Jan 2023 09

Sweden’s A Projection speak with ReGen about the band’s evolution toward a more synth-driven form of post-punk, along with some insights on the making of the latest album.


An InterView with Rikard Tengvall of A Projection

By Edgar Lorre (ErrolAM)

The Stockholm-based A Projection began in 2013, establishing itself as a post-punk force with the first three albums. Like many artists, Covid promoted some changes for the band that impacted both the lineup as well as the sound. There, a newly heightened presence of synths and dance-flavored electronica with modern darkwave that collides wondrously with the quartet’s classic post-punk sound. The result is A Projection’s new album, In a Different Light, released by Metropolis Records on all formats including limited edition vinyl. In this special contribution from Edgar Lorre, ReGen had the chance to sit down and chat with Rikard Tengvall while he and A Projection were getting ready for some winter shows in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.


I really like the synth-driven feel of the album of the new album, In a Different Light. Was this the original intent, or did the heavy dose of electronics just happen and the band went with it?

Tengvall: A bit of both. We definitely wanted to create something more electronic and synth-like. We just weren’t sure how electronic the album would become. I guess that the synth-emphasis turned out so well in the first songs we recorded that we kind of stuck with it all the way through.

Is there any central concept behind In a Different Light? The song titles suggest a great deal of pondering or soul searching. Was the album deeply impacted by Covid?

Tengvall: I guess that pondering and soul searching is pretty common in our lyrics; maybe something more specific like the lyrics to ‘Careless’ – ‘Can’t stand this pressing wait… need to get out seal my fate’ – and ‘Regenerate’ – ‘Regenerate your will to live… your will to give’ – at least, in part, stems from my personal experiences during Covid. But if there is one thing in particular that separate this album from our earlier ones, then it is that it references conflicts. That and the way people are selfish and mistreat each other are explored quite a bit on this album.



Has there been any backlash from fans about the sound, or are you pleased by the reaction thus far?

Tengvall: We are very pleased with the response so far. There have been very few requests for ‘more guitars,’ and the overall reactions have been much more positive than we expected, so we are really happy about the situation.

I like ‘Paris Stockholm’ from the new album. Although Stockholm seems to have a solid music scene, as a musician, does being based in Scandinavia sometimes feel slightly removed from continental Europe? Is it difficult for a Scandinavian band to establish a fanbase in Germany, France, and the U.K.?

Tengvall: I would say that it is not so hard for Swedish bands/artists, in the very least, to reach people in Germany. It seems to me that there are deeply established bonds between Sweden and Germany in the darkwave music scene. Reaching, for example, France and the U.K. is much tougher. There are some problems with continental Euro tours because you have to travel rather far and it costs a lot of money, especially these days… so much so that two major Swedish acts within the genre have recently been forced to cancel their tours.

Is A Projection influenced by any non-musical forms of art such as film, painting, or literature? If so, please feel free to elaborate for our readers.

Tengvall: Sure. Actually, ‘Paris Stockholm,’ which you mentioned earlier, is about a couple in a Swedish quality drama TV-series called Vår tid är nu (Our Time Is Now), so there you have a direct connection to a non-musical art. Also, the soundscape of In a Different Light is very much influenced by dystopian, futuristic movies from the ’80s. Both the sound and the graphics of the early albums were somewhat inspired by modernist architecture and painting, especially cubism, dadaism, futurism, and brutal functionalism as mode setters… although, we have partly been moving away from that of late. On In a Different Light, for example, a more painterly aesthetic asserts itself on top of the usual harshness.



I see A Projection has had a much higher profile these past few years. Has signing with Metropolis Records been helpful? I would imagine that the late Dave Heckman would have been pleased by your success.

Tengvall: We really hope that Dave would have appreciated what we’ve accomplished. We are very thankful to him and the others at Metropolis Records; they have been very helpful and good to work with. It truly is a legendary label, and we feel privileged to be a part of their phenomenal roster.

Are there any new bands you are listening to or that you can recommend to our readers?

Tengvall: Wow, there really are loads of new and newish bands that are really good within the genre. You just have to check out YouTube channels like Gothic Bop Music and Cypress Čempr3s, where you can bump into lots of new and interesting stuff. Some of the newer bands I have started to listen to quite a lot recently are Sintipon, Vandal Moon, Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsucker, Meat Injection, and Vlimmer. A shoutout also to my superb Swedish ‘colleagues’ Agent Side Grinder, Principe Valiente, and Then Comes Silence. And, of course, who doesn’t love Boy Harsher and She Past Away, if they are still considered new.



Are there any vintage or classic bands that you are listening to these days or only recently discovered for the first time?

Tengvall: Unfortunately, there are very few, if any, bands from the earlier years of darkwave to discover, I think. I will never stop listening to my ‘great 5’: Joy Division/New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Smiths. Joy Division is especially important to me when I need to get rid of anxiety and ‘get my head straight.’ Two classic albums that I have been listening to a lot more, often in connection to the In a Different Light album, is Alphaville’s Forever Young and Howard Jones’ Human’s Lib.

In the early ’80s, the post-punk name or description was only briefly applied for a few years. At present, I’ve been hearing the phrase recycled for the past six or seven years, longer than it was even used in the ’80s. Do you ever grow tired of the label? How does A Projection feel about being labelled or tagged as darkwave or post-punk?

Tengvall: Well, our biggest goal when we started the group was to ‘be a true post-punk band.’ So, at least up ’til now, that label has felt quite alright. Also, even though we have started to attract listeners from outside the ‘usual genres’ with the latest album, the majority of our listeners, I think, are okay with those tags.

Do you have a fondness for musical gear? If so, do you have any favorite effects, synthesizers, or specific instruments or brands that you can share with our audience?

Tengvall: Electro-Harmonix have mode some awesome pedals, like Memory Man that our guitarist Gustav Forneus uses. I personally own a Clone Theory from 1980 (the same effect that, allegedly, was used by Peter Hook in Joy Division’s recordings like ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’). I have been using it when playing bass live and on recordings. Love it! For my live vocals, I have been using TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3, which is like a quality universal tool.



I see you have some forthcoming European concerts. Do you have any plans of touring North America?

Tengvall: We would love to tour there, but nothing has been planned thus far.

What is next for A Projection?

Tengvall: We will, like you mentioned, do a tour in Europe in February along with performing at the German M’era Luna Festival in August 2023. There might also be one or two gigs in Mexico, but nothing decided yet.


A Projection
Website, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram
Metropolis Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram


Photography provided courtesy of A Projection


Leave a Comment

ReGen Magazine