NASUM drummer Anders Jakobson recently spoke exclusively to Sweden's Close-Up magazine about the group's singer/guitarist Mieszko Talarczyk, who is among the more than 500 Swedes still missing in Thailand following the massive undersea earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale and resulting tsunamis along South Asia's coasts.
"The whole thing feels so totally unreal," Jakobson said when asked how he and the rest of the band are coping at the moment. "That's what everyone is saying — not just those of us who have played with him, but also other friends, especially in Örebro [the group's hometown]. As long as there's no confirmation that he's actually not alive anymore, it's hard to move forward or comprehend what has actually happened. That's what's so weird.
"If a person is killed in a car accident or as a result of some other sudden event, or if you know for sure that the person has died, it's easier to start mourning and move on. Now almost a month to the day has passed [since Mieszko was declared missing], and it could actually be that he's out there somewhere. Anything could have happened to him. You could imagine it being a serious amnesia or something like that. There's still a number of scenarios that actually could be true — they find people all the time. At the same time, it feels like too much time has passed for something like that to happen. It would be a miracle [if he were found alive]. It's harder and harder to live on hope as time goes by. It's so difficult to talk about him as if he were dead. You want an identification to appear because this uncertainty is unbearable."
The members of the band met for the first time since Mieszko was declared missing on January 22 at the P3 Guld Awards in Gothenburg.
"We've had some conversations in the band, but it's still so unreal that it's hard to talk about it," Anders said. "We've not talked at all about what we're gonna do with the band. It's hard to know [what we're gonna do]. Personally, I look at it as a rather impossible thing for NASUM to continue. Sure, I can put myself into a situation where I teach a new person to play the songs that I have written, but to teach someone Mieszko's songs and to see that person play and sing those songs would feel incredibly wrong. It's difficult to see that we could just take in a replacement. Plus, that person would have a rather difficult job since replacing someone who has died is different than replacing someone who has left of his own free will.
"It's difficult for me to see that we will pick up where we left off. However, I think that in some way we will continue to exist as a concept. This is not really how you wanted the band to end. There's still a lot people who like us and it wouldn't really be fair to just put an end to it and say, 'Bye, it was fun that you showed up.'
"We have a compilation [album] that we've been working on for several years with a lot of singles and other other rare material, and the decision to put that out was made a long time ago. Now we feel even more motivated to release it. The sad thing about that is that the week before Mieszko left for his vacation [in Thailand], he and I were meant to finish it [putting together the compilation], but for some reason, that never happened — there wasn't time or something like that. So it feels a little weird.
"I don't know, I can imagine us continuing to exist, but not as a playing band. [it will be more like] that there is a group called NASUM but that it is no longer involved in making new music."
Have you been surprised by how many fans have been in touch after they heard about the tragedy?
"Yes, I would have to say. One cannot be anything but surprised when so many people write to us. I've seen a flood of visits to our web site that has been totally enormous, if one should boast in a situation like this. In one week, we had hundreds of thousands of hits. It was totally sick. When I was sitting there, updating the web site, there were 30 new hits every second. It felt unreal that there was such an interest. Everyone wanted to go on the web site and see a news item about him being OK, and I would have more than loved to have posted it if it had been possible. Then there's also a lot of people that don't know what to say, and that's understandable. I don't know what to say either, because it's still so unreal. It's even harder for us to communicate with those who were really close to him, like his family."
Are they aware of the response that you have received as a band?
"Not through us giving them any kind of collection of postings or correspondence, but I hope that Mieszko's sister — who has the difficult task of trying to locate him, because from what I understand, his parents have broken down quite a lot — has checked out our guestbook. Our fans have shows such great concern that the family deserves to see something like that."
Is there anything else you want to say?
"People can check out web site, www.nasum.com, for further news. Those who feel that this concerns them should not feel from getting in touch if they feel they might benefit from it. For the most part, things become better if you talk about it. Most likely more people have appreciated Mieszko for what he's done in his studio than what he's done in NASUM, which is totally understandable — you can't like all kinds of music. The fact is that Sweden, in the worst-case scenario, has lost a skilled producer who will be missed by lots and lots of bands and listeners. He worked hard in his studio. The vacation that was so well deserved… yeah, that didn't turn out so good."
All planned recordings at Mieszko's Soundlab studios have been cancelled. People with questions regarding this are urged to contact co-owner Matthias Färm at [email protected]