It's a friendly group that has gathered. They fill in each other's sentences and laugh heartily together. Amid the amplifiers, old band posters and cables, there's a sense of camaraderie. With a capital "C." Jonathan Norén Brännström, who plays in the Skellefteå band Hök and is also the project manager for Trästockfestivalen, notes that the atmosphere is excellent and people encourage each other.
- No band here is like any other, says Jonathan.
Felicia Selin, also a member of Hök, feels that the commitment of the bands has changed over the years.
– The interest in playing together has increased. Now people want "real" music groups that make music together, she says.
A brief discussion ensues about whether or not one can define what "real" music is. Jonathan thinks you can.
– You can say "real" music because there is a difference between standing in a rehearsal room and playing loud, and sitting at home with headphones and a computer. It's completely different to feel an amplifier blasting your ears, he says, and gets agreement from others.
- And that you meet your friends when you're in a rehearsal space, adds Alice Elveros, who plays bass and sings in Röda Naglar.
- It's like a little micro-democracy or a little club that's an essential social thing, says Felicia.
They explain that there have always been bands at Mullberget, but that bands right now are much more active.
– There are much, much more active bands. I mean bands that have ambitions, that want to play live, that want to record music, says Jonathan.
– Now almost every band wants to play live, and back then there were almost no bands that wanted to play live, says Felicia.
What's the reason?
– A lot of it has to do with role models. I think it was like Kjells Bänk who wanted to play live and there were always many people at their gigs, even their first shows. Then it probably clicked with other bands: "Oh, it's fun to play live," says Jonathan.
– When I think back to when I was 14 and started here, maybe 15 people would come to the gigs. Now easily 100 people come to a gig. That's a lot of people from my perspective. It's fun to see that the audience is young and that there are both girls and boys. Very mixed. It used to be all boys at all the gigs, so it's really cool to see this development, says Felicia..
– When we used to play here, people never came. People came to see us at Trästock. Or when we had heavy metal gigs, the metalheads would come. There were only about ten people at each gig, says Jonas Marklund, the drummer at Barons Court, and stands up to show how the indiepop guys hang their guitars on their thighs and keep their feet close together while their bodies rock back and forth.
– It's different now. When there was a hip-hop gig last autumn and we rehearsed here, there was a line out to the parking lot. It was full of people. That makes you happy, Jonas continues.
What is the advantage of organizing gigs here at Mullberget?
– We can decide how to organize things. We have a different kind of freedom on our own premises. It becomes a considerable economic risk to organize gigs at Sara, for example, says Jonathan, and the others nod in agreement. He continues:
- We have tried. But it doesn't work. It's too expensive. We can't have 400-500 kronor tickets for local bands.
– But there is still a discount for locals at Sara kulturhus, says Felicia and continues:
– But it's still expensive in comparison. Or a lot of money. It's possible to cover the costs with subsidies and all that, but you still need a lot of people to come to break even.
When Mullberget organizes evenings with local bands on stage, the ticket price is about 100 kronor for adults and 50 kronor for people under 20.
– You can think of it as a kind of ladder; the bands start here, but then they could make it to be the opening act at Sara, for example, says Jonathan.
– Linnea Henriksson wrote on social media before playing at Sara that she wanted a local opening act at each gig. As an artist, she took command. More of this kind of artist involvement would be great.
It's certainly a way for Skellefteå acts to gain exposure to more mainstream audiences.
Jonathan agrees, but notes that the local bands also need their own space.
– It is important that you can rehearse at Mullberget for four years and have time to prepare for the bigger stage.
The punk band Röda Naglar had a gig at one of the local pubs in Skellefteå - All Stars - over the weekend.
– It's great that many restaurants in town have started to play local music, says Alice.
– Exactly. We've been bombarding them with emails, and it feels like it's starting to work And having people show up is extra fun. Like at Taps, where Soulmate Society played. People were standing on the tables to fit in, says Felicia.
What can the audience at Sara on Saturday expect from Skellefteå's musical future?
– A wide range of musical experiences. No band is like another.
– It will be a surprise, says Jonas.
Who do you think should come?
– Everyone, they all say at the same time.
– I think it's a chance to discover the quality of the local scene. People often see what they know, like Carola, Zara Larsson and many others. Before our event, I think it has to be the most exciting ticket you can buy. Like buying a pig in a poke, says Felicia.
- A super pig, says Jonathan, and everyone laughs again.
– We hope to show the people we share the city with that there are things to discover, says Alice.
– We also want to attract the older audience. Because I think that if we want to change the musical future of Skellefteå, everyone has to buy a ticket. People often get stuck in the past with music.
– They just say: "Oh, the 90s, I don't want to forget that time". But maybe you should let go a little bit and see what's happening now. It's really cool that good things happened back then, but you have to look at what 2024 offers as well.
– It's a chance to see local bands and see what they have to offer. It's a good way to support the local cultural life here in town. Then it is good to show the municipalities that there is a local commitment to grassroots music and that it is worth investing in, concludes Vidar Burman Melin, drummer in Kjells Bänk.
Music of the future – a showcase featuring some of the bands contributing to Skellefteå's musical future.
Location: Sara kulturhus, Saturday, January 20
In the bands' own words:
Röda Naglar – an all-female punk band in Skellefteå, distinguished by raw sounds and energetic vocals. Their message of feminism aims to empower all girls to stand up for themselves.
Kjells Bänk – a blend of garage rock, punk, and indie rock delivered with energy and stage presence.
Hök – music in Swedish. Described as "light-dark," with sweeping guitar sounds accompanied by serious lyrics.
Soulmate Society – inspired by the 70s and soul, they explore uncharted territory to find their own soul-inspired modern sound.
Barons Court – a hard rock band rooted in Burträsk, releasing their first album in 2022 and continuing their musical journey.
High school students have free admission: A limited number of tickets (300) are available at Skellefteå Tourist Center, first come, first served.
A panel discussion about the future of the music scene will take place earlier in the day.
"Skellefteå Musikaliska invites you to a day with a collective effort to support the development of the future music scene in Skellefteå."