Lucem Fero has recently published the first of two in-depth interviews with THE FLUFFY JACKETS mainman Helge Rognstad, both conducted in late August by Welsh interviewer Anthony Morgan. Topics of discussion included the formation of the group, his thoughts on the music industry, working with legendary WHITESNAKE/BLACK SABBATH bassist Neil Murray and plans for a future album. A few excerpts from the interview follow:
On his intentions in forming THE FLUFFY JACKETS:
"Surely to have fun, to be honest with you. We wanted to just meet up, and do some jamming from time to time. It's quickly moved further than that, and that's because we've gotten quite popular around our local area within London. People wanted us to do a demo, so I said 'Well, it'd be great to do some more proactive marketing on this type of material.' On the record, we decided to do two covers as well. We have our own material which we think is very good. Rather than doing all original material on the demo though, we thought that we should find some material and put our own stamp on the songs which we thought were really strong. I think from that moment on, it became quite serious. Neil obviously decided to work with us as well, and that was really the thing that made it more serious for us also."
On whether Neil Murray gave some advice on the business side of the music industry:
"Not really. We spent a lot of time chatting about music in general; things about sounds and the actual recording etc., but not music in the business sense. I guess Neil has had battles with the music industry in terms of making sure you get your money's worth, and all the legal aspects that go with it. I didn't ask him about it, but I think his view is that nobody is really in the music industry for the money. It's just for the fun of it, and then if something happens concerning the financial elements then it's a bonus. Yeah though, I think that's his view. He's a very humble person as well, and he doesn't brag about what he's been doing. He's just a really down to earth guy, and credit to him. He could go down the street and say, 'Bow to me, I'm the man.' (laughs) because he has really done it. He's very humble in terms of what he's achieved, and I think he's a good example for us as well."
On whether THE FLUFFY JACKETS are waiting for the right contract offer:
"Yeah. We're in discussions with two labels at the moment; there's one in Sweden, and one in Germany. Apart from thinking about whether a record company is the right or wrong label, there's so many things to consider such as practical ways of getting people together, timing and all the rest of it. That might have something to do with it as well, but I think the main thing for me is literally the music. Ideally I want to go into an analogue studio, and just make sure that we get a good producer — one who can use the knobs, and make sure that the studio records what direction we feel is the way we want to go. The rest I think is down to the publicity machine, but at this stage we haven't really gotten around to thinking about the other aspects. We are still working to get our first website sorted, and you saw that yourself. That's going to happen pretty soon once the other pieces fall into place."
On whether THE FLUFFY JACKETS will possibly keep Neil Murray for studio recordings, and then hire another bass players for gigs:
"Yeah, but I think it wouldn't be fair on the guy we got in for gigs. I think it would be good to get in a supergroup if you will, and we are in discussions with this one vocalist which I mentioned earlier. If that happens, and if you have Neil in the same band, then people will definitely sit up and take notice. I wouldn't know if Neil would want to do another recording though, as he obviously wants to concentrate on the music he does as well. Neil doesn't want to be spread too thinly across the projects that he's involved with. I think the way to look at it is that Neil definitely helped us out a great deal at the start, but now we're standing on our own feet and we need to move on from here. I also understood your main points in the review you wrote in a sense. We need to release our original material, and to be able to go to the next step. That's going to happen, but it's just a matter of time. I think that's important for any band."
On the inaugural THE FLUFFY JACKETS demo, recorded with Neil Murray during June this year:
"It's our first kind of recording. It basically tries to tell people exactly what sort of music we are playing, and what we are into. This is the introduction to us, and we've gone back to what influenced us in terms of songs and where we draw inspiration from. 'Beale Street' is a song about Beale Street, and that's the heart of the Delta Blues region in Memphis, Tennessee. Both the lyrics and the song itself literally delve into what we are about really, and I think there's a huge market out there for people who really like the Delta Blues. There's also the heavier material with more guitars and Marshall Amps which people love hearing live, and if you can translate that feeling onto a record then you're onto a winner. That's so powerful. I just love it, and I think many people really like it when they hear it. Artists like LYNYRD SKYNYRD and all those kind of bands were popular around thirty years ago, and people are coming around to it again. They obviously don't want to hear about old groups like SKYNYRD (laughs), and that's because they want to hear something new and interesting coming through which draws on the same influences. I think THE WHITE STRIPES managed to do it in many ways, and Jack White is obviously a fantastic exponent of blues rock. People have started picking this up, and many people who buy a WHITE STRIPES album don't understand or don't know that it draws on the blues and the Delta Blues. Jack has really studied his homework, and knows how this type of music should be played and what to do with it. He definitely has talent."
Read the entire interview at www.lucemfero.com.