INTERVIEW: Arvid Jonsson & Tommi Holappa – Greenleaf


Fresh off their set opening for the mighty CLUTCH at The Ritz in Manchester, we caught up with singer Arvid Jonsson and guitarist Tommi Holappa of Swedish stoner rock outfit GREENLEAF to talk about their status as a band, Desertfest, and spinach.

So we just watched you guys play your set, how was that for you?

Arvid: It was pretty good today I think, pretty decent crowd I think as well. It’s hard when you’re opening but yeah I thought it was good. Kinda felt like there was people knowing the songs too actually, made me happy.

Tommi: There were a bunch singing along.

Are you friends with any of the bands on the bill like CLUTCH or BOMBUS or have you toured with them before?

Tommi: I am in another band called DOZER also and we toured with CLUTCH in like 2003 so I know them a little bit. BOMBUS we’ve never met before but they’re good guys.

Arvid: We just get to know them because we’re sharing this beautiful place every day.

How does playing in England compare to back home in Scandinavia?

Tommi: A difference is that we start much earlier, shows are really early here which I guess is because you can’t be too loud after curfew.

Arvid: I think maybe the crowd is better here actually, in general. Sweden has a really tough crowd because there’s too many bands, they’re standing there thinking “What is this crap?”

Tommi: Standing there waiting for mistakes like “Hmm, oh wait yup there we go!”

Arvid: Everyone in Sweden plays so they’re all comparing which is utterly hopeless.

Tommi: We haven’t played that much in Sweden with GREENLEAF though, mostly in the rest of Europe. We’ve done something like seventy shows this year with I think four in Sweden.

You’ve had a few lineup changes recently, how has this benefited the band?

Arvid: From Trails and Passes we were us, our drummer Sebastian and a guy called Bengt on bass, then he quit around a year ago and then we had Johan from DOZER for a while. Bengtdidn’t want to play because it wasn’t good for him, so it benefited in that we could keep on playing! Johan is a great guy too and a great player so we like them both, but we don’t like him so much! *points to Sebastian* But what can we do, he’s the only one who wants to play with us.

So I’m assuming the name stems from a certain recreational drug…

Arvid: No it’s actually because we like spinach so much.

Do you feel that’s the best way to sum up your band, with that name plastered on records and such?

Tommi: The name is just a name I think, it started as a joke name and then we couldn’t come up with a really good name so we kept it.

Arvid: And also, GREENLEAF to me is about playing and, I dunno, this sounds too ambitious, but you don’t wanna be posers and we’d rather just play.

Do you feel the whole stoner rock thing has had a boom recently?

Tommi: Since Desertfest started. I think it is thanks to Desertfest.

Arvid: And also the kind of retro wave coming through, GRAVEYARD and all those bands. It wasn’t so many years ago that CLUTCH would never play venues like this so there’s definitely been something going on.

Do you think this kind of boom is a good thing or do you think it makes it harder for bands to be noticed?

Tommi: I think for us it’s a good thing. It helps us getting out there because it’s not so hard to get shows, there are lots of bands to tour with and we get a lot of offers from all over the world.

Arvid: Also I think if you’re good enough, you’re gonna get through.

What do you think makes GREENLEAF stand out against all these other bands?

Tommi: I think it’s the vocals.

Arvid: Oh thank you!

Tommi: The music is kinda typical stoner 70s rock riffs but the melodies are not the typical thing, it’s more pop almost.

Arvid: I really like pop music so that’s why.

Coming up to the end of the year, what’s your favourite album of 2015 been?

Tommi: The latest CLUTCH. I’ve listened to it a lot.

Arvid: Can I pass on this one? It’s very hard, I have to think. For heavy albums I’ve listened a lot to an older album by ELDER but not the new Lore one, I like it as well but not as much.

So rounding up, what’s next for GREENLEAF or DOZER in 2016?

Tommi: New GREENLEAF album in February. Lots of touring. That’s it really, we’re gonna tour a whole lot. DOZER‘s got nothing planned, GREENLEAF‘s no longer really the side project. The other guys in DOZER have families and good jobs and don’t wanna leave that.

Arvid: Still can’t think of an album for the last question!

Alright guys, good luck and thank you for your time!