We met Micke Syd in a café in Södermalm, one of the nicest districts of Stockholm, the Monday after the Stockholm concert. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days, but still allowed us to sit outside for “fika”, the Swedish word for “drinking coffee”. After a bit of chit-chat about our stay in Stockholm, travelling here and there to go to concerts and how Micke Syd is feeling today (“better today, yesterday I was totally KO!” he told us) we started with our interview.
Judith: So let’s start with some background. How did you get into music and when did you start playing drums?
Micke: I think I’ve always wanted to play drums. I remember when I was 5 or 6 and my parents had parties at home and played music and danced, I had a metallic ashtray and I played with knitting needles on it, just for myself, following the rhythm of the music. I don’t know why! (says with a smile). Then I got a drum kit for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, so I learnt to play myself. When I was in 9th grade I had some music lessons for some months but I learnt the rest myself. Then I started to play with Anders and a friend named Martin and the rest you know.
J: and did you have any favourite drummer or inspiration?
M: I think I had when I was younger; I always liked all those good drummers who had a personal sound when they play. A beat is a beat, but there must be that special something.
The thing is, you can be technically very good and fast but that doesn’t mean that it’s good. So, of course, Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts were some of my inspirations. When you hear them play, just one beat, you know it’s them playing, it’s their personality coming through the drum sticks.
J: I think there are just a few drummers you can put in that category, I just got into Bruce Springsteen lately. I sometimes like to concentrate on an instrument when listening to an album, mostly it’s the drums or guitar. So I am amazed the way Max Weinberg plays.
M: Max Weinberg is fantastic. The feeling you get from him is very strong and precise. Love it.
J: It reminds me in a way you play, very much defined strong beats, very fast and catchy as well. And that’s one of the things I love about Gyllene Tider. You hear the difference if you are not playing the drums. You have a very much defined strong beat and you totally miss it when somebody else plays GT songs.
M: Thank you! I think this is the biggest thing with us in Gyllene, we have a totally own sound. All the 5 of us need to be there for this special thing to happen. And the fact that you hear when it’s me playing is the key. It comes with age, I know that I am never gonna be playing faster than *beep*, but I know that I can play ME. Like MP plays himself, or Anders and Göran and Per. And that is the formula that makes us so special. It’s important to know who I am when I play. And what happens with me and the others in the band. And this is the kind of drummers I like and what I like to hear in other bands too. I am rather old now so I don’t listen to songs that way anymore, but sometimes you just have to. Like for instance, Paul McCartney’s drummer – have you seen him live?
J: Yes, just a month ago!
M: that is great to hear. Did you notice the drummer? Abe Laboriel Jr. His father is a legendary bass player; you can check him on Youtube. Abe Jr. is a huge guy, he also sings and has a very soulful voice and he plays fantastic drums. We could do the same beat on the same drums and it would sound totally different. Just because of the way we do this. And that’s all about music. Find who you are and play the best you can.
J: How did you create the drum parts for the new songs? I understood that Per sent you the demos, which are basically guitar and some keyboard, and that’s all. Was it on the fly in the studio or did you prepare yourself?
M: that’s one thing that was so magical about “Dags att tänka på refrängen” and the difference to when we did “Finn fem fel”. Per had written like he always does, on guitar and him singing, maybe some rhythm pattern or keyboard. He sent the songs bit by bit in spring I think, and I decided for myself to just listen to the songs once this. Sometimes when you listen to them more often, you listen to the chords, you may think ‘I have heard it before’, and you get a wrong input or idea about the song. Then you also start to think how you will play things. So I just listened to them once and left them. I think that one of the best things with us is that when we are together things just happen, we just do it. Of course, I have my box of fills and my beats and rhythm, you will probably hear the same or similar on more than one song. But it’s my way of doing it. So this time we just played.
J: And it worked out amazingly, because the album is great and you really seemed to have fun, some songs sound even like having been recorded live.
M: I think one of the good things was that we started out with “Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” because it’s a very powerful song and because we had already played it 32 years ago, but we still remembered it. Now when we rehearsed we even did songs from the EP “M”, like “M” which we never played back then, so we just said ‘let’s see if we can play it’ and we could. So songs are somewhere here in the brain, and when we get together it all comes back.
J: So what happened after “Det blir aldrig…”
M: We recorded this song in two or three takes and that was the beginning of the creative thing going. The first day we did a lot of takes, everything went so fast we didn’t even have time to think and I think that was the good thing, we simply played.
And many times what we played then became the arrangements, so you could say that we did the arrangements for the songs in real-time. And when you do that, often the stuff that comes out is amazing and the way it should be.
And for me this is very important too, I have to keep the tempo, I have to know what is happening to put the beats and the fills so it melts with the rest, so I like when it’s flowing, it shouldn’t stop, it should be like a dance. The parts between the verse and the chorus should be together with some nice … something. So when we do it like this, that fast, it just happens, this is nothing you can talk about. And it’s so special to be in a band where we have such a communication that is not verbal, it’s totally something else.
Somebody passes by and recognizes Micke and asks for a picture. Micke immediately agrees.
M: sorry, just wanted to take a quick picture.
J: yes sure. Does this happen often nowadays?
M: quite a lot, but not as often as before. Anders and I have this theory. We think the biggest difference between the 80ies and now is that nowadays people see the shows through the smartphones or cameras. There is something between you and what’s going on on stage, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a little phone, there is something in between your experience, so people don’t store so many memories in their brains.
J: that’s one of the reasons I don’t like to take many pictures at concerts, I want to enjoy what I am seeing, and the feeling, atmosphere…
M: exactly, that’s how it should be, otherwise you lose the vibe. But people do this a lot nowadays. And then the other reason is that we are all on Facebook or other social media platforms, so it’s become very important for us to write new statuses and keep our profiles updated. Which is a good thing because we can reach you immediately, but the consequence is that people get so many impressions all the time and experience so many things via the smartphones that people just keep a small fraction of what they read, and they don’t see US as a person but just a text on a screen. It’s like that story I wrote about on FB, those girls in Malmö didn’t recognize me, and they also didn’t believe me when I pointed at my picture on the t-shirt and said I was the drummer. ‘Is that really you?’ No, of course, I mean, what’s wrong with your eyes? So they just walked away. So this is the negative part of the social media, something is shifting, we don’t look at people anymore but we look at things, a screen, a text on FB. I prefer talking to people of course, so I am glad when somebody wants to say hi.
J: I think it affects also the way you remember things, facts, people.
M: Indeed, I will remember your face in 10 years from now. I may not remember from where, or maybe not remember your name, but I will remember your face. Just like I remember many people in the front row, some of them came to see the Husbands in mid 90ies or the previous GT tours. I will remember them if I see them 20 years from now. But I won’t remember somebody who just wrote something on FB. Sorry, that was just a sidestep, where were we?
J: we were talking about recording the album and what happens when you 5 get together. You can hear that magic live this time too. I have just seen one GT concert before, in Halmstad 2004, but I can tell this time is totally different.
M: What is the difference for you?
J: You seem to have more fun, more relaxed, you just play. Pure magic.
M: yes, and that’s a fact. And I think we are better now as well. It’s amazing to see that we can do things better without practicing. And another good thing is that we all have in-ears. Even though that comes with a cost, and that is that we don’t hear you in the audience. There are microphones for the audience, but still you get cut off from the surroundings energy-wise. But it’s OK because we play better like this. It’s like listening to a song with headphones, the sound is SO good so the timing is better. It’s really nice to play like this, it’s also better for your ears because it’s not that loud all the time, and you also hear yourself better, so you also end up singing better. I think it’s great to see that we can play our songs even better, stronger, with another attitude. It’s true that we play differently, more relaxed as you say. I can feel that Per is more relaxed nowadays too. It’s nice like this because this should be a joy, it’s really should be a …. joyride – ha!
J: Do you always remember the drum parts or do you need to “cheat” sometimes?
M: I mostly do remember. I guess it’s just like in any other job or other things in your life, you remember what to do. Of course, sometimes I may need to listen to a song, maybe just the first chords and I remember immediately. You know what you played before so you remember. That is the fun about our songs too, we play them the way they are supposed to be, the way we created them and the way you want to hear them. If Göran would play something else on the intro of “När vi två blir en” you would go ‘what is that??’
J: Did you ever try to do different versions of some hits?
M: no, not really. It doesn’t feel right. I think honour is the best word to call it. I heard artists doing different versions of their most famous songs, those songs that the audience is longing to hear when they go to a concert and then the artist plays something totally different. That’s a bit of a let-down. We are here because you want to listen to us, you come to our concerts and expect to hear your favourite songs as they are. So for us it’s a commitment to you and also to honour our history. You are happy to hear those songs again, so if you are happy, we get happy too. Then I’ve got as many good memories from the concerts as you do. I deliver the happy and then I get the happy from you back. And the best way to do that is to play the songs as they are meant to be. We do a slight acoustic version of “Cole porter” or “Min tjej och jag” but they work fine like that because they sound still as they should.
J: did you rehearse a lot of songs that you are not playing on this tour?
M: quite some, we played many other songs that didn’t make it to the final set list, but we had this little game going on among us to see if we could remember the old songs the way we recorded them. So we played some songs just once or twice to see if we remembered them. It was fun.
J: the set list has some surprises, like “På jakt efter liv”. Why this song?
M: We did this TV show where we watched Parkliv! together and we talked about it real-time. Parkliv! was on SVT1 and the other show was broadcasted online simultaneously. So that’s the reason we now play “På jakt efter liv”. We realized during that TV show that it’s a great song. We also realized how good we played in the 80ies! We also tried “Tuff tuff tuff” and some other old songs just to see if we could use them to exchange for other songs on the set list here and there, but some when you have to stop adding or changing songs. We are not Springsteen who is touring for a year or two and does 3-hour shows. We just do this one tour, 19 gigs and that’s it. So we want to give the best experience to all of you coming to our shows, and we know most of you want to listen to our hits. People would be disappointed if we only played rare songs.
J: but maybe a kind of concert for “hard-core” fans would do it…?
M: We actually talked about doing one small gig just for fun and play songs we don’t play otherwise, just like the concert at Leif’s but in a more laid back venue, where you can just sit and enjoy us playing rare stuff, but we skipped that idea in the end.
J: you could still do that… Spontaneous idea that comes to my mind now: a release party for the live DVD plus a “rarities” concert?
M: Haha, it would be fun to do it to see what happens during that show, but I don’t think it will take place.
J: Too bad! When you started talking about the new album and the tour, did you arrange it would only be these 2 things and that’s it or did you leave a kind of open end?
M: Just the album and the concert. It’s also the way we have been doing it in the past. To be honest, after the 2004 tour I didn’t think we would do this ever again. And then this came up, we started talking about it before Roxette went on tour, so we postponed it for some years because Roxette was so successful, which is great. When we did the 3 songs in Halmstad, when Roxette played there, people went b-a-n-a-n-a-s. My brother was a security guy there and he saw people leaving after the first extra and when they heard us they run back to the venue just to see us. So then you get this feeling that people still want to hear GT, so we just waited and here we are now. In our case, it doesn’t really matter if we postpone it for a while. We decided to the album for two reasons: it’s fun to see who we are now as a band after so many years and it’s a great way to get the machine started. When we are at Christoffer’s studio in the middle of nowhere in Skåne, very isolated, we cannot do anything else than be together and see what happens. And it’s simply great with Christoffer and Clarence, they are great musicians.
J: but then when the album was ready you had to wait for some months to go on tour…
M: yes, and that was a bit hard. After doing some promotion for the album we were like “can we start the tour NOW … please?” It was great when we started to rehearse. And then finally the tour!
J: I told you what I think is the biggest difference to 2004. What is the biggest difference for you?
M: I am older haha! Really, that’s everything. I have different perspectives about things, life nowadays. Besides music, I am very interested in well-being, both inner-wise and body-wise. I went to a course for kinesiology after 96 and found another way to create happiness in life besides music, to live a less stressful and happier life in relationships to others and myself. We carry around a lot of stuff that cost a lot of quality of life. I’ve been to lots of courses related to this just because it’s fun. So I learnt a lot of stuff and found the thing that fits and works for me.
The hard thing about having been in this band and playing live and having this interaction with the audience is that there is nothing else you can do that compares to it. So I know why some musicians just play until they are very old. We are no athletes for whom the body some when says “that was it”, we can go on playing until the end. And I think I play a lot better now than when I was 20 because I just play from the heart, I just want to play some beats, make they sound good, as good as I can deliver them, and that means that what I am experiencing when I playing is much bigger.
J: And what does it mean to you that your family is travelling with you?
M: This is another big difference to 2004. I can share this with my son Dennis who is one of the camera men, then my other two sons are at the merchandising stand and my wife is touring with me too. So I am sharing the tour with my family and this is great.
For example, the fact that people take pictures of Dennis and he blushes and goes like ‘But they are taking photos of me!’ He is 24, and it’s just great that he is there. We have a lot of fun, when I am in front I watch him through the camera, you may think I am just looking into the camera, but I’m looking at him too, and he gets mad at me when I get him to laugh because the camera is shaking, but I tell him that’s the whole thing, it’s fun. And people feel that he is laughing, even though they don’t know what’s going on, so they have fun too.
J: So you will have many good memories from this tour….
M: Yes, the whole tour is being a great experience. And it’s not only the 2 hours on stage but everything as a whole and I will keep these memories with me. Besides Per who gets to be a popstar the whole time, we all have our regular lives, when we step out of the stage we are back to our normal life. But I’m still happy and proud I’ve done what I’ve done. So I will take so many good memories from the tour, a lot of good vibes from meeting all of you, the crew, the security staff. Some of them already worked with us in the past tours so it’s nice to see them again, have this community feeling again, it’s like a family.
J: I think one thing that contributes to the good vibes is this new queuing system.
M: yes, I think it’s great. No running, no fighting. I was really touched by the fact that this could be set up by Atli, the head of security, together with you guys. I think it’s just making the concert experience a lot better. We feel it too if you have been queuing for hours and then you are frustrated because of all the stress to get to the front row. If you are relieved of all that you can just relax and enjoy. And then we also have more fun. And one nice thing that I’ve realized now is that people in the front row are becoming friends!
J: Indeed – you couldn’t have imagined this back in 2004 or other tours.
M: What’s the purpose of fighting with each other? It destroys the whole feeling and atmosphere for the concert. You then have two things that don’t match: you have to fight for your place and at the same time you should be having fun at a concert. This amount of fighting costs double happy. With this system it’s easier. So this is one of the things I will remember from this tour and that makes me feel better. And you will remember it too as a good thing.
J: That’s true. Unfortunately these fights are what you also remember from other tours and concerts. For example, as much as I loved Marie’s tour in 2000, I also remember the negative parts of it. And I can imagine that if there is negativity in the air, you feel it too from the stage.
M: exactly. We have to remember that what we think, what we feel comes out of us and others around you feel that too. Everything you feel comes out from your heart and if you feel good, this spreads and it’s contaminating in a good way. Then your neighbour will feel happy too, and so on and so on. It’s about spreading this good feeling. Also you guys in front row set a lot of standards for the rest of the crowd. So if you are not happy when you are standing there, this bad feeling spreads to the crowd too. And it’s the same way the other way around. You will feel it if we are not in balance in the band. The bad feeling would spread from us to the audience too. So that’s why some shows are better than the others, it needs a good balance in the band, in the audience and this flow of good vibe between everybody.
What do you think about this numbering system?
J: I cannot speak about it myself because I wasn’t in front row this time. Since I organize the meet & greets I have to collect everybody and go backstage and all, it doesn’t make sense for me to queue for hours; so I’ve been standing or sitting at the back. But it’s fun to organize these M&Gs as well and see the happy faces of the winners.
M: yes we like them too. I think it’s a nice memory for them, even though it goes so fast. I like to see that so many of you come to see us, spend a lot of money and time to come to see us. So it’s nice to say hi to some of you personally. I am very thankful for that, sometimes I think you may be a little bit crazy, travelling around so much.
J: haha! But you get to see new places every time; we do a lot of tourism too. And get to know new people. It’s just as fun as for you to be on stage and play.
M: I have seen some of the photos you post on FB and I am glad that you take some time to relax and enjoy your holidays too. Like those 4 girls who started to call my son Syd Jr., they rented a cottage and just enjoyed some nice time in Sweden. But some of you are also spending so many hours in the queues, I am very humbled about that. But you said you see the concerts from the back, this is something I would love to see for myself too.
J: You get to experience the concerts in a totally different way when you are at the back. Like in Stockholm for instance, when everybody sang along and stood up, I felt very happy for you, you get goose bumps, you feel proud and think “ha! That’s my band!”
M: It was the same for my parents, it was good for them to see people’s reaction to what their son is doing on stage. The thing is that I don’t see that from where I sit. And that’s too bad because I would love to save that good energy and take it with me home and know that if I have a bad day, I can go and inject some of that good energy. Just like a lyckopiller, but a good one, without side effects, just pure fun and love. And I think it’s great that you are writing all these stories about the concerts and share all the pictures and keep track of what we are doing and help the others who can’t be there be a part of it somehow. Because it’s just spreading the good vibe, and maybe it will make the guys who saw Roxette in 2011 or us some weeks ago remember that concert and put a smile on their faces.
J: Thank you, we enjoy writing all the stories and keeping people informed. How do you feel knowing that you have such an influence in people, that you can make a full stadium stand up and sing along and be happy?
M: It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are doing something that just you can do and that you can create this happy feeling in people and get this feedback. Money plays no role here. Just to know that I can play those songs 30 years later in front of so many people and make them happy and dance, that’s just an incredible feeling. And again, I know you also invest a lot of time and money in travelling and queuing, I feel very humble about it.
J: It’s an incredible feeling to be part of it as an audience too. And simply have fun. Like the Spanish guys with the wigs, did you see them on Saturday? They were on the video wall a couple of times and people sitting next to me saw it and simply laughed, clapped, had fun.
M: yes, I saw them. So they were Spanish? I wasn’t sure.
J: yes, in Stockholm it was Spaniards and Argentinians. It was the Spanish fans who started that I think during Per’s solo tour in 2009 and went on with that on the Roxette tour, they even managed to make Clarence wear one of those wigs…
M: Haha, that’s fun, it created a good vibe on us and all around, I could feel that. That’s one thing that we will carry with us in our memories and for some days now, but it would be great to have a “good vibe account” that you charge with things like this tour and can use up when things aren’t going so well. Because it’s not just you going back to “normal life” when the tour is over, I am also going to my normal stuff. But the memories remain there and we should take with us only the positive ones that will make you smile in years to come. Like this with Atli and the numbering system.
J: I hope we can keep that for future shows.
M: You really should try to keep this! I asked Atli to spread this to other concerts. And you should as well, talk to the management and spread this too via your website. You have many readers and you can spread the word for other tours. That’s the good thing about internet, when something is good you can spread it too. It’s good for the band, for the fans, for the security guys. I also hope it spreads to other countries now that so many people from South America, Germany, Spain and other places have been here and have seen that it works, that there are some rules and if you follow then everything will be fine. Otherwise, you are out. In Stockholm there were 150 people in the lines, 150! It makes me happy to hear this.
J: Talking about fans from everywhere, did you imagine back in the 80ies that you would still be playing with GT with 50+ and in front of such big audiences, including international fans?
M: no, no way! When I think of it, one of my sons is 20 now, about the same age I was when we did GT. And I am the same age now that my dad was when I was 20. So if somebody would have told me in 81 that I am going to do this when I am 52, I wouldn’t have believed it, 52 was for me back then like close to death.
I am glad I don’t have any age issues at all and I think this is partly because I get to do what I love and because I experience things differently now due to all this stuff I do inside myself, for myself, in how I see life, what I think about myself, other people, world. I am really thankful and proud that we have done this, and I also know now that when the tour ends it’s going to be OK. I’ve had my other life for so many years and I know it works fine, because I still have done what I’ve done, nobody else has done that, and I am proud of that.
J: you mentioned you also go back to your “other life” after the tour. What are your plans and projects after the tour? Do you still have a fitness center?
M: I started one but I don’t have it anymore. Some years ago I was in this TV show “Du är vad du äter” (You are what you eat), a show about losing weight and changing the way that you eat and where you also do a lot of workout. I got a phone call from the production company, they thought I was a bit overweight, which I was, and they asked me if I wanted to participate. I agreed but with the condition to bring my wife along and do it together. For various reasons: it’s more fun, we both needed it and this is quite a challenge so you need support, so we could support each other. So during two months we changed the way we ate and worked out about 13-14 times a week. I asked for a personal trainer because I like trying new things out without thinking too much, and it can get dangerous sometimes. I got a trainer who was one of the first in Sweden who was licensed in a workout method called CrossFit and I lost about 13 kilos in 2 months. I got in the best shape that I’ve ever been! Since I realized it worked so well, we started the first CrossFit gym in Stockholm. I was co-owner there for about 1,5 years but then I sold my share. But I still practice CrossFit and I have all the things with me on the tour.
J: did you do any special preparation for the tour? I guess it’s exhausting to be playing more than 2 hours on the drums day in and day out.
M: yes, it is. The other guys can just raise the volume, I have to make the volume louder myself. But it’s so fun and it’s a nice way to be tired of because it’s all coming from an exchange between you and us, it’s just fun. But I did a special program this spring to get fit to be able to do this tour, otherwise I would be totally wasted. Training is one of the most important things in my life, I think I am going to workout my whole life until the end. One of my role models is a 74 year old man in Bronx who is doing CrossFit, I am not half as fit as he is. It’s just fun for him. I think it’s important to take care of yourself, mentally, emotionally and body-wise.
J: did you keep the new eating habits after that TV show and do you eat differently now?
M: yes, absolutely. I think more about what I eat. I used to eat a lot of sweets; that was sick when I think of it now. I think that there are three things that have an impact in your life.
First is working out, finding a way to make your body tired. Our body is made to be used, I think we need that; it’s still in our system, our DNA. Unfortunately, most of us have jobs in an office, so our brains get tired but not our bodies, and people became very comfortable, we never get to be in situations where we have to use our body strength and power in full so it has to be compensated with workout.
The second thing is what you eat, because you really are what you eat. So if you only eat prepared food, junk food, sugar your body will be just that and suffer from that.
And then it’s the emotional and mental part, to try to keep the positive thoughts and energy in you and try to stay away from negative energy. For example, in any relationship you know that if you start a certain argument it’s just going to “bang!” some when. And it just happens sometimes, and you cannot stop it, it’s just how people say things to you and how you react to them. And we carry all these feelings around, many times we repress them, but they are there.
J: and what did you do to change this and think more positive?
M: I’ve been looking for a method that helps you to just walk your life and not feel the negative things you feel about yourself, like when you doubt about yourself, compare you to others, thinking that others are better than you are, or limiting myself ‘Oh no, I can’t do this, I’m not good enough’, all these things that we feel but we can’t do anything to change these thoughts. So I’ve been looking for a way to resolve these negative feelings in my body, because they are just there and get triggered easily. It’s just like with our songs, you feel happy inside when you hear the first chords, but these feelings are on the dark side [with a kind of Darth Vader voice]. So if you wouldn’t feel all these negative feelings anymore you would feel more peace inside, more love, more joy. And I found this methodology called EFT, it’s a mix of Eastern and Western techniques and it really works. You can teach people in about 10 minutes how to have a simple tool to relieve all this stress that you feel on a daily basis. It’s changing your life if you do it every day or whenever you feel that the dark side is taking over.
J: but you cannot simply change things from one day to another, it may be a long process to change the way you feel inside, or the way you eat or workout.
M: You are right, and the problem is that we live in a society that wants everything fixed immediately, preferably yesterday. We are not interested in making a commitment to take care of ourselves on the long run, but that’s the only way. If you don’t take a life-long commitment to take care of yourself in a holistic manner then you will just stay as you are. You can think and plan as many things as you want, but it will only work if you DO it. One has to take a conscious decision to take care of one self, especially emotional-wise. If you think you are not worth it or good enough, you will not workout or change your eating habits either. The society we live in doesn’t acknowledge this emotional part, people still have an issue with going to the shrink and looking into oneself and feel scared of what may happen. But I’ve been doing all this and I know for a fact that it’s ok, you will be safe. If you have the right tools, there is nothing there that will make you go overboard.
J: you sound very inspiring and committed to spread this to everybody around you …
M: I decided this is what I am going to do after the tour, actually. I want to spread this methodology. It’s a wide palette of things that you can do for yourself. I’ve been doing courses with two guys that have been teaching EFT in Sweden for over 20 years and I am going to use my “public person” status to hopefully help to spread this. There are many situations in life where you can turn a negative feeling around and feel good about it if you know how to do it, just like this with the entrance to the show but in a major scale.
J: I think it’s going to be more and more important in the future that people know how to look into themselves and know how to cope with negative situations. Nowadays it’s very easy to put things aside, you have Facebook, TV and many other distractions that keep you away from the inner you, but it comes back some when.
M: that’s exactly the problem. I think smartphones are one of the worst things ever, people just live outside of themselves, don’t feel anymore. This is the reason why I want to do this and try to help people. But you need people to understand how it works and to be open to try. I think that the more people that will use it, the more impact it will have on the society. We will become friendlier, more peaceful. I think there is no other way; otherwise it will just explode if we go on like this, with all this stress and negativity. We are built to feeling good, to feel the way you feel when you go to a concert and hear your favourite songs of your favourite artists. But like I said before, you need people to take the challenge, you have to work to get positive results and accomplish things in life, things just don’t happen from one day to the other, if you are not committed you will end up going back to the same life patterns and routines you were doing before. So this is what I am going to work on after the tour besides playing live here and there.
J: Do you mean Syd & Ekman?
M: yes, the shows I am doing with Tommy from Freestyle. I am doing this the whole year long. Of course, GT is the real thing, but it’s also fun with Tommy. I get to sing more, interact with the people and we play with other bands too, like the GT cover band Billy. I like to make people do stuff, like clap or sing some “nanana” and to experience this communication between us. It’s usually in very small venues, so the interaction is amazing. And I do it my way. It’s my way to go on doing music.
J: And how about driving trucks? I am sure many people didn’t know about that until they saw the cartoon intro at the GT concerts…
M: I still do that from time to time. It’s the only “real” job that I’ve ever had. Before we had the breakthrough with GT I drove a truck in Halmstad, it was the job I had after school. Then I stopped because of GT. The in the mid 80ies I moved back to Halmstad and I started to drive trucks again. And then when I moved back to Stockholm, my neighbour was the CEO for this company that transports these big yellow containers you see on the street where you put your construction waste and debris so that it can be recycled. He recognized me when he saw me and he thought he’d show me what a real job is, thinking that as a musician I hadn’t had a real job in my life, haha! So I started to work for them, we agreed that I would work there whenever I don’t have any shows. It’s good to have a bit of structure in my life, otherwise nothing happens and I always postpone things. It’s nice because I like driving big things and also because I don’t work there 5 days a week, I can decide when I do it. I get a bunch of notes to pick up this here and there, also in the outskirts of Stockholm, which is very beautiful and green. I have my coffee, my cell phone and I am totally on my own. In the beginning it wasn’t so good for my ego because people recognized me and wondered why I was doing that, am I running out of money? But now I just laugh about that, people ask me why I am doing it and I just tell them and it’s fine. It’s nice to do something totally different.
J: Will you do this after the tour?
M: I don’t know if I will be driving trucks after the tour, maybe one day a week? I want to concentrate on the EFT project because it gives me the same feeling that I get when I am playing for you, I feel good about it. I feel that I am making a difference in people, shift people’s life, just like what we’ve been doing with music as well. For example, I got a very beautiful letter from this soldier who was in Afghanistan, he wrote about how our music had helped them to cope with staying in those terrible areas. They had tried to go to one of our shows in 2004 but they didn’t get leave for that, and now they were all together in Örebro. So for me this is very special, I even get emotional now when I talk about that. So I am thankful that we get to experience all this.
J: And we are thankful for your music and for this tour as well!
M: I’m very happy about that, and I have to say it is just so much fun. It’s not an effort for us to this. It just happens. It’s fun to see 50+ guys go crazy on stage after 9 years not being on stage. We are really great even though most of us haven’t played for a long time. We do stuff that other artists cannot do. It’s the way we deliver the songs and the communication with you that creates this vibe, I think it’s very unique. It’s fun to see Göran, for example, in one month he will be working in an office doing stuff with trains, but when he is on stage, he is the man! And the same goes for the others.
J: One last thing before we go, a big mystery that we need to solve: since when and why are you called Micke Syd?
M: I didn’t even know myself until about one year ago. It was when both Micke Nord and I joined Rocktåget with Tomas Ledin, Niklas Strömstedt and Lena Philipsson in ‘91.
But I thought all this time that it was somebody who worked at Live Nation (EMA Telstar back then) who had come up with our nicknames. I was in charge of teaching a lot of drummers that played in the last song of the show. Micke Nord was partying a lot back then and he would get home at 6 in the morning and go to sleep then. So often he got calls in the morning looking for “Micke Andersson”, but they were looking for me, and you can imagine he didn’t like that. So I thought that was the reason why I got that name.
But I found out some time ago that it was actually our hairdressers who came up with this. My hairdresser was called Maria, and his hairdresser as well, they came up with the idea of calling us Micke Syd and Micke Nord.
So then it started to spread during the Rocktåget ‘91and it settled when we both toured with Eva Dahlgren in fall ’91 and later on Rocktåget in ‘92. Ah, it was great fun to do that tour with Eva, it was a totally new band that created something from scratch. Besides GT, that has been the most special tour experience, Eva is very special. And Niklas was fun too.
Then later Adam Alsing called me like that all the time on his TV show. So I decided to keep that name, and now it’s officially my middle name. It’s also easier when I book plane tickets, there are thousands of Michael Andersson but just one Micke Syd. I should have showed my driving licence to those girls in Malmö who didn’t believe it was me! Just to see their faces haha!
J: Thank you very much for your time, it’s been nice to talk with you!
M: Sure, no problem. It’s been cool.
And after talking shortly about FC Barcelona, or Barça as we call it (Micke got a Barça t-shirt from a Spanish fan in one of the shows) and wishing each other a great day, we said bye. “See you around,” he says with a smile.