European rock fans tend to be more savvy when it comes to knowing all the best underground bands, regardless of where that band is from. For U.S. fans it generally takes a little more time to suss out some of the hidden gems from around the world. One band that all heavy rock music fans should get to know is Sweden’s Kamchatka. The trio has become a touring favorite for Clutch over the years, which speaks volumes about Kamchatka’s talents. This month the band released its sixth studio album, Long Road Made of Gold. It is the second to feature former Opeth keyboardist, Per Wiberg, as the trio’s permanent bassist. Wiberg joins founders Thomas “Juneor” Andersson (guitar/vocals) and Tobias Strandvik (drums).
Kamchatka formed in 2001 and released its debut album a decade ago. The band’s sound is rooted in influences of late 60s and early 70s rock with a heavy dose of blues. They often tap into psychedelic and progressive rock, but the band never targeted a certain sound. “We have never set out to sound like something,” Andersson shared with AXS/Examiner. “I mean the music itself comes with a mix of blues and rock but we have never planned or said to each other, let’s do something that sounds like it came from 1968 or ’73 or whatever. We are just three guys that love to play our instruments and sing and write music, and do it live as much as possible.”
The band’s two most recent albums, Long Road Made of Gold, and 2014’s The Search Goes On, finds them focusing on more of a straight rock style. This new direction was influenced by Wiberg’s addition to the band. “When he joined the band,” shares Andersson, “immediately the direction of the music changed a little bit. Per is a rocker. It got more straight forward. He wanted to focus on the rock music of Kamchatka; maybe a little bit less of the progressive stuff. And I’m super happy with that because I really enjoy to play fast songs, straight forward, just knock the trees down (laughs).”
While many musicians view their careers as a journey to reach the proverbial pot of gold; overflowing with money, fame, and accolades, they guys in Kamchatka have a different perspective which is found in the title of the new album. “For me,” Thomas offered, “being a musician; I started to play blues guitar when I was six, seven-years-old. Through the life of playing, and now with Kamchatka for several years, that in itself is a long road. The ‘gold’ part of the title—the gold is the music. It’s not the gold moneywise. It’s more like the experiences, the meeting new people, experiencing other cultures and all that; the experiences that come with the music, that’s the gold. So it’s a long road and it’s made of gold when you live it.”
The full interview with Thomas Andersson can be heard in the video box above, and the album’s first single, “Get Your Game On” can be heard here.