The Sound Of Spökraket

Spökraket was a band who dabbled in many different genres and tried to be many different things at once, succeeding in some but not all, so it's difficult (at least for me as a x-member of the band) to describe the sound in a short and precise manner. What I will do is go through the albums and try to describe them as short and precise as I can.

- The debut album (All Art Is Propaganda) is a mix of some quite standart sounding lofi indiepop (#1 & #3) and the rest are 3 very long tracks that sounds a bit like a kind of krautrock, dronerock and maybe some obscure parts of the early postpunk scene. The whole album is very lose, with little structure, a very lofi sound and muffled, shoegazy vocals floating in between it all.
This sound could maybe be catagorized as the signature-spökraket sound for the next few years to come. 

- Both of The Catharsis compilation albums mostly represent the improvisational side of the band. Particularly in the early days this was something we tried to recreate at the concerts. Sometimes special and unique things happened, people joined on stage and it seemed like some Brian Jonestown Massacre utopia almost, maybe only in some of our heads. Other times not so much, let's keep it at that.    

- The second official album (Darling Adharma) was a rather weird mix of a few shoegaze- and dronerock-sounding songs, and then basically a collection of jams that was used as blueprints for the rest of the songs on the album. 2 of the songs (#2 & #5) is also on the split-ep, released some months before with The Road To Suicide. The most "conventional" songs (#2, #4 and #5) sound like noisy and muffled shoegaze and dronerock and a little dash of The Happy Mondays. The rest of the songs are build in the studio on top of improvisations, 2 of these include lyrical vocals (#8 & #9). #8 is an atempt at making a party song, but way too long and lose to be played at a party. #9 is one of the more succesfull experiements on the album along with the closing track, both quiet songs with a mellow and hazy 70's feel, almost a bit like the band Popul Vuh.
The rest of the songs sounds like krautrock, noise-jams and some kind of tribal stuff. The album is definitely too long an unfocused as a whole and in that way it reflects the long recording period, the tensions in the band and the many replacements of members, and working ourselves up in too many corners. The version I will recommend is the "fan edit" version on youtube, edited years after, by me. It's still flawed and too long, but it flows better and many things have been removed.   

- The Distant light single and the final album are definitely a step up in most regards. The messiness and lose, improvisational feel can still be heard in a few places but the songs are structured in a more well thought out and complete way. This was the album that gained most positive attention from critics and listeners in general. The overall sound is more in your face and popping out of the speakers than it had been before. I would actually catagorise the album as mostly a shoegaze album, but there's definitely a lot of different things going on. It begins with the more uptempo songs, a bit of middle eastern vibes here and there, a bit of noisy shoegaze. Then 2 slow songs, one noisy and drony and one light, dreampoppy sounding. Then comes a song that sound like it could have been from the previous albums, with it's lose and happy mondays like feel. The 3 last songs concist of tribal dronerock, shoegaze and lastly a lofi, harsh sounding ending track with hazy, floating, dreamlike vocals on top. 

This album would be the the end result of a weird band working their asses of trying to make it work, despite itself. I'm deeply proud of this last album, but at the same time it stands out a bit. When you look at our whole discography you get the sense that we were going in different directions and never truly mastered one of these direction or found our own special fusion of these directions, our own sound. Maybe I'm a biased insider, that can't really judge it for what it is. Maybe we made some unique, interesting sounds, while trying to find our place, and maybe they all share a certain desperate, tense, energetic and unique Spökraket edge that we weren't aware of ourselves. I hope that's the case.                 

The History Of Spökraket   


What would later be named Spökraket started out in Århus in the summer of 2010 with Bjørn Vind Abildtrup (guitars, keys), Hans Christian Andersen (Bass), Jonathan Højgaard (guitars, vocals) and Michael Skjoldborg Lyberth (drums). In the beginning we were still searching for a singer and for a time Jesper Merlit would take the spot, but left the band right before our first gig in April 2011. 
Jonathan then decided to take the role upon him and he remained the main singer in the band ever since. After our first gig a 4 track tape recorder was purchased and an album was recorded quickly. “All Art Is Propaganda” was released digitally in 2011 and on vinyl in 2012.

Bands like Neu! and Can in particular were influences. Our early live gigs were unpredictable, chaotic and spontaneous, for better and for worse. The quality of the gigs would more or less depend on the mood we were in at the time, everything were pretty spontaneous and lose. Much of the span of Spökraket, like the

period of mid to late 2011, was a huge mess, but productive in it's own kind of way. 

Michael left the band in order to move back to Odense where he joined the newly formed The Road To Suicide. (They were a short lived but very revered band among our crew of friends back in the day. Heavily influenced by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, but it seemed to be in earnest kind of way, but then again, who wouldn't say that about a band they like. Members of this band were still musically active in various other projects many years after their break up.) 
Thomas Mee joined as a studio drummer and played guitar live as Michael had agreed to travel for gigs till his replacement was found. Sinas Robin Krøjer Svendsen was up for the job and soon after Kasper Skotte Krogh and Freja Pallesen joined as well, Kasper on guitar and Freja as a part time member on synths and vocals.
This expanded incarnation of Spökraket performed a number of gigs and recorded in the improved Cable Hell Studio that now had an 8-track tape recorder, a coffee machine and later on, a 16-track tape recorder. 

Freja left the band, only to sporadically join in from time to time in the future.
By the summer of 2012 Kasper Skotte left Århus and the band for educational reasons but continued playing live with us for a while. Around that same time, he and some Århus acquaintances had formed the band Narcosatanicos with their own unique take on dark psychedelic noise rock.
Solveig Roseth joined on vocals and did overdubs on tracks that were recorded during the recent year. At live gigs she also played guitar.
The inclusion of her voice took the sound to a new level allowing a more etherial and dreamy side of the band to bloom. By early 2013 a split 12” with The Road To Suicide was released on Levitation Records. Tobias Holmbæk from Narcosatanicos made the outstanding cover artwork. Solveig left the band again soon after the release of the split. (She later became a vocalist and bassist for a little while in the Aarhus based band Hunger that also would include the Spökraket members Sinas & Jacob.) 

Not long after Solveig’s departure from the band we were finally coming to the end of completing the second album “Darling Adharma”, the name being a comment on the shambolic nature of the whole process with various members joining and leaving. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to release the album on vinyl at the time so we decided to just get it over with and release it on CD-R and cassette.
It was released in September 2013 on the local Raum Eins Records. By Automn 2013 Hans Christian Andersen decided to leave the band. 

The three remaining members, Bjørn, Jonathan and Sinas, decided to take a more focused and thorough approach to the process of the third album. The “Darling Adharma” album had its moments but it was also a bit of a mess and essentially just too long, so we decided to take things in another direction, not play many live gigs and be a bit more careful with letting new people join the band. In April 2014 we released a single 7”, almost as a kind of teaser for the upcoming album, once again on Raum Eins Records. A weird and not very economically viable move perhaps, in the year of 2014, but none the less that's what we did. It seemed oldschool and cool and band-like, I guess we thought.   
When we finally decided to play live again Thomas Mee and Tobias Sørensen assisted us on bass and guitars. 

After 14 months of recording, "In A Witch Forest" was finally completed and released as a download and vinyl in early 2015 to great reviews and decent sales. The album was a blend of shoegaze, noise rock, Indian raga, sombre folk, noisy ambient and a bit of the madchester influences also found on earlier releases. It was a step up quality wise, but also maybe a bit of a confused album. It seems like a stepping stone to the hypothetical shoegaze/krautrock/world masterpiece we never got to make, and probably wouldn't have made anyway because of stylistic disagreements in the band right before the breakup. 
By this time, early 2015, we had just started Cable Hell Records and decided to release it fully independent on our own label. 

Tobias Sørensen (bass) and Jacob Frederiksen (guitars, vocals) were added as permanent full time members in the summer of 2015 after helping out as live musicians for a number of gigs. We had met Tobias at a gig at Trøjborg Beboerhus where he played in the band Mindfulness, and Thomas Mee further recommended him to us. Jacob we already knew very well, him being part of the Cable Hell Collective with his solo project Eddisons Face Implosion/Acid Twin before joining Spökraket. They both proved to fit right in, in what seemed to be the most stable and well functioning line up yet of the band, although this lineup wouldn't last very long. 

In oktober 2015 Sinas decided to quit the band, but still be a part of the Cable Hell collective and focus his work more into managing and engineering for the Studio, as well as his other band, Hunger and other things.
The band wouldn't last long after this and broke up offically in february 2016. The last member of the band, the drummer Nikolai only got to experience his membership in the band for a few weeks or less, but made a big contribution to a couple of great, promising jams that can be found on the "catharsis 2" album.  

What happened after Spökraket?

People that once played in Spökraket did go on to play, or continued making music in other projects. Michael of course was a part of the legendary, and promising band The Road To Suicide that sadly only released the split EP with Sprökraket. After that he also played in the bands Keine Fear For Flanger and Lolou. HC had his experimental electronic bedroom project from before Spökraket, called Lullabies For Insomniacs and also was part of a twee/pop band called The Immoderate Past. Sinas, Jacob and for a certain period, Solveig played in the band Hunger. Jacob also had a solo project Panther House after his first project Acid Twin/Eddisons Face Implosion, and Solveig had her own project with Kikimora. Kasper played in the acclaimed noise-rock band Narcosatánicos as well as the ambient outfit Nørregård. Jonathan went on to play oldschool rock 'n' roll in the band Electric Scar and also had a similar solo project called The Motivation Radio. Tobias was taken in by the country rock band Sister Morphine. I wandered around for a bit, confused and scared to do anything really. I was featured as a bassist on this EP when I played for a while with Lasse Krog Andersen. I had a secret project called Myndir that never really went anywhere. I tried to update it a bit with another project called Zenchèn but for a long time the only official songs from it were covers made at home. It was a rather depressing and personal project, so I started another more fun and concert friendly band. (but not yet)...

Core members:

Bjørn Vind Abildtrup (2010 - 2016)
12- and 6-string guitars, keyboards/synth, backing vocals, glockenspiel, double bass, etc.

Jacob Frederiksen (2015 - 2016)
Guitars, vocals

Jonathan Højgaard (2010 - 2016)
12- and 6-string guitars, vocals, synth, percussion

Sinas Robin Svendsen (2011 - 2015)
drums, melodica, percussion, acoustic guitar, bass, vocals

Tobias Sørensen (2015 - 2016):

Occasional members:

Freja Pallesen (2011 - present)
synths, vocals, tambourine
Thomas Mee (2011 - present)
drums, bass, guitars, percussion (2011 - present)

Simon Jensen (live only, 2015-present)

Former members:
Hans Christian Andersen (2010 - 2013)
bass, synths, percussion

Solveig Roseth (2012 - 2013)
vocals, guitar, tambourine

Kasper Skotte (2011 - 12)

Michael Ludvig Skjoldborg Lyberth (2010 - 2011)
drums, backing vocals, synth

Jesper Merlit (2011)