You might know Per Wiberg best for his work as a keyboardist, whether it’s with prog metal acts like Opeth or stoner rock supergroups like Spiritual Beggars. Since 2013, though, Wiberg has been handling bass duties for powerhouse trio Kamchatka. What was supposed to simply be some studio work turned into a full time gig playing massive sounding heavy rock injected with a nice dose of blues, which they captured with their latest album Long Road Made of Gold (out now on Despotz Records). We had the chance to have a quick chat with Wiberg about the new album, how playing in Kamchatka compares to his past projects, and how he wishes the Swedish trio can return to the States as soon as possible.
You’ve played in a handful of notable acts. What is it about playing with Kamchatka that you’ve found so fulfilling? How does it differ from the work you’ve done in previous projects?
I really like the freedom and challenges of the three piece format. The fewer involved the easier it is to be flexible with how you operate the band, new set lists every night, improv jamming etc. But it’s also important to stay humble and in the moment when you’re only three. There’s no time to relax and think about other things. I like that you have to be musically involved all the time. For me personally, to have the opportunity to play with such accomplished players as Thomas [Andersson, guitar] and Toby [Strandvik, percussion] definitely improves my bass playing as well, but also make me a better musician overall I think.
Long Road Made of Gold marks the second album you’ve recorded with Kamchatka. How would you compare recording this album to your experience with The Search Goes On?
It was very different since I was hired to produce The Search Goes On and later ended up playing bass on the album and being a band member. On Long Road Made of Gold, I’d been in the band for a year and a half and we’d done quite a bit of touring which made us a lot more confident about what we wanted to achieve but also where to set the bar. Both albums were very relaxed to record though as we track ourselves in our own studio/rehearsal space with Toby engineering.
What did Russ Russell bring to the recording process? Given his experience working with more extreme sounding bands, was there any hesitation of having him mix and master the album?
No hesitation about asking Russ, he’s a music lover and very diverse when it comes to his mixing/production skills. The fact that he’s worked with a lot of extreme metal just intrigued us and I’d say it helped to add that extra little edge. I think he definitely took things to the next level when it comes to the sonics of Kamchatka. There’s better punch and the mix is more powerful than on any previous Kamchatka album and I think this time the material demanded this kinda treatment as well.
I know the band has been touring a fair amount, but any plans for the U.S. in the foreseeable future?
Unfortunately not as we speak. We need to find an agent that can help us in the U.S. because I’d really like for us to come over and play in a not too distant future. Kamchatka did a US tour supporting Clutch in 2008 and that feels like it was way too long ago now.