SBL Student Spotlight – Olle Risberg
For this week’s Student Spotlight, Olle Risberg tells all about his Swedish rock band, Three Seasons.
In this regular feature we shine a light on a select few SBL students regarded by many as ‘ones to watch.’ Throughout the year, we’ll be catching up with a diverse set of breaking and established talent to air their thoughts and experiences about bass playing, tunes and music in general from their own vantage point (the only thing that anyone can do, really). Want to join them? If you're studying with SBL and would like to share your experiences, then please don't hesitate to Contact Us
Olle Risberg - Three Seasons
“When we started I was only 16 years old and I have learnt so, so much from everything we’ve done. I absolutely believe that my band members, Sartez Faraj (guitars and vocals) and Thomas Broman (drums), are among the greatest Swedish rock musicians of all time. Some of the things they come up with are simply amazing.” Bassist Olle Risberg is talking about his band, Three Seasons, who in the grand tradition of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, like to play the shock-rock game, and it’s a game that has taken them to European acclaim amid the hard-rock community. “We started back in 2009 and since then we’ve released three full length albums and one 7-inch vinyl single,” says Olle. “We’ve also toured and played several festivals in Sweden and in Germany, Spain, France and Switzerland.”
Asked how he’s evolved as a bass player in the years that he’s been playing, Olle explains: “The band is definitely the one thing that’s helped my development as a musician. I’m very proud to have played on all the records that we’ve produced and they’ve all received a lot of praise in the media. One magazine even said that our first album was among the best 70’s-style albums of the century. But media praise wouldn’t matter much if I weren’t this happy with the albums myself. Of course, you can always find things in your playing that you think you might have been able to do better, but overall these records are absolute highlights for me. They’ll stay with me until I die.”
Olle deploys a range of basses with his band, including a Sadowsky J, but also using Fender Precision basses as requirements dictate. “My main bass is a Fender Precision from 1969,” he tells us. “I love that bass and will most likely keep it for the rest of my life. My second bass is a Sadowsky J, which is also very good, but in a different way. The Sadowsky has all the advantages of a well-made modern bass; an active preamp, a thinner neck, a very low string height, but it definitely lacks the soul of the ‘69 Fender. I also have a newer Fender P, which I use with flat wound strings. My rig consists of an Ampeg V-4B head and a Löfving 2x15 cab. I don’t use a lot of pedals, but I like my SansAmp preamp and my Diamond compressor a lot. Check out this pic, which I took a few months ago in preparation for a recording session:
The new album from Three Seasons is an exciting indication of what’s to come. For more info visit: www.threeseasonsmusic.com
How did you get started playing bass?
Growing up we had a lot of musical instruments at home. Before I picked up the bass I played drums and then guitar. I never got hooked on the drums, but the guitar was a blast. I was really into that for a while and then for some reason I just wanted to try the bass and then I was hooked immediately.
What do you remember about your first bass?
It was a cheap, short-scale bass that was black and not very good. I didn’t take proper care of it either. Some of the major problems had to do with the strings, but I hadn’t figured out that you were supposed to cut the strings to the proper length before putting them on, so my bass always had a massive amount of superfluous string around the tuning post. I usually couldn’t afford to buy new strings either, so I always had really old strings. Whenever they broke I tried to make them usable again with all these weird knots! Needless to say, that didn’t work well.
How about your first gig?
My first gig was a school thing. We had a little band that played “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen at a school show. It wasn’t an amazing performance by any means, but we did reasonably well.
How would you describe your playing style now?
Right now, I’m into the rhythmic, Motown-vibe style of players like James Jamerson, John Paul Jones, Joe Dart and Pino Palladino. I often end up mixing that approach with more classic rock stuff.
Tell us about your band
My band is called “Three Seasons”. It’s a 60/70’s-style psychedelic blues/rock band, in the style of Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and so on.
Who are your favourite players?
James Jamerson, John Paul Jones, Pino Palladino, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Joe Dart, Michael League, Rob Mullarkey… the list goes on. Other musicians who have inspired me greatly include John Bonham and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jon Lord, Cory Henry, First Aid Kit, Joni Mitchell, Mike Miley and Jay Buchanan from the Rival Sons, D'Angelo, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Lianne La Havas.
How do you practice?
When I have the time, I do my best to structure things very clearly in terms of my schedule, my main aims and different exercises I want to focus on. I always try to keep in mind that it’s better to play every day, even if only for a little bit, than to have very long practice sessions once or twice a week. Recently though, I have focused a lot on the new album and thus haven’t been able to practice regularly in any structured way. Instead, these days, I spend a lot of time simply jamming and transcribing songs I like.
What's your best gigging tip?
You’re on stage for a reason: to show people your music. Thus, you should not pretend to be someone else. You should just be yourself. Don’t be afraid to show people who you are, including those traits that you aren’t perfectly happy with. Just let it all out.
How do you unwind?
By playing the bass! It’s hard for me not to think about work - I am doing a Ph.D. in philosophy, and that stuff is in my head almost all the time, but playing the bass is one of my few means for letting go of that for a little bit.
What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?
Not sure. I love almost all instruments when they’re used well, even though my abilities are very limited with regard to most of them. I would like to be able to play a brass instrument, some keyboards and some percussion, but I am not sure which I would have focused on if I hadn’t chosen the bass.
Check out 'Three Seasons'...
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