Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.
There’s a brand new soulful rock project blossoming in Stockholm, courtesy of Jimmy Bergman and Tillie Grundel. The duo has just released their first single, the beautiful “Breathless”, and as I went to Gothenburg to see Jimmy’s other band, THE END OF GRACE, I arranged a little meeting with the talented musician. He was tired from the show on the previous night, and had an almost-five-hour roadtrip back to Stockholm ahead of him – from where he would drive to Berlin the following day – meaning he really needed to rest. But still he took his time to talk to me about THROUGH THE CRACKS, always with a smile on his face.
RL: You’re a very creative person and I know you’re writing stuff all the time, not always for THE END OF GRACE, not always metal. What made you get serious with this project in particular?
JB: I’ve always thought of making another project, something rock or more acoustic… a different music style for me to play. I had some ideas, been thinking about them for a while, and then I met Tillie. I showed her my stuff and she really liked it, so I told her “hey, put some vocals on it!”. From there we created THROUGH THE CRACKS and… yeah, it got serious.
RL: Tillie isn’t here, so tell me a bit about her!
JB: She’s studied music for a while and she’s a really talented girl. And that’s the thing between Tillie and me – Tillie has studied a lot in music and I’ve never done any of that. So I think we’re a cool match! It sounds so good what we’re doing together! We have so many ideas and Tillie’s a great singer, really great singer, she was a stand-in in… (tries to remember the name)
RL: KARMIC LINK. I was surprised to see that it’s a symphonic/gothic metal band! I thought of her more like a jazz/soul kind of girl.
JB: Yeah, but she can do everything with her vocals. She has a great soul voice and it’s the perfect match for the sound we have. I think it’s kind of unique, really interesting. People really love her voice. I have a lot of fans and friends saying they don’t like female vocals but they love Tillie’s voice.
RL: Like me! Nowadays talking of “female vocals” is associated precisely with symphonic, high-pitched vocal ranges, which I’m tired of. But her voice is sweet and strong at the same time!
JB: Exactly. I really love her voice. It’s so fucking good I don’t even have the words for it. And she’s a great girl.
RL: And how did you feel when you heard “Breathless” for the first time with her vocals on it and the lyrics she wrote?
JB: We were at my little home studio, ready to record everything, and before starting the recording she just sang it to me. I was, “what the fuck? This is really good!” She asked if I wanted to change something and I said “Noooo! Just do what you want!” (laughs) We did some producing stuff and yeah, she’s really amazing, like I said before. I was in love with her vocals and her work.
RL: What about the name? I love how it sounds, THROUGH THE CRACKS. How hard was it to choose?
JB: (Laughs) It was really hard! I think me and Tilllie spent three weeks, maybe four, thinking about the name. We were working with the song at the same time, so I went through Spotify and I got some ideas, looking for song names. THROUGH THE CRACKS came up, I showed it to Tillie, she liked it… we still thought about it for a while more, we had a lot of choices, but we went with THROUGH THE CRACKS. I think it’s easy to say! People love it! When I played with THE END OF GRACE yesterday people came up to me and asked “what the fuck is THROUGH THE CRACKS?”. “It’s my other project”. “It sounds really good!” “I know.” (laughs) So people know THROUGH THE CRACKS already, it’s an easy name. It’s like THE END OF GRACE – it’s easy to say, easy to remember.
RL: One thing I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while is about your writing process. Do you wake up in the morning and think “today is a good day to write (insert musical style here)” or you just let your creativity run free?
JB: I’m playing every day. I pick up the guitar and just play. And if it’s a great metalcore riff, then it’s for THE END OF GRACE. If it’s not so THE END OF GRACE style, like THROUGH THE CRACKS, then it’s for THROUGH THE CRACKS. I never focus on one band, I just let it flow.
RL: And sometimes you come up with totally different things, like punk rock songs…
JB: Yeah, it’s really crazy. I even made some “Turkish stuff” too. (laughs) I’m doing a lot of music, actually. I’m doing it with my friends – like that punk rock song you’ve just talked about. It’s just fun! I’m playing music every day, I love it. This is why I’m doing this.
RL: And do you look at someone or something for inspiration?
JB: No. I think it’s just my passion for music. I’m working and listening to music, and then I come home and I start playing music. I don’t have just one band or one artist that inspires me so… I think I’m my own inspiration. (smiles)
RL: And what do you do when you’re not inspired at all?
JB: Hmm… hang around with friends… (pauses, thinking)
RL: Pick up girls…
JB: Pick up girls (laughs), have some fun… I don’t know. I’m doing stuff all the time, I’m never at one place. That’s why I’m going to Germany tomorrow – to clear my head. And then I come back and go into the studio and do stuff for THROUGH THE CRACKS and THE END OF GRACE.
RL: You’re in charge of all instruments here but you’re a guitar player. How old were you when you discovered this passion for the guitar? When did you start dreaming of becoming a rockstar?
JB: I’ve always been dreaming of being a rockstar, since I was a kid (smiles). I think I played some guitars when I was 12 but I was so bad that it wasn’t fun anymore and I stopped playing. I started again when I was about 15, maybe, ‘cause my uncle is a guitar player and I was a lot with him, playing with his guitars all the time. I really wanted to be cool, really wanted to be a rock star, and more than that, I wanted people to like my songs. And to be on stage. Stage is the main thing, I love to be up there. It’s a child dream and now it’s something that’s going forward. (smiles)
RL: And you want to play live with THROUGH THE CRACKS. How will that happen – session musicians or you want this to become a full band?
JB: Me and Tillie were talking about having stand-in players. I have some guys I’d like to have in THROUGH THE CRACKS but I can’t tell anything about it right now ‘cause nothing is official yet. But if we were to have a show now we would get stand-ins for the drums and the bass, maybe another guitarist, and maybe also some female backing vocals… Then we have backtracks, of course, for the keys. We were thinking of having a guy doing that too, but it would be too much. Yeah, we will play live…
RL: I will be there!
JB: I am sure you will. (smiles). We have some new songs on the way, we’re going to release an EP. We have another product for THROUGH THE CRACKS, but I can’t tell anything about that, but we’re working on it now and we’ll see what happens. I think the EP will be out maybe in November.
RL: You produced “Breathless” but now you’re working with someone else…
JB: Yes, he’s a great guy, a friend of mine, Niklas Aggemyr, and a really good musician. We were drinking some beers, I showed him THROUGH THE CRACKS and he really liked it. So I showed him the new song too, told him what I wanted to do and he was really stoked, really wanted to help producing it. So we’re in his studio in Södertälje, Sweden, called Musikaffär’n, and he’s helping me making the song sound really really good. It’s just one song we’re doing, so we’ll see what happens with that.
RL: I was going to ask what are the plans for the near future, but I guess you’ve answered that already – EP in November?
JB: November – yeah, I hope so. We just need to get it done, that’s the first thing. I really want to release it but things go really slow sometimes… But we have some songs in our minds and I think we’ll make something good. Then release it and play some shows, some kind of release party, maybe… I don’t know. Actually Sticky Fingers wanted to book us… yesterday! But we have just one song done, so… But it’s a possibility for when the EP is out. We’re a new band, everything takes time – write and practice the songs, get shows… it’s a lot of work. And I need to do THE END OF GRACE work too. But it will be done.
RL: Of course it will! Wish you all the luck with that. Have fun in Berlin!