New Sound 30 \\ Triple sax band Koma Saxo drop a “7 inch for the DJs”

2nd September 2019
Koma Saxo is the fiery new project lead by Berlin-based Swedish bassist and producer Petter Eldh.

We don’t often hear three saxophones fronting a live band, but Koma Saxo are about to change that. The band were born ahead of We Jazz Festival, having been given the opportunity to fill a stage slot with something new. Bassist and producer Petter Eldh was inspired to curate a fresh line-up – and that’s how this quintet were born, with an album on its way. 

Koma Saxo are completed by Petter Eldh (bass) / Otis Sandsjö (sax) / Jonas Kullhammar (sax) / Mikko Innanen (sax) / Christian Lillinger (drs). 

Bold ideas and totally danceable beats and riffs travel throughout the upcoming self-titled album from Koma Saxo. In fact, the band thought that two tracks in particular were so ripe for the dance floor that they decided to release them on a 7 inch – one to peak the interest of the DJs out there, Petter tells us below. ‘Port Koma’ is ripe for an open-minded and beautifully drowsy dance floor at 4AM. 

With the full length debut album dropping on 20 September, we can familiar with the intriguing 7 inch and talk to Petter Eldh about what’s to come. 

\\ Three saxophones isn’t an obvious frontline; tell us where the inspiration came from?

I’m a bit tired of the narrative with the solitary heroic saxophonist fronting a band as the main protagonist, so instead, I created this three-headed beast with 3 saxophones initiating chaos and harmony at the same time. Mikko, Jonas and Otis compliment each other to a degree that I couldn’t foresee. It’s also loosely a continuation of a track I did a few years back called ‘Love Declared Disaster Averted’ where I featured five different saxophonists.

\\ You’re all involved in other projects; how did the five of you come together, and how does this band liberate you creatively?

I need to give a shout out to Matti Nives, my label boss at WeJazz records. He approached me and asked me if I wanted to put together a band for a festival gig in Helsinki last year. It was all very spontaneous. I decided on a lineup without thinking too much about it and I think that gave space for a lot of spontaneity that I subsequently brought into to the post-production of the album; “Any impulse is the right one” kind of attitude. I think that has been liberating – nothing felt contrived in putting together the music for this project because I didn’t think too

\\ Can you tell us about the stories behind your two singles, ‘Port Koma’ and Fanfarum For Komarum’?

The two tracks on the 7-inch are for the DJs! Both tracks appear on the album but in very different versions.
I deliberately made the 7-inch versions a bit more beat-driven. I brought a sampler and my double bass out to Portugal last year and made short tunes and beats every day; ‘Port Koma’ is based on those recordings. It was also the first track that I produced after the recordings we made in December last year and it has been instrumental to the whole process of making this album – stacking sounds on top of each other and making that three-headed beast even more monstrous.

The B-side of the 7-inch is a track by Jonas Kullhammar. It’s previously recorded by one of his bands called Nacka Forum. I was really happy that he brought this to the project because it adds such a joyous vibe and is a favourite tune of mine from his back catalog.

\\ Tell us about the coming album.

When I was collecting and choosing material for this record the first thing I wanted to incorporate was some sort of musical connection to Finland because that was where the project was gonna see the light of day. I’m a big fan of eccentric funk and when I heard the Finnish drummer Matti Oiling’s track ‘Cyclops Dance’ from 1974, I knew I had to make a version of that tune. After finding a couple of other songs that I wanted to arrange I also wanted each band member to contribute with a song each. At the end when I was producing and editing the material it was really inspiring to have all these different personalities represented in the written music. I used my sampler a lot in the post-production and juxtaposed melodic fragments and found new rhythmical structures that I mixed in with the recorded versions but I wanna underline that I had a rule to not use any other sound sources than what the band could create. So what you hear is all acoustic but slightly manipulated at times.

\\ As a new group, what are you working towards for the rest of 2019?

We are playing the at Saalfelden International Jazz Festival, Austria, on 23 August. When the album drops in September we are planning a show in Berlin and then we’re releasing an additional 7-inch in December and will be doing some shows in Sweden and Finland in connection to that.

Order the ‘Port Koma’ 7 inch by Koma Saxo on Bandcamp

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