Picturing the Amazing

By
Photography Astrid Sterner

Published February 23, 2015

MOUSSA FADERA, CHRISTOFFER GUNRUP, AND FREDRIK SWAHN OF THE AMAZING IN NEW YORK, JANUARY 2015. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASTRID STERNER. STYLING BY DANIEL EDLEY. GROOMING: MELISANDE PAGE.

Two days after a historic blizzard was supposed to hit New York City, musicians Christoffer Gunrup and Moussa Fadera sit quietly at an aged wood table in the corner of an empty bar. Nestled away in Brooklyn, the air is cold and winter biting, but the ground is clear except for a few bits of blackened snow. “[The blizzard] never happened. That was weird, coming from Sweden,” Gunrup says in a soft, almost whispered, voice.

The two are part of five-piece Swedish band The Amazing, with Gunrup writing songs, playing guitar, and singing, Fadera on the drums, Reine Fiske (also of Dungen) on guitar, Fredrik Swahn on guitar and keys, and Alexis Benson playing bass. In person, Gunrup speaks slowly with a slightly scruffy voice, yet his vocals on the band’s third album Picture You, which was released last week via Partisan Records, glide smoothly over riffs and mesmerizing melodies. Although their recorded music sounds well rehearsed, nearly everyone improvises when in the studio.

“I’m fully prepared, but they’re not,” Gunrup explains. “With previous albums, they did not have a clue [how to play the songs]. I would show them a few things, they would play around for a few minutes, and then record. This time we actually did rehearse songs a few times.”

Gunrup might sing a few lines, but songs then delve into languid explorations of percussion and guitar soundscapes, allowing for creative freedom and inducing daydream upon daydream for listeners. Apt to this sound, The Amazing’s music is frequently labeled as “psychedelic,” even though Gunrup hates the word.

“I don’t understand it. I have no relationship to it,” he says definitively. “When people say ‘psychedelic music,’ I have no idea what they’re talking about and I probably never listen to it, whatever it might be.” Fadera continues, saying, “When you think of a band from the ’70s, you say psychedelic. We make music that’s 2015—contemporary music.” It might be contemporary, but that’s not to say it doesn’t channel experimental sounds of the ’60s and ’70s.

PICTURE YOU WAS RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 17. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.