Photo by Action Camp
Born into the Boston music scene, Bengt Alexsander brought with him to Pittsburgh a competitive drive and an intrepid ability to take creative risks with his projects. A member of multiple bands over the years, Alexsander not only performs, but is also an audio engineer who masters albums and runs sound for other bands. After spending over a decade in Pittsburgh, he gained prominence in the Pittsburgh music scene and partnered with several musical groups – notably the wonderful collective known as the Duquesne Light Orchestra. After covering Action Camp on multiple occasions, Punksburgh had to zone in on this local doom/sludge/surf rock legend for today’s inquisition.
List the names of every band that you’ve ever played in ever.
Zipper, St. Dude, a brief tenure in Urns
What was the artist, album, or song that inspired you to play/write music?
The Pixies on the visceral side, ABBA on the composition side
Quite the juxtaposition. Photos from Google
What is your favorite piece of merch that you own?
My “ABBA as a black metal band” shirt
“Dancing Queen” just took on a whole new meaning. Photo from Google
Tell us one thing about the Pittsburgh music scene that could be better and one thing about the scene that you love.
To put it in context, I came up in the Boston music scene which is also where I met Maura and started Action Camp. A big advantage of such a large scene is it is highly competitive which breeds really solid hungry bands and promotes a lot of creative risk taking.
I still feel like after almost a decade in Pittsburgh that it could stand to be slightly more competitive to raise the stakes and effort a bit. There are a lot of great bands and musicians in this city, but it can be so friendly and welcoming sometimes that it allows a band to rest on their laurels (myself included) and tread water.
I always push bands that only play locally to tour because it can only make you stronger. In my opinion, playing to your friends and fans every month is one thing, but having to win over potentially hostile strangers is the greatest gift a musician can be given 🙂
What’s something about you/your band that you think people should know that maybe they don’t?
At the very beginning, we were almost an alt country band. When Maura and I first met we were on a Nico Case and Frank Black & the Catholics kick, but that quickly shifted way more towards heavier sample based compositions. You can hear some reminiscence of it in songs like Seed, Desert Dogs, and Remain (which we recently brought back and rearranged as a slow doom song tuned down to F)
If you had to pick only one of your songs for people to listen to, which one would it be?
War At My Side – it’s a perfect example of our writing style as a trio: stacked vocal lines, heavy dynamic shifts, and semi-hidden odd time
Who would you cast in the movie of your band?
Maura – Ayn Rand
Joe – Jermaine Clemente
Bengt – Toby Maguire
How does your mom/family react to your music? Do they come to your shows?
My family is very supportive and have long stopped worrying about what my “back up plan” is. My mom hasn’t been to a show in probably 9 years due to her being on the east coast, and it’s also a lot to ask her to come see us play a bar in Boston at 1am on a random Tuesday night we happen to be in town.
What band or artist have you seen live the most number of times?
Weird Paul Rock Band – we’ve played a bunch of shows together, and I’ve worked, participated, or attended almost every 99 cent Variety Show of his since moving to Pittsburgh.
What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you at a show as a performer or spectator?
Once we were mid set at a club in Boston in the dead of winter when the main water pipe froze and burst. They immediately killed the power (so we didn’t get electrocuted) and had to stop the show.
Catch Bengt with Action Camp November 17th at Howlers (for Joe Tarowski’s birthday!) with The Dark Lines and BBGUNS.
Check out some of our past Inquisitions as well!
Brian McGee (The Danzas)
Jonathan Bagamery (Murder For Girls)
Jesse Ley (Delicious Pastries / City Steps / Mantiques)
Adam Sniff (the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs)
Pat McGhen (Playoff Beard / the Shutouts)