JonSaw are a two-piece band based in Gothenburg (Sweden) that play bluesy southern rock with a splash of bourbon and 70s. The band consists of Robert Jonsson (vocals and guitar) and Mikael Säwström (drums). JonSaw first saw the light of day in February 2022 after a conversation during the Christmas holidays. Now they release a steady flow of songs on every platform where you can find music. There are no cliché 12 bar blues stuff anywhere to be found but rather steam train drums with screaming cigar box patterns and strong vocals!
How long have you been making music together? How did it all start?
“JonSaw as a band is relatively new. We started talking during Christmas about doing this. Robert, who plays guitar and sings, hadn’t played for almost 10 years, but had a re-lap that lasted 2 months 3 years ago and wrote a couple of songs on his own. So we thought it would be great to write and release some music together. We met up at the end of February and just started jamming. We wrote ‘Rooster Man’ and three more songs on that jam! Two weeks after that we recorded ‘Rooster Man’ and here we are now!”
Have you played in other bands before?
“We have been doing a lot of cover shows, top40-type-of bands, well back in the days that is. But we haven’t played in any well known bands. And in our youth, us being almost 50 – yes you heard me – we played in a lot of bands.”
Two guys making bluesy music with just guitar and drum, the comparison with the Black Keys is easily made. Does this comparison bother you or do you take it as a compliment? Are they one of your musical influences?
“Being compared to the Black Keys is nothing short of a huge compliment. ‘El Camino’ is a really great album and yes we guess you can say that they’re one of our influences, right up there along with The Record Company, R.L. Burnside, Seasick Steve, Sky High, ZZ Top.”
What are the pros and cons of being a musical duo?
“The pros: though we always record the drums and guitar live, there are only two of us that can mess things up! The cons: the chance of messing things up is 50/50 :)”
“Sometimes we miss having a bass player or someone on the keys, but we have adapted with strange tunings on the guitar that allows a lot of open strings and hits. Also more drums. Drums everywhere! Will we be three-piece band in the future? Naaah. Hell Naaah!”
What inspires you to write songs? What can you tell me about your creative process?
“We start by jamming. Pretty soon we will land in some kind of groove or riff and from there it just evolves. The chorus is what comes to us first, always. It’s like putting a piece of clay on a potter’s wheel – start spinning and work with the clay. A lot of times you have to start over but in the end you will have a beautiful vase. Or a song! More than often the songs is about real issues. Addiction, mental health and love. It is easier to write about stuff you have experienced yourself.”
“We always record drums and guitar live. ‘Rooster Man’ was one take, but one of the songs we will release later this summer has been recorded like 50 times if not more. We don’t care so much about the timing or tuning. It is more about how we interacted with each other during the recording. None of us ever plays the songs the same way from one take to the other.”
Your first single ‘Rooster Man’ was released in April you’ve released three more singles since. Do you plan your releases or do you just finish a song and release it?
“We actually had a goal and that was to release five songs and one video before the summer. As per last Friday we reached that goal. We have recorded two more songs that will be released this summer. In the future it will be more of writing a song and getting it out there.”
‘Baptized‘ is currently in our chart. What can you tell me about this song?
“Baptized is a song about having an addiction. Even though he or she has been baptized in holy water, they wake up still drunk on wine. In one part of the song the lyrics goes “bring me holy water, baptize me now, let me wake up sober, one first time”. But the song still ends with the person being baptized in holy water and waking up still drunk on wine. So the song is sort of unfinished.”
“It is not impossible that there will be follow ups on some of the songs. ‘Baptized’ is probably the one song we enjoy most and it is really funny to play. We dubbed some percussion on this recording. Mikael had a plastic box with nuts and bolts in it that he used as a shaker in the intro and the third verse.”
You mentioned you recently recorded two more songs. What releases can we expect and can you give us a hint of what it would be?
“There are two more songs recorded. One that is about two people in different places ending up at the same place in the end. It has two chords but many moods. Still bluesy as hell though. We look forward to start mixing that one.”
Where would you like to be in ten years?
“Still releasing music and we want to play live often. What would be cooler than going to the UK or USA and play small clubs or small festivals. In ten years we want to be the band that the well known bands ask to open for them. Opening act for Black Keyes or Rival Sons or……. Clutch! That would be awesome. Or just taking a flight to London and play an Open Mic in a new town every night for ten days. Ten years is a long time. Our goal before the end of 2023 is having been on stage in the UK. So if there are any venues or festivals out there that would like to have us play, just holler!”
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands these days?
“Themselves. It is easier than ever to do something with your band, but you got to have a plan, you got to have a dream and you have to set goals. Don’t be low because you have 500 plays on a song. It is still 500 plays! It might even be one guy that has listened 500 times. Then you have a super-fan!!! So go get yourself one more fan. Conquer the world one listener at the time.”
Tell me something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
“Ohhh that’s a tricky one. What surprises people nowadays? But we have been working with Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy on a documentary that never got aired. We recorded it in Dublin and Brian took us on a private tour to the bars they used to play and the places they hung out. We got really drunk but still managed to film! Another cool thing is that Robert plays cigar box guitars with 2, 3 or 4 strings.”
Any recommended artists or bands from Gothenburg or Sweden?
“We have many great bands coming out of Sweden! The artist Hessam has released a song called ‘Everybody Feels Like Shit‘ that one is great! Gothenburg used to have a really great music scene but it has slowly diminished.”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why
“We think ‘No rush‘ from Yogishine is just awesome. It is groovy, it is sexy and it is seductive… and it has a nice message. No rush. There are a bunch of great songs on that list. If we can just put one more in there it would be Major Weakness – ‘Friday 13th’. Love the sound.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?)
“We would like to add ‘Where I’m from‘ with Robert Jonsson just because the songs he wrote in 2019 is sort of the starting point of us doing this now.”
Links to JonSaw’s social media.