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Review + Q&A: CB3- Explorations (2022, Majestic Mountain Records)

I put on Explorations by the Swedish trio CB3, find a comfortable chair and close my eyes. Immediately I let my defenses go and feel myself drop in a gigantic pink translucent jello pudding. Everything becomes soft and fuzzy, and a rosy smile appears on my lips as the world has become slower, softer, and pinker…

I hear a wonderful mixture of sounds ranging from the shoegaze haze of My Bloody Valentine, through the fuzzy sludge wall of noise of early Baroness, to the angelic voice of singer Charlotta reminding in a far and distant way of 90s icons The Breeders and Sonic Youth. As gravity starts becoming weaker I feel myself slowly spinning upside down, letting the full impact of the killer song To Space And Away hit me with all its hazy repetition. In all of this crazy pink gooey reality it is the perfect soundtrack to just losing control and letting go.

The album continues with more killer riffs and skycraper walls of fuzz, completely encapsulating me while I am listening and disappearing further and further into the sweet and warm pudding. I know this will probably the end as oxygen will have to run out at some point, and yet I want this hazy pink bliss to continue. I want it to never end. I am In a Rainbow With Friends and it is just the best.

When the final tones of Through Space And Time have drifted away I feel the ooze and jelly melting away. I am still alive, but now I feel empty and wishing very much to return. Luckily there is a repeat button…

I was pretty lucky to reach out to CB3 and find band leader, vocalist, and guitar hero Charlotta Andersson willing to answer some of my most burning questions. Here’s what she made of them:

Hi guys! How’s CB3 doing these days?
Hello! We are good.

How have you been holding up during the pandemic? What kept you going?
I work as a guitar teacher when I’m not doing this band and projects, so it was as usual, almost. I’m a creative person and like to create stuff and I sit at home doing demos to the band. Then share it with the members. The pandemic gave me extra time to think about our music and at the time I was bored by playing endless guitar solos, repeating myself. I wanted to tell a story with words not just with melodies. When teaching guitar, I have to sing, or else it can be kind of boring just playing a chord progression. That’s when the idea of singing emerged. I started to experiment with vocals and how to find my sound and incorporate it into our songs.

CB3 stands for Charlottas Burning Trio, right? Did the meaning evolve over time or is it still a kick in the face of the jazz world? 🙂
Yes, CB3 is Charlottas Burning Trio. The meaning has evolved, but I think history still stands. So both I think. When I started out the band I felt that I was an outsider playing guitar and soloing, that I always had to prove something, that I wasn’t ordinary and I hated that. Then also there was or is some kind of “anti-shred” – thing going on. So the “burning” was a statement, in your face, against all people saying “You can’t play like that, or like that…”. I felt and still feel that everyone can play whatever they want, the important thing is having fun and that it feels good. I think it also has evolved into meaning: a band that explores music, being ourselves, not trying to fit into an agenda.

Are you the band’s “leader” in a way? How would you describe the dynamics within the band?
Yes I am sort of. I organize almost everything. Natanael, the drummer, has been in this band since almost the beginning and he helps me out with different organizing things. When we look at new material I’ve written, we jam on it. For example: Sometimes Pelle adds a cool bass line and it turns out a little bit different and so on, so they are a part of the writing process as well.

How’s living and playing in Sweden for a band like CB3?
Not so easy, we play too uncommercial music and funds can be hard to get. I think that goes for most of the bands to be honest. To live a life only playing music in Sweden is hard, but you can do it by combining it with other work or other musical projects. I do this band and some other projects I feel are meaningful and combine it with my work as a guitar teacher. So it works for me.

You’ve started out as jazz musicians but are now somewhat adopted by the “stoner” scene, do you feel comfortable there or do you see CB3 eventually branching out into different, perhaps even bigger stages?

I love the underground/DIY/stoner scene. People, fans, bands and so on are genuine music lovers. They go to concerts and I feel there is a nice atmosphere, like everyone is welcomed. When I started to go to a live scene called “Plan B” in Malmö, Sweden, I first made contact with that underground/DIY/stoner or what you will call it. If I felt that I was an outsider before I felt totally at home. It was people doing creative stuff. And I was so inspired and I wanted to play at scenes like that. I would love to play more scenes like that in Europe for example. But to evolve as a band and play other stages would be exciting as well.

What made you pick the bright pink for the album cover? Was it perhaps in some way inspired by My Bloody Valentine?
Not inspired by MBV, but I love that band, they truly explored music with that album. The artist we have collaborated with since the beginning is called Robin Gnista. When we collaborate I only give him the music, the title and what colors and themes we think about.
Then he is free doing his thing. He always does awesome work. So I thought that the album felt kind of pink and purple.

The album title is Exploration, what was the most interesting thing you explored in making the album?
For me it was creating songs with vocals, finding my vocal sound and to develop our song structures.

Were there any psychedelic experiences during the writing or making process of the album or is that just my imagination ;)?
As the drummer of our band said during our last band practice: “We are the most sober stoner/doom band in the scene.” 😀 When I think more about it, the most psychedelic experience must have been the high rush of love, a mesmerizing sci fi tv-series and jamming with the band.

What are your immediate future plans and what is “the dream”?
Releasing the album, release concert and a small tour with a local Malmö band during the autumn. My dream is continuing this band and hopefully go on tour in Europe. Another dream is to play Desertfest Berlin, Roadburn and Levitation or other experimental music festivals. Also doing something collaborative with another form of art.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after reading this interview?
Check out our new music. And if you like it, tell your friends 🙂

CB3

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