BEREMY JETS: The powerful Shoegaze from Sweden
The Beremy Jets is the Shoegaze solo band from Swedish artists Paul Saarnak. I discovered the music when doing the interactive presentation of the record label SomewhereCold Records. The “band” is one of the artists from the label.
I loved the first EP that existed at the time. It is powerful, melodically and rhythmically clever.
When Jason Lamoreaux, the label owner/manager had the kindness to propose the world premiere of the Beremy Jets new single, Proud Button, for Noise Artists. I discovered the new LP and the quality of the writing, the sound and the arrangements was second to none.
A very motivated Paul Saarnak was contacted for a collaboration and I got more than I had expected out of it. Paul’s vision of his music is exceptionally clear, and the outcome, that you will find here, is amazing.
When asked what his music is about, Paul’s answer is as follows:
In short it is about making music I want to listen to myself. That in itself is an impossible task since when a recording is done I am so tired of it :)
My music has no message I want to tell the world, the lyrics say nothing important or anything like that. The music is 100% based on feelings, and I try to describe those feeling sonically. I want to take the listener on a trip, I want the music to hit on an emotional level, not through lyrics, but through mood.
A big thank you to him for taking the time to put so much into is answers.
Noise Artists (NA): Where are you from? Where are you living now?
I am from the south of Sweden, and live in the town of Malmö. It is Sweden third largest city, but still pretty small.
NA: What did you study?
I have studied a lot of different things, with not too good results :) But my main focus has been computer science and programming. However, my university days were more filled with playing in bands than studying.
NA: What is your day job at present if any?
I work as a developer at a company providing ecommerce solutions for online store owners.
NA: Do you dream to live from your music or is it a passion you do not want to spend your full time on?
It has always been a dream to make a living from my music, but I have always also known that is not going to happen - the genre I love and play is not big enough for that to happen. Also, if it would ever bring enough money to live by there is a fear it would take the fun out of it. Perhaps I would have to compromise to bring in the money needed to live, and that is a path I do not want to go down. It also helps that I love my current job, so I have no desire to get away from it at all.
NA: You have a great history. Could you tell us more?
I have been playing the drums since I was eight years old if I remember correctly. When I was maybe thirteen or fourteen I started playing in bands, and that was that, I knew what I loved most of all. At first I played a lot of covers, like The Beatles, Iron Maiden, ZZ Top, whatever someone in the band suggested.
Then I had a run with some more prog influenced music, which was great fun. But this was not exactly what I wanted to play, and one day a friend of mine found a note from a band looking for a drummer. They said they liked bands like The Smiths, House of Love and The Boo Radleys, and that was straight up my alley. I got the position, and that was another life changer. After some personal changes we ended up as the band Rottingdean in Lund, Sweden, and that was the first band I played in that played what I really wanted to. We made some well received demos and all that, but never managed to break through, and in the end we split up after some years of good fun.
Me and Jens, one the guitarists in Rottingdean, had a lot of similar ideas so after a while we formed LKWRM, at first supposed to be just us two recording whatever we felt like, but after having some gigs offered to us we became a full band playing really noisy shoegaze/postrock-stuff. We managed to snag a supporting gig for the mighty Einstürzende Neubauten, and played at Club AC30 in London, as well as supporting The American Analog Set in Malmö. The band is currently in hiatus, but the members of the band are still playing together in other constellations - if The Beremy Jets would ever play live those guys are the first to ask.
The singer from Rottingdean formed Slowmotion Club after Rottingdean, and I have been the drummer for Slowmotion Club for a lot of years now.
Tobias, guitarist in LKWRM, has his own band, Orange Crate Art, where I am the live drummer as well. So it all connects in a very nice way.
NA: Could you tell me how the band meet and decided to do music together?
After LKWRM went on a hiatus I still wanted to record my own music and thought it was the perfect time to try to do it on my own. In LKWRM we always recorded everything at home, but Jens was always the more technical one who knew how to operate all the equipment. Of course I was not completely lost in those regards, but had (and has!) a lot to learn. So part my inner necessity for making music, and part the challenge to see if I could do it made me start The Beremy Jets.
NA: Can you tell me the inspiration behind your band? You can detect the influences of Shoegaze and have a very unique sound. You took all these influences to make your own music, your own sound, which is not easy. Could you tell more?
My two big influences from the Shoegaze world are Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine (and Ride, and Lush etc :) ), but there are so many other bands that has influenced me heavily. I am a rock fan, the noisier the better, so bands like Killing Joke, Sonic Youth and Band of Susans are a huge influence on me as well. Then I also love stuff like early Mogwai, Seefeel and Boards of Canada and their influence is absolutely there, but maybe not as apparent. But really, everything good in music is an influence.
I think what makes my sound a little bit different is that I really like to bring it on full force, I am not drawn to the dreamy, “pretty” side of Shoegaze as much. I like to blow the hats of the audience live and want to recreate that feeling on my recordings. I don’t achieve that by layering ten guitars, rather I like to see how massive I can get it with two or maybe three guitars. I like to arrange my records in a way that would be possible to recreate live, at least for the most part.
NA: Was there a vision of sorts or did you know what you wanted to do when you started up
My first few songs I wrote for The Beremy Jets were at bit all over the place, but quite quickly I returned to my favorite style, really noisy Shoegaze. So the vision was always there in the back of my mind.
NA: Do you have any other musical side projects apart from this band?
I am the drummer of Slowmotion Club and LKWRM, and also the live drummer for Orange Crate Art. Apart from that there are some things cooking which will hopefully come to fruition soon.
NA: Could you tell me more on the band composition? Do you have plans to add new members, or is there possible departure scheduled from existing band members?
It is just me, and for the time being it will remain that way. That said, I like to bring in friends on songs. My sister Anne (also bass player in Slowmotion Club) sings on Proud-button on Careless, and Jason from The Corrupting Sea / Somewherecold Records sings some awesomely ghostly notes on Shut Up Forever.
NA: Can you tell us more how you came to have the band’s name?
Finding a band name that is both good and not yet taken is not very easy :) But I watched some Sherlock Holmes, the 80s BBC version and love the main actor Jeremy Brett. So The Beremy Jets is a play on his name. Silly, but sounds pretty cool!
The Creative process
NA: Who writes the song and the music and how do you get to the final song? Is it a community process, do you have leaders in composing or arranging music?
I do it all :)
NA: Do you listen to the advice of your band mates? What would you do if they said a song was shit but you liked it?
Since I don’t have any band mates my answer is not exactly applicable, but I do play some rough takes to members of my other bands now and then to hear what they have to say. I value their honesty and if they said a song is shit I would take that to heart and try to figure out what it is they don’t like. In the end though, what I like is what ends up in my recordings.
NA: There’s a degree of unconventional songwriting with you guys. Was it kind of intimidating going to record knowing people might not be engaging with the songs in terms of hooks and such and trying to deliver an engaging sound on record?
In a way I feel it is a relief not having to follow conventions at all, I can do whatever I like. That said, I want people to like my songs, no doubt about that, but I am also aware a lot of people won’t like it too much. That does not bother me too much to be honest. It is not that I feel that people “don’t get my music” if they don’t like it, it is more me trying to write music that I myself want to hear, not what anyone else wants to hear.
NA: Talking about the lyrics: who write them? Is there a common thread in them, a theme?
I write all the lyrics, and that is the hardest part for me. The common thread is it is almost always about my feelings, insecurities, anxieties etc - I do have a shit ton of those. But I don’t really like to be too open about myself as a part of my insecurities, so I kinda write the songs to sound like for example a love song - but it is really about something completely different. Only I understand what I really mean, and that is ok.
Lyrics for me aren’t really that important anyway, when I listen to music I listen to the chords and melodies, and the way the lyrics sound together with everything else. The words themselves aren’t that important to me, unless they are really good, or really bad, or even worse, for example promoting white supremacy or something like that. I could never listen to that shit.
NA: Do you labor over your lyrics? Is that something that comes easy?
I tend to write pretty quickly and then after a week rewrite the parts that annoy me. Often the lyrics come fast, but there has certainly been cases of lyrics eluding me for months.
NA: Do you have a message that you want to get across in your music? If so, what are some of the messages you want to spread?
No, not really.
NA: Did your listening habits changed over the years and does it affect what you write?
I used to listen to a lot more music in younger years, now I listen to fewer bands and I find I am a lot more picky with what I listen to. I think I am much more aware of what I like, instead of liking everything, and that affects my writing in the way that it kinda narrows down what I want to do. For better and for worse.
NA: How is your recognition going worldwide? Is it growing? Are you happy with it?
There is a very small recognition, REALLY small :) I think it is growing slowly, and perhaps the release of the coming album will boost it a little. I am very happy with whatever I get to be honest, the fact that there are people out there listening to what I do still amazes me.
The path to music
NA: Is it easy to find producers and studios where you lived for indie-rock?
I really don’t know since I record everything at home. But from what i hear it is probably not that hard to find around here.
NA: Your recorded sound is very good, which is not easy. Did you engineer the sound yourself, or did you have a sound engineer with you? If yes could you tell us more about him/her?
I did everything myself, and there is a lot of learning and hard work behind it :)
NA: Was it a community work to try to have the best sounding music possible or mainly driven by the sound engineer or by the band?
I have the unfortunate tendency to compare everything I do with the best, for example how does my record sound compared to Swervedrivers latest, or Loveless. My records will always sound worse, and the struggle for me is to say, that is ok, it does not have to sound better than Loveless to be good. That struggle continues :)
NA: Can you tell us how the recording process was?
Since this was a full album I laid down some rules for myself from the beginning, the main one was that it is adapted for vinyl. The songs fit on a vinyl and in my mind there is a definitive side A and B. I took the most promising old ideas I have recorded (there are loads of those on my hard drive) and put them together in an order that seemed decent.
Then I started listening to those sketches in that order to get a feeling for how it sounded. It became very apparent that the songs would not do at all, apart from a few, So the next step was to get a feel for, what do I want to replace them with? A fast song, a noisy song? All the time while recording I kept rearranging the song order to make them fit on a vinyl, but more importantly to have the song order make sense to me. This ment I cut a few song really late in the process of the recording, and had to write new ones.
In short, the writing and the recording was done simultaneously, which might not be the best idea :)
I did not finish any songs to more than perhaps 70% before the final song list was decided upon, then I finished them all. As usual I underestimated the time it would take to actually do that, and that time delayed the album quite a lot - for the better though, but still weighing on my mind.
After I felt “this is not done, but it is good enough”, I almost immediately sent it all to Jason at Somewherecold Records to put and end to the process. I find it very hard to let go of the songs, there are always things that does not sound the way I want them to. The truth is of course that it will never be done if that is the criteria.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable process, apart from feeling bad for delaying the release.
NA: Could you let us know some important technical tricks you learnt during the process that could help other musicians not as experienced?
This is an area I am still very new to, but a few things that worked well for me is, always record the dry guitar signal as well as the processed one - then you can reamp if the take was great, but the sound was not.
Don’t record too loud, try to stay around -18Db.
Do not use too many plugins, eq, then another eq to fix the first eq, then another etc. I on several occasions just removed everything and started from scratch, always for the better.
Make sure your cables etc are good enough to not make unwanted noise :)
Don’t buy too much new expensive stuff before you know what you need to upgrade. Learn what you have first, and then identify what needs improving.
NA: How did the recording work differ over time?
Not too much. Of course early on there were more tracking done, later on more mixing. But I tend to do everything at the same time.
NA: Is the recording material yours when you are out of a studio or do you borrow/rent it?
It is all mine.
NA: Any interesting anecdotes on some recording session you would like to share?
Nothing in particular per se, but one big thing for me are happy accidents. If I play something wrong, take a good listen anyway, might be better than planned for!
NA: Did getting the live experience across on record create any pressure for yourselves in the recording process?
I try to get a live sound across (even though The Beremy Jets don’t play live, I do with other bands), but it is more of a guidance than a strict rule. I will try to make it sound as good as possible, and if that means doing things that might be hard to do live, then so be it.
NA: Instruments: are you mainly a Fender band? Could you tell me what inspire you to use fenders rather than other brands?
I am absolutely a Fender band. Most of my favourite bands use Fenders and simply put, nothing beats a Jazzmaster when it comes to looks - it is so good looking, and I luckily love how it plays and sounds as well. However, I like to mix the guitar sounds, so I will try to have say one Jazzmaster with a classic Fender sound, and something else. For that I own a 12 string Danelectro guitar, really cheap, but good! And then I have a Jazzmaster HH with humbuckers that sound different enough to make it interesting.
I have a Jazzbass as well, lovely instrument!
NA: Do you have one favorite instrument or do you change often?
I have my small collection of guitars and a bass, and I use them all all the time. They have a different enough sound so that I usually know when to use which guitar depending what I am about to record.
NA: Tell us what you are looking when trying to achieve your sounds? Do you experiment a lot or have a clear idea of what you want?
It is a mixture of both. I usually have a pretty clear picture of what I want to achieve, but I also often think my picture is pretty typical for me or the genre, so I want to see if I can make it more interesting when recording. If I only achieve the initial vision, I know it is good. But if I can make more interesting, even better!
NA: Who is the more knowledgeable with pedals? You use them a lot, to great effect.
I have learned a lot through the years about pedals. Still very much left to learn, but I am getting a good grasp of which pedals sounds good with which guitar and amp etc. I kinda wish I was nerdy enough to just experiment with sounds for the sake of experimenting, but I usually only do it when looking for something interesting when recording.
NA: How many concerts a year would you do on average and what would be the size of the venue?
None for the moment.
NA: Swedish Shoegazing is not very well known internationally. Could you tell us more about it?
I am a bit ashamed to say I know virtually nothing about the Swedish shoegazing scene. I have been out of the loop for quite some time, and while recording I listen to very little shoegaze, I tend to listen to other genres to clear my head a bit.
NA: What is the next album due?
I am not even in the planning stages yet for the next album (or well, somewhere in the back of my mind some stuff is shaping up to something…)
NA: Any other project (ie movies soundtrack, …) or plans
Right now I will focus on my other bands a bit. Slowmotion Club is recording an album where I pretty much handle the mixing part, so that will need some attention. There are also some yet unannounced stuff coming hopefully.
NA: Do you plan to continue music for a long time or are you tired of it?
I will probably never stop doing music. That is the plan!
THE COMPARISON GAME
It is difficult to compare Paul’s music to a band or two. But is is not difficult to compare it to a scene: the 90’s Shoegaze masters. Yes, we are talking of MBV, Ride, Boo Radleys to quote but a few. More explanation in the next section
WHY WE LIKE THIS MUSIC?
Because he was inspired by the masters: as said previously, Paul took inspiration both musically and sonically in the masters, on the noise side of the scale. His powerful sound, his very tight sound mix, his efficient sense of loops are all coming from them.
Because he also developed his own sound: inspired indeed, though it is difficult to find any song that sounds like any of the Masters. He took their receipts and made them his own. A bit like a chef that improve what was done with the same ingredients but with a completely new approach. There are bands around whose sound is close to some of the 90’s bands, from Slowdive to Lush, from MBV to Ride. The Beremy jets are not.
Because it is a one man project: usually, this kind of sound, this tightness in the composition comes from the conjugated effort of several individuals. In this Case, Paul was able to do everything and arrive to the same result. It’s remarkable.
EP Collection I, March 2018
The first EP Alchemy Attack was actually rather painless to record. I guess I was filled with joy of actually doing it, and having no pressure at all since not a single soul knew about it. I basically released it unannounced on Bandcamp at first, and then posted in a few Facebook-groups. My friend Tobias from Orange Crate Art pushed me to make a couple of videos, which was fun.
When it came to Backup Friend EP, there still was very little pressure from the outside, but I felt I wanted to make it better that Alchemy Attack. I think I succeeded, but not by far. This EP however made some more splashes out there and people started to notice it. It got on a couple of really nice year best lists, not least on spot 5 on The Big Takeover Magazines EP list of the year, and 3rd best EP of the year on Shoegaze Alives lists. It led to Somewherecold Records reaching out to me and to the release of the EP Collection and now the coming album Careless.
1. Misadventure 06:14
This is a pretty complicated song with a strange structure and it took some time to get it to work. I wanted it to be a noisy statement since it is the opening track. The lyrics are pretty much nonsense on this one :) Vaguely about going too fast through a process to maintain control, but somehow managing anyway.
2. All But Gone 03:39
This is the first song I recorded that really hit the sweet spot for me, I played the chorus part by accident and then struggled for half an hour to repeat that accident. It is really noisy in a way I love. The song is about communications breakdown between people, and signs it will improve again. Being a drummer I restrained the drums quite a lot on this one, all for the better.
3. Reticulating Splines 04:00
One of my favorite songs that is super delay heavy, one guitar is absolutely drowning in delay through the whole song. I like the laid back calm sound of the song, which is in contrast to the lyrics that are about anxiety attacks.
4. Mark Collins, Age 45 08:16
One of my few instrumental songs with The Beremy Jets. We do a lot of those with LKWRM, but on my stuff I want to use vocals more. This is one of my favorite songs, very dreamy yet incredibly loud and noisy at the end. I see it as a Shoegaze lullaby basically. The name and (for legal reasons not) samples comes from a cheesy action movie from 1985, Blood Debts. I have a very weak spot for those! It was also a kind of a statement, to make something REALLY powerful and noisy as a finale of the EP
5. A.C. 03:41
This is the first song on Backup Friend, and the last one to be recorded. It was a very smooth process since I kind of was in the zone when recording it. A pretty straight forward Shoegaze rocker that I really like. It is basically about not daring to take steps to change ones life for the better.
6. Six Degrees of Separation Anxiety 04:28
Perhaps my best song to date, at least in my mind. It is also one of those that was written incredibly fast, it just fell into place immediately. I had two different guitar melodies for the intro part, and could not decide which to use. So I used one at the start of the song and the other after the first chorus, which was exactly what was needed. I also played something like a guitar solo, which I am not at all very good at :) A nice nerdy detail is that during the solo the guitar chords use a four bar pattern but the bass a five bar pattern. The song is basically about nothing. Part missing some people I hold dear, and part about the heat of the summer which I hate.
7. Scandi Sneakers 04:58
This is a song I at first thought was orkish, but then it dawned on me it is pretty good :) It has this very nice groove, smooth and hypnotic. It is pretty saturated with delay which came out very nice. The lyrics are again about anxiety sneaking up on you almost like a movie monster. I want to make more songs in this style, but so far the new songs have led me in other directions.
8. Feedback Over Talent 06:58
This is probably the oldest song released, and first I planned to have the song My Team Lost Again here, but decided not to due to how the overall sound of the EP would have been then. I took the old recording and fixed it up, added bass, drums etc in a very short time, and love the result. One might think there are a battalion of guitar layers on this one, but it is actually just two fuzzed out guitars, and one quietly in the back providing ambience - the one that is alone at the very end of the song. Lyrics wise it is basically nonsense again, somewhat about trying hard to fix a situation, but feeling it won’t work. I like how the completely over the top fuzzed out delays are working together to make something magical happen.
Careless, LP, July 2018
After the buzz surrounding Backup Friend I this time did feel some pressure to deliver something good, and that was both good and a bad thing. There aren’t that many people following what I do, but the ones that do, I feel I really want to give them my very best. It took longer than expected to finish the album, much due to stress and other real life stuff that haunts me from time to time - I think many creative people know what I mean.
And this time I had a responsibility towards the record company as well, there are still things to consider like release windows etc. It was a lot on my mind, which might not have helped with the anxiety. But in the end, I am very pleased with the result. There are a thousand things I wish I had done differently, but there always is. I compare it to the EPs and I find I miss some elements that made the EPs good in my mind, but there are new ones that hopefully are even better.
The album is a bit more live band oriented in its sound, not from a conscious decision, I noticed that after a while basically.
The overall theme of the lyrics are pretty self loathing and negative and those are things I really do feel. But of course that is not all I am, I am a pretty happy dude overall, not some moping sad person that wallows in self hatred. I just find it a lot more easy to write about the negative parts.
1. Be Happy
This is the song I by far had the most trouble with getting right. It is a challenging song with a heavy beat, lots of phasered out guitars and delays, and making sense of it all mix wise was very difficult. I think I mixed it about 20 times before I was somewhat happy with the result. I think it is a nice opener for an album, quite danceable and groovy with a massive sound. In the long outro there is a really cool almost screaming guitar melody of sorts that came out of a combination of shimmer reverb, fuzz and wa-wa. Happy accident. The song is about the pressures of fitting into society's norm of what is cool, and how I reject that. I am not a cool person, and I am happy with that :)
NA: We strongly disagree. There is very high element of coolness in doing such amazing music!
2. Good Times
A fast rocker of a song. Quite easy to record and mix, this one. I wanted it to be pretty drum heavy with pounding toms. It is about wanting to change, but never daring to actually do it, since there is comfort in the familiar. The long outro came from a guitar that is present in the chorus as well, but hard to hear. I loved the sound and wanted to have a section that displays that, and the outro was a perfect way to do it, and a good bridge to the next song.
3. No Am No
Somewhat close to a ballad, this is a pretty sweet song that some have described as happy sounding, but the lyrics are pretty unhappy about loss and fear of change (a common theme for me). It is built on chords played on the 12 string Danelectro, which gives it a kind of magical shimmer. That shimmer is somewhat lost in the fuzz and pulsating bass, but it is there. At first I thought it weird to have it so early in the song list, but after listening to the flow of the album, I think it is where it should be.
4. My Team Lost Again
This song was first intended for Backup Friend, but I decided to use another song instead. Also a bit of a ballad, in 6/8 beat. The lyrics are basically about losing in life, combined with images from a dream I once had. It is a long song with a slow buildup to a massive delay saturated end. I wanted to make the song very dreamy.
5. Daily Internal Monologue
This song is a mixture of a song and an interlude of sorts. Just a nice grove played over and over with me chanting some daily thoughts about being boring and stupid :) At first I wanted to make it more of a full song, but could not make something that worked, and I am really happy with what it is. It is also the end of my imagined side A of the album, which is very fitting.
Again, the song features a lot of delay and fuzz, but not in your face, but more mellow and smooth.
6. Proud-button 05:09
This is the last song finished right before the release. It features my sister Anne, also bass player in Slowmotion Club, on song and I am super happy with how the singing came out on this one. It is a pretty straight forward rocker of a song, and more than one person have said it has Dinosaur Jr vibes in the verses, and I agree! The outro are just chord, at first I had other plans with layers of melodies etc., but in the end I found this to be the best version, just droning chords repeating. Sometimes less is more :)
The song is about stress and anxiety as usual, and how one can overcome it at least temporarily, and the knowledge of that can be very comforting.
7. Scary Pint
I never try to sound like other bands on purpose, but this one to me is pretty Boo Radleys influenced in its sound. Just a nice short song that I like a lot. It is about social awkwardness basically.
8. Shut Up Forever
Shut Up Forever is the first song written for Careless, apart from My Team Lost Again, but that one was not written specifically for the album. I love some of the guitar parts on this one, just a theme that works with different pedals and sounds, varying over the length of the song. When the fuzzes kicks in Jason from The Corrupting Sea sings some wonderful and weird ghostly chants in the background that I love. I wanted this one to the classic lull the audience into a nice cozy state, then kick their faces off with volume. I think I did not succeed completely, but stil it is a cool song. The lyrics are pretty angry, definitely about self hatred and anger.
9. Waves of Wonder 05:08
One of the positive songs on the album, and one of my favorites. It was a late song and was written and recorded pretty fast. I did not want to make things too complicated, just a nice Shoegaze rocker basically. The songs is about when me and my mates went to London in 2008 and saw My Bloody Valentine four nights in a row at the Roundhouse. Happy times :)
10. Thanks, Future Client
As usual I wanted to end the record with some noise, but this time it is a more mellow version of the noise wall. The lyrics are nonsense, just about capturing some kind of dreamlike feeling. The song overall is a pretty good conclusion to the album, a dreamlike state.
MORE ABOUT THE BAND
Some good videos to watch
WHERE to find their work
Their presence on the web
I am notoriously bad at maintaining an online presence. But the best way of following me is on Facebook
Provide some bands from your country, that would be worthwhile listening:
“Apart from my other bands (Slowmotion Club, LKWRM, Orange Crate Art) there are a couple of good bands, not necessarily in the Shoegaze genre. The Moth Gatherer and Cult of Luna comes to mind”
Thanks from Paul to
“My sister Anne and all of my other band mates Anders, Jens, Tobias and Micke for making my life so much better.
Jason from Somewherecold Records for being a true champion of good music and a great friend.
And everyone who takes their time to listen to my music, it is mind boggling and very humbling.
Not least, thanks for the interview!”