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Author Topic: Treriksröset Interview from SI6  (Read 1647 times)
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Johann
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« on: December 27, 2019, 03:33:36 AM »

Is there any chance anyone could upload the text of this interview? The information online regarding this project is extremely lacking!

All the best
Johann
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2019, 08:29:40 PM »

TRERIKSRÖSET / TOMMY CARLSSON
interview by Mikko Aspa
transcribed from audio tape by Andrew MacIntosh

The beginning.
-I grew up in the 70’s, and my parents were not really interested in music at all. So, it was when I was around nine or ten, I started discovering things on the radio. First some punk music, then later on I found Devo, also Crass were of great importance. I was always interested in underground culture. I was reading underground comics when I was eleven or twelve; Crumb, “Freak Brothers” all sorts of stuff. Thanks to the comics you discovered that there was an underground culture, with comic fanzines and people doing their own material. And moving on from there you found other fanzines and other underground media, where they covered weird music and after a while there were certain names that were recurring, like SPK, Throbbing Gristle, Merzbow... once you read about it enough times it was decidedly interesting and you tried to pursue finding music by these artists.
I don’t really remember exactly how it happened, but after a while I discovered people who introduced me to things like Whitehouse, Nurse With Wound, Merzbow, and the doors just opened. You found all sorts of interesting stuff. By the time I was fifteen I had found a world of music that was really exciting. At the same time I was experimenting myself with tape recorders, recording junk metal stuff, slowing it down and speeding it up on the tape recorder, and just sitting at home doing my own recordings. Nothing that was ever released in any way, but I had friends into similar stuff and we played together. So in my teens we had some sort of industrial noise projects with friends. Moving on I kept doing it on my own and never really released anything, it was all private exercises.
Around 1996, which is roughly ten years later, I started Treriksröset, which was originally a duo with Peter Thörneby of P2. We actually never recorded anything together; we started the act together but he soon went on other artistic roads, other artistic projects, so Treriksröset was mine to keep, on my own. It was a long process of just being interested in experimental music and noise. Doing things on my own but never really having an interest in being public about it.
I’m quite happy that I didn’t feel any urge to show my earliest recordings to the world, that it was kept more as private stuff. I would like to have the old tapes around, I would like to give it a listen now, but I hardly have anything left. I can find the occasional tape with some old recordings but lots of stuff has gone missing over the years. But it’s never wrong to take your time and just wait until you have something that you’re actually proud of and I think maybe I managed to do that.

Little availability.
I’m not very productive (laughs). There are so many other things that take time, and when I do record stuff I prefer to wait until I feel comfortable, and when I feel satisfied enough to bring it to others. It doesn’t have
to be anything that has taken me super-long to produce, it could be a straight-up live recording. I think most people release too much material anyway. I think people definitely should slow down. Speaking of live recordings, it’s definitely a way to practice improving you craft, just trying to be as good as you can be. A live recording should be something that you are willing to go onstage and perform to people, and you have to work on that art in itself. It could be something very simplistic. I think the main point is that you should wait a while, give it some time and listen to it after, when you have some sort of perspective on it. You have to wait and see if the material stands up to your own demands after some time.
I can’t say I listen to my own material twenty or thirty times, ‘cause it feels a bit self-indulgent to spend that much time on your own music. But you need to listen to it and you need to listen to it in different ways. Headphones, speakers, loudness levels, check if it sounds ok on a boom box, and so on. Sometimes you can feel very soon if something holds up, that it’s worth actually releasing and sometimes it takes longer. I have done changes, I have sent off a master, then changed my mind about it. Maybe changed one side of a tape or something, which makes you think that I didn’t spend enough time listening to it, and I guess that is probably true. But I’m not an expert on how long it would take for you to really figure out your own material’s worth. All it should take is a bit of self discipline and some sort of critical eye towards your own stuff. And that is probably what is lacking in general.

Criticism towards your own material.
It’s really hard, because we’ve all released stuff that we’re not happy with years later. You can always go back and say “why did I do this? Why did I think this was good enough, it sucks!” It’s easy to say that people should have a critical view of their own work, but just the act of listening to stuff for a couple of times, actually taking the time – I don’t think you should let other people’s opinions come into play and base your decision based on what others think. I certainly don’t suggest that. But merely that you don’t rush things. Everyone does mistakes, everyone does release things that they think are good enough and that they change their minds afterwards. So the best way to avoid that is, the more time you spend on it the better off you are.
I would certainly never sit in an interview situation like this and even try and suggest that I think I’ve done any kind of masterpieces ten years ago. I listen to my old recordings rarely, but I do return to things every now and then. Since I’m doing the music for myself I do appreciate listening to it. It can sound arrogant or self indulgent but I think I’ve touched upon it before that noise is fetishistic in a manner -- that the noise that is ideal to you is what you are personally looking for. It could be other peoples’ work but if you’re true to yourself as a noise musician you do things to please yourself. I do think of noise as being fetishistic in that way, that you have a vision of what it should be and you strive to attain that.

Noise as fetishism.
I think Masami’s view (on noise and pornography) is excellent for what it is and that’s his view on it, his very personal view. He manages to describe his urges and his thoughts on the process, and for him I think it’s excellent. I don’t think you should take one person’s fetishistic view and try and make it something universal, though. And as to whether I see my own work as being part of a noise culture, I don’t think of noise as being very different to other kinds of music. Once you separate one genre of music from others you have genre thinking, and you have rules that are very self imposing. And that couldn’t be positive, could it?

Pure noise.
Originally it started out by stating that Treriksröset should be a pure noise project. This was 1996, so the noise scene was in many ways different from what it is now. Back then pure noise was definitely not as common as it is today, I think. So while we did restrict ourselves in that way, in saying that we should do pure noise it is something that I’m perfectly willing to change. If I record something that doesn’t sound like earlier Treriksröset, it’s not a problem to release it under that name. I’d happily release something that sounds completely different from the usual style that I work in, since it’s basically just me and my personal hang-ups, my personal visions, it reflects my life and my interests and so on. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be able to sound different from the way it usually sounds.
I do try out different methods of recording, different instrumentation – the process is changing all the time. And if you try something radically different, of course it’s sometimes tempting to do it under a lot of names. I have done collaborations with people and there are some tracks out there that under other names.

Noise projects.
It’s always okay up until the time that people start using their real names (laughs). Joking aside, I don’t have a problem with it and I can see that some people want to separate their different projects, different interests and aspects of music into different projects. But it can get quite, well, ridiculous when you have someone doing three different wall noise projects under three different names and it’s basically the same type of material. So, personally, I don’t see the need for it. But if people want to do that, that’s fine by me, it’s just not something I’m interested in myself. Better to give the listener they might not expect, I think.
I’m wondering who they’re doing it for. If they’re doing it for themselves then I couldn’t say anything about it, if that’s what they want to do. But somehow you get the feeling that in the back of their brain they’re thinking about the audience – or should I use the term customer? -- but not confusing the audience; “Oh, if I release it under my usual project name they might expect this, so I’ll have to do it under another name”. When you start taking those things into account then you lose me. I don’t see the point.
Peoples’ expectations – I was thinking back when I was fourteen, fifteen I was reading this magazine piece about Merzbow, and they used the term “orgy of hardcore electronics” to describe it. And the first Merzbow I heard after that was a track from a compilation tape called “Paris-Tokyo”, which was when Merzbow was a duo recording, and that was a very melodic synth-pop thing. I was listening to that tape and was thinking “orgy of hardcore electronics? This thing?!” That was hugely disappointing. Later on I discovered that those tracks where really a complete anomaly in the Merzbow discography; if I had any expectations they where simply fucked with, and I remember it twenty years later so it can’t be all bad.

Subgenres of noise.
There are many people limiting themselves and there are many labels focussing a bit too strongly on certain types of noise. It shows poor imagination, I think; you rarely get surprised by noise music but I think that has to do with the fact that noise is pretty much a genre these days in a whole different way than it was fifteen, twenty years ago. It sure incorporated a whole lot of different styles back then. And a lot of things that were considered noise then wouldn’t even be thought of as noise right now. I was listening to the Crass album “Yes Sir, I Will”, and when I first heard it I thought it was quite an extreme record, but now it’s like a Sunday morning record that you listen to with the kids. Basically I’ve grown older and things have certainly changed, music-wise. And parenting-wise, I might add (laughs).
But you shouldn’t really be fooled into some sort of nostalgia thinking that everything was so much better then. I think the noise scene is giving me a lot more excitement these days. Maybe because there is more of it around, maybe because years of listening has refined the taste for noise. I still get blown away by things, I still get surprised. If you like noise music, it’s a wonderful time to be a listener and a participant.

Surrounding Swedish noise scene.
Like I said earlier, I’ve recorded material on my own since way before the current scene. I’m really happy about the Swedish scene for the last couple of years. I think maybe there’s been a decline during the last two or three years but there’s been some really exciting times. The best part is that there’s been live shows that you can actually get to and see this kind of music live, which is perfect. I’m pretty much stuck where I live, so I really don’t to travel much, otherwise there’d be more venues to experience noise live. But with an active local scene it gives you a chance to  experience things in a live setting.
I think the only motivation I’ve needed for
Treriksröset is my own interests. It’s a personal project and I’ve recorded things just purely for my own pleasure, without any intent of releasing it, so basically it’s a personal project. I don’t think it’s been that much affected by what happens in the local or national scene or the Scandinavian scene if there’s any such thing.

Killing Sessions with Sewer Election.
The first time me and Dan of Sewer Election played live together was in Sundsvall in 2005, and we did a mail collaboration tape that was mixed by Dan, and released on his Harsh Head Rituals label. The part of Sweden called Norrland, the north of Sweden, takes up some 60% of Sweden, but only 10% of the population lives there, so it’s a great place if you don’t want a lot of crowds. As far as stereotypes go, the people of Norrland are fond of illegal hunting and drinking moonshine and they fiercely hate anyone who comes from Stockholm, so they are fun to hang out with (laughs). The Swedish movie Jägarna is filled with information on the mentality of the people of Norrland. Some people say the movie is based on prejudice, but all the Norrlanders I know are very fond of it, so it’s probably accurate. And Blod is the finest that has ever come out of Norrland, so the tape was just us paying our dues to the master of Swedish sexnoise. Playing live with Dan is always a blast, we seem to be on the same page when it comes to harsh noise.
All the collaborations we have done have been in some sort of wall noise mode, even though neither of us is really doing much wall noise normally.
When we did another tape for a gig in Helsinki shortly afterwards, we wanted to honour the great Tom of Finland. I think Tom’s legacy is extraordinary, how leather fags all over the world have emulated his personal erotic hangups and fetishes, it’s just amazing. He really created a world of his own, and it clearly struck a chord in the gay world. I really appreciate Tom’s view of his own art -- if he didn’t get a hard-on, it wasn’t good. No outsider influence, no audience in mind, just one man, his drawing tools, and his cock (laughs).

Music in general.
I’m a huge music fan and I’m amazed by how much stuff that I find all the time in all different genres as possible. It’s hard work trying to keep up with everything. I find new music on a daily basis that I want to hear, that I enjoy hearing. It’s almost like there’s too much happening out there. I can’t really picture life without being a music fan or a music listener.
My own creativity, musically, is part of it. You can have a certain vision of how you want noise to be; you can have these amazing sounds in your head that you want to get out and somehow put them on tape. It’s almost like an unattainable vision ‘cause the things you hear in your head will always be better. You can strive to reach that goal but – I hear some amazing things in my head (laughs).
I’ve heard very many people say they’re not influenced at all by others and it’s all coming from them, but I’m not ashamed to admit I listen to other peoples’ music. I like it. I love Noise music, I listen to it. And yes, I constantly listen to things I can’t figure out how it was done. Even if you’re listening to something where it’s very easy to figure out how it was done it can still be done in a mind-blowing way. I do often try to picture how the music was created but I often fall short, I can’t figure it out. That’s just one aspect of listening to
music.
I hate to be blunt about things, I hate to be – well, sometimes I love it (laughs). For example, the Abisko logotype, the bondage lady, it was a reaction to the complaints being made that all Noise tapes look the same, all Noise tapes have tied-up chicks on the covers. I say “Yea, we have tied up chicks on every cover because we love it!” So, sometimes I like to be very blunt about things; a sense of humour about it, I hope. Other times it’s just I toy around with words and all sorts of things in my head, and it can end up being a Treriksröset title or a piece of the art work or something. But the funny thing is no one ever asks why I named something this or that or why I used a certain picture... And for the most part I’d be happy to tell people but no one ever asks. So I keep doing it and well, no one really cares anyway (laughs).

Communication within music culture.
Yes, I do think there was more of the communication aspect in the older days, and frankly you communicated more, I think; you actually wrote letters to each other and you actually communicated in a whole different way. I’m not saying that it’s worse
now, but it’s sort of different. And of course, if you go back to Throbbing Gristle or SPK, they where keen on educating people. They where keen on showing what they where interested in, even to the point of publishing lists of books to check out, manifestos, that’s all lost these days.
Of course, you put yourself on the line if you get too personal. If you really try to communicate your inner thoughts in the way of a music release on the cover you make yourself a target for all kinds of ridicule, because you’re not “supposed” to do that. The few people that I can think of that are really personal and are open about it, I still don’t see them getting much reaction to how open they are. So it’s not really a climate where you are persuaded to be open about what you really think ‘cause you’re often met with indifference at best.
Maybe you limit yourself in some way, communication-wise, but personally there are very few things I think of completely black and white. There are so many different aspects to everything that to write a manifesto of some kind you have to be very set in your convictions.
I think another problem is that everybody wants to be an artist. Everybody’s convinced that they are artistic, that if you are an artist you can be very vague. You can present things that aren’t your own opinions and you can do things under the guise of “art” that really means nothing but it’s “art”, so it’s okay. Maybe that is why we have less manifestos and less political thinking. It’s been a long time since I saw any sort of challenging political thoughts presented in Noise culture.
If you’re an “artist” you’re really untouchable, ‘cause it’s your personal art, and you can be as insubstantial as anyone else. That’s sort of a protective shield against criticism.
Violent and repulsive imagery
I tend to think of the most violent and the most repulsive images and themes that where used in early Industrial music; if they say that punk music was a revolt against hippies and the political correct movement of the 70’s, where punk was about not giving a damn for wearing a swastika t-shirt, pissing off a lot of hippies, and being loud, ugly and generally obnoxious. And of course there had to come someone who wanted to piss off the punks, and they managed to do it pretty well. But isn’t it time to find someone else to piss off?
There are some violent images that we’ve seen in art books and on record covers for twenty, thirty years, and are thus clichés. Of course, it can be a person’s absolute conviction that this is what they want to explore that type of material in their art, and sure, I’m perfectly fine with that. If that’s what you want to do then that’s what you want to do. But, when the same kind of people are pissed off by the same kind of material year after year maybe it’s time to piss off someone else. Maybe it’s time to find new themes, ‘cause I certainly understand that you do want to be obnoxious, and you do want to be provocative. But there are tons of venues for provocation that haven’t been explored yet. And people are easily provoked. So why stick to the same old methods?
I think that a lot of people are limiting themselves in ways that are, frankly, embarrassing. And I would like to see people move on. I would like to see less predictable writing, promotion, and yeah, less releases in general. Every once in a while something comes, the problem is that the predictable is also the recognisable, and therefore it’s easier to market, it’s easier to make people buy it. ‘Cause if someone knows what to expect then you make them happy. Right? There are people out there who wouldn’t listen to anything but harsh Noise walls for example, and I just don’t understand it. I don’t see the point of limiting yourself that much. They will come out and say “Oh, we have all kinds of themes, we have all kinds of interests”. But it’s a cliché for a reason! It’s been over-used. I’ve seen enough of it. It’s not like I’m saying I’m doing anything that is ground breaking in any way, but I would like to see a bit more irreverence, a bit more intelligence, a bit more humour in general. And by humour I don’t mean it has to be “joke” stuff. I think intelligence is kind of sexy and I would like to see more of that. You can see it in certain areas.
I think the problem now is that the Noise scene in a lot of ways is defined by certain online discussions; in the internet age that’s what is visible, that is how the Noise scene is perceived. We know that there are things that are happening elsewhere that don’t get attention and maybe will be picked up ten years from now. These things that go unnoticed now will perhaps become classics in ten years, I don’t know. I do think a lot of people are making it very easy on themselves and making it very easy on the customers.

Noise art.
I was probably more interested (in the Swedish academic experimental music scene) when I was younger when it was something new to me, but – it’s hard to say this without sounding too arrogant, but often it is being presented in venues or situations where I feel absolutely uncomfortable being in -- academic music is not really what I want to do. I feel very uncomfortable in the surroundings and the more academic places for electronic music. I can appreciate the music, but the scene gets in the way of the music, same as with so many other places. There’s a reason that you grow tired of punk music, and that’s because the punk scene is filled with people you can’t relate to. I don’t see music as a social thing, I see it as a personal thing. Given the choice to go to a concert or sit at home, in a lot of cases I’d prefer to sit at home. It could be because of my age, I don’t know, when I was younger I’d go to computer music festivals and it was kind of exciting, it was new. But now I’d be bored sitting there.
I certainly felt that way when I saw Asmus Tietchens perform at Fylkingen a few years ago, with a DAT tape of his compositions, and it was excruciating. I’m amazed I sat through the whole concert and that’s the stuff that is respected and it gets funding. I am kind of grateful that I have some kind of punk background to begin with ‘cause I can’t take it seriously. When it gets too arty- farty I lose interest. I’m not afraid to admit that. Most of the time I prefer something a bit more shabby.

Special packaging of noise.
During the nineties when there was a lot of special packaging, when there was almost a competition to have as outrageous packaging as possible; MSBR, G.R.O.S.S., Stinky Horse Fuckers – it became too much of that. I felt like I had enough crazy packaging to fill another apartment. But personally it hasn’t really appealed to me, and there’s also of course an aspect of the time it takes to produce all these “special” covers. To have a normal cover is much easier to send in the mail, it’s much easier to produce. Since I do things on my own, it can get quite simple, but I like it that way. It’s a conscious decision.

Cliché.
I get fed up with clichés, whether it’s from the tape Noise scene or if it’s from the academic scene. I’ve had tapes I’ve been given with the most obvious sex -and-violence themes where the music just fucking sucks! It’s all a cliché. I can’t stand those tapes, and I can’t stand the academic clichés that I get from that crowd. I can’t say there’s a certain line that has to be crossed for it to become too academic for me, ‘cause I love certain stuff like Alvin Lucier and you can’t get more cerebral than that; it’s almost more of an exercise in physics rather than music and it’s still enjoyable. It’s very academic but I do get a lot out of it. Maybe because Lucier indeed has a great sense of humour. And you can have things that are very artless which I am kind of predisposed towards, but it’s still clichéd and that’s the line. I can enjoy a good cliché as much as the next guy, but every once in a while it gets too much. Take for example the “White Nights” compilation, with Swedish artists using the infamous “death tape” from the Jonestown 1978 tragedy, which we have
all heard a thousand times and we’ve heard it sampled in anything from hip-hop records to Noise. Everyone’s been using it. So can you reinvent the most obvious source material? Of course, some of these artists are close friends and without that personal bond I think that people really out-did themselves in not going to the clichés, but actually trying to avoid them. Maybe it’s easier when you have something that’s recognisable as such a tape, where you have to force yourself not to as obvious as would be the easiest.
So if it’s anything that bothers me, it’s probably clichés.
The Incapacitants for example, the themes are about financial matters, (laughs) stocks and bonds. That’s pleasing because it’s not tied down to any clichés. I agree that Noise is accelerating, it’s full of life, there’s happiness to it. People go through negative phases, of course, I still see people all dressed in black with Sisters of Mercy logos painted on their jackets, and they look dreadfully miserable. I just think that they’ll grow out of it, eventually. I’m not sure if they will but hopefully. So if people in Noise are basically focussing on negative stuff or whatever, that’s perfectly fine, I don’t have a problem with it. Sometimes it’s a bit juvenile, but that can be charming from time to time. Not everyone’s doing it and there are alternatives to it, so I think those people can find something to relate to.
A friend of mine was going on about how the Noise scene was all about hatred, violence, misogyny; first I said to him “you have to show me what you’re talking about. Don’t just say it ‘cause that’s a cliché in itself, show me what you mean, what exact releases are you talking about?” And then I felt that I got sort of defensive in a way that Wall Noise people do when they are accused of only being about giallo movies (laughs).
These themes, they exist, but you’d have to ask the people who are using them why they use it. I’ve been using themes of violence for some of the Treriksröset recordings; I’ve been using football hooliganism, as both a theme and as sound sources. I do have an interest in violent subjects as well, but I like to think that you need to balance it out.

Football holiganism.
I’ve never really thought of it as horrific in any way. There are negative aspects to it; I had a friend who was killed in one football hooliganism death that has occurred in Sweden. But overall it’s not something that I would condemn in any way.
First of all, I am a father of two kids, and have been for some time now, so there is precious little time over for hedonist fun like that. I view what is called football hooliganism as a pretty civilised form of thrillseeking basically. The rules of the game are well known, and although they differ from country to country, and it’s a violent activity, it is safe to say that innocent bystanders are not at any risk of getting hurt. Around 20 years ago, there was more terrace violence at Swedish football games, but in the process of making the football games more of a family attraction the violence became more organised, even ritualised, and moved away from the terraces. By the late 90’s, the bigger Swedish teams all had well established groups of fans willing to fight for the team’s colours. The original group of Gothenburg hooligans started as an answer to arch rivals AIK, whose fans behaved like animals when coming to Gothenburg. They stood up for their city, and really noone blamed them for doing that. I sure as hell didn’t. Looking at a phenomenon like this from the sidelines, it would be easy to think of it as just braindead thugs going at each other for no sound reason at all. I guess the only way to describe it is as a ritualised hardline form of acknowledging that there is antagonism between cities and teams, and this comes alive in the form of more or less planned clashes between groups of fans. Right or wrong, moral or immoral, it is one of the few arenas left for men to have a go at each other, and an easy way to step outside of society’s rules. What this says about the hooligans is up to anyone to analyse. I view it as a way to seek out, and to place yourself in, potentially dangerous situations, just for the thrill of it, regardless of what is otherwise acceptable behaviour to you.
Going to football games since the old days, the atmosphere on the terraces has changed drastically. Again, whether it’s for better or worse is up to your personal opinion. I can miss the old days, where the tension was always there, and where you could lose yourself in the rush of being part of a mob. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it! (laughs) I guess if you have a view on humanity that we are not creatures of conflict, you might think it is barbaric and uncivilised to even begin to show any kind of understanding for this kind of behaviour. But like I said earlier, there are rules to this ritualised form of violence, and noone wants to see anyone end up dead. Now the nature of violence is that sometimes it does kill, so of course accidents happen. Until now, only one person, Tony Deogan, has died from hooligan fights in Sweden. There will be more deaths in the future, I’m sure. Still, considerably many more people have died while mountaineering, so perhaps we shouldn’t make too much of one death, no matter how tragic it is. There are people who will actively seek out dangerous situations, and as long as everyone is there of their own free will, what harm can there be? If there is anything I understand pretty well it’s probably the pursuit of the thrill, and in a civilised society like Sweden you sometimes need to go to extremes to seek out the big thrills.
The noise world can be pretty intellectual, or at least pseudo-intellectual, and sports in general are usually seen as simpleton entertainment. So being more interested in going to football games than sitting at academic music shows makes me a neanderthal to some people I’m sure. Acknowledging that organised mob violence can be fun is also not something you put in your cv... I have used themes of hooligan violence for a few Treriksröset tracks.
Eating tarmac on the Sweetness Will Overcome compilation is self-explanatory title-wise, and also uses sounds of terrace violence as source material. The track Pro- WM is named as a salute to Gothenburg’s finest. But these days I don’t have the time or the energy to get my hands dirty, even though I still very much enjoy when there is real danger in the air... but the death of
Tony made me lose a lot of interest in the hooligan world. After his death, there was a HUGE influx of young people who wanted to get in on the fun. You got young kids who hadn’t even been to a football game in their life, they just came for the fighting. Also, there was more and more of the rather silly “casual” clothing thing, where you got the feeling that it mattered more what kind of super expensive brand clothes you wore than being able to name any players of your team. I don’t mind people dressing sharp, but kids, get your priorities straight for fucks sake.

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2019, 08:29:56 PM »


Human interaction.
Most of the time I’m more interested in other aspects than human interaction. They can be very vague; I have a fascination or urge to go to, and explore, the lack of humanity. The places that are untouched, that are just so bleak, you really wouldn’t want to be there. I like extreme cold weather, I like Arctic climate and geography, I like the themes of exploration trips, for example to the South Pole, that’s the kind of simple stuff that I sit and enjoy myself with. 1800’s exploration travels to the South Pole where there where such extreme conditions that you don’t think anyone would be able to handle it. There are just tons of places on the Earth that are mind-blowing to me but I think just something like the bottom of the ocean is enough to keep me stimulated for years and years. I like to think about things in the larger perspective, the cosmos. I am perfectly aware that it sounds ridiculous but that’s more inspirational to me, thinking a much larger perspective. At the same time I’m fascinated by human interaction but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to that ‘cause the themes of conflict have been used very much in the Noise scene. Conflicts being probably the most common theme there is and you can go beyond that.
But there are other things, like a lot of other themes I’m interested in. Themes of religion, they do interest me, and I often wonder about how one person’s misconception and peoples’ beliefs can affect the lives of others. And there you go, there’s the human interaction again. It can be interesting, but I think you do need to give some time and thought into the things you’re using. It can be on a purely personal level, it can be very fetishistic in that it simply appeals to you. But there are lots of themes that should be explored more, I think.
Provocations - intensities - extremes.
I am sure anyone who is drawn to these extremes, death, violence and ritualised use of carcasses and blood, would be instantly attracted to the visceral impact of Nitsch. Personally, out of the Viennese Actionists, I always found Rudolf Schwarzkogler to be a much more interesting artist. While the spectacle was obviously of great importance to most of the Actionists, I appreciate the more private nature of Schwarzkogler, and I find it a lot more sensual and focused than any of the others in the loose group. Certainly the works of Schwarzkogler are in a way a lot more radical, seeing as there is no audience in mind, no self-promotion, no need for any marketing, something that can make his associated Actionists appear as slightly vulgar and with more of a superficial intensity. Also, the myths and lies surrounding his death seem to flourish to this day, which I find quite interesting. One would think that by now *anyone* even remotely interested would know that Schwarzkogler did not die from any kind of self-mutilation as art, yet these modern folk myths seem to live on. This fascination with the implausible is baffling.
The artists that are pushing boundaries are everywhere to be found. You would think that in this day and age when basically everything that anyone could hold as sacred has been blasphemed and ridiculed over and over, it would be hard to find people who are upset about something as thoroughly non- threatening as a visual artist exploring ideas with his artistic tools, showing this art to mostly sophisticated wine-drinkers wouldn’t make much impact in the “real world”. So surely it is interesting when artists are met with intense reactions from the general public.
I am very much interested in artists who are exploring themes of free speech, and artists whose work have made them unwilling targets for opponents of free speech. Currently, and this is the way it has been since at least February 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced his fatwa for the execution of Salman Rushdie, the world of Islam is the most thin-skinned opponents to freedom of speech. It is surely a stark contrast to the image of Islam being a religion of peace, but there you go. It would be a sorry mistake to think of Islam as you think of most other religions, and it would be a mistake to think of Muhammed as any other prophet. The subject is much too huge to cover in an interview like this, but I would urge anyone interested to both read up on the life of Muhammed -- especially the way his life and preachings changed over the years, since he moved from Mecca to Medina -- and to locate a readable Koran. Most Korans that are sold in bookstores are nearly unreadable due to the decision to present all verses not in chronological order, but instead arranged after the length of the verses. This makes for a book that is very, very hard to understand, even for most muslims! I would recommend the abridged and chronological Koran published by the Center for the Study of Political Islam. This version sets all the verses in historical perspective, and makes the relation between Muhammed’s life and the verses in the Koran easily understood. Study a bit, and then decide for yourself if the core message of Islam really is one of peace and friendly co-existence, or if it’s ultimate goal is something else.
So, what is perceived as insults to the faithful of the religion of peace is what we tend to think of as just another expression of free speech. We have a growing number of artists who are forced into hiding, like the cartoonist Molly Norris, like Danish artist Knut Westergaard, and like Swedish art professor Lars Vilks, and many more. This way of threatening anyone who blasphemes against Islam is a powerful tool of oppression indeed, and it is disgusting to see supposedly democratic westerners joining the offended ones in a shameful display of blaming the artists rather than standing up for their absolute rights to express themselves. I am disgusted just as much by the barbaric cries for blood over simple drawings, as I am by these spineless co-conspirators among us. People say that the American pastor Terry Jones, who barbecued a Koran, is the one to blame for the following killings in Afghanistan. What a strange view on the role of responsibility, and what a cowardly way out. These people would rather sacrifice the non-violent people than risk angering the obviously violent ones. It is cowardly and spineless, nothing else.

Sexregler.
Sexregler was recorded shortly after my second kid was born, after some time of getting hardly any rest at all. It’s my ode to sleep deprivation (laughs). The tape was first released as a private tape that I sent around mainly to friends, and then Hatband wanted to do it as a proper release on the label, which was of course fine by me. Greh of Chondritic Sound was a fan of the recording, so I talked to him about possibly releasing Sexregler as a CD, and also to re-release the two collaborative tapes with Dan. After a while Phil of Troniks joined in, which was a good thing or the two discs would never have been released I think... For the CD release, Lasse Marhaug mastered the Sexregler tape, and did a great job. I am still very satisfied with the recording, and I am happy that it is easily available.
Venal.
The cover picture for Venal is from a mid-70’s Swedish tabloid used to illustrate an article on child prostitution. Having said that, I chose the picture mainly for the aesthetic qualities of the photo, rather than using it as a comment on prostitution of any kind. I liked the atmosphere in the picture, the desolation and the overall bleakness of it. As Swedish pornography laws were truly pioneering, the 70’s were an interesting time to grow up. Back then, there were maybe half a dozen porno cinemas in Gothenburg, and tons of strip clubs and other forms of sleazy entertainment. I was just a small kid back then, so obviously I couldn’t catch more than small glimpses of what was made available, but the overall feeling was that there was dirt to be found. Since then, gentrification has taken its toll on the filthy neighbourhoods, and now the back streets of Gothenburg, as all other Swedish cities, are filled with designer clothing shops, sushi bars and cafes where there used to be porn shops and strip joints. It’s not that I miss child prostitution on the streets -- I certainly dont, but the streets these days feel so squeaky clean... too clean.

Visual Art.
Visual art is a part of life, and has been so ever since I first started becoming interested in comic book artists actually. Much like in music, I don’t do much of a distinction between what is “high art” and what are supposedly lower forms of art. With no academic education in these things, I am left to figure out for myself what is appealing and what holds artistic merit.
Growing up, much like what I said about my parents not having much of an interest in music, the same could be said about art. But since the experimental music scene in Gothenburg was in many ways a part of a larger “art scene” with underground galleries and so on, it was a natural way to be exposed also to the world of fine art. So I would say that of course I am interested in visual arts. This spans a lot of disparate styles. Some of my favourites at the moment are Tommy Hilding, who paints lifeless suburban landscapes of Sweden with incredible Fingerspitzengefühl. The dreariness and desolation oozes from his paintings, and he is one of the artists that truly spellbind me as a viewer. Another Swede who impresses me more and more is Stefan Danielsson, whose technique is absolutely breathtaking. Seeing his art in real life is a whole other experience than seeing it in print, or online. Stefan also has a great level of knowledge on the subjects he’s working with, from Haitian Vodou to the Ugandan child soldiers of LRA and so on, and it’s a joy to have him explain even the tiniest details of his work. No room for meaningless decoration, his is an art of tangible symbolism. The art world is often a world of disgusting practices and hierarchies, and dilettantes being hailed as geniuses left and right. The British ART HATE movement is hugely inspirational as well. How could anyone interested in art not be smitten with a style of art that is, and I quote, “defined by the perpetual and
inexplicable hatred of all art”?
One of my all-time favourite artists is the French symbolist Gustav-Adolf Mossa, whose art I can lose myself in for hours and hours. To this day I have only seen his art reproduced in books, and I look forward to any chance of seeing his paintings in real life. A friend of mine described Mossa as a cross between Carl Larsson and Gustav Klimt, and I think that seems like a pretty insightful way to describe Mossa for anyone not familiar with him.
Well, at least to anyone in Sweden... I have no idea how well known Larsson is outside of this country.
Oh, and fuck Damien Hirst. For so many reasons.

No Reichean Discliples.
The title No Reichean Disciples from split tape with Regim, was meant as a pretty straightforward way of pointing out the absurdities spouted by Reich, someone who should be regarded as just another charlatan, much like L Ron Hubbard for instance. Seeing as William S Burroughs is a patron saint in the underground noise and industrial world, and that people lap up what he said, it should be noted that he was fascinated by Reich, and well, he believed in a lot of absolute nonsense... He was a member of the Church of Scientology, although he later changed his mind and renounced most of the church’s teachings and techniques, and he was also very much influenced by Reich. And there’s a lot of this pseudo-science and mysticism junk being touted in “our circles”. The title was just my way of saying that I keep a distance to these sort of things. And seriously, Wilhelm Reich, a marxist freudian, would you trúst *anyone* with that background? Really?

Contemporary Black Noise/Black Industrial & “ritual music” of the past.
Sounds like something that could easily be marketed to the Harry Potter crowd. No, I haven’t heard any so called “black industrial” music.
And what is the definition of ritual music? Hymns and prayers set to music? Melodic recitation of holy scriptures? Make-believe languages like Enochian perhaps? The supposedly ancient Enochian language transmitted by angels, in fact made up by some 16th century astrologist make about as much sense, and have about as much impact on the real world, as the languages invented by Tolkien or other writers. No, I’m not the least bit interested in these fantasies and delusions. I can surely appreciate music coming from religious cultures, but to give it any status as anything more than just music seems a bit far-fetched to me.
Pre-recorded tape.
I think there have been two shows where I’ve used pre-recorded tapes other than as a sound source, for example, having a Walkman that you run through certain effects. I did one show where I was at the release party for the “Estheticks of Cruelty”, that was in 1999, so like I said, the scene was quite different. That show was a statement and I wanted something that would set it apart. And that was me with just a DAT, I think it was a nine minute track that I recorded earlier at a friend’s studio. So in a way it was similar to the academic festivals or shows that I’d been to, where the programme always said “tape realised at EMS”, or wherever. I was just sitting on a chair, smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of whiskey while the music was blasting as loud as possible, and that was the show. That was all intentional, and it was done for a purpose.
The other time I’ve used pre-recorded tapes, I had a stack of five or six tape recorders where I mixed tapes live. But this was also a few years ago, and since then I’ve become more interested in doing everything live, naked and alone on the stage, and if you fuck up you have nothing to rely on. If you have a backing tape you always have something to fall back on and I prefer not to have that safety net. And like I said, for a while there were a lot of artists performing with backing tapes in the Swedish scene, a lot of them, and you just got fed up with it, it was also another reason not to touch that again.
Live visuals.
It’s always been about the music first and foremost; if the organizers want to have some sort of video projection, that’s fine with me, I won’t deny them that, but I don’t have much interest in it myself. It’s not like I’m trying to portray anything or convey something with my music. While I do have names for the pieces sometimes and I may want to base them on some sort of personal point of view, it’s not like I think that audience could ever, just by listening to the music, understand what I had in mind. ‘Cause it’s all just sounds and that’s what it’s about. I don’t feel the need to underline something, or to push people to think in certain ways. To me it’s all music and the visual aspect is not really of interest to me in the live situation.

Loudness of noise.
The loudness aspect is important. With noise music that is often abstract you can certainly benefit from the physical impact of sheer loudness; the bass is actually felt in your body for example. I think it’s extremely valuable and I think it’s part of the noise experience. In Sweden now there is some sort of law for concert venues, that, I think, there’s a hundred decibel level. This of course applies to regular venues, rock concerts and stuff, but I have been to shows where they completely castrated the music by not having enough volume. I don’t mind if it’s very, very loud, it’s one of the aspects of Noise music I do enjoy. I can understand why some people don’t like it and I certainly respect people who don’t want to damage their hearing, but my hearing’s been damaged since my teens
and I don’t really cry myself to sleep over it.

New generations of noise.
I’ve certainly given some thought to the age aspect. It seems to be the same all over the world, there’s very little in the way of new, young people coming into the world of noise. Or at least not in the same way as it was when we were young. Someone said about punk rock that punk is there for anybody who wants to adopt it. It’s readily available; if you need it in your life you will find it and you will use it. It will be your identity and if that’s what you need you have it there.
That’s not how it was meant I think, in a way it’s kind of derogatory, ‘cause it’s basically saying that it’s a set of values and it’s a uniform that you can just put on when you need it in your life, then move on.
And it shouldn’t be much different with noise I think. But it’s not happening in the same way. Still, I don’t see noise as having a last generation. You do wonder, for a young person to come in now, you would sort of have to compete for attention, and here you are competing with people who have been in the scene for twenty, thirty years. I mean, Incapacitants and Hijokaidan are still active, they’re more or less untouchable in terms of quality, and of course it can be intimidating for a young person to come into such a scene. Having these people who have been around for such a long time and they’re doing such amazing things and you might certainly question if you have anything new to offer.
In an ideal world it would maybe push young people to strive even harder. When you’re in your teens, you shouldn’t have any respect for people who are over thirty (laughs). But they have that respect and maybe that is another aspect of limiting yourself. The noise scene is there and it’s up for grabs, just come and do something; I’m eagerly awaiting teenagers to come in and kick my ass, or kick anyone’s ass. I’d welcome it, more than anything. I don’t see much of it happening though.

Old artists reunions.
Some of the new Mauthausen Orchestra stuff would never have been released if it wasn’t under a recognised name. Some of the Maurizio Bianchi stuff is pathetic, just a waste of plastic. Seeing Sutcliffe Jugend live last year was knee-slapping laughable. Blood Ov Thee Christ did a couple of brilliant tapes in the 80’s, but what does the current incarnation of BOTC have to do with any of that? And yet, we revere these people who should have been out of the door a long time ago. And of course it’s a problem. But, when you have a scene, where you offer people, “sure you can come and play, just bring your laptop, we’ll have a free trip around the world, it doesn’t have to be good, just be there under your old name, we’ll pay for it”. I think all these reunions and all these – well, Sutcliffe Jugend is a perfect example. It’s clearly something else touring with a name of a band christened as a teenager devoted to a UK serial killer in the nineteen eighties – that was then! (Laughs). So you’re away for a while, you do something else, and then you come back. And you’re welcome to play, everywhere around the world and to do luxury LP releases. If it was someone else, under anybody else’s name – these people would maybe get the harsh criticism that they need. But instead they’re just given a license to just go on a paid vacation, all because of some weird misguided need for nostalgia.
Audience of noise.
I saw Merzbow earlier this summer in Stockholm, and I think there where two or three hundred people in the audience, and where the hell are they? Are they sitting at home right now listening to noise? Or do they go because Merzbow is sort of a “brand name”? Seriously, you have a show and it was a piss poor show, it was really just Masami going through the motions with a couple of laptops, and it was basically awful, and people were lapping it up. They thought it was great! Maybe I’m not hearing the same thing as others, but... I just can’t figure out the world. You have two or three hundred people who are obviously not into noise, ‘cause otherwise I think I would have seen them around (laughs). But they come for such an occasion. We do have a problem there. Shit like Throbbing Gristle having a reunion draws thousands of people, but it’s obviously worthless.
Maybe it’s the same in other scenes, but for obvious reasons you don’t get Burzum or Darkthrone touring on their old merits. Well, I don’t know what I’m talking about really (laughs). But we do have a problem of being overly appreciative of peoples’ old efforts, of people touring on old merits. Instead of being judged by what they actually perform they’re being judged by how long they’ve been around. We have a problem with nostalgia, ‘cause you get shit that’s being praised, some eighties stuff that was worthless then and still worthless; it’s being lauded for just being old. I also think that a lot of current projects and current releases are being drowned by more clichéd stuff. I think there are tons of things that deserve more attention but obviously people don’t see the same way I do.

Documentation of history.
The noise scene could definitely use more documentation of the history. Of course, we should reject it in a way and strive for new things to come out, rather than just looking backwards. There’s a lot of stuff that people would enjoy hearing, for that reason it should be available. But like I said, there are things coming out right now that are basically ignored. Going back to what I said earlier about the Noise scene being by certain online forums; people talk about certain things and you can notice certain obvious trends. No one likes a trend, you would think, but they are there. Right now it seems that the trend is heavily on, I would say violence and filth (laughs). It’s very much set the tone for what is the current trend.
There are lots of micro-trends. Even when you notice all these micro-trends there are certain things that don’t fit in and fall in the gaps. I would say the latest Golden Serenades, the Hammond CD, which I think is a brilliant CD, I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned at all on online forums, and it is a brilliant record deserving a lot more praise, like all Golden Serenades releases. Fuck it! Online forums; information comes and goes. That’s the problem with the internet, it doesn’t make much of a mark in history. You need more tangible and lasting information.

Noise in internet
Just today, I was listening to a Last FM page and I checked out Jason Crumer and he had some thousand plays and I thought “Wow!” That’s kind of impressive! Of course this is a person whose music deserves to be heard by a lot of people, so I thought it was pretty cool. Personally I have zero interest in listening to music that way, mainly because my computer sucks, and I don’t have any decent speakers hooked up to it. I do actually love to listen to music, and when I listen to music I devote my time to music. I feel as like MySpace and all that other kind of listening, I’m sure it’s good for something. It doesn’t appeal to me. It seems...wrong. It sounds old fashioned, but you get spoiled when there’s too much of a good thing. This sort of touches on the issue of downloading music. I view downloading as the natural response to a situation of too much music being produced, and too many records being released. Downloading (or should I say illegal downloading?) has been both positive and negative for a lot of musicians, and I think it’s impossible to be fully supportive of it, as well as being completely against it. I know of a lot of labels and artists who have ceased their activities saying that the culture of downloading has been making it impossible for them to carry on their work. I also know about the positive sides of downloading, of course. A few years ago I had more of an anti-downloading attitude, but frankly a lot of labels and musicians are begging for their stuff to be spread by the fans, seeing as so many labels are not interested in keeping their releases available. The way I see it is that downloading is inevitable, and that the effects are not easily described as being purely negative or purely positive.
I’m willing to admit that maybe you don’t need a physical product, sure. But I also think that if something’s good enough it rises to the top, and you get to hear of it. And frankly, a lot of these MySpace projects, I don’t hear anyone praising them. I don’t hear anyone really promoting and saying “this is really good”. It seems more like a group hug, some sort of back-patting community. Like so many others. But if it was really good, more people would know about it, and yes, there would be physical releases eventually. But I don’t see it happening.

Dead formats.
You get to such extremes. You have these people saying that books are a dead format, or there was talk years ago about offices without any paper. The fact that there is new technology doesn’t mean we have to change everything – we still have had a couple of thousand years to evolve as humans and we have decided that a magazine is actually a good way of presenting information. Just because there are other alternatives publishing the same pictures and the same
words doesn’t mean that we where wrong in our evolutionary sense. This is actually something we enjoy. Holding a magazine or holding a book is a pretty fucking great way of reading. Much better than on a computer screen. You don’t lose old habits that fast and I don’t see any reason why you should. It’s not a problem, is it, to have a physical product? Sometimes these people that make it out to be old fashioned or whatever, I can’t see the problem. If the new way is better, then sure, fine.
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2019, 04:17:44 AM »

Thank you Mikko!
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 07:41:53 PM »

Great, almost timeless interview. Thanks for sharing it here.
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 08:01:18 PM »

If any specific content requests of sold out issues, just open topic and request it. I have no objections to share, but just limited time to make ”everything” available. Can focus on specific things that are asked for.
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