The Psychedelic Edge of Trummor & Orgel

Inspiration

The Psychedelic Edge of Trummor & Orgel

The Swedish moniker of Trummor & Orgel is self-explanatory: Staffan Ljunggren on drums (‘Trummor’) and Anders Ljunggren on the organ (‘Orgel’). Two men, two instruments. Creating a 60s psychedelic-tinged instrumental blend of pop, jazz, funk, rock, and other hints that find way to their drum kit and Hammond organ.

By

Tracklib

·

March 4, 2021

Just like the Fender Rhodes, you can’t go wrong with the sound of a Hammond… I can’t lay my finger on that: what’s the magic of a Hammond organ?

S: The Hammond organ sound will never die. Even while it’s so old school, it still sounds fresh today.

A: It’s also quite ‘unmodern.’

S: Yeah. But it has a perfect spot in music.

A: If you try to mix an ordinary four-piece band, you cannot put the Hammond organ too low in the mix. The Hammond will always take over the sound. You need to mix it down. But in our music, it’s the only “sound” apart from the drums. So we can actually crank it up. In our setup, the organ and the drums go together extremely well. They resonate with each other’s harmonies and frequencies. They sound even better together than recording one instrument at a time.

What does that mean for the sound of Trummor & Orgel?

A: Our drum tracks never sound the same. We have fills and everything, because the drums need to be alive. The same goes for the organ: I never play exactly the same style. Because Trummor & Orgel consists of just two guys playing two instruments, we’re forced to make sure things never sound the same. That enables a sense of freedom and playfulness in our music. But we don’t want to create strange music that can take any direction. Framing it more into a pop format gives our music context. We’re very inspired by that format.

How do you make sure the music is dynamic? Like you said, it’s just the two of you. So there’s not a lot of room for different instrumentation, melodies, harmonies…

A: We take advantage of being a duo. Because of that, we can play very soft and very loud. We don’t change tempos during songs a lot. So it’s not Frank Zappa type of music. Our music is more dynamic in the sense that I can play the Hammond organ very quietly. Or very loud.

S: We strive to create pop songs on two instruments. It’s that easy.

I guess there is also a sense of ‘Man vs. Machine’ in your music. Electronic versus organic. Artist versus instrument...

A: We don’t have anything against adding other electronic or acoustic elements. Sometimes we do use synth pads and backing tracks and such. Not to keep the exact metronome beat, but to give a different atmosphere to a song.

S: That is also kind of inspired by music of today. Everything you hear these days has electronic instruments or elements in it, one way or another. Computerized music. We want to play with that, and put ourselves in that modern context as well. We don’t want to only sound like a 60s-influenced band. Through sampling, I hope that our music can add some flavour to the clean, computerized music out there these days. That’s part of the reason why we made our music available on Tracklib.

trummor orgel by josefine larsson

I was reading a review of your album ‘Indivisibility’ which said, “The album is engineered to perfection.” Do you agree?

S: That only means they like the same sounds as we do. [Laughs] In some sense, I think we’re perfectionists. But still: you can mix and engineer something to make it sound really nice to the ear, without killing the unicity. If something is “engineered to perfection,” that doesn’t mean it’s without life. I think that’s our motto, in a way: we always want our music to feel alive. That’s why we don’t record key by key. We try to record live in an acoustic setting as much as possible. That doesn’t work for all songs, but we try.

A: I think that drums and the organ resonate in a beautiful way. When we record music, we follow each other in a way that can’t be reproduced by recording one at a time or playing key by key.

S: You can hear that in some of the stems on Tracklib. You can hear some organ in the drum stems, and vice versa. Sometimes its the misses that really make the magic happen.

The Doors also comes to mind while talking about how the organ and drums resonate with each other. They didn’t even have a dedicated bass player, with Ray Manzarek playing bass parts on his keyboards. But also because The Doors found the perfect balance between pop formats and a psychedelic edge. Just like your music.

A: Yeah, that’s a very relevant comparison. Like you said, they were making songs but they had a psychedelic context and a certain aura of jazziness around them. But then again, there are other bands that are of greater inspiration to us.

S: It’s also quite interesting that this comparison is seldom made. I also feel there’s something similar between The Doors and our music. A “jam band,” if you will, but at the same time also radio-friendly.

Speaking of jazziness, the term “psychedelic jazz” was coined here at the Tracklib offices while talking about your music. Can you relate to that term?

S: The psychedelic scene and jazz scene always inspired us. Our first recordings were a little bit more jazz-influenced. Almost inspired by the swing-era. But we have never been jazz heads.

A: Looking at what we’ve been listening to, especially in the beginning, it was mainly psychedelic pop. For myself, that mostly started with The Beatles. That went on to the British psychedelic scene. Through 70s music from Manchester and 80s shoegaze, we went back to the 60s. So psychedelic music is stronger in our music than jazz music.

S: The thing is, we have always been heavily inspired by bands who were, on their turn, inspired by jazz. For example, my drumming style is heavily influenced by 60s bands. They often came from a jazz school of drumming. So that reference makes sense.

A long shot here, but since your music is now on Tracklib: what does hip-hop music mean to Trummor & Orgel?

A: For a long time, we’ve been talking about how our music is actually perfect for sampling and loops. Almost kind of like “drums-and-basslines-based music.” But then with an organ. So grooves and beats are our common ground with hip-hop.

S: We always want our music to have a groove or a beat that makes you tap your feet. With that being said, some of the tracks are quite “repetitive,” if you will. In terms of a groove, I mean.

A: From our last album, “Enigma” is a lot like that. Staffan plays a groove throughout the song, and I play long chords on my Hammond. There’s a loopy feeling to that.

S: Same for “Guilty Pleasure” [the Free Download of this feature]. That track is very groovy and has this vintage, funky sound. I think that vintage feel is very suitable for hip-hop production. Borrowing sounds and putting them into a new context, is a really beautiful thing.

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