I would be lying if I said I’d heard of Andrew Collberg before I saw Ryan Decenzo’s penultimate part in Hallelujah. But, it wasn’t because Collberg’s not good. There’re just so many musicians out there. Like a revolutionary cell, we’re hoping Hallelujah gets people to notice him. After all, he gave us the song for free. If it doesn’t, I guess we’ll have to blame Chris Ray or Ryan Decenzo.
We used your song "Man in the Moose Suit" from your album On the Wreath for Ryan Decenzo's song. From your end, how’d that came about?
The song's from my most recent album that released like half a month ago. There's this guy Benny [Maglinao], who did a video for etnies. He came through Tucson and he knows a skateboarder that I know—Ned Giddings. He's also a musician here in town. I think Ned had given him a CD, if I'm not mistaken, and Benny asked me if he could use a song from my first record for an etnies European tour video. It was called Sangria Nights. Benny came to Tucson and came to one of my shows. I gave him the new record. And, I think he passed it along to Chris Ray, who talked to me about getting it in there. It was those kinds of connections, you know?
Do you have a pretty good knowledge of skateboarding? Did you skate growing up?
When I was eleven or something, I dabbled in it, but I've never really watched a lot of skateboarding videos. The things that I have seen, though, are pretty cool music-wise. I've seen a lot of clips that use things like the Pixies and stuff like that—later 80s music that was kind of underground at the time. I like that about it, but that's about all I know [laughs].
The music makes about 50% of a video part. It seems skate videos do a good job of getting songs or artists noticed that might not be at that point. It's not as though skate videos do it on their own, but they plant the seed. Skaters like it and then, as skateboarding is kind of a sought after culture, it spreads.
The thing that's cool about it is, being a musician, you have a small world when you're touring and playing clubs. You play with those bands and have a certain following, but it's rad to get to be a part of a different scene and have different people appreciate what you do.
etnies’ Sangria Nights video. The third song is Collberg’s “Roll On In Bed” from his self-titled album.
Are you currently touring a lot?
Last year I toured pretty much the whole time. I was in and out of Tucson. Right now I've been doing short tours, playing drums for different people's bands. In the fall, I'm going to do a tour in Europe, because the label the record came out under is based in Germany.
What was the label name?
Le Pop Musik, with a K.
I thought it was French.
That's kind of the weird thing. They're a German label, but they put out a lot of French music, so beside me and, I think, two other records that they put out, it's all French-based music. I used to play with one of the label's French groups on tour and it was amazing to see how may people in Germany love French music.
It's kind of how in the 60s, England was super into Blues music and it didn't make much sense.
Totally, it's exactly like that.
It makes sense you're on an international label, though, considering you have a diverse background. You were born in Sweden, right?
Yeah, I grew up there. I was born in Lund. It's pretty far south, right near the bridge to Copenhagen, Denmark. Before I came to America, I went to New Zealand for a bit. My parents are professors, so I did a lot of traveling as a kid. We were there for about five years. Then, I came to Tucson when I was in my early teens.
The video for “Man in the Moose Suit,” the song Ryan Decenzo skated to in Hallelujah. Filmed/edited by Ryan Glen.
Are you primarily playing music?
I have a day job working for a buddy of mine, doing a web design company. I take classes here and there, but I'll probably be 28 or 30 by the time I graduate. I'm in my early twenties now.
And, then you play with other bands as well?
Right now I'm playing drums with this guy Naim Amor, who's actually on the same label. He's pretty good. Then, there's this jazz band that I've been playing with, too—the Jazzholes [laughs]. It's a pretty fun band to play with—kind of a gig money type deal. You can pretty much play with a lot of people around here in Tucson. It's an open musical community, for sure. It's pretty cool.
Do you have a lot of fans there?
It's kind of weird here. I have a decent fan base, but it's not what a lot of people would consider a big fan base. The concerts people play in Tucson are the kind that a lot of people play, so it's more acquaintances. People wander in an out.
If Hallelujah fails to build your fan base, who should be blame—Chris Ray, Ryan Decenzo?
[Laughs] I don't know. I'm just happy to be a part of it. If anybody watches it and one person listens to it, it's done a lot for me, to be honest. Over the last ten years, the way artists get really noticed is different. It's not always touring. It might be somebody hearing your song in something that people are paying attention to, like a TransWorld video or a popular music blog. It wasn't like that in the past, but it is now. It's a cool thing that people want to share stuff. It's kind of like political cells during revolutions. These groups take information and then they spread it and that eventually gets out to people.