with Mats Gustafsson of The Broken Face & Broken Face Recordings
May 23, 2007
Name: Mats Gustafson
Magazine: The Broken Face
Label: Broken Face Recordings
Website: http://brokenface.fupp.net, http://brokenfacerecordings.blogspot.com
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to work in some capacity in the music industry?
Mats – Well, I’ve never really felt that I’ve worked in the music industry, but there was obviously a point when I realized that I wanted to be more involved than just being a dedicated follower of the scene. It’s difficult to say when this really happened, but I would say in my late teens or early 20’s. I remember coming to a point where I found myself being blessed by so much great music that I simply had to find a way to pay back, to contribute.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?
Mats – Doing the Broken Face was loads of fun, tons of work & something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of life. That last bit might sound pretentious as hell & maybe it is; but when looking back at things, it really feels like we did accomplish something & somehow found our own little secret vista in music journalism. In retrospect I think this is what makes me the most proud. But given all this, nothing really beats the feeling of holding a new issue or a new release in your hands. Checking it out for the first time, realizing that the image that you thought might be a bit too dark worked out after all or just being impressed by the number of reviews we managed to get done in time.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Mats – That’s obviously not something I decided on my own. It takes two you know, but I think that I always have known that I want to be a father. It was more a matter of finding the right woman.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Mats – My wife Anna was probably the one that in a way made me realize that it wasn’t enough to “just” be a follower & a fan. The only negative thing I can think of is the most obvious one, the time aspect. Having a full-time job, family, house etc. & doing the zine & the label on the side is simply an impossible equation in the long run, & something just have to give eventually.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Mats – All the wonderful friends we’ve made all over the world.
QRD – Have your children effected the music you listen to?
Mats – To some extent I tend to play more melody-based music when the kids are awake than I did before. My oldest daughter Katja loves to dance & there was a time a few months back when she demanded pretty much every single day to play Neil Young’s “Lookin’ for a Love” or the first couple of tracks from Love’s “Forever Changes”. I don’t mind….
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Mats – I’ve never really seen it as an option to do what I do musically speaking as a job & given the fact that I have rather well paid job, money has never really been an issue. On the contrary it’s been an advantage that I never have had to live on music journalism or the label as it has made me able to do exactly what I want to do without taking the financial risks in account.
QRD – Do you think being a father or running a label/magazine has a greater impact on your community?
Mats – I guess it depends on what you mean by “my community”. On a local level I am afraid that the Broken Face & Broken Face Recordings have had virtually no impact (apart from the odd article in the local newspaper), but if you mean my worldwide music-related community I would say that we somehow found our own little secret vista in underground music. I won’t mention any specific examples, but I believe that we’ve helped a few underground movements to get going & get more attention.
QRD – Would you rather see your child eventually become a musician or a parent?
Mats – This will sound cliché-like, but all I really want is that my kids are happy & if it makes them happy to be musicians I will support them all the way. If it makes them happy to do ski jumping you’ll find me be by their side. I guess what I am saying is that it’s up to them to form their own lives, but I will obviously give them all the creative input that I can offer. Being a parent is the best thing that ever happened to me & if we do a good job with our kids I am positive that they eventually will become great parents. So, if forced to a corner at gunpoint to choose I’d probably go for a parent….
QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
Mats – The time aspect is by far the biggest challenge & the only way I’ve found it to work recently is to work like crazy for an evening or two every now & then. I simply cannot spend the hours I used to on music every day. All it comes down to in the end is priorities.
QRD – Do you have a split/secret life between being a parent & being a musician?
Mats – I wouldn’t call it a secret life, but since I am a public person (I am the head of the urban planning department in this rather small municipality). It’s not something I shout out at any given chance either.
QRD – What do your children think of your music?
Mats – Miriam is too small to express her opinions, but Katja has a very clear idea of what she likes & what she’s not that fond of. The thing I like with her approach to music is that she’s learned that music can sound in many ways & that she gives most music we put on a chance before clearly making her opinion heard. Of all the styles of music I listen to, I would say that her favorite genres are psych pop & instrumental guitar music along the lines of Jack Rose & Glenn Jones.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Mats – I genuinely think that anyone just thinking about following that crazy idea in his/her head should give it a go.
Another QRD interview