Swedish-British prog contingent - The Tangent - is one of many
bands with connections to The Flower Kings. They have just
released their 3rd album through the InsideOut label, called
in the Queue" - we have put a few questions together for him.
- "A Place
in the Queue" is the 3rd The Tangent album, it has just been
released, but what kind of expectations do you have for it?
The Tangent: Expectations are usually an entirely relative
matter for a Progressive Rock band. Although we certainly don't
expect the album to become a world bestseller, our hopes are that
we can be seen to have developed and worked hard to achieve a good
album. I'm hoping that this album can establish the Tangent as a
real unit, rather than as a side project to the other bands we are
involved in. But I don't expect us to be living it up in
- What do you think set "A Place
in the Queue" apart from "The World That We Drive
The Tangent: I think that all the Tangent albums so far are
related to each other. For me, each one has been an improvement in
the actual compositions/song writing them. I think that somewhere
on our second album "The World That We Drive Through" we
DID lose a little of the joy of playing that we presented on our
first CD, even though I preferred the compositions on the second.
With "A Place
in the Queue" we really did work hard to try to get that joy
back into the music, and with the new compositions I think this
has worked. The new line-up of the group has brought a freshness
to the sound, and despite Krister Jonsson's amazing abilities,
he's somehow managed to let the rest of the band breathe, so the
keyboards and sax can play much more interesting and fulfilling
roles than on our previous albums. This isn't a guitar album, it's
not any single instrument... it's a band record. Stripped of most
of the famous people, perhaps this is what was always at the heart
of The Tangent.
- If you should suggest one single song to understand the full The
Tangent musical potential, which title would you choose and why -
my choice would be the title track off the new album?
The Tangent: My TWO favourite pieces so far are "The
Winning Game" from our second CD, and "In Earnest"
from our latest one. Both of these give a full range of what the
band is all about. Lyrically both of them examine what I consider
to be injustices from an emotional and honest point of view, and
musically both songs have a wide range of moods and styles that
they use to convey the lyrics. On the whole it's "In Earnest"
that I am most pleased with, the way it fuses 20th century style
classical structures, mixes them with Rock and Jazz has been a
challenge, challenging to create in that it's hard to make sure
fusions like this don't sound as though they are just stuck
together with glue for the sake of it.
- How did you end with a name like The Tangent, is there some
deeper story behind it?
The Tangent: The name is really a little joke or pun. A
Tangent (in English) is a geometrical term that refers to a line
that touches the circumference of a circle. My other band is
called "Parallel or 90 degrees" which of course is also
a geometrical theme. In English we have a phrase which is "To
Go off at a Tangent". This means to do something different
from what you normally do. At the time of writing the first album,
with Po90 still making records a the time, this recording was
really me, going off at a tangent, and so the name stuck.....
- I hear a lot of 70ís influences with bands like Van der Graaf
Generator, King Crimson and Yes coming to mind, am that far off,
and what else inspires you when you write songs?
The Tangent: Well, we do wear our influences on our sleeves,
I can't deny that. Of course you have mentioned three bands there
in your question, without whom we simply wouldn't exist, but then
again neither would a lot of people. The fact is, we are honest
about this where a lot of bands aren't. I find it quite difficult
to imagine that Radiohead would have ever sounded the same without
King Crimson and to an extent Peter Hammill. I've been influenced
by all sorts of music from both within and without progressive
rock since I was 12 years old. I've enjoyed punk, jazz, thrash
metal, classical music from Baroque to the present, and even out
and out pop stuff like disco. Music is a great thing to love, and
there's an awful lot of it. People often accuse me of being a bit
"retro" with the Tangent. it's a shame that so few
people know my work with Po90, which I never considered to be
retro at all. The Tangent is just one part of what I have done,
and yes, it does, undoubtedly take much of its inspiration from
the English progressive rock scene of the 1970s including the
stuff. Its music I felt needed a new chance to be heard, and when
I'm playing it, it certainly doesn't feel as retro to me as Green
- Do you feel that your sound will evolve in some different
direction, in the future, or will you still follow the same path?
The Tangent: I do hope that the group's music will evolve.
I think it already has, but of course we are still working within
the same overall area. I don't see much point in trying to
deliberately move away from this area and just piss people off -
after all there are many other areas I can work in with other
bands and projects - I'm hoping to have PO90 back together again
this year for example. I'm planning to make the next Tangent album
slightly more experimental. Still based around our main ethics,
but there is something that I would actually rather like to try
which has, as far as I know, not been tried before. It's something
I can't disclose because I don't want someone else moving in on
the idea before we do it. Suffice to say that I want to create a
Tangent album that will sound like a Tangent album and no-one will
notice what the experiment was until someone points it out to them
and then they should say... ' oh yeah!'
- What inspires you when you write lyrics?
The Tangent: Ummm... everything?... Subject matter used by
The Tangent so far has been:
The medical condition called "Night Terrors",-- the
"Canterbury" rock bands of the 1970s, -- Progressive
Rock Music itself, --- the way the third world is dependant on the
western stock exchange, ---- the propagation of radio waves, ---
fear of the dark, ---- finding fantasy worlds right here in the
real one, ---- the way our War heroes are subsequently forgotten
and how they feel about that, ---- the way no-one actually seems
to listen to an individual, or even a large group of individuals,
---- being bullied at school for liking prog rock,--- falling into
line and just accepting what we are told to do by the media or our
bosses, and --- the massacre in Beslan. Quite a few topics
there. Its things I mull over in my head that I might have seen on
the news, things that annoy me. People I meet (like Earnest) who
make me see something new in life, experiences from the past like
"Lost In London" or just a fantastic sunset can set me
- I really like the artwork - is there a story behind that?
The Tangent: Yes there is a story, but the story is the
work of Ed Unitsky who is entirely responsible for the amazing
artwork we use. For this reason we are one of only a handful of
bands who actually credit him for his work as though he was
actually a musician in the band. We consider Ed to be in effect a
member of the Tangent so important is his contribution. If you
want to know the story, Ed is the person to ask, and he will be
very happy to be asked.
- Any touring plans for 2006?
The Tangent: We have a few dates lined up already, a couple
of festivals, and our first gig in Yorkshire, England, Sam and my "home" even though we live in
. we are putting more gigs together of course. All the information
is at the website at www.thetangent.org We're really looking
forward to playing again because the "Drive Through"
tour was a real lot of fun.
- Letís speculate - you have been granted a free slot on a tour
of your own choice - who would be your ideal touring partners?
The Tangent: Ha!!! we can have anyone right??? It would
have to be Yes.... just imagine if I could pick up some more
skills off those guys. I think their audience might find us
entertaining too. So, if you are offering, we'd be happy to play
- Name a person, event or maybe an album, that have had a big
influence on you life, and why?
The Tangent: Although Peter Hammill, Jon Anderson and Keith
Emerson are obviously big heroes and influences, I think the
turning point for me in the whole way I saw music was meeting a
man called Danbert Nobacon. He was a member of the anarchist rock
band Chumbawamba and he came to my studio to make a solo album
called "The Unfairy Tale". It was an album about social
injustice and album about the way is controlled by large companies
and financiers. Unlike a lot of the other anarchist bands
Chumbawamba and particularly Dan had a beautiful way of expressing
their points without shouting all the time. Dan's album owed as
much to Milton's "Paradise Lost" as it did to "Stations of the
Crass". It was working with Dan that made me want to make my
music have a meaning as well as just entertain people. most people
know Dan through the famous song "Tubthumping" or that
he through a bucket of water over an English Politician, however,
there is a lot more to him than that.........
- The internet is a very important source for many music fans -
how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and
other bands, and whatís your opinion of Napster etc.?
The Tangent: For us the internet is not just a way of
marketing and keeping in touch with fans, although of course we do
that and it's very very useful and has really helped in the
development of the continuation of progressive music. For us,
living thousands of miles away from each other, itís an all
important tool with which we can actually work together on the
same project. Jonas, guy and I (France, Sweden And England) can
discuss and make decisions on arrangements in minutes rather than
days - Guy recorded overdubs in
on the same day that the album was finished in
. It's remarkable. It's just as important to us as the mellotron
was to the early progressives.
- How do you feel about the progressive rock scene at the moment?
The Tangent: Pleased that there is so much happening with
so many artists. Pleased that there are still people out there who
want to hear the new music. Sad that so many progressive rock fans
dream only of Genesis reuniting, a band who have made very little
great music in the past 30 years. Genesis was great for 6 years.
The Flower kings have been great for 12, but all everyone seems to
want is to see Genesis play again, they'd fill stadiums and the
Flower Kings might fill a few nightclubs and of course the Tangent
will fill a few less nightclubs!. It's such a shame. A lot of prog
fans simply won't listen to the new groups.
- I thank you very much for participating in this interview and
sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last
lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to
round off with?
The Tangent: Thanks to all sites, reviewers and
contributors to any medium that promotes and supports progressive
rock music. We could not exist without you.