Sweden’s Me and My Kites are one of the most exhilarating bands around right now, a combo that grew out of the earlier Lost In Rick’s Wardrobe - who themselves earned a mighty reputation as one of the psych era’s most painstaking modern-day mirrors.
Wardrobe specialized in period covers, which means it was no surprise to discover that Fruits de Mer were tracking them. By the time the band finally came to cut its label debut, however, the Wardrobe had closed and a new band was emerging.
Me and My Kites took their name from a song on Fuchsia's classic (1971) acid-folk/prog album... and they borrowed their FdM debut from that band too, as they teamed up with Fuchsia frontman Tony Durant for a spectacular version of “The Band.”
David Svedmyr explains....
GM: How long have you been together as Me and My Kites?
DS: To give a quick answer, about a year and a few months. Lost in Rick’s Wardrobe started recording our album Like a Dream Back Then mid May last year, and that happened to turn into Me and My Kites. But I've been playing with all of the ones playing on the record in different bands. Me and my brother Johan (drums) have been playing together since I was 10 and he was 8 and some of the songs came up a few years ago, and have been played by almost the same people.
GM: Tell us about the band’s musical influences
DS: I was raised with The Beatles, and I think they've been coloring my view of everything else. Still can't get enough of Revolver or The Beatles, which I had in my walkman when I was seven. All of the Kites have been very into late 60's into the early 70's music... it's the sounds, the words and the vivid feeling of "this is NOW!" and "we don't know what we're heading for".
GM: According to your press release, your record collection ends somewhere around 1972
DS: I said that, and we immediately got a lot of reviews mentioning this and saying that this made our music passé and irrelevant today! Of course, we don't want to make a pastiche of what once was, it just happened to be the kind of sounds we turn on to. The songs are new, the lyrics are now and everything comes from our experiences...experiences often soundtracked by sounds from 1968. "You are what you hear."
GM: You’re a big David Ackles fan, I believe...
DS: I just came across David Ackles’ debut album from 1968; a friend played it to me and I instantly fell in love, it's like there is no distance at all between the performance and me listening to it now. It's so together, alive on it's own and timeless, but still in a certain place. Might be one of the best made ever and hopefully more people finds it, "Down River", "Lotus Man" and "His Name is Andrew" should be classics!
GM: And, of course, Fuchsia...
DS: The Fuchsia album was the main reason why Me and My Kites happened. My friend Reine played me the album. I was stuck with it, couldn't get enough. For the next few weeks it was the only thing I listened to and it's been like the soundtrack of my life since then. When we started recording an album with my songs, we named the band after a Fuchsia song. Me and My Kites suited the concept well and it felt good to honor the band that have given me so much. It was like my album, it played to me. The song "A Tiny Book" was the catalyst, it's like a "Heart of Gold" for the doubtful. I listened to the Fuchsia record almost every day for a year and then we started to record our music. Not sure if there is any hearable Fuchsia influences though, but they were very close in the process.
GM: How did you come to record with Tony Durant?
DS: Somewhere around sending the album to be pressed, we found Tony's email on the Fuchsia site and sent him one of our songs with some words about how much his music meant to us. We started a conversation and he turned out to be this wonderful person in love with life, living on the other side of the world.
Since Australia is a long way from Sweden, it's only been texted words and recorded sounds this far. It all started up with me wanting to thank him for the 1971 Fuchsia record and tell him we christened our band after one of their songs. We sent him a few of our mixes and by the time I got an answer I'd just found the few demo tracks Fuchsia recorded for a second album in 1972. I was mesmerized by the song "The Band", very rough, but so vivid and a great pop tune. Me and Johan started recording a version of it for fun and when we found out Tony was still into recording and was about to release a 42 years later follow up, we asked if he wanted to sing it.
It was a magic moment when I received the vocal tracks and fitted them into our recording. And he still has that vividness and dreamy phrasing. I think this version stands strong on it's own. I don't know if it's better than the old one. It's different, mostly because of Tony. The old version feels a bit confused, it's looking forward, desperate to see the future, almost in a fierce way. The words fits better 42 years later. It's a bit looking back, still so very alive and now. So it's not much of a cover, it's Tony now and we're the band!
GM: When it comes to covers versions, is there anything particular you look for in a song that you think "that could be one of ours"?
DS: As I said, the Fuchsia album felt like mine, my feelings and moods. I would never dare to release a cover of a song that feels like that to me. Why should we? It's the only way to do that song, to make you feel like that, no need for a cover.
When we started Lost in Rick's Wardrobe, we tried to play the songs as they were played back then. We played songs that we loved and we wanted to sound like Aphrodite's Child, Focus, Mellow Candle and Curved Air. We did it for ourselves and to have songs and arrangements to play live. When we started to do songs of our own, we felt a pressure that we couldn't make anything better than the songs we already played and that somehow was our identity. Now we have an identity as Me and My Kites and and if we should do a cover, then it should be a song that can be better in a Me and My Kites vibe. A song far away from the sounds that influences us, still close enough to make us love it.
GM: What's next for the band?
DS: In the close future there will be a few shows, in Sweden, Spain and Denmark. Also planning another record. There's songs and the only thing will be to find out how to present them. I just finished a record I produced with a friend that was recorded at the same time as the first Me and My Kites album. His album involves most of the Kites and is like a sister album to Like a Dream Back Then. Then, when it's done, I'll get some time to fly with the Kites again and we'll see what it'll turn out like.
In the distant future there might be a Me and My Kites/Fuchsia tour and we'll do our best to get close where you live!
A prodigious writer, fierce music lover and longtime record collector, Dave Thompson is the author of over 100 books, including Goldmine’s “Standard Catalog of American Records 1950-1990, 8th Edition” as well as Goldmine’s “Record Album Price Guide 7th Edition , both of which are published via Krause Publications and are available at www.krausebooks.com