From Iceland — The Acoustic Black Flag Disciple (from the land of Abba)

The Acoustic Black Flag Disciple (from the land of Abba)

Published April 7, 2006

The Acoustic Black Flag Disciple (from the land of Abba)

/// Your first album (Veneer) was released in 2003; when can we expect the next one?
– I am working on it on and off. I have been so busy touring, and it takes me a long time to write so I haven’t really had the time for it. Maybe next fall, or next spring.

/// But your first album is being re-released now, right?
– Yes, it first came out in Sweden on a small label and they have been looking for deals for me and everything takes such a long time. So it is first now that it is being released, or re-released really, in the US via Mute Records. We will give that some time, before the next one is released. I want the next one to be ready this summer, so it can be released either next fall or in the springtime.

/// You are going to play the South by Southwest festival next week. What are your expectations from that
– Well, it is an industry festival, and there are going to be a lot of agents from the recording companies there, so I hope that will lead to something. I will be playing six or seven shows there in four days, so I will be busy. But I have heard it’s something you almost have to do, to play these festivals, in order to break into the US market.

/// Swedish music has had a lot of international success in the last few years. Do you have any thoughts on what it is that makes Swedes so successful?
– I don’t know exactly. But ever since ABBA, a lot of artists have come out of Sweden. I think Sweden is the third biggest exporter of music in the world. So there is this tradition of making music in English that could function outside of Sweden. I don’t know what it is. Swedes are good at English for one thing.

/// What about your other band, Junip? Can you tell us a bit about that project?
– Yes, we are three in the band. We have only released one EP [Black Refuge] although we’ve been playing together since 1998. We tend to do something together on and off, but it’s hard to find the time now. It is a kind of an eternal project that never goes anywhere. Elias, the drummer, and I have been friends since childhood. We have been playing together since we were 14 when we started a hardcore band together. Later we met Tobias, the organ player, and we started playing together in 1998.

/// You mentioned hardcore; I intended to ask about your beginning in a hardcore band.
– Well, I always played bass in these bands. The first band was Back Against the Wall, which was very much inspired by Black Flag, the Misfits and the Dead Kennedys. Later Elias and I started a band called Renaissance, which was a little more hardcore. It was functional from maybe 1993-1998.

/// Do you still listen to hardcore music?
– Not so much. I still really like Sick of It All and a lot of other stuff. Sometimes when I am in the car I will slip in some Sick of It All, you know? Scratch The Surface. They are such a great live band as well.

/// What about hardcore ethics, is that something that is actual for you?
– No, not anymore. But it was, for a few years. I did not drink and even though I was not a straightedge I did become a vegetarian. There was a period when I was very politically conscious… But no, it is not actual for me, regrettably.

/// What about your studies? You were studying towards a PhD in biochemistry were you not?
– Yes, I was a doctoral research student in biochemistry, doing research in DNA replication. I had been doing that for a year and a half before I released the album. Then I did not have the time to do both, so…

/// So, did you give it up then?
– Yes, it was too difficult to do both, but I was okay with it because I was not getting too good results in my research anyway.

/// Were you happy with the reception last night? You received a very warm welcome and the audience was unusually quiet and focused on listening to the music, instead of just talking to each other like often happens.
– Yes I was very happy. It was wonderful. Maybe it was because it was a Monday night. But people are usually very quiet when I play. I once played in Manchester on a Saturday night, and everybody was drunk and very rowdy, but once I started playing, everybody sat quiet for an hour.

/// Siggi Ármann opened your show last night. What did you think of him?
– Siggi was unbelievable. Very simple but yet very delicate melodies. I think it’s cool to play such simple harmonies.

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