For those of you who may be unhappy with the results of the U.S. Presidential election and wish to leave the country (or for our many international readers, wish to leave your native country), may I recommend Sweden. Sure Canada is nice but it’s cold. ” Sweden is too” you say? Hmmm… Good point.
OK well, I’ve never been to Sweden but I’ve heard really good things about the cheese, or is that Switzerland? Oh yes, it’s the bikini team that’s what I’ve heard good things about. OK as may be quiet obvious by now, I’ve never been to Sweden nor has it ever really been on my travel radar much as I typically prefer warmer climates.
But I have seen and heard just enough to stoke the old curiosity meter and usually once that gets running, its just a matter of time before I find a way to make an appearance.
Until then, I received an email from a chap (Yes, I’m still talking like a Brit.. what of it mate?), Magnus, a punk from the Swedish hardcore band “Gå Vidare till Norrmalmstorg” (GVtN Or translated “Advance to Mayfair”) sent me an email to check out a video of theirs. I dig/dug it and wanted to share it with you. But as you know I’m a curious soul, so I emailed Magnus a few preguntas (questions) about the Swedish punk and hardcore scene and he kindly obliged a few answers about the scene and his band, sadly no longer together, “Gå Vidare till Norrmalmstorg”.
While the band is no longer together, the music is pretty damned tight and certainly worth checking out for consideration of adding to your collection.
Hopefully I’ll be making my way to Sweden someday and be able to report back to you first hand about the Swedish punk/hardcore scene and even the bikini team if I’m double lucky.
Q: What is your name and the name of your band? Where are you guys from?
A: I’m Magnus. I played bass and screamed my head off in the band called Gå Vidare till Norrmalmstorg. That’s Swedish for “Advance to Mayfair” off the Monopoly game – both a kiss off to rich kids as well as an ironic statement to how commercial we thought we sounded. We’re located in the south east of Sweden in an average-sized town called Växjö.
Q: I heard death metal is big in Sweden. What about Punk? Or Hardcore?
A: Yeah. back in the late 80s early 90s it was a Death Metal Mecca but I’m not too sure about that being correct these days. It’s really not my scene so I can’t say. There’s lots of punk and hardcore of course. If you’re a fan of Poison Idea (and who isn’t?) I can highly recommend checking out The Restless Knights.
Q: Do you think the long winters have anything to do with the aggressive, dark music? Or is it more complex?
A: Good question! I’m not too sure to be honest. Swedes on average are very passive-aggressive people so maybe music’s just a good way to get it all out in an accepted manner. But it’s true what they say, about 6 months of winter sure gives you a lot of time to write and rehearse. When it comes to GVtN it was a conscious decision. We weren’t interested in setting new high speed records we just wanted to pummel the audience.
Q: What are some of your musical influences?
A: For GVtN it was Black Flag mixed with Motorhead and Black Sabbath. I grew up in the 80s so I was influenced by the greats, mainly Flipper. The “Public Flipper Ltd” album was my first taste of US HC and it completely blew me away. Other than that I’d say The Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Fang, F-Word. Then we’ve got The Ramones, Dead Kennedys etc. etc.
Q: Who are some of the pioneers of punk in Sweden?
A: Oh wow! Good question! And a tough one. First wave I’d say Ebba Grön. They were huge back in the day and the lead singer is still an active musician even though he’s changed styles over the years. The second wave was much, much smaller and really not my cup of tea musically (they were heavily influenced by the UK Discharge-styled punk and I’m more into the US style HC) but I’d say Anti Cimex were big and Asta Kask for the bit more melodic side of punk. After that I really don’t know.
Q: Tell me about the band, song and video
A: “Fejk!” (transl. “Fake”) was just one of those really adrenalin-driven songs that to me was the best one GVtN did. It’s pretty midtempo but it still just annihilates the listener. I love it. The lyrics are aimed towards certain Swedish mainstream punk rock acts and what some of us refer to as “crispbread rebels” (it’s a derogatory phrase). I edited the video using what live footage was available and added two funny lines I’d completely forgotten about to it. Before the song I say “Here’s something you might recognize from the X Factor” (not really, but a similar Swedish show) and at the end I say “Thanks for the money!”
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Check us out on Bandcamp at http://gvidaretillnorrmalmstorg.bandcamp.com/ and thanks for the interview!