29 Nov 2000

Helena Josefsson, backing singer at Tambourine Studios and Gula Studion (I): Hideki Kaji - This is Still O.K.

Since the last months, Helena Josefsson (Plastic Soul) has been working as background singer at two of the most important studios in Malmö, Tambourine Studios and Gula Studion.

Tambourine Studios are based around the Green Studio. This is where the business started back 1991, and it has been gradually refinished over the years. The studio is run on a Neve 8068 desk and a ProTools HD3accel/apogee system. The owners are the members of the band Eggstone: Maurits Carlsson, Patrik Bartosch and Per Sunding. Whhen Eggstone founded Tambourine Studios, they needed extra cash and toured with the band "The Preachers" (together with Tore johansson, Anders Nordgren and Johnny Dennis), playing at at weddings, birthday parties, pizzerias and other fun places. Now Tambourine Studios might be best known through The Cardigans records.

The story of Gula Studion goes back to 1995, when the famous Tambourine studio needed another recording facility. The Tambourine crew settled for a space in what was originally built as a cigarette factory and purchased the Neve mixing console and the 2" MCI tape recorder. They named the place "gula studion", meaning the yellow studio, as the other Tambourine studio was more greenish. Four years later, in 1999, the studio was bought by The Mopeds (Jens Lindgård, Petter Lindgård and David Carlsson) and their frieds Marco Manieri and Sebastian "Batti" Borg; for them, G.U.L.A. means "Guys using loud artefacts". The Mopeds is a three-piece band that had recorded all their material in Gula Studion alongside being session horn players on several Tambourine productions. Marco Manieri and Batti had also worked at Tambourine before. The five new owners refurbished and reorganised some and kept some, bought a hard disc recording system, and started lifting the old studio to new heights. The name Gula was kept, as so much fine music was already connected to it. The choice of instruments and audio equipment was upgraded and renovated, and new spaces were created for a greater variety of sound and atmosphere.

Although they are different studios, there is a two-way dynamic: many recordings could begin at Gula and end at Tambourine, for example.

This is still OK is a maxi single re-cut off Hideki Kaji's album "You Will Love Me" (August, 2000). Helena Josefsson (Plastic Soul) features as backing vocals. The tracking and mix of most of the songs of the album were made at Gula Studion, but it was finally produced at Tambourine Studios.

Anybody into the Cardigans, Tahiti 80, or the raft of pop-savvy Shibuya-kei bands that swamped the scene in the 90s need to get familiar with Hideki Kaji. Former bassist for the early 90s neo-acoustic outfit Bridge, Kaji released his first solo work, Muscat E.P., in 1996. The full-length Mini Skirt followed in 1997, reaching number 4 on the Oricon charts and propelling Kaji to full-fledged indie stardom. The release also earned Kaji some overseas recognition for its duet with Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell, the charming "Tokyo to London."

Maintaining a consistent release and tour schedule, Kaji also moonlights as a writer for other artists, including Chocolat, Faye Wong, and Noriko Kato. As a producer, he has produced numerous songs for television commercials.

The year 2000 marked a string of highly praised café dates, bringing him back to his roots and allowing happy fans nationwide the chance for an intimate concert experience. Occasionally produced by Swedish hit guru Tore Johansson at Tambourine Studios (Malmö), every Kaji release is exquisitely mixed, with crisp guitars, melodic bass, chiming keyboards, and breezy hooks woven together in a light, airy mix. Needless to say, the Johansson connection and song titles like “Made in Sweden”, from his 1998 full-length Tea don’t discourage frequent comparisons to Swedish pop, but this is only one of the many influences that inform his sharp pop sensibilities.

Hideki has became a Japan-Swedish with his partners from Tambourine (Tore Johansson. Per Sunding, ...) and other friends: Jens Jansson from Brainpool, Toft and Ludwig from Ray Wonder, and, this time, Helena Josefsson from Plastic Soul.