In this instalment of "10 things" we talk with Johan Hultqvist, frontman of Toronto's Mr. Something Something, about bicycles, alternative energy, African rhythms, and green living.
- Mr. Something Something plan to produce all the power required for their September 20th show at the Sustainability Fair with an elaborate system of bicycles feeding a generator: "There's not that much to it if you know how to weld, if you maybe have a good friend who is an electrical engineer and so on."
- Fortunately, the band does have a friend who is an electrical engineer and another who is a carpenter, as well as several other volunteers, which helps make the project that much more plausible: "Personally, I'm certainly not a very handy guy."
- It takes a fair few pairs of feet to make this feat possible: "There will be maybe ten or so hardcore dedicated cyclists, bike couriers and some other enthusiasts, who'll be biking for a longer stretch of time at a pretty good clip, but the most important part is to give anyone who wants to a chance to literally power the show and jump on if they want for five minutes."
- The band are no strangers to promoting alternative energy and green sustainability, but this will be the first time they've made the show an eco-friendly experience: "Sometimes it feels like we're getting disconnected from actually walking the talk when you're out touring in a big van."
- If all goes as planned, the pedal-powered setup will also be portable, allowing the band to take this experience out on tour: "We're really excited by the prospect that we can take this on the road as well and put on a show in a field essentially anywhere."
- The band also try to live as green as they can while living in the city, and they do what they can to commute by bike as often as they can: "Larry the drummer is pretty hardcore. He's got a trailer behind his bike that he puts his hand drums in. He bikes all year round and he teaches West African drumming at York University. He bikes all the way up to York all year round. It's a long haul."
- The West African influence really comes through in Mr. Something Something's music, which is a little surprising considering the musicians' primarily European heritage: "It's definitely very much inspired by the Afro-beats that Fela Kuti was making in Nigeria in the 70s especially."
- Although drummers are sometimes the least musical musicians, Larry Graves actually writes a hefty portion of the band's songs: "We start with the rhythm, we start with the drums."
- Oddly enough, the band first got drawn into the music of Africa trying to trace the roots of North American music: "Larry was more of a free jazz guy and the got more and more interested in the roots of jazz and where did this all come from, so he decided to go straight to the source."
- Although his Swedish hard rock background may suggest otherwise, Hultqvist insists he has never been a part of the Scandinavian death metal scene: "I think it's safe to say that you won't find any embarrassing pictures of me in tight leather."
Mr. Something Something are holding a fund raiser for the September 20th Pedal Powered Dance Party (in conjunction with the Sustainability Fair at Evergreen Brick Works in the Don Valley) at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas W) on Friday, July 25 with Evalyn Parry.
Look for regular instalments of "10 things" every Thursday morning around 10-ish or so. If you'd like to have people know ten things about you, send me an email and I'll set you up proper.
Photo by Walter Lai