Urban Tribe Stockholm
Urban Tribe Stockholm
At this point, the rest of the band came into play, a line-up that was already for the most part in place, since I had formed a band called Positive Vibration in 1998. Positive Vibration was a Bob Marley tribute band that did shows around Sweden between 1998 - 2001 highlighted by headlining Reggaejam 2001 in Bersenbrúck Germany, where the band performed 21 (!) Bob Marley-songs. The band also recorded a live-album called "Live at Alcazar" in 2001. Urban Tribe Stockholm was officially formed during the spring of 2004 and the line-up, apart from the backing vocals-section, was identical to the line-up of Positive Vibration. Tessan Anderson, who was the "sole survivor" of the backing-vocals section from Positive Vibration was paired up with my wife Charlotte and Christian Lindström (Charlotte's brother). The album "Bob's Bar" was finally released independanty in March 2005 and Adam started to send out the album to reggae-websites around the world.
Noone was more surprised than I when the album started getting these fantastic reviews from very reputable reggae sources from all over the place and when Ron Hammond, an employee of Steel Pulse in England, sent us an enthusiastic reply saying he loved the album and was going to make sure that David and Selwyn got copies of the album right in their hands, I was thrilled. And when it turned out both David and Selwyn really liked the album I was in 7th heaven, being a long term Steel Pulse fan of many years. Next thing that happened was that we got an e-mail from Eric Jones, the president of ReggaeCD.com/ Ejaness Reggae Comprehensive in New York saying he had listened to the snippets of our album on our website and said "Bob's Bar was "the most impressive independantly released debut album they had ever heard" and offered us a distribution deal for the US right off the bat! Imagine that! Here I was thinking that maybe we wouldn't be taken seriously by the reggae community at all since we were all white and from Sweden (except Bamma B ofcourse) and all of sudden all this fantastic response came pouring in. Ron Hammond came over to Sweden for the releaseparty of "Bob's Bar" in May of 2005, a show that marked the live debut of Urban Tribe that we only had 2 - 3 full rehearsals to prepare for, since most of the members of the band are full-time musicians with pretty full schedules.
Then what do I do? I decide to record our first-ever live performance for a live DVD... this is symptomatic of most things we do; it shouldn't be possible but somehow it works anyway. In April I sent an e-mail to Eric Jones, president of Ejaness Reggae Comprehensive/ReggaeCD.com suggesting he'd surf by our site and listen to the snippets from the album. Next thing you know, he offers us a full distribution deal for the album in the US! After just hearing the snippets, he said it was "the best independantly released debut album he had ever heard". So on July 5, "Bob's Bar" was officially released in the US, something that no other Scandinavian rootsband ever had accomplished before. So you could say that things were going very well very fast the first 6 months for us.
When we later in July got con- firmation that we were going on tour in Scandinavia opening for my heroes Steel Pulse, I started thinking we were well on our way to having it made! We did three shows; in Malmoe and Gothenburg (Sweden) and Oslo (Norway), the twelve of us riding in three cars stuffed in like sardines and living in the cheapest possible hostels. But we had a great time and the shows went very well, despite the fact that we got virtually no time for soundcheck at all. If Internal Dread hadn't tagged along doing our sound we probably wouldn't have sounded that good. So there we were in the fall of 2005 thinking that the world was our oyster; I was doing radiointerviews with American and Canadian radiostations, Ejaness were planning to sign us to their label, and work was well underway with obtaining workpermits for the whole band to tour the US. This is where things sort of ground to a halt... Since I was funding all the promotion for "Bob's Bar" in the US myself, promotion was virtually non-existent. This lead to very poor sales and when we had to cancel/postpone a tour of the US for the second time due to the fact that getting workpermits seemed more or less impossible, Ejaness´enthusiasm started to dwindle considerably.
So, despite the fact that we were officially invited by the assistant Mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and backed by their congressman, there would be no shows with Urban Tribe on American soil. Without any tours, a music- video and an even half-way decent promotion budget we finally gave up the fight for the US market sometime by the end of 2005, at least temporarily. During the fall we had approached all the major reggae- labels in the US (I have to mention Melinda Turner in Washington DC at this point, she did a lot of legwork for us) but we got absolutely no interest at all. Finally Ron got the president of Ras Records to at least talk to him on the phone, and when he asked him what he thought of Urban Tribe he said "the band sounds great, the songs are fantastic, we are not interested..." Naturally this lead to the question why and to this he answered "they are not black and they're not Jamaican". So there you have it.
We had basically wasted 6 months by focusing totally on the US. The good thing, though is that the album recieved quite a bit of airplay on the radio; in June 2006 it peaked at place 22 over the most played reggae-albums in America. And it also recieved great attention and airplay not only in the US, England and mainland Europe but also in places like Jamiaca, Ghana, Uganda, Brasil and so on. Not bad for a still unsigned band just starting out! One notable thing that happened in the fall of 2005 was that Tessan Andersson left the band.
During the Steel Pulse tour there was quite a bit of tension in the backing vocals-section, which then simmered over to the rest of the band. So it was a good thing Tessan quit - she basically beat me to it, meaning I wouldn't have to fire her. I had kept in touch with Linda Rönnbäck, who did some shows with Positive Vibration in 00 - 01, probably because, on some unconcious level, I regretted not having asked her to join from the beginning. As soon as me, Charlotte, Christian and Linda got together to start working on the backing vocals in December we all started feeling great about the working atmosphere the four of us created - we simply had a very good time working. She appeared with us on stage for the first time in January 2006 during Reggae Week at Mosebacke here in Stockholm. The new album was recorded in three different places - the drums, bass and keyboards were recorded in my old studio in the Old Town, Stockholm, which was a quite small studio on the second floor.
I had to move out in December 2005 and didn't really have anywhere to go, so I wound up in an old bomb-shelter turned into a rehearsal room. Four concrete walls - that was it. This is where everything else was recorded, so one could say that album number two was recorded under less than perfect technical conditions. The finishing touches on it were done in May 2006 in the new Urban Tribe headquarters, a small but quite cosy sub-terrain apartment turned into studio only about 100 meters away from the Internal Dread's legendary Rubadub-studio. The beginning of 2006 marked a different strategy - we were going to try to become big in Europe first.
Back in 2001 we played Reggaejam in Germany and we had gotten to be good friends with Bernd Lagemann, aka Sheriff, who is the organizer behind the festival. I now reached out to him and he put together a tour for us in Germany - 6 shows in a week in the middle of April. We naturally were excited about it and couldn't wait to get on the way. During the fall of 2005 and early 2006 I had written all the songs for our album number two and by the time we set sail for Germany the album was more or less finished, only finishing touches remained.
The tour went extremely well and we had a great time, although it turned out that touring Germany during Easter was a mistake - in some German towns it is actually against the law to have concerts during Good Friday...to make a long story short, the only thing that wasn't 100% sucessfull was the attendance at the shows. One lives and learns... Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ron had been working on and succeeding in getting both Selwyn Brown and David Hinds of Steel Pulse to do guestappearances on our new album, by then named "Who is the Enemy?" I was extatic, of course! I have been an avid fan since I first heard "True Democracy" badk in 1982 and I think that David Hinds is the greatest now alive voice in reggae, so you could imagine how it felt knowing that he would sing on one of my songs...simply thrilling. He ended up doing his vocal overdubs in a hotelroom in Florida - amazing how easy these things are with the internet. I did a rough mix with his vocals on, sent it back to him and then he called me up in the studio with some thoughts and feedback; I actually had to pinch my arm at that point, David Hinds calling me on the telephone... amazing.
As was his and Selwyn's vocals - it simply sounded so damn good! "Who is the Enemy?" was finally finished by mid-summer 2006 and in August we played at Uppsala Reggaefestival before heading down to Germany again to do two shows; Reggaejam and Berlin. During the last part of 2006 I started writing songs for our third, yet unnamed, album (right now we have 9 semi-finished songs). In November we finally had a break here at home when it turned out that legendary Swedish reggaeband Kalle Baah said they wanted to sign us to their own label (a label they only have released their own albums on up til then) becuase they thought the album was so good and it was a shame that people didn't get to hear it that much. Truly refreshing to meet some- one like Janne Karlsson, the drummer of Kalle Baah and the instigator of their signing us, who goes out of his way to help another band and puts his money where his mouth is and actually does what he says he will, a very rare commodity in the music business I can tell you. I mean, if half the things people have talked about and planned for Urban Tribe had come true, we would have been touring the world by now... So, finally, we will have an official release here at home! At the same time we had to modify our name slightly, adding a "Stockholm" at the end. This is due to the fact that there is another Urban Tribe (from Detroit) who, having been dormant for quite some time, started releasing albums again in 2006.
So to avoid unnecessary confusion we decided to become URBAN TRIBE STOCKHOLM instead. And this is more or less where we stand today. Good things are planned for the future, but the less said the better (keeping what I said earlier about not putting your money where your mouth is in mind) 2007 is shaping up quite nicely so far, let's hope for the good things to keep happening. Adam Atterby, Jan 18, 2007 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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