Peder Carlsson. Backyard Babies

Peder Carlsson. Backyard Babies

I ring Peder at the agreed time and manage to say “Hello” before we are cut off. Time to try another technology, a different platform. The resulting conversation lasts for over two and a half hours. We begin with our own, general, mutually believed reflections on the digital age we live in. We both conclude that all is not well. Many things were better before. Not least the music. “When we started the band, it was us against the world.” Indeed, their music was truly them and not something mass-produced solely to sell. They were, and are, Backyard Babies.

Peder is best known as the drummer in Backyard Babies.His lumbago is giving him gyp today. Something I hardly notice during our chat. He is more than spontaneous. An hour has soon passed without my having to ask a single question. I now know everything about Peder. Well, not really. But a great deal.

For example, that the band formed as early as 1989. And that these young musicians from Nässjö saw moving to Stockholm as the only road to success. This is why they split up from their girlfriends. A shared flat became the new base and the start of the journey. Each tour is a ‘disc’ explains Peder. “You go out on the road for a while, a major tour, and then return to the studio. After a year or two.”

Not just a musician

Our conversation surges from one topic to another. Topics that Peder always links via a common thread – himself and his life. And how grateful he is for everything he has been through and learned. “Without the whole rock thing, I might have missed many of the lessons.” Peder also explains how he survived. Came through it well. However, not all that glitters is gold for a creative soul. Peder had another great interest, photography and film. The band took a break around 2010. This gave him time for his other obsession. He marketed an ambitious idea to a major camera company. It bought the concept and Peder started working. A lot. Altogether too much. Exhaustion

hit one day. “Things were very dark.” Peder no longer recognised himself. The once always positive spirit had vanished. Via the care system, he sought, and received, support. He was often asked which ‘pills’ he would like. Peder is now more than thankful that he chose not to go the medicine route. Instead, his restorers were: “Oranges, kiwis and someone to speak with.”

As part of the healing process, Peder got involved in renovating flats. He painted... and painted... and painted. And then, one day, he emerged from the darkness and started to work professionally as a photographer and film maker. Again! “I was asked to photograph Hamlet for Uppsala’s city theatre.” He continues by relating that he won acceptance for the idea of making promotional trailers. Worked many years on these. Demanding, but great fun and a wonderfully creative environment to be involved in.

Music and marine moments

Given Peder’s artistic and creative nature, much of what he says is philosophical. Reflections from life. About life. “I’m thankful that I got to know myself.” He would not now want not to have had the dark period. Peder speaks about ‘life’s backpack’. The one with all the learning. In his case, not least all the places he has been to and experienced. When things were at their most hectic, 220 gigs a year. He missed much of his daughter’s first three years.

Currently, the band and music are once again on a back burner. This does not mean that Peder has stopped composing. Quite the reverse. However there have been no studio sessions and tours for some time.
Just when Backyard Babies had again planned a major push, the pandemic struck.
Peder frequently mentions his oasis, or oases. He regards his boat as a form of therapy. Quiet moments on the waves. “I can take the boat a little way offshore and switch off the engine. I’m then entirely alone and simply being.” His boat and tiny garden out in the archipelago are Peder’s oases. He speaks of them a lot. As often when Peder speaks, a story emerges. This time, about how he and his wife bought the land. And yes, the band was involved. A few members already rented there. The tale further includes a rather original landowner.
“He often sat in his kitchen, windows open, eating sausage and drinking schnapps. Sometimes, he shouted over to us to ‘come in for a schnapps’.” Peder compares his quiet marine moments to music. “Listening to music, I travel, I see pictures.” He gives some vivid examples; wide meadows, an old oak.
And then the sea!

Music and marine moments
“I don’t want another boat, this one is perfect.”

New landscape for ‘bands’

Surely no one can be unaware that disc sales are not what they used to be. Gigs are now the revenue earners. Peder says that a lot has changed: “There is band inflation.”
He explains how clubs and many impresarios haggle. Furthermore, Spotify is not making up the income lost through reduced disc sales.
“A few million streamings of one of our songs brings in enough for me to buy a pizza and a beer.”

Arkip 460 with a 50 hp Mercury
Peder and I work in the same industry – films, photos and communication. This connection generates a few words about techniques, imagery and the changes flowing from technology’s whirlwind pace. However, that’s another story. I switch our chat to the boat, the Arkip.
“Many of those who choose Linder are fishers.” Peder reveals how he has excited some local amazement: ‘Don’t you fish?’ “No, I just soak everything in.”
He speaks about the boat. How the size is perfect for him. How easy it is to handle, even alone.
“And I don’t have to worry about shallows. You simply pull the boat ashore.” Last summer, he and his wife visited a miniscule island: “Nothing more than a few rocks and a single tree.”
They camped there overnight.
Peder sees yet another advantage with Linder: “Production is domestic. A family company in Småland.”
He finishes with: “I don’t want another boat, this one is perfect.”

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Ella Micalsen
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Ella Micalsen

Fishing guide, coach and Duracell Bunny
  • Boating