Down Memory Lane – The Deer Tracks: 'Ram Ram'
It’s about 13 years now since Sweden’s The Deer Tracks came to pass, out of a chance meeting at a party involving experimental musicians David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors (now Skeppstedt).
It’s said that Lehnberg was simply looking for a vocalist for his new project and despite her other skills he certainly found one in Elin, who has a voice which truly merits the accolade of ‘unique’.
They’ve released four albums, which is good going considering their other interests (see below) – Aurora (2008); the Archer Trilogy Parts 2 and 3 (2011/13) (Part 2 was an EP); and Undersvik (2017), which was a departure from their usual electro-pop fare into something a little more cerebral.
Also five EPs, and numerous singles and videos.
What The Deer Tracks are conspicuously good at is the ethereal, haunting, atmospheric stuff, much of which they’ve recorded in remote log cabins in Sweden’s endless forests without access to communications, or in abandoned haunted factories, to generate the atmosphere. Add to that their prowess as a dynamic live band, which has won them admirers around the world, from Japan to the USA.
They are characters in their own right, with fingers in many pies. Elin Lindfors married another musician, Jimmy Skeppstedt, in 2017 and embarked on a solo project (Skepp) after completing a couple of tours of Asia with her other band Twiggy Frostbite. On top of that she has her own label and promotions company Vackra Music. While they now live in the trendy Södermalm district of Stockholm I believe she, Jimmy, Lehnberg, and the other half of Jimmy’s duo Red Cell – Stefan Aronsson - all originally hail from the small central Swedish city of Gävle, which is the most musical place I’ve ever encountered, anywhere.
Meanwhile David Lehnberg has also been active with his own solo project, creating some ambient experimental music and co-operating with the likes of Lamour Records’ ‘Slim Vic’ Zeidner to produce ambient variations, and latterly with yet another Gävle-ite, Ida Long, in the duo d’Arc. Despite his disarming appearance Lehnberg is a tough guy, a martial arts expert who runs his own ‘Fight Club’ in Gävle.
Which doesn’t leave much time for anything else at the moment, for either party, and sadly it looks like there won’t be much in the way of new material from the Deer Tracks any time soon, nor live performances, virus or not.
So we have to content ourselves with ambling down Memory Lane and the track I’ve chosen is ‘Ram Ram’ from ‘The Archer Trilogy Part 1’, one which demonstrates what The Deer Tracks are all about, and particularly their ability to write quite complex songs but without ever compromising on melody.
By way of a bonus I dug up this rarely viewed video of a live performance from 2009 on Manchester’s Channel M, the first independent city TV station if I remember correctly, but one which did not survive the recession that was soon to follow. The building they are in is now the National Football Museum.
I do believe that one of the supporting band members is Anna-Karin Berglund (keys, oboe), now better known as AKB, and who has since graduated to become one of Sweden’s leading exponents of ambient electronica, on Slim Vic’s label. Guess where she’s from.
They obviously haven't updated it for a while, but this is their Facebook page.