Swan Beppin

 Swan Beppin

Swan Beppin of Songfugl fra Sommersted

This was all kinds of awesome.

Answering my questions today is Swan Beppin of the band Songfugl fra Sommersted. All the way from her current base camp in Asia I am literally blown away by the amount of history she shares here through this interview. She’s been a musician since 1967 – just imagine how much she’s seen music CHANGE over time! Also cool is that this perspective Is coming from miles away, seeing things I’ve never seen.

And in coming from such a distance – the language can be a little tricky at times, but I’ve left it without an edit into the mainstream use of our English language; we even keep it indie in the writing – word up to that. The real reason is because what is said is beautiful as is. To put a “pro-edit” on this particular interview I feel would take some of the sincerity out of Swan’s words and I’m not going to be responsible for that – I love the way she writes.

So for real, check this out. She has a lot to say about this band and rightly so as the history is so in-depth and full of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. Loved learning about her music, loved reading her insight and I fully invite you all to get to know Swan better through this interview.

I’m definitely glad I did. You will be too.

Jer @ SBS

Interview with Swan Beppin of Songfugl fra Sommersted

SBS: Swan – in this bio of the band it mentions that you’ve had a “long sad underdog career.” You’ve technically been going since 1967, there’s no doubt that you’ve been through a lot – but to say that your career is “sad” in ANY way seems a bit harsh! You’ve accomplished a lot and triumphed over many tragedies…but lay it out plain for us all…when you approach your instruments or music these days, does that come with a sense of sadness? You know what I mean? I can’t imagine you sticking it out since 1967 if you didn’t find SOME joy in the music you make. Some hope maybe?

Swan: Hello to you, Sir Jer of SBS, it’s been a nice WOW experience to be interviewed by you as a Professional Music Journalist altogether with you SBS crews in Canada. My apprentice crew has been communicating with you prior to this interview, I know. I think this is another exciting interview in my life, ever. First of all let me Thank You for your generous time and precious attention, and let me humbly introduce myself, I’m Swan, so don’t show me a river, I might jump and swim. Wait a minute! That’s just a joke, right? Laugh. Alright then, I shall repeat. I don’t want to ruin this precious interview with my troublesome jokes. Serious but relaxed, with nice cappuccino here at my side.

I’m Swan Beppin of Songfugl fra Sommersted Psychedelic Rock Band, currently I’m the third generation original songwriter-performer of this little “Politically-Incorrect” humble band. This band has been around for a long-time before me. I’m also a stand-up comedian and I’m not famous. Yes, there’s a hope. There’ll always be a hope, especially now under my leadership, through the reformation in band production methods, techniques and new band management strategy. I wear multiple hats of being the songwriter, arranger, lyricist, engineer, producer, singer and performer. Fortunately enough, I can play quite some instruments, rhythm, lead, bass, keyboard, piano, old Hammond organ, accordion, percussions, so it can save time within production details during emergency short-run session. Maybe, this band’s quite strange, so for those who wish to stick with us, get used to it. This band uses unusual additional instruments such as accordion, lyre, glockenspiel, tubular bell, harp, timpani, cajon, biscuit box, Buddha Bell, bottles and coins to produce songs. Since June 2011, the reformation era of the band, I’d changed the formation of the band into a three-piece rock band with only two core elements, me as the singer-songwriter and the official session drummer. The rest could be filled with additional professional players as non-officials during concerts. This decision is based on the trauma of the recent past, to avoid future easy-come easy-go personnel which could hurt the band’s image further. Players are easy to find. Music mercenaries are everywhere. The hardest things to get to form a band are songwriter, the icon-vocalist and the good drummer. This new efficiency design helps a new hope.

SBS: To get to interview you Swan, is an incredible gift. Your band Songfugl fra Sommersted is actually older than I am with a history longer than the beard on my chin! You’ve been through and seen so much over the years. If you wouldn’t mind, tell us a little about the history of the band…the ups, the downs…

Swan: HAHAHA, yes, Sir, you have a nice beard. Ever wonder how ZZ-TOP can grow that long? Just a tip for you, they actually sprinkled and rubbed fertilizer on their beards twice a month. First, it pops out as sprouts. It’s also a joke, right? So yeah, vice versa, yes it’s also a Great Honour to sit down for your interview, Sir. I heard you’re a real-deal music journalist, not one of plastic mainstream media people. Plastic mainstream puppets will never get my attention as I never watch TV, except for some movies in the past. Alright, Sir, based on the stories foretold by our seniors, I’d helped them to sort their lives, write a book which later on shifted from non-fiction to a novel inspired by happenings, to avoid conflict of interests. Some of the stories of their lives you could read there when it’s released. Hopefully, someday it can stand a chance to become a widescreen film, with our songs serve as the soundtracks.

This band (circa 1967-2013) has been recorded in more than six foreign countries and was historically founded in 1967 by our first generation seniors as a night club band in Hong Kong and Kowloon during late 60s and early 70s playing covers from Beatles and other early 70s psychedelic rocks and Woodstock-selections, under the name of Songbird-Marina Band. For your information, it was the era of Bruce Lee. Up to the end of their career, they managed to give birth to two original songs which repertoires are still preserved in my hands, inherited from the second generation seniors. They were promised to have their songs recorded by then, but it never got into realization due to many factors which you could later read in our book. The first generation practically marked their end in 1977/1978.

As time goes by, this band, instead of getting proper opportunity to reach her musical dream, she goes deadly, just to earn some paltry paper money for survival as well as to record the songs reaching dreams to come true. The band was continued by our second generation during their free-time and was re-established around 1994-1995 under the name of Songbird Band during grunge-alternative era and it took shape into an original band for the first time ever with several original repertoires written by our second-generation seniors. Therefore, the band’s heritage is 70s and the genetics stay in our veins up to this 2013, we conserve evergreen melodies and meaningful lyrics above rhythms. Since my sole leadership from 2006, I made some adjustment to blend the unchanged originality with courageous rhythm-beats without sacrificing our heritage. I keep the mandate from all departed predecessors of this band and I guard it well with all my capabilities, sincerity and loyalty. This band was born from hardened tradition of intelligence, paramilitary and aviators. It was like a dark veterans’ fraternity ordo without a bright reserved country club. Somehow, I had to reform that tradition for a better normal band impression. We’re elite by capabilities, not by social status.

The band almost fell into recording-deal traps in 1995/1996, but our seniors managed to recover our dignity, back into our hands from those music-business sharks. Yes, music is business and musicians’ continuity depends on it, but to exploit the musical originality down to its root into pure business is not the way to follow, especially when they do it in unfair ways robbing the musicians. I’ll explain this later if you ask again. Back to the band’s history, I orally began writing original songs melodies ideas for this band since 1996/1997. Some songs, I co-wrote together with the second generation seniors. During that years, they were rather influenced by grunge but still had sweet 70s characters blend, the evergreen melodies. Depends on your perspective, like I foretold you that this is a strange band so get used to it, I have natural capabilities to hear and read rapid tree-leaf movements in wind breeze and powdery materials such as sand, coffee, wheat flour, sugar. To me, they aggregate into alphanumeric letters shape, which can also sounds like melodies, and after I rearrange them, if I want to, I can memorize the numbers and letters, close my eyes and replay them like a song in my mind. This capability is not a bipolar syndrome but INDIGO. There’s no bipolar option for an aviator. There were ethereal beings who taught me this knowledge when I was young. The fastest time I ever spent to write a song complete with its lyrics is lesser than three minutes upon staring at spilled baking-soda on the toilet floor. I may soon record this single too, so you can hear what baking-soda sounds. So, some of my songs are definitely whispers from the nature. For this capability, one of civilian politicians asked me to work for him as an advisor. I refused. The one who can command us is only somebody clean and respectable from long military heritage. Corrupt civilian politicians or military thugs have no charisma to win our attention. We can’t be compromised using blackmailing-bribery of sex, money, power. This band is about consciousness and patriotic courage. No drug, excessive alcohol or suicide in this band.

I was officially tapped into the band in 2003. That was when I officially changed the band’s name into “SONGFUGL fra SOMMERSTED” but not immediately dropped the old moniker. The rest of second generation of this band marked their end in 2005 because of imminent duties overseas. They gave their lives, and never came back. In 2003, somewhere in a foreign land, within my spare-time, I finished our first properly-recorded single ever, “AM I ROCKING TOO FAR” after I rewrote the whole English lyrics. It’s one of the songs which had been given by nature before my very eyes. The owner of the studio which I paid for the recording, he said he liked the song very much until he claimed the copyright over the song as his. He refused to give me back the master tape. He said the song now belongs as his studio’s property. When he did return the master tape in heavyhearted expression, I took the CD to one of my friend’s studio there, and I found out he gave us a blank CD and he’d intentionally deleted all of our tracks from our hard disk and his hard disk as well. For your information, many single-songs of this band have been re-recorded for countless of times due to replacement singers and due to misfits like that. I’ll tell you later about this.

Many instant critics say, I should not sing, because I sound like a goose. You know how a goose sounds? Goose sounds coarse at mid-low tone and squeak high. I can’t judge my own voice, but from my perspective, this is a rock band, and even worse than that if you may say, this is just an indie rock band. This band doesn’t aim high for awards. Who cares? Actually I can sing the songs and even I can manipulate my voices using the “goose” effect-advantage. I’m the mother of my own songs. Those instant critics can’t even write hundreds of original songs well, just talking. We call it NATO – No Action Talk Only.

In 2007, I was recalled by the representatives of foreign dignitaries who own our lives. I finally signed our truce and regained our freedom in a remote town in Asia and received the released savings of our late second generation seniors. Then, privately I worked for another foreign dignitary’s security group during 2008/2009, while doubling my hats as a home tutor for some rich foreign dignitary’s children. This period of 2008/2009 I almost lost my life.

I used the savings to reproduce the band during my free-time, taking in substitution singers from many different countries because of a stigma saying that I should not sing or else windows would crack. Many substitution singers who come and go were none of our original heritage. Notably, they have different styles. Most of them are the products of mixed-up MTV generations who’re very far from our band’s value which preserves the 70s charisma. They’re the products of somebody who likes to pitch sixteen notes in a three-quarter bar, then dream of spotlights blanket around them. In the case of substitution singers who come and go, each singer sings in different keys. You can multiply how many key-related tracks per song x how many singers x times how many recording sessions needed x times how many recording days needed until mixing phase is done x studio rate per session x how many songs which have to be re-recorded, and for sure, it’s still outside of operational overheads, et cetera.

Once I also placed in a skillful six-string fretless bassist from Netherlands. He played awesome bass-mastery with those fast fretless touch-harmonics, but literally couldn’t follow our songs because he kept improvising on his own ego-show from the start to the end. His look reminded me of Murray from Riptide – the old TV detective series.

These were the biggest band production management mistakes I ever made in my life, and such wrong decision was born during emotional turmoil and confusion of having no more original singer. I was downplayed by my illusion to make it happen as soon as possible. In the end, it evaporates our resources, time and energy, bringing the band completely into a halt.

2009 to 2011, I stopped for a while from music and felt the burden was getting heavier on my shoulders. For a couple of years, I focus myself as a webmaster-coder and designer while building up a private bodyguard security business with some mercenaries, elite commandos and other special branches. This is a whole world that is 180-degree the opposite of our musical dream which I inherited. Span of periods after that, I worked onshore, offshore and at mineral mining sites. Sometimes we dealt with sea pirates. We’re more pirates than them simply because our Jolly-Roger Skull and Bones flag looks tougher than theirs. Especially now after I met the nice Blackbeard of SBS, laugh, they should know that the Legend of Blackbeard is actually my friend. Up to this very day, I still run a small private investigation group with top-notched capabilities without extravagant equipments.

Mid-2011, unintentionally I made a return to music after I meditated passing midnight-hours thinking how to reduce the band into an essential minimalist formation of three-piece like Wolfmother and The Police for greater mobility purposes. Along with my friend a top-general’s son who owns a recording studio, I met a session drummer named Anthony Sandybridge. I think Anthony’s among best session drummers of its kind whom I ever met in my life. Then we recorded SHTF | Patriot Game for the first time ever and I sang in that song. No more head-pain substitution singers. Laugh. This single was a long-time written asset of mine but was still a virgin, never got recorded before. It didn’t take a big team and the result was NOT BAD. Automatically, upon hearing the result, I felt Hope coming in. I was happy and contented. Just for an extra note, SHTF song, I wrote it and dedicated the song for THE LONE GUNMEN TV series actors. I honor THE LONE GUNMEN because like our band, they’d had forewarned the people about the possible incoming danger like SHTF and police-state martial law era. So now you know why I wrote the guitar intro that way like 60s, and designed the sound that way for that single.

Then, if I’m not wrongly, sometime in 2011 I recorded “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING” inside ship cabin on board, as unplugged version. Then I recorded “TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY” for the first time around October and released it for the first time on November 11th, 2011, to commemorate the month of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Along with it, I also re-recorded “AM I ROCKING TOO FAR” and another single of mine, “WINTER SOLSTICE OF MY HEART”. At the same time in 2011, I was attached to an anti-corruption team that seriously cracked one among the biggest corruption cases in Asia. Of course we lost the case by money politics right after we managed to arrest the perpetrator without sufficient evidence. Expect that. It disappointed me a lot and confirmed my eyes further witnessing the mechanics of the world. Well, some singles like “TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY” and “AM I ROCKING TOO FAR” have to be retouched and will be re-recorded and remixed because something wrong with the sounds. In 2011, I kidnapped a senior high-ranking military echelon, and forced him to manage this band. HAHAHA, yes this humble little band is rather deadly. LOL, so, yeah, I forced him to manage this band and gave him an empty contract of a blank indie label prop named PARABELLUM OVERKILL ROCKSTAR MANAGEMENT.

SBS: What is the difference in the way that the world hears music in the present day as opposed to when you first started out? What changes have you seen in music and do you think that it has grown and expanded in the RIGHT ways?

Swan: I think, today’s music has abandoned melodies for intentional saturation. It’s not that the music has run out of melodic-pair arrangement possibility, but because they don’t want to think into that direction but telling people melody is no more possible to attain these days. They’re mostly rhythm-laden music and sometimes the lyrics have no value at all, some are just repetition. Some songs of the days are intentionally made so for Hedonistic pursuit or drug-tripping accompaniment. Most of the promoters behind these grand shifts are usually corporation who think they know arts and who thinks music is a gold-mine. The other possible conductor for this phenomenon could be a well funded social-engineering research institution. In other foreign countries such as Asia, worthless mellow love songs with stupid plastic melody still dominate the market and it shapes the market. Gradually within years, listeners of those songs became flabby pinning only for subtle lives without anymore spirit to innovate further. LOL, it’s strange, you may laugh but it’s true. I have good sense to detect that social change.

The implication for original musicians is that, if the whole recording companies are racing against each other accepting only those kinds of plastic music because of market demand, then the whole scenery will be like that, because they control media placements as well. Fortunately, we have internet these days and musicians have more options to release their songs in a more independent way without direct influence from those blood-sucking corporate morons. I’m not a left-winger by telling you this. I’m a right-winger, but not a far-right.

I think period of 60s to 70s is the most beautiful era. I grew up with cassettes from our second generation seniors, those immortals like The Beatles, Matt Monroe, Jefferson Airplane, The Marmalades, October Cherries, Jethro Tull, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, The Mamas and Papas, Silver Beatles, Beach Boys, The Who, Jim Reeves, Lucifer, Pat Mauriatt, Astor Piazolla, The Carpenters, Procol Harum, Vicki Leandro, Steppenwolf, Queen, Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Harry Belafonte, The Doors, The Police, Barry White, ABBA, The Hollies, Simon Garfunkel, Bee Gees (before disco era), Wolfmother, Pink Floyd. From 80s, probably, my take is on Jane’s Addiction, Duran-Duran, I don’t like plastic synthesizers too much, but those who are distinctively well with it, gets into my count such as Pet Shop Boys. Sometimes, I rehearse my fingers warming-up with Metallica numbers too, Guns N’Roses. From 90s, probably I shall give respect to Nirvana, Tupac, Beck, Pearl Jam, Cake. 2000 and up, I like White Stripes, The Stone Age Queen, Avenged Sevenfolds, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Puddle of Mudd and Meditative Music.

If you’re original songwriter for long years, when you hear other songs with your ears, you can easily spot which one is genuine coming from a certain songwriter’s heart, soul and mind, which one is plastic and which one is genuine but under pressure of corporate demand-censorship and commercial manipulation. You can detect the distinctions.

SBS: While doing my research, I was looking to see if there was a Facebook page. When I didn’t find one, I typed your name into google to see what came up. You dominated the first full seven pages of the search return, which is a pretty incredible presence on the web. Does the internet feel like a place of connection or disconnection to you personally?

Swan: Maybe those seven pages are inertia of the past data-flow and possibly people’s viral deposits. I tried to open band’s facebook before but then I quit. Personally, I don’t like dull facebook. There are many people I know got into fight or separation because of facebook. Meanwhile, somehow I don’t see anything useful with facebook aside of the boredom rendered with boring blue-white stiff pages there. It’s full of gossips there and bots. Sometimes, I don’t understand why people need facebook, and other media which look alike. If they have product to sell, ok, it can be a thing to understand – for marketing reason. We can use facebook for marketing reason too soon. I’m flexible for that.

You know, some elite secret service personnel of a certain country in Asia also brag their Secret ID CARD photos and attributes in facebook to look cool, and facebook shares it with CIA and NSA. It’s so LOL, HAHAHA. The past CIA director once praised facebook in congressional hearing saying that facebook has helped CIA reaching the most unreachable corner of the world without sacrificing any meaningful budget. Now, what’s your take on that? Laugh.

The most of time I hang out in internet, is just for watching movies online in youtube. I never watch TV unless unintentionally saw it in public café area. I don’t read or watch mainstream moron news media channels, because all they say is plastic Bias-BS and really moron. They never tell you truth about what’s happening these days in the world. HAHAHA. Many of my videos in youtube have been deleted or locked for personal use only, such as “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING (Full Band Version)” recorded in 2008, because I don’t feel anymore to keep that substitution singer’s voice with misfit timing and unique accents. I will re-record everything again from a scratch and will sing for it. If nothing was deleted, maybe today you could find more than seven search result pages in total.

Speaking about TV earlier; let me share with you just a quick tip for you all. Ever got forgetful experience lately? Something’s not right with your memory? Tired to figure out what and where? Switch you damn TV off, and within six months to one year, you shall see you regain your memory back, quit sodas and other disadvantageous consumption habit. I experienced that. My experience won’t go wrong. Don’t spoil yourself with chemical medicines just for a small sickness. Learn how to resist weather and try natural herbs; then learn how to grow them. It saves your pocket too.

SBS: Speaking of personally – my friend – your personal background is astonishing! If I can just share with people what I was sent here…it reads: More than 10 years of distinctive experiences in security field. Throughout her risky life-career, she was underpaid. Today, she leads a humble Private Investigation service and private risk consulting service. Swan is also a stand-up comedian. So OK Swan…if you’re TRULY a stand-up comedian as well you have GOT to appreciate this paragraph for what it is. The ENTIRE thing is like, DEADLY serious – then the last line of “Swan is also a stand-up comedian” comes in like a punch-line to a great joke. But this is no joke is it Swan – you really were a special operative. I can’t imagine the personal character-arc that would have to take place within a person to go from being a security expert to a stand-up comedian…what was the change in your life that stopped the seriousness and started the laughter?

Swan: Laugh. My apology, I have to rephrase some of what my apprentice wrote to you. It’s irrelevant thing which shouldn’t be written actually. Yes, I think from way back of seniors of this band they were all comedians too. I love to entertain my friends during informal gathering, inviting them to dinner and tell them fresh jokes. It’s a fundamental thing for our lives because we deal with serious stuffs sometimes. There are many funny things captured during our serious deadly times too you know, I think someday you could find those moments in our book. It’s hilarious. Yes, up to this very day, privately I’m still serving several high military echelons, with my private business shifts into private investigation.

For example: the most recent chaotic day was in 2011 Sunday afternoon, during that anti-corruption campaign. Finance is a dirty world wrapped in glamorous way. You can find financial world is actually full with assassinations. We just arrived for a meeting and in no time, our building were surrounded with hundreds of paid armed gangsters with machetes and I managed to smuggle the political assassination target, a finance president-director, out of the building safely, with only three-personnel, passing the only front steel doorways under siege, seen by the mobs but unseen, they just stood still with machetes in hand staring at me walking to the open car park with the obvious suspect target walking along my side. No facial camouflage technique ever used. Now, can you think how I improvised that way? Laugh. But still, I can tell jokes in the car. But I got no response since the target was already shaken, sweating, with tearful red eyes, slowly peed in his pants. So the answer to that, is, experience.

Experience makes us calm in every situation. And in the end, we can revisit the havoc and find ways harder how to turn it into some joke assets. But of course, we never completely reveal how our client looks like. It’s against privacy policy. LOL, your secret is safe with me and dirty-dozen personnel of mine, HAHAHA.

SBS: According to the history and bio of Songfugl fra Sommersted, it certainly hasn’t all been laughter throughout your career. You’ve seen the passing of two key members of the band, one of which – Schmetterling Winnie – has been your personal inspiration for the current state of Songfugl. Describe that inspiration for us – why was this the direction that felt right for you to go with the music?

Swan: Schmetterling Winnie is actually a codename given to my senior who was also our original founder-singer. The real name, I will never disclose, but yes, Winnie is the real short name. I never personally saw the scenes of how both ended. I just knew the account told by survivors. I tell you, it’s not only two who had gone in gruesome way. If you see my simple unplugged video, my hair-do, vocal, I have resurrected Winnie back to life. Winnie is important because Winnie had the typical 70s charisma and originality, just what this band is all about. Winnie shaped this band as what you’ll see, and I develop it further to adjust our original 70s melodies with courageous rhythm-beats of today. Winnie is the ideology of the band with experiences and many readings. Winnie departed on a patriotic cause in 2005, and I myself almost depart to Saturn too in 2008/2009 on another patriotic cause for the lives of many. But came back to the truce agreement of 2007, if I weigh it again, why must we resist and fight, if I look around, many idiots-morons are wicked, corrupt and greedily still want for more paper money, while we who sweep the roadside all live humble. Maybe it would be better if we let them got taken away and die straight away next time without shields.

With the gradual change of time today, I think things have now favorably turned toward the powerful good side as we ever wished, I think, it’s now the time to completely exit and thoroughly keep time and resources for my own self, but yeah, some relationships with some elders in the highest place are still going on up to this day. They want me in and I’m at the crossroad, but I sincerely plan to focus more on the music. Music is more peaceful than security jobs. Temporarily, I still have to double it with security jobs and other menial side-jobs, because my music is still crawling.

SBS: Personally, I think that’s a brilliant way to keep your former member in the band with you today… like a guide for your music nearly… At the very least Swan – yours is a story I don’t think I’ll hear from any other person for as long as I continue to interview – it’s that unique, truly. But past the unique can always be some common ground and I see that you and I have one very key thing in common between our musical universes…we both seem to have a large resentment towards the music industry. So in asking this, know that I’m more than likely COMPLETELY on your side because I’m not a fan of the industry-machine at all…but…what I want to know is…in your bio it suggests that the impact of your dealings with a record company still affect you in some ways even now. Can you tell us a little about your experience and what these long-lasting effects of that have been for you?

Swan: Thank You for That, Sir Jer, and thank you for being a real-deal music journalist too. Yes, it was during Winnie’s leadership era. As probably you’ve known in the past, how recording sharks worked before the wide-internet era? You should then be familiar with the 99:1 deal. You will laugh if you hear the whole story. I’ll just tell you a part of it as for now.

Well, there was one of Winnie’s senior mentors named Guon who came with a story in 1995 that he said he’d met a recording company scout. Last time they were working return trip to Europe. You could also later read about Guon in our book, it’s not his real name but a codename. He’s among the amusing founders of this humble little band. Everybody disbelieved Guon until he produced the scout’s name card on the table. You know how last time recording deal was like a small pity bread fallen from the sky? It was a very rare thing to meet. If you ever got offered by a recording contact, you should feel like as if you’ve won a lottery. Recording companies close their doors for public access but they always lurk around to find new talents sending their men-in-black scout agents. It’s like literary agents. You can never get initially through into publishing companies without them. Last time, same thing, recording companies won’t bother to talk to you if you’re nobody or you’re not recommended by a scout. So Winnie was caught by surprise, and everybody were like seeing a light of hope from a small keyhole, you know. They began to conspire how to yield free time to make a demo song. They all saw this opportunity as their big rare chance to escape hardships and risky jobs. The short favorite dream of every musicians, to live your own life, do what you like, get rich and retire early. So they plotted this-that, and even they said Guon would be made the manager of the band, LOL.

After that, the deal was signed for an advance of 10,000 US dollars. So Winnie signed the contract with the scout, along with Guon. Only in the later days, they said (I forgot what they said to me), but it’s about the nature of the contract, that the so-called 10,000 US dollars covered for future eight albums contracts, and that amount is under the term Lump-Sum and must cover sufficiently for recording, video clips, promotions of the eight albums. Then they said, that our band had to surrender the songs as late as within several months, and we practically would lose the copyrights of the songs, and to the worst, they said, the 10,000 US dollars was only an advance money, so under the recoupable term, we must return the whole money from the CD sales profits at distributor price (which later days Winnie questioned about how to trust how many CDs the secretive recording company actually sales), the CD spine labels are made deductible from the 10,000 US dollars too, and many other deductions, before we could enjoy our 1% royalty from the risk-hedge CD sales which probably we would never see anymore for good. The question was:


Laugh. This was what many musicians never think. Just like Winnie, they just signed fearing the pity-bread-from-sky deal would slip away off their hands if they didn’t sign. Some drug-addicted musicians would also sign such contract because they know nothing and they deadly need the money to satisfy their cocaine-tongues. Now I ask you, will you surrender your copyrights to somebody who pretend to give you money but actually just lending you that money? And you have to finish your money for all production props required by them even studio hours you have to repay it with the lent money, and in the end you’ll lose your copyrights just to enjoy a small paltry sad uncertain 1% royalty but just after you completely repay the whole debt? They might give you disgusting business-marketing lip-service telling you that it is necessary to take 99% of the sales to hedge the risk because recording business is risky. Indeed risky. But if you know it is 99% risky as compared to the 99% yield of candy-robbery, why must you throw yourself in such highly risky business with all glamorous BS props covering the front side but rotten in the inside?

The deal signed by our second generation seniors was more lethal because the label had a plan to change our songs, change the singer and or possibly SHELVE our songs in the refrigerator if they find that the song is no more in trend. Further deadly pitfalls were that Winnie apparently signed an Exclusive contract with Image-Locking clause. It means, for five years, the band can never go anywhere but to enslave themselves under the mercy of the sharks.

When asked about this, Guon said he never knew about it, of course because he knew only guns and geopolitics. So, he said, maybe next time we should get a translator as some parts of the contracts were written in a certain deep European legal language. So, Winnie said – does it make any different to you? The contract had been signed. So, they held Guon responsible. Laugh. LOL, that was just hilarious. So a month before the deadline, the scout looked for Winnie asking for the songs. Winnie returned the whole money, and the scout got angry, and he refused. He called in henchmen from the recording shark mafia company acquaintance. Then we all retaliated full-scale. HAHAHA, and finally we got the original signature contract back with the whole dignity. We burnt that sick scam contract to ashes. Who the hell they think we are? Debbie Gibson?!? – Hehehe.

If you ask me today, I tell you, I’m the songwriter of my songs. I’m the mother of my songs. I don’t sell my children, but people can always pay my children to sing for them, to honor their beauties. This band will stay independent. I may sign Non-Exclusive distribution contract provided that it won’t endanger my original copyrights. For touring, I may sign split door-fees with promoter who has heart and beautiful mindset. Nobody shall interfere with the originality of the songs. Fair and square, we are who we are, and we are what we are.

SBS: Throughout you career, do you feel like your music has been passed over or properly recognized? Have you ever heard someone that became famous when you felt like you had been doing something similar already for years? Some people are just in the right place at the right time – there’s no denying that. I’ve always felt like two similar talents could exist on two continents and easily see one of them become much more recognizable world-wide simply because location A was more supportive than location B…that kind of thing…what do you think about all that Swan?

Swan: Hey… Sir, you really sharply read my mind over this frequently forgotten question. First and short answer, Sir, geographic locations do differentiate musical success aside of connections. If you’re bound to a certain geographic locations with Non-English natives and you’re writing English songs, expect yourself to drop dead. It’s lucky we have internet this era, unlike during Winnie’s era. Why many youngsters in US can get successful sometimes? Because Hollywood is just behind their backyard, they don’t need VISA or tit-tat to go to California, just a van and small cash.

Another thing to consider is that, US Americanize everything, this including music market worldwide. Whatever thing that was created in US by Americans is considered thing to praise and follow. The most garbage BS crap of music, if produced in US, it would be a top-hit sales in Asia. For some time in the past, Asia is the garbage box of US product. Can Asia send any pop or rock music to US? Not a chance, unless you’re Ethnic-Jazz Festival kind of specialty band.

Nevertheless, as internet era evolved, with everyone can produce anything without any stinky scout’s fart gas from sharks recording mafia company anymore, as everyone can directly reach their fans, selling directly, selling merchandise too, cutting middlemen, and even they can make music videos with home-software technology, no more needing a recording company’s production house to do that, plus the rising of Asian music domination, plus the incoming economic collapse of US as you know how much they print money out of thin air to monetize their deficit margins, plus current geopolitical influence shifts, then the Babylon has gone down. This creates “ALMOST” equal opportunity for musicians around the world, beyond borders and time limitation; but still not in the term of Language.

Those who wish to keep originality and independence can stay indie. Those who wish fast furious money can sign to mainstream label. Just watch out for the PITFALLS. We’d forewarned you. Laugh. Hehehe.

For decades until today, SONGFUGL fra SOMMERSTED is still crawling, waiting for long-time roster cycle to be able to record our song one-by-one. We’re not a one-night band. We’re not a one-night-stand band either. We stand on our own feet without label’s money, promoter’s money or even without fans’ money. Nobody buys our songs, nobody donate our band. In 2003, after I recorded “AM I ROCKING TOO FAR” in that unfriendly foreign land, I was running out of money and logistics. I attempted to copy my song into three CDs and sat down on street side waiting for people to buy my CD. Nobody buys. Two of the CDs I gave to friendly backpacker-tourists I met. Then when Winnie knew this before the last departure for good, I got warning. Winnie said, even though in difficult time, never throw this band low, stand tall, straight head. I keep that in mind until today. It’s our Esprit de Corps to honor the history of this humble little band.

SBS: I’m writing this particular question with one of your latest postings “The San Francisco Runway Ring (Unplugged) – it’s a beautiful song. Believe it or not – what it actually reminds me of are the James Lha influenced songs from The Smashing Pumpkins, or anything from his first solo album…he’s such a mellow cat. This track sounds sweet but the lyrics seem hopeful, yet sad…can you give us some insight into this particular song?

Swan: Laugh, maybe you’re a little bit incorrect with that. “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING” is a psychedelic indie rock, with thick 70s nuance rendering the song from the start to the end. Maybe when it’s completely finished, you could see the whole picture of it. Smashing Pumpkins is rather U2 with those strumming Arpeggios style. Our band doesn’t go U2, because when U2 was formed in mid 70s and it took several more years to reach Asia as famous icon only after mid-80s, whereas this band had already lost the first generation founders for long time, thus stuck with the PRE mid-70s nuance.

The idea behind “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING” is that, a true-story. You know, one character of our band, we only write songs based on TRUE EXPERIENCE. Unlike corporate music, we never make up our songs to be AS IF as something else. Once again, if you’re a long-run original songwriter like us, you’d be able to differentiate which one is with genuine lyrics coming from the heart, which one is empty corporate props. Many singers during 70s are genuine, that’s why we like the 70s era. They wrote about their true experience in broken-heart times or about their true experience during experimenting with drugs, or about true politics and other social injustice. You can really feel the drag of inertia and whatever they wrote, it would show ATTACHMENT to your mind, heart and soul. It’s because it’s a real situation and the natural sympathy in you as listener works naturally causing you to find almost no saturation listening to that certain genuine music from time to time. Don’t downplay this natural empathic essence. Many of the so-called music A&R craps with BS degree diploma in their hands (this BS here stands for Bull-Shits not stands for Bachelor of Science, ok) – LOL, HAHAHA; or the BS recording scouts, they CHASE QUOTA. They CHASE PROFITS. They CHASE PRODUCTION SCHEDULE. They think music is some kind of product rolling on a Manufacturing Conveyor-Belts or something. Most of these morons (I don’t say all, HAHAHA), they downplay the natural empathy in the listeners. They don’t comply but to shape it. As an effect, many of the songs are not audible for long-run – maybe for some people with a certain nostalgic moment at the time when the song was released, for memory remains. But if they repeat it for six-times continuously, they would feel junk. This is because it’s Nostalgic Sentiment that works for the song and not the Natural Empathy, thus, no Compassionate Affection value invested.

So, back to the idea behind “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING”, was a man Winnie met in airport lounge hall. Winnie talked to him, and the man was telling a sad story that a couple of years he also sat in this same airport lounge hall, waiting to depart to US, to meet his American girlfriend. This man studied overseas as PhD research student. They almost got married. But when he landed, there was shooting already happened somewhere in that city, and his girlfriend was one among the victims. In glassy eyes, the man accounted Winnie of what happened. Then upon reunion, Winnie asked me, “Where’s the cassette tape that you sang na-na-na-na-na last year? Now I have idea what to write for the lyrics.” So that was the beginning to have “THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNWAY RING” born as a musical star-child. HAHAHA, funny isn’t it?

SBS: Okay – why the novel has apparently been “secretly hindered from release.” How so? Why do you think so?

Swan: Yes, we changed some chronology and names of our seniors and others, because some names could relate to some foreign dignitaries. We inject some character developments and events too, and of course we also put our jokes. Now that’s important. Laugh. But you know writing real story is faster than writing a novel. So, the book was first ended up 3,000 pages, but nobody wants to print it, because the book was too thick. So as the policy changed to make it a novel for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY as agreed in the 2007 truce, it becomes harder. Laugh. To cut down and alter the stories are harder than to write it. We’ve deleted the original book as agreed.

Back then, it was something enormous and we can’t explain in short words. There was also a threat directed at our seniors before and our group negotiated then retaliated. However, I can’t tell anymore in here because we had reached an agreement over it. In the book, I wrote a part about it in the form of a novel, some parts we changed.

This is Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave. I’d already signed our freedom, but until now, practically we’re still properties of some new elder-patrons, it’s just changing hands, different entities, they might be related, maybe not, I never know the whole picture. Don’t ask don’t tell. I never ask the elders. The last time they called me to go overseas and meet there, was sometime this 2013. It is six-years after I signed the truce agreement in 2007. But this time I know they’re good entities from the good faction, unlike before during our seniors’ era. You know these people… I don’t mean to scare you, alright? But I personally think they could read our minds and thus Winnie was right about it. Three years earlier, they could find me in 2010 in random foreign countries, out of nowhere. It’s not about tracking, because if I want to, I can use evasions. It was really a mind-boggling experience. Nevertheless, if I revisit Winnie’s Hotel California principle, it’s not a surprise.

So, as this band now under my new management and we had gradually left the past era, it’s better to release it in the form of a novel, which may take up to 3-series (the remnants of the 3,000 pages). I guarantee the altered story is still suspense and could stand a chance as a widescreen film in the future, with our songs serve as the soundtracks. So first step, this band has to go famous first. Laugh. Then, I will retire.

SBS: That project might be on hold for now, but the story of Songfugl fra Sommersted continues on. What’s coming up for you in the near future Swan? What’s happening musically for you over there?

Swan: I think we seriously need to record several singles to make up AT LEAST a short EP Extended-Play Singles. We need materials ready in hands to market, and if fans really love us – yes why not to let them donate something for us, so that we can pursuit our unfulfilled dreams faster, to even play in some Woodstock rock concerts as an opening act. So there’s a plan in me to re-record “TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY” single once more, which was initially released in November 11th, 2011. If properly managed, this single could burn the revolutionary hearts. It’s scheduled to be mastered by one of Pink Floyd’s original engineers. It could serve as the second “THE WALL” of this turbulent era. So I think, I might pursue this way, hopefully within short-period I could produce as many singles as I could. Let’s see about this, but it’s already our assassination target. Laugh. We won’t miss the assassination if it’s already marked inside our roster. It could be the first debut of our entire more than three-decade of our band’s musical career.

SBS: What advice can you give to people that are just starting out on their own musical path? What might they have to sacrifice in pursuit of their goals? What might the rewards of success be in your opinion?

Swan: I think, like I said earlier in this interview, those who wish to keep originality and independence could stay indie, those who wish to get fast furious money could sign to mainstream label, just watch for the pitfalls. In the middle-tier of these two, I think nowadays there’s an exit way from the so-called Indie Label or Minor Label. What’s the plus or negative about Indie Label, probably, they’ll act the same like how Major Label does business, but with smaller money and more family-like heart of mind in the process. I can’t tell you what Minor Indie Label does, or will help musicians with because I just bring up the case of SUBPOP Records to which Nirvana once signed their initial debut. So, Minor Indie Label can also act as Subsidiary of a Major Label, it means they can funnel your distributions using Major Label’s networks. Just beware with your earning because you can’t check every small paper inside a secretive giant no matter how much openness they promise you with transparent cyber-access accounting system.

If you wanna go indie like my band, you can try CDBABY.com (sorry for the promotion, Sir), I’d rather trusting this kind of independent CDBABY-like platform for the sales openness, one of it, because you’re in control of your own band. But indie is a way of slow in funding, as you know, well, for more than three decades of our band’s musical career, we only earn up to 9 US cents in CDBABY and 4 US dollars in youtube. HAHAHAHA, LOL, that’s a REAL LAUGHTER! But that’s real, Sir, not a joke, and that’s the GENUINE SPIRIT of Musicianship of a Lifetime.

So as of for the songwriting itself, maybe for those people reading this interview, I can summarize once again, to, write original music with all originality in you, original topic-story behind the lyrics, original niche and keep them all seamlessly united and simple. Never downplay the Natural Empathy/Sympathetic essence in your listeners. It’s the factor which will judge your songs. Don’t chase for quota or profit or production schedule. Your music is not a parody of products running on a factory’s conveyor belts. Don’t get encouraged to win awards such as wasting your money to PAY to get into a musical contest, you know the juries to your song could be the people who don’t understand your music at all, no matter how celebrity they are, you must know that some mainstream celebrities make their way to the top not purely because of their songs, but of certain connections, gang-drugs, sex-favor and other unspoken oddities.

SBS: You mentioned also that you’ve had trouble finding a good studio in Asia. I barely leave sleepingbagstudios so I truly have no real idea of what’s going on over there! Can you describe for us what you might find in a “typical” studio in Asia? What stops them from being able to fulfill what you need as an artist/customer?

Swan: Well, Sir, in Asia, many rich people can build great studio loaded with costly equipments. Some even copy glamorous American recording studio facilities, you know, with the pool table, even with sauna and swimming pool. But their human resources are lacking of knowledge, disciplines and creative initiatives. So far, from several countries I roamed, I could only find 2 (two) best sound operator-engineers. Yes, only two real talents. Other type of wasted studios are those with the same luxury but they maintain their income by receiving recording orders from Asian mainstream recording major labels, you know those plastic idiot corporate songs. So gradually, their engineers’ ears and wrists are sculptured into that plastic pop standard. We record rock songs. We have certain standards for sound charisma. They can never sense it anymore, and thus, they can never get the feeling. So, if you ever go to Asia to record your songs, it really depends on your luck. Don’t be fooled with studio locations on the beautiful hill facing the shark-infested sea or rice-fields with 600 USD per hour BS crap. It’s about the sound in the end, if you’re long enough in music production, you can notice it. You can’t go into rock if your engineers are all pop-mania slaves. You don’t go there for Sauna, do you?

Another type is the hyped balloon green engineers who are greenhorns and they think rock music is about NOISE. HAHAHA, laugh, got one of these before, he pushed all volumes-UP until clicks and pops red clips LED blinked on the mixer. When I asked, hey, what are you doing? He sneered with rabbit-teeth, showing Horn-Sign hand at me, while against the loud music in the background – he shouted, “YOU MUST GO LIKE THIS!!! METAL!!!!”

HAHAHA, that’s hilarious moron! Laugh.

SBS: Self-described as “charismatic, tough political resistance fighters…” I might very well be in for a history lesson or completely valid political comment here…but Swan…what are you resisting?

Swan: HAHAHA, it must be my apprentice who told you that. It was actually the old marketing niche for my band. It’s true we’re a fighter band, but as of 2011 under my new management style, I had made decision to rephrase the niche; Maybe he just copy-paste it to you. Laugh. It was Guon who wrote it and I kept using it because I don’t know what to write to fill in the blank, you know if you design a website, you must have something to write for comparative look, aside of that moron Lorem Ipsum Dolor crap. Laugh. If you’re a web-designer, you’ll get what I mean with Lorem Ipsum Dolor crap.

Nevertheless, the rest of us who survived, we used to resist sinister agenda. This is a real thing, alright. We tell you, that this thing really exists. Now let’s talk outside of that, today, we have many idiot-moron corruptors who want more and more for their own stomachs. We have circus of god’s soldiers who think their god will love them more if they kill other innocent people. We do need a New Order to govern these Bull-Shits, but what kind of New Order? If it’s about getting worst than what today already is – then FORGET IT! We’ll die standing on our feet, not on our knees.

Up to this November 2013, from my private observation, I think the scene is gradually changing for a better hope. Powerful Conscious emerging leaders are taking over the scene, showing resistance at echelon level. So now, I think, we should rest the case to those emerging Powerful Conscious echelons while lining up behind their wings. This is one of our hopes before since 2003, and Mother Nature is listening to us, so I think, it comes true.

But still, the road for the emerging Powerful Conscious leaders is not smooth. They need to be extra-careful and emphasize more unity. So, at our level now, we can shift our focus into the lower paradigm over the freak-fruit of the old powers, the Bull-Shit Theocracy which threatens our freedom of humanity, freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This also exists, co-exists with other tragedies. However, many progressive native traitors in strategic social-control places are bribed with astronomical donations, they turn their eyes away, manipulate real data and falsely telling people to be tolerant to something which doesn’t deserve to be tolerated at all.

The treacherous teaching is called Political Correctness. So far, I’d managed to infiltrate one of western universities full of such traitors. You know what they taught the students? “THERE HAD NEVER BEEN ANY ANTI-WESTERN ATTACK HAPPENED ON US SOIL” and this was based also on a false data produced by one of US research center swallowing more than millions dollars of budget to write such BS. What can you achieve with more than million dollars annual budget actually? What will you do in office for that kind of annual budget? Playing SOLITAIRE on your PC daily then write just any-how report to produce whatever conclusive data, just because actually you know that the end of the story has been pre-determined merely for Political Correctness? But big salary will automatically come, right? Just like those bankers-gangsters who earn Gigantic Bonus after eroding your economic system? What do you feel?

Do you think a god still needs a parcel of land and political party happy-hour? Do you think god will still need blood sacrifice? If yes, it means, tomorrow that god will need a washing machine for his mini underwear. Isn’t god is supposed to be a perfect being already? How can a foreign refugee dare to set up a No-Go Zone forbidding native land people from walking through their own land? Why the police are scared to take the stand? Who they work for?

Minions of the hidden agenda use the method of “SHOW A PITIFUL FACE, THEN YOU’LL REGAIN CONTROL.”

If an intel or a police can’t do the job, take-off the uniforms and Quit. I tell them, DON’T COMPROMISE the security of your people and your national security just because you’re actually a bunch of coward slaves of intellectual-traitors, and are incapable to do your security-related job properly. If a research center taking up more than millions of dollars annual budget for costs and lavish salaries just to proceed with crap-data to justify political correctness compromising security-threats over vulnerability against the people, then DISMISS the dangerous redundant plump organization.

One of the progressive native traitors ever spoke out accidentally, telling, they do so as an Insurance Card, so that when the Theocracy completely takes over their country, they won’t get beheaded in the future. How naïve! Laugh. They don’t understand what kind of crooks they’re giving the tolerance to. All of this time those progressive native traitors only enjoy time reading books behind their rosewood desks and on their satin beds.

“Is everybody blind to let it happens from time to time?”

This is my original quote: “NOBODY WILL UNDERSTAND THE FEELING OF LOSING A COUNTRY, UNTIL THEY COMPLETELY LOSE IT.” – And the more sucker-punch feeling on their face is when they deliberately let it happens by their own direct-indirect intentional faults plus ignorance.

SBS: How do you continue to challenge yourself as a musician after 40+ band-years making music?

Swan: You know Van Gogh the painter? During his life, he couldn’t sell even a painting in his life but famous after he died. I think maybe, we’re inside Van Gogh’s category. We can’t sell our songs because we have no mainstream opportunity, but we won’t be enslaved by mainstream puppetry. So, maybe we’ll get famous after we all die. Laugh!

SBS: Let’s do this…tell me something about the band (Aside from yourself being in it!) that has NEVER changed and WHY.

Swan: The band consists of a set of cumulative unfulfilled dreams of her predecessors. Dream is part of memory. Memory is energy. They said, energy can’t be created or destroyed. That was why there’s a proverb telling you to study as high as you can because when you die, you take nothing but your knowledge with you. It’s because knowledge is part of memory. It never dies although the wrapping of your ether may degrade by half-life. So the dream and spirit of this band never dies, and if ever it has to die by pressure, character assassination or if it has to die because my time comes, I tell you this, this band will die-hard before it dies, but it will never fade away after that.

When all of the projects is ever accomplished, and the story be read, you could see the whole. For those who listen may see and those who read may hear. The spirit of this band never changes. We all strive for our musical dream through deadly hardships without backups. And, we make the dream comes true byte-by-byte from the thin red-line of impossibility. If you compare this to the previous question we discussed about some plastic talents who receive big funding and opportunity, this band is nothing. But as they fade away, in the long-run, indie-bands with originalities like my humble little band, won’t be forgotten. Some said the path to Heaven is a narrow, long and winding road.


SBS: Forty-six years doing this is a long, long time. Have you achieved enough through what you do Swan to feel you’ve done enough? Will you ever be satisfied? What would that take? Is there anything that you know of that could stop you from making music until you’re physically unable? I guess the real question is…can a musician ever REALLY retire from making music? For many of them, it is what has given them purpose…kept them alive…

Swan: Sir Jer, so far, I have written more than three-hundred song-assets, but I may not be able to record all. I think, only just a couple of fifty songs that I plan to record in my life, this will satisfy about three full albums and then one trilogy. Then I’ll retire. I think I’ve done enough. Just don’t show me powdery stuffs, or I might read it. LOL Laugh, HAHAHA, I avoid going to the beach for some time because all of the sands can become numbers and melodies to my eyes and ears, which I will never stop to solve it and connect them one-by-one into songs.

SBS: Maybe not Facebook for some reason – but WHERE on the internet would you like people to go to find out more about Songfugl fra Sommersted and hear more of your music?

Swan: I think temporarily, can use my youtube channel as a transit place because I redesign the new band’s site. It is youtube.com/user/songbirdband and www.songfugl.com while I’ll activate the twitter. I like twitter better than facebook or google+. Twitter is light, easy, compact, functional and just right without gossips. I loathe irresponsible gossips in facebook. I downsize my band formation and I’d also like to minimize the use of social media because it’s uncontrollable. Just few official outlets are fine. People could viral it anyway.

SBS: Swan I want to thank you once again for being a part of what we do here at sleepingbag, for the time & effort put into the answers and for the privilege of being able to learn about you and your music through this interview. But with as much history and longevity as you’ve had – I probably missed something you might like to say or talk about – so if you would like – this is our traditional open floor; a space for you to say anything you like to the people out there, anything at all. It has been a pleasure Swan – for what it’s worth I don’t think you should be “sad” about your music at all – I find it completely inspiring that you’ve been making music all this time. Thank you for this opportunity to talk.

Swan: I think your studio is a nice place to sleep. You know I love sleeping inside a recording studio because of the sound-proofing acoustic isolation. It’s so peaceful there and stress-free. Many times, I paid recording studios just for sleeping inside it, doing nothing. While lying down on the studio floor, I could feel sharing stories per reminiscence. By the way, I thank you so much for your precious time and for your availability. I’ll let you know when next single comes out. Merry Christmas to you Sir Jer, you’ve got a friend here, and I’ll contact you again next month or the end of this month. I like to talk to real music journalists. I’ll have my apprentice to book the next appointments with you while I’m away. Sir, May Mother Nature Bless You and Family with Prime Health, Safety and Prosperity. Thank you. Stay Safe. Cheers and Godspeed.

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