Of all the bands that came out of the psychedelic rock revival of the early 2000s, Dungen seemed like an unlikely candidate to still be touring 15 years later.
While the band has some clear touchstones — the classic rock of The Who, ’70s prog and jazz — Dungen also incorporates sounds that are less familiar to American audiences, such as Swedish folk music. Yet the group has managed to consistently put out timeless-sounding albums that are modern, but also feel like they’ve been unearthed from a time capsule.
Its influence can be heard in bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala, for whom Dungen will open during two shows in Prospect Park.
amNewYork spoke with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Gustav Ejstes.
You’ve said that you discovered classic rock through hip-hop. How did that happen?
I found out about hip-hop at the age of 11, and later on we were trying to do our own. Looking for stuff to sample, eventually I got back to the ’60s/’70s stuff.
Your father was a musician. Did he encourage you to play?
I guess he wanted me and my brothers to play violin since that was his instrument. He didn’t really get the thing with beats and rhymes. Later on he became very encouraging.
Your early albums were focused on loud guitars and drums. Lately, you seem more interested in folk and jazz. Have your tastes changed?
I like all kinds of music, but I still listen to the same favorites — psych and hip-hop. During the [2004 album] “Ta Det Lugnt” era, I was obsessed by the power trio. I thought that was the ultimate instrumentation for rock music, but I write most of my songs on piano and try to leave it pretty open in that sense these days.
Why did you call your new album “Allas Sak” (“Everyone’s Thing”)?
It’s an idea that everyone is involved and sharing the music together. As soon as I present a song for the band, it’s no longer only mine, and when it’s recorded and those who listen get it, the music is also theirs. Especially playing live, everyone is involved, we and the crowd, like a give and take. It’s everyone’s thing.
Are you surprised that Americans have embraced your music despite the lyrics being in Swedish?
Totally. It’s super weird, though the beautiful part of music is that it is so universal. I listen to a lot of music myself where I don’t get the words.