: : It was sometime late last year that I first heard from Adam Axelzon, a guy living in Stockholm, Sweden, who seemed to share my fascination with all things exotic. Adam had come across a couple of issues of Mai Tai (man, we really travel!) and e-mailed me with a question: “Have you heard the band ‘Bo Axelzon & his Exotic Sounds?’” : :

: : Needless to say, my interest was piqued. A few more messages back and forth and I’d learned that Adam and his father, Bo, played in an exotica band and had recorded an album of mood music. More importantly, Adam also had a hand in designing and running the Tiki Room, the only Polynesian bar in all of Scandinavia! : :

: : I recently chatted with Adam to get further details on his exotic activities. : :

J.T. : : How and when did you develop an appreciation for tiki and exotica? : :

A.A. : : It started with the music. It was sometime in the spring of 1990. I play percussion, and did so for a living from 1986 until 1998. During that time I played tunes like Red Sails in The Sunset, Solamente Una Vez, Perfidia, and This is the Time. Then, in 1990, my friend Stefan Kéry got some albums from a mutual friend in California… records by Martin Denny, Yma Sumac, Webley Edwards, Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman. Stefan had already started a collection of this type of music, so this was the beginning of my own collection. At the time, the price of those records was something like 50 cents a piece! I started to look for exotica records in Sweden but the only thing I could find was music by this pedal steel player named Yngve Stoor. He had been to Hawaii, Samoa, and Tonga and played music from the Pacific. I visited his wife and asked about the music and their time in the Pacific… : :

And then I got into tiki mugs, aloha shirts, and exotic drinks. I got hooked! I started to read all about the Pacific, petroglyphs, society in general, kapu (taboo), religion, and so on. In 1998, my wife, my daughter, and I moved to Oahu in Hawaii. My wife went to Hawaiian Pacific University and I took care of our daughter. I met up with Arthur Lyman, Don Ho, and Harold Chang. I went on a petroglyph quest. I looked for them everywhere! I found a lot of interesting places. I also looked for tiki bars and found a few. I could go on forever about it… : :

J.T. : : So eventually you returned to Sweden with the rich experience and knowledge you had acquired in Hawaii... How did you then get involved with the Tiki Room? : :

A.A. : : My friend Stefan started a club and I performed at his events with my father and some other musicians. Then one day, Stefan told me he had found a place that wanted to open a tiki bar, so we sat down and started to design it. I also created a few drinks for the place. I came up with the volcano bowl, since I bought one like it in Hawaii. The room features some tikis made by a carver named Max Frediksson, as well as masks made by Ida Manson; she’s a puppet maker and wigmaker for film and theatre. It was fun to work together on the bar, as I had so many ideas I wanted to try. Stefan and me have very similar tastes, so it all worked out smoothly. : :

J.T. : : What was the idea behind the “Bo Axelzon & his Exotic Sounds” record? You worked with both your friend Stefan (who has been associated with Sweden’s Subliminal Sounds label for a number of years, releasing his own as well as other people's music) and your father, who is also a working musician. : :

A.A. : : I had made some tape recordings of some of the work I did in the late 80s. Stefan and I listened to them and he came up with the idea: “Let's do an Exotic 10"!” So I talked to my father and explained what we wanted and asked him if he was willing to do it, and here it is... Sweden's only authentic exotica/Space Age Bachelor Pad/Incredibly Strange/Easy Listening band! : :

J.T. : : The liner notes say: “To put it with what may well be deceptive simplicity, the rather modest purpose of this album is to achieve a kind of high fidelity travelogue.” In listening to the record, it sounds like you succeeded, and in addition, somehow managed to combine a Scandinavian element with the vintage exotic sounds from around the world. : :

A.A. : : Wow thanks! We did put in a Swedish tune, in addition to some Italian stuff (in the 60s, Sweden wanted Italian music for some reason, and a lot of Italian bands came over here) and a German song… : :

J.T. : : I find it fascinating to hear about exotica from Sweden. It’s about as odd and out of place as it is here in Canada. Maybe colder climates feel a greater need to escape to exotic places...? : :

A.A. : : You're right! There aren’t many of us in Sweden who are into it as much as we are. But we do seem to have started some kind of trend here. We’re seeing a lot more Aloha shirts, different types of rum, new cocktails and, of course, a lot of people visiting the Tiki Room... : :

Tiki Room

Birkagatan 10

Stockholm, Sweden

Ph: 08 33 15 55


John Trivisonno © 2003


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