Bassist/vocalist Gustafsson onstage with his Sandberg California TM 4-string.
Which instruments did you lean on for Apartment, Jonas and Per?
Gustafsson: I have two Sandberg California basses. They sound so good!
Stålberg: I think I played three guitars, which is not much for Division. Sometimes we have different tunings and a bunch of different guitars. I think 70 percent was my Fender Tele Custom ’72. It’s a Mexican reissue from 2000, maybe. I changed everything you can change in it. It’s been broken everywhere, but it’s one of the best guitars I’ve ever played. It sounds super good. I also used a Greco Les Paul Standard copy from ’78, which is the best Les Paul[-style guitar] I’ve ever played. For the recording, I also bought a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster and put Seymour Duncan Antiquity II pickups in it.
Per, most of the Teles you play have Wide Range-style humbuckers. Are those old Wide Range pickups or just whatever came in the guitar?
Stålberg: For a while, I had an old one. On this one, I don’t use the Wide Range [neck pickup] anymore. I only use the single-coil [bridge] pickup. It’s a Rio Grande, and it’s the best pickup for that guitar that I’ve ever heard. Back in the day on Black City, it was almost always the Wide Range pickups, though.
Which amps did you guys use during the initial sessions?
Stålberg: I used my Fender Super-Sonic 60-watt with an old Marshall cab from the ’60s.
Lager: I used an old ’90s, 100-watt Fender Tone Master head through a ’70s Marshall 4x12 that Per has. I only use the clean channel, and if you’re using a 4x12, it’s very clean. It’s like the biggest, fattest Fender you can get.
Gustafsson: Live, I’ve been using this TC Electronic RH750. It’s so light and handy, and it has this nice tube tone. I use that and a 4x10 Ampeg cabinet. In the studio, I go direct, but I completely rely on Per there. I just plug in and play.
How about effects?
Stålberg: I picked six pedals for the whole recording … pretty much the same that I’ve had for a long time with Division: an old Ibanez DL10 delay, another old Ibanez analog delay from the’80s called the Delay Champ. Then I have a Boss RE-20 Space Echo, and after that it’s a Way Huge Swollen Pickle fuzz, a Fulltone OCD, and an MXR Micro Amp. I think I had my Gollmer ’60s tremolo, as well. It’s from the ’90s. But I’ve seen them only in the Gothenburg area.
Lager: The overdrive I’ve been using a lot is a Hamstead Soundworks Odyssey. I also have a ’90s Pro Co RAT modified to original specs, and a Wampler Velvet Fuzz—I use the tight mode, because it has a great midrangey cut. That’s the main problem with a Big Muff—you don’t cut through. On a couple of songs, I used the Tru-Fi Colordriver as a fuzz. It’s based on the Colorsound Power Boost. I also have the MXR Booster and a Carbon Copy Deluxe. For the harmonized riffs in “Paris,” I used the Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb, and on “Dodge Bullets,” I think there’s a[n EHX] POG with a delay.
Gustafsson: I like to try out pedals, but almost every time it ends up with me not using it. For Division of Laura Lee, I use a little Mooer compressor—I just turn it on and turn it up so I get a little distortion. Then I use an Electro-Harmonix Bass Blogger to just totally overdrive. It’s more for just making noise.
The core of Division—you, Jonas, and Håkan—has been together for nearly a quarter century. Do you have any advice for other guitarists on band longevity?
Stålberg: I’m lucky to know these guys. We all have other bands, but we were all aware that we were best together. We felt for a very long time that we had something that can’t be explained—I think a lot of bands do. But there are also a lot of managers and labels that confuse people into believing they’re bigger than each other. We were super nice and loved hanging out with people. We weren’t interested in boosting our egos. We don’t live off playing in Division of Laura Lee anymore—we did for a long time, but we just couldn’t do 200-plus gigs a year anymore. We had to tone it down. But the love is still there when we record and when we are in the practice room—it’s still the same feeling as it was in ’97. So my advice would be to just stick through it. We’re all different, and people are mean to each other sometimes, but it can all be worked out.