Psychedelia is made possible by the world’s beautiful outsiders breaking down the boundaries of the inner self and exploring their true passion for expression. The Forumist met up with two pioneering acts of the genre that flowers outside of the popular culture we know today
During the past few years, psychedelic music has been having a revival all over the world. The sound has grown modern with time, making it less retro and more timeless. Josefin Öhrn and Fredrik Joelson make psychedelic music together as Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, a band that has played mostly in Europe, including the UK.
Joelson, who is wearing a striking green parka when we meet, describes what the band members have in common and the way psychedelia opens up the realm of thought: “We don’t really live within mainstream laws for how you’re supposed to exist in a social system at the moment. What Josefin and I share is that we are in a condition that is constantly dreamlike. The psychedelic boom for me is about living not only in the visible world – the inner reality and invisible aspects are as concrete as anything else.” “It’s from there you get your ideas, musical visions and lyrics,” says Öhrn, agreeing with Joelson’s view of the world.
Joelson is very outspoken and eloquent, whereas Öhrn is more thoughtful and reflective. She sees two sides to the psych wave: one being that the boom is a passing hype; the other that the music may turn into a genre of its own.
According to Joelson, psychedelia has grown hugely popular in Europe and the UK and he speculates about why this is the case: “I take it as a sign of people having had enough of the conventional form of materialism. We have come to a point where we can’t arrange our lives exclusively in relation to possessions and material aspects any more. We have to get in contact with our inner selves and that is what the psychedelic is all about – there is a different form of storytelling that isn’t linear.”
The visual effects are a vital part of Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation’s live performances. Their monotone, almost krautrock-like psychedelic sound is brought to another dimension by mind-expanding light shows. Among others, they have worked with light engineer Marcus Karlsson and projectionist Inner Strings, using visually outstanding artistry to create a separate world to step into.
Öhrn also tries to connect clothing with the visual big picture that is a concert experience, which Joelson sees as connecting your inner self with the way you look. When speaking of what she wore for the Whyred shoot for The Forumist, she says she could identify with the garments. “They were things I could wear on stage – it felt like me.” The quite psychedelic Whyred looks would all fit in perfectly in the visual world formed during a Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation concert.
Josefins playlist for The Forumist
When it comes to influential acts of the new psychedelic movement, Dungen is a name that is respected and renowned. They have managed to bring music sung in Swedish to international fame and inspired a future generation of psych bands since the start of the new millennium. The band has always acted without pressure from the outside world, almost making their music untouchable. Josefin Öhrn and Fredrik Joelson remember with joy when The Liberation and Dungen were on the same line-up at this year’s Liverpool Psych Fest, honoured to be billed alongside these psych icons.
Many people, including Joelson and Öhrn, see Dungen almost as mythological creatures living in their own world, left alone to do everything on their own terms. This idea of the four members being mysterious must come from the integrity they emit and the respect they are given. Those qualities, in turn, come from the way Dungen’s music is conceived – band leader Gustav Ejstes writes the group’s material and has a special relationship with the process.
“For me its creation has always been very intimate and private. You have a vision for what you create on your own and you don’t want anyone to take it away from you. It’s a bit pathetic, but it’s a course of action based on that I was often alone when I was a child. I’ve always been something of a loner, but during the past few years I’ve started working together with the people close to me. I am a member of Amason as well, which is a collaboration of five individuals [The other members are Amanda Bergman, Petter and Pontus Winnberg and Nils Törnqvist.] and completely different. You learn how to throw something in that gets eaten up, and out comes something more beautiful than what you had imagined on your own.” Ejstes is truly viewed as a hero within the music community. Meeting him and realising he is a very kind man with a fantastic passion for music and artistic expression makes it obvious why. He tells me what he gets from exchanges with fans or someone who has been inspired by something Dungen or Amason has done.
“When someone you have no relationship with comes forward and says that your music means something to them, that channel is God, it’s incredible,” he says, hesitating before saying the word “God”, but saying it anyway, because it is the only one that can describe that spiritual feeling.
People who spread the loving, spiritual feeling that music can bring the world are the salt of the earth. Spirituality flows freely through psychedelic music and that is the simple beaut of it.
A Playlist by Dungen for The Forumist
Words by Filip Lindström
Photography by Dan Sjölund
Styling by Maria Barsoum
Hair: Jacob Kajrup at Adamsky
Make-up: Elva Ahlbin at Adamsky
Special thanks to WHYRED
All by WHYRED