Swedish rock ‘n’ roll trio; Reach, have just released their latest single: ‘Higher Ground’. We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Ludvig Turner about the new material, as well as the origins of the band, and what it’s like having the human dynamo Erik Grönwall as a manager.
Hi Ludvig, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, it’s greatly appreciated!
‘Hey, Dave! Thank YOU, this is the closest thing to a gig we’ve had with Reach this year thanks to the Cuntrona-virus.’
Cuntrona-virus! Love it! First of all, the incredible video for ‘Higher Ground’ has just been released, it’s quite a dark video; is there a particular theme behind it?
‘It truly is a nice video. I´m very happy with how it turned out! Many of the lyrics I´ve been writing the last year have circled around these dark stories of murderers, drug addicts, depression etc. Higher Ground is one of them. Since this is a performance video we didn’t focus on the storytelling as much as the overall vibe, so to speak. Some snakes, weird faces and a “The Joker-dance” was all we needed in this video to match the song.’
‘Higher Ground’ has incredible cover artwork, who designed it, and what is the theme behind the design?
‘Yes! I agree! I really love it! The mastermind behind the artworks is Vagelis Petikas. The thing is that we didn’t really go deep in what we wanted to do with the artwork on the album. ICEA (Icons Creating Evil Art) sent Vagelis our way and he whipped something up for Higher Ground and we loved it. I had something like “A Night at The Opera” artwork in mind and what we got is not far from it but still original. We haven’t met, me & Vagelis, but I know I like him just because of his skill! he he ‘
It is truly stunning, now, both tracks released so-far from the forthcoming album; ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘The Law’, are quite different from each other. ‘Higher Ground’ itself has great variety within one song, is this indicative of how the new album will sound, i.e. varied?
‘I tend to go different directions when writing songs. I´d say you can expect some variety in this album. WIth that said, if you liked Higher Ground & The Law you’re gonna enjoy the rest. It gets cooler & weirder. The next single we´ll be releasing is my favourite from the album. Really excited to see what people have to say about it!’
What was the gestation period on the new album? How quickly did it come together?
‘Well… Most of it was written last year and recorded in 2 weeks give or take. I work with Jona Tee from the Swedish Rock orchestra HEAT and when we get going there´s no stopping us! Most of the time has been spent trying to find dates to record since we’ve both been busy doing stuff we shouldn’t do. Like working and playing keyboards with HEAT.’
In your opinion what makes a great song, and who would you class as the ultimate song-writer?
‘I like a song that takes me somewhere. Right now I’m all into Chopin and classical piano music. It’s a phase I guess. Chris Cornell has always been a huge inspiration as a songwriter and lyricist. Bands like Queen, Muse, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC made me wanna play music. There is so much good music and bands. Both new and old! I find a new favourite every month but to answer your question I´d say my all-time hero is Chris Cornell.’
The band have been together since 2012, originally a four piece, in what ways has the band developed since trimming down to a trio?
‘We went from a four piece and became a good band! Three best buddies doing what we love. It’s a band cliché´ but it is true. Me and Marcus said to ourselves when we started Reach, “As long as this is fun, we´ll keep at it”. This line-up is the best I’ve ever played in and as long as we enjoy each other’s company we´ll go on. Another 3 months that is since none of them wanted to celebrate midsummer’s eve with me.’
Who would be the original power-trio in your mind?
‘Muse! That is some good stuff right there.’
Good choice. Reach is managed by Erik Grönwall, frontman for H.E.A.T and one of the most energetic performers around today, have you ever seen him chilled out?!
‘It looks like he’s making a drink when he’s holding his baby. It’s insane. Always 100% POWER with Erik. Phone calls take about 27 seconds and he responds to my emails within a minute. He´s exactly what you’d expect him to be in private but with more clothes.’
I’ve fond memories of security at Download Festival trying to contain Erik after he went walkabout during a performance! Back to Reach, what worldwide band out there at the minute do you feel that the band would be best suited to open for?
‘Muse, In my opinion. To trios with a lot of backing tracks and spooky songs!’
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
‘We’re trying to figure that out as well. I enjoy good music and I really try my best to write songs that I think are good. As you say, there are some crazy good new bands playing. The ones I like the most are the ones that I find original. To be real that often does not seem to be enough. Reach has made the most progress last year and it’s the first time we ever had a crew. A solid, interested and enthusiastic Erik as a manager, a label with the same traits. We try to surround ourselves with nice and talented people that can do what we can´t. That seems to work out good for us so far. If you can be your own producer, manager, artist etc. then more power to you!’
Sweden is a hotbed of talent at the minute, who do you feel is the next band to break out?
‘I re-wrote this answer 10 times and I don’t want to sound like a diva but I think Reach has something to offer. I have more faith in this than ever before and we have such a good crew working for this band. If we don’t “Make it” within 3 years I’ll eat a bag o´ dicks!’
Are you a guitarist who also sings, or a singer that also plays the guitar?
‘I´m a guitarist who also sings but I’m spending much more time practising my vocal skills than I am practising guitar at the minute. I started singing in 2014 and so I got like 10 more years to practise before I become as good a singer as a guitarist. ‘
What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
‘Anastacia Live at Last tour, Globen Arena Stockholm 2004 with my mom was my first “Holy sheet” moment. Well, at that time it was more like “gaga go go” Since I was only a 11 year old baby. The moment I wanted to play rock n roll guitar was in 7th grade when my buddy Patrik showed me a clip of Tony Iommi playing Paranoid with Black Sabbath. I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. ‘
What album do you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
‘Ha-ha! I don´t know. There is a lot of soul music in there. Perhaps Die Irrlichters album “Elfenhain”. Listen to it and you´ll see what I’m talking about. I play that album on special occasions.’
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
‘Don’t catch the freakin´ Coronavirus!’
Cheers Ludvig, good luck with the new album, looking forward to hearing it.
Connect with Reach here.
Interview – Dave
Photo credit: Olivia Eriksson / Streetlight Motion