Brainpool and its members are brave people. From Malmö, in Southern Sweden, this guitar-driven retro rock band is trying to change the world with every note they put to paper. Oh, excuse me. David, Brainpool's singer says, "we don't plan to change the world, but we do all we can." It's a very interesting statement coming from a band that didn't used to have even an inkling of those thoughts in mind. They used to be a straightforward pop band singing to pre-teens. Brainpool's history is definitely one of major transformations.
They got together in 1991 with their original lineup-the same as it is today, but minus singer Janne Kask, who quit in 1997. Today's Brainpool is David Birde, vocals, Christoffer Lundquist, bass and production, and Jens Jansson, drums. At their inception, they were actually a pop band on a major label. They were with Epic in Sweden when they were much younger, and as young chaps would have it, they loved the good money, luxury and the attention. The guys weren't thinking in depth about any messages they may or may not have been sending.
From 1994-96 they put out three pop records; Soda, Painkiller, and Stay Free respectively. Their tone changed drastically with You Are Here in 1999, with the departure of the original singer. But, the band stayed with Epic Records.
After this, not only their tone, but their entire identity underwent a face lift. "We realized our audience was getting younger. We were 26, we were smelly and unshaven and drunk. There were 11 and 12 year old fans who wanted a hug, we just thought it was so wrong, that's when we realized we had to do something else," says David. It was time for their music to reach the level of maturity that they were at.
So, in 2000, Brainpool began working on their album Junk, going where few bands dared to go by creating it as a rock opera. David wrote the story, and according to Christoffer, David isn't a bit afraid if the album is too preachy or political. All the songs on the album are pieces of a story about monetary greed. Brainpool says they were drawing attention to the way the attitudes of people changed from an interest in helping one another and worrying about everyone's well-being, to just focusing on how much money and possessions they could amass for themselves.
David was working at an advertising agency when he wrote the record, and thus was right in the middle of the fray. In the rock opera, the mega corporation "Junk, Inc." takes over the world to assure that everything is mass-produced. For example they transform Brainpool unwillingly into "Junkpool." The band isn't afraid to admit that some of the characters in this opera are based on them.
Appropriate to the theme of the two-disc set, Brainpool broke free from Epic Records and released this on their own label, Junk Musik. While enjoying a different type of success than their pop music days, Brainpool have been privileged enough to try even weightier things, such as performing their rock opera with Sweden's Malmö Symphonic Orchestra.
This gig motivated them to finally finish the album version of Junk, which they did in September 2004. David admits that Junk probably would've still been in the works otherwise. The Malmö concert was broadcasted on Swedish National Radio and television, featured 60 classically trained musicians, and brought 10,000 people in attendance. The 9 pm news was even postponed in order for it to air, which is unheard of in Sweden.
Junk - A Rock Opera sounds like the perfect collision of David Bowie, The Who, The Clash, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, and T. Rex. The songs are so catchy it should be illegal, the production is huge, and the record guaranteed to change your mind about where rock music is going.
For more information and to see the new video, visit http://www.brainpool.nu.