By Georg Forchhammer
With a good cup of coffee and a guitar in his hands, Troels Skovgaard is ready to talk about his new cd, “The Album – Songs of life, love and lies” and about his musical life since his last album back in 2006. We talked about what had happened since the last album.
In 2007, Troels re-recorded a song, “They talk too much” from his self-titled debut album from 2002. The song participated in a blues festival in Finland that year and made it to the final, subsequently having a lot of airplay in Finland. It even made it all the way to a blues radio station in Australia.
Troels describes his new album as being more homogeneous than the two first albums. All the songs were written on the acoustic guitar as opposed to earlier, where most of his songs were written on the piano.“Larry Carlton has always been a great inspirational source for me, but this time I have been very much inspired by Paul McCartney – especially on “Night Time”, “Only the good stuff” and “Graduation Day”.
Already here, Troels can’t keep his hands from the guitar, and he plays bits of these songs.
-Earlier, when I played with e.g. Bamboo Brothers, the melodies sometimes drowned a bit in the big sounds of drums, keyboards and lots of guitars. Having made a more acoustic album, it has also given me the opportunity to downsize the live appearances to just being my daughter, Mikala Bosetti (backing vocals and lead vocal on “Me and Manhattan and you”).
-Apart from the opening song, “Keep on playing the blues” all the rest of the songs are arranged quite acoustically, so to speak.
-I really felt like doing it that way, and I also play my song live with a small band with Ole Kibsgaard ( bass, keyboard, guitar and backing vocals), his brother Peter Kibsgaard (percussion and backing vocals) and my daughter Mikala Bosetti on light percussion and vocals.
-Did you have that kind of band in mind when you recorded the album?
-Well, I think it came to me during the recordings. I feel that my acoustic guitar and my voice would stand stronger as opposed to being in a band with a lot of electric guitars and “rock ‘n’ roll”.
-The song “Mrs. River” is different from the rest of the songs being jazzy in a Steely Dan / Donald Fagen kind of way. What’s the story behind that song?
-I was on a retreat stay in Italy in a house belonging to the Danish songwriter organization, DPA, and at that time I was inspired by the Italian song-writer Pino Daniele, who himself is inspired by the folklore around Naples. He plays the Spanish guitar, and I actually recorded the guitar solo in the song on a guitar that was in the house.
-I remember when we last talked several years ago; you told me that you had a whole bunch of songs for your two first albums that you chose between. How about this time – is it all new songs?
-Well, back in 2008, we tried to revive “Bamboo Brothers”, and we had a lot of new songs. But the reunion didn’t quite work out, so I kind of returned to my old inspirational sources like The Beatles and especially Paul McCartney. Also, newer artists like John Mayer have inspired me a lot. All that combined with the urge to express myself in a more simple and acoustic way.
-However, the lead singer from Bamboo Brothers, Michael Roupé, has written most of the lyrics on your new album.
-We have always had a great collaboration, both with the Bamboo Brothers and now with the new album.
-How is your song writing process?
-Usually, I make the melodies adding some nonsense lyrics. Sometimes, I tell him what I would like the song to be about, like e.g. “Keep on playing the blues”.
-The album has also become quite a family project. Tell us a little bit about it.
-My wife, Elisabetta Bosetti, has made the art work on the album, and as I told you, my daughter Mikala sings backing vocals and lead vocal on “Me and Manhattan and you”.
-How has it been working professionally with your own daughter?
-Basically, it’s been fantastic having a musical and at times almost telepathic connection with your own child. In many ways, I really admire her. She has a strong rhythmic sense. She actually started playing the drums many years ago. Of course, there are also times when she thinks I’m a real “pain in the ass” We actually played together at a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert last year, and everyone just loved her. I’m really happy I gave her the song “Me and Manhattan and you” on the album.
-You wrote both the melody and lyrics for the two last songs on the album, “Too tired” and “Nuvi” – the last one being a tribute to your dog.
-Well, I could hardly ask someone else to write a song for my dog, could I?
I wrote the song “Too tired” after having read that an old guitar student of mine had passed away. He had led a tough life, and I actually wrote the song during the night after having heard about his death.
But generally, I feel I’m better with melodies than with lyrics.
-How long did it take you to record the album?
-It’s a bit difficult to say. We started back in the autumn of 2010 – sometimes with months between the recording sessions. Besides recording the album, I played guitar in some musicals and I started touring with “Ørkenens Sønner (a Danish comedy group – best translated into “The sons of the desert”).
-What are your expectations for your new album – and for the future?
-My biggest hope is that we can get a lot of gigs! I have talked to some of the venues that I know, and I hope that we can make some deals.
-All your music is also on Spotify.
-Yes, we discussed that quite a lot, and I was persuaded that it would be a good idea to have my music there. Everyone says that it is a great display. Hopefully it can help me getting gigs. Back in the old days, you had to make demo tapes to get gigs, but now a day, Spotify is a great way to promote your music.
Despite all the other musical projects I’m involved in, I really hope that my own music can become a bigger part of my life.
We kept on taking for a long time and drinking even more coffee. On the 27th of March, Troels held a release party on Café Mandela with his four man band seen on the pictures in this interview. It was a fantastic evening, and we hope for many more concerts in the near future.
Photo: Pia Hansen