temporary, it didn’t feel like it’s for real.
K: That’s the impression we got when we talked to the other band members. They are all very down to earth, nobody is excited of the fame around them…
C: You’re right. Well, these things are always hard to talk about because it sounds like you’re not happy about something. But that’s not how it is. I think, whatever you dream of, if you have a goal and you get there, you realize that it’s not so strange. It just isn’t. Nothing is! It doesn’t matter what, if you become the President of the United States , it’s the same. So this is what you just realize.
K: Yes, because you go your way step by step, you can follow each of your steps, you know what had happened just before that, you may have an idea of what will come next. But all the other people, the fans, for them you come out of the nothing, like a rocket going up to the sky! Instead, you know that you had worked hard for that and you also know that you need to work even harder to stay there…
C: Yeah yeah yeah! You also know that it can stop any second. There’s no guarantee for the next day even. This is not a given thing, you can never take that for granted!
J: I think it’s like with children. When they have a dream for their future, they are so excited. But when you grow up with it, it’s quite normal for you then…
C: Always, yes!
J: It just happens and later you need to concentrate on that all the time, you have to work on this all the time.
C: And this is a very sound way to react because there are no special people anywhere. Or rather, everyone is special. Everyone is identically special. There is nothing more special with anyone anywhere. And as soon as anyone starts to think that he is a little more special, then you’re on the wrong track, even very much so.
J: The people who think they can do everything will go down sooner or later.
C: Yes!
K: Hmmmm. We need to rewind again. We were at Brainpool, the first album was out, big success, you were surprised…
C: Hm yeah, we released the first record in April I think, and it was hysterical. We toured Sweden and there were teenage girls screaming and it was… crazy. And then Per asked us to be the support act for the “Crash!Boom!Bang!” tour. Which was even more crazy. We all thought, it is all just a big joke, “Okay, let’s do that, sure, we will play ice halls in Germany!“ Hohoho!
J: It’s never nice to be the support act…
C: Oh yeah.
J: Nobody really wants you there…
C: Oh no, no one wanted to hear us at all, but it didn’t matter. But also that was a very dramatic pill for me because two weeks before we started the production rehearsal at the globe arena for the “C!B!B!” tour, my mother got a brain hemorrhage and she was in a coma and she was going to die and the family was sitting by her and waiting for this. But the tour was coming so for me it was…
K: …like being torn apart…
C: Yeah!… Who knew what would happen? And then after two weeks in the coma, she was going to survive. But there was no idea how damaged she was because that was a serious brain damage. By that point, I felt that I cannot go on tour now, I needed to stay at home. So at the production rehearsal, a friend of mine played the bass and the idea was that if I couldn’t go, he should go on the tour instead. But then my family said to me, “No, you should do this. Why should you be at home, you cannot help us. Your mother wouldn’t have wanted that you sit at home and do nothing while you’re getting this incredible chance“. So I went on the tour instead.

Tomorrow on TDR: Face to face with Christoffer Lundquist. Pt. 4: “I would like to be able to write lyrics”

Christoffer with Brainpool. Not his first band though:


  • Guitar collection, part one
This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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December 14th, 2012

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