Another friggin good band from Sweden, maybe it is something in the water there. Crutches play more than three minute punk noise, they have perfected it to a defined raised fist clenched and pumping through a barrage of angry d-beat and whistling feedback. Their new album “Luard”, is very much quintessential listening. Thanks to Oskar and Andreas for answering the questions.
Hi there, could you give a history of the band and when you got together? What is it like to be involved in hardcore punk Sweden? With so many successful bands coming from there is the scene very big? Is it a political scene or more of a musical one?
O: When ending our former band me and Tom decided to form CRUTCHES to get a new beginning and new energy to what we felt strong about, and that’s political D.I.Y. raw punk. This was in the end of 2009, beginning of 2010 we made our first show, then we had some unfortunate situations that made us unable to make all the things happen as we planned. Today we’ve changed members a few times and been able to actually tour and make new songs in a way that we’re all happy about.
As for being a band out of Sweden we know that we’re one of many and have a lot to live up to. There are as in so many other places different parts of the scene, some are more political than others, some do not care for politics when others think it’s more or less the whole deal about punk music. I’d say all we do is political, from daily life to direct actions there are so many things that matters, and there are many with me in that question. For Sweden all in general we have loads of great bands, but unfortunately not that many places for gigs. We’ve been forced to close than more than once here in Malmö, but the urge of creating new alternatives has become so strong that there will most likely be new ways getting things going again.
A: I joined the band around October 2011, if my memory serves me right. I’d been trying to find a band to play with more or less active ever since I moved to Malmö, and one day Oskar popped the question. So I jumped aboard and it’s been one hell of a ride ever since. We’re all good friends since way back and hang out a lot even outside the band so it felt pretty natural.
Wether or not the punk scene is politically or musically focused is I guess in the eye of the beholder. But for me punk is politics and will always be so, as it goes hand in hand with life and every day actions. The punk scene is as big as ever in Malmö with tones of new bands sprouting (almost) each week. Which is really inspiring and makes me happy to be part of. But at the same time, as Oskar points out, there’s very limited venues. Which I guess have a both positive and negative influence. Positive as it pushes bands to go touring and negative as in not having a steady culture space where things can take place.
What do you think were the most important ideas/bands in the development of the underground diy hardcore scene there?
O: The most important ideas must be the ethics of D.I.Y. and equality that has been a big thing here in Sweden.
A: I’d say as long as you’re having fun doing things together you’re on the right track. If it’s no fun doing it you might as well just give it up. Helping each other out is another one. Don’t be an asshole and make way for punk hierarchy. If you do, you suck. One of the main reasons which got me into punk was the realization that bands consist of persons like me and you. Anyone can do it and you don’t have to be a musical genius to do it. If people like your music that’s just a bonus.
You have a new record coming out “Lurad” and it is released through four different labels. Is this to cut costs or is it more about getting a better distribution with the labels involved being based in Australia, Ireland, Sweden and the Czech Republic?
O: Yes the 12″ is out now and called “LURAD” (Fooled). Since having a label for 12 years now (Not Enough) me and Tom are releasing it together with friends such as Alex – Distro-y (Ireland), Toda – Rawmantic disasters (Germanland) and Mirek – Phobia records (Czech). This is to make it a bit more wide spread and since it’s a release of our own it feels really nice to have good people aboard to help spreading the word in a totally different way than you can do on your own. And I think that co-releasing records is really cool since it’s a good way for all involved to get the things to different parts of the world. Before we embarked on our South East Asia tour “On your war horn” we had Borhan – Bullwhip and Syahir – Pissed off records to help us release the “LURAD” recording and the previous releases, demo and 7″ as a tape version that was sold on the tour. This feels really great since it’s distributed in so many different parts of the world already.
Would you give us some of the meanings and ideas behind the songs on “Lurad”?
O: the title song LURAD would be one that I’d say is about the way we’re taught how not admit that we’re wrong/weak or not knowing it all in our society. A typical way of a manly/patriarchal society is that you think you’re stronger than you are and to admit your weakness is one failure that you shall not, which I personally think is a really scary and disturbing thing about life. That along with the fact that we feels fooled by the system and all that it stands for. ARBETARJÄVEL is a song that’s dedicated to workers all over the world, where we all shall unite against the ones in power and control of our lives. From sweeping floors, taking care of elderly and children to hard labour industrial workers we shall unite and win.
When writing as a band lyrically do you have to align yourself against or with certain ideas. So that every member of the band represent the exact beliefs? Or is it more the ideas of the person who is writing the song?
O: I’m the one writing most of the lyrics and I’d say that I know the ones in the bands good enough to be ok with my ideas and that we all feel that we can stand as one behind the words I put to print. We’re discussing the meanings of the songs and all are free to change or come with ideas of what could be different with the lyrics if that would be a situation that would occur. I think it’s really important that all as one can stand for what we’re doing as a collective, if that wouldn’t be the case we’d fail big time as a band, and that would be really sad since this is something we’re doing for a belief and as well as a band that is part of our lives.
Some of the band are vegan, could you give us a recipe of a good traditional dish from Sweden done in a vegan way?
A: I guess this question goes out to me, the labeled food freak in the band. Swedish cuisine is pretty lame as it is. The vegan versions just substitute the meat from the dish, which consists of some kind of meat, potatoes, brown sauce and is served with lingonberry jam or sauerkraut. But there are some dishes that really stand out. My personal favorite is the sandwich cake. It’s pretty straight forward in the making. Whip out a layer (as big as you like) of bread. Smear on a spread of whatever spread you like. New layer of bread. New layer of spread. Build it as high as you like. Then on the last layer of bread as well as on the sides of the cake you cover with mayonnaise. Stick salad leafs on the side and top off with minced veggies and vegan caviar or whatever. The sandwich cake is the ultimate dish for endless combinations. The hardest part is to savor yourself until the next day when the ingredients have made the bread all soggy and delicious.
How did your tour of SE Asia go with Apparatus? Was it a very different experience of touring, was it hard to organize. What advice would you give other bands if they were looking to tour there? Can you describe how your tour went there and what places would you advise people to check out? What are your next tour plans?
O: The SE Asia tour went extremely well, I’d say that this tour was the best I’ve done so far in my history of touring. The experiences were amazing and the people were fantastic. As for being hard, it would be more to Esa (Doombringer) and Along (Apparatus) to judge since they were the ones booking the tour for us, but as what we could see it seemed to be pretty much ok. I’d say you should go and travel and experience all, but the crew from Bandung were awesome in Indonesia and the Rumah Api in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia were two I’d say I’d definitely like to come and visit more than once again.
A: I couldn’t agree with Oskar more. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I guess nothing could’ve prepared us for it. It was an amazing experience which had it’s hardships as well. But what tour doesn’t? We were treated and greeted really well and all the fantastic people we got to meet and places we got to see and play were absolutely stunning. On top of that killer bands we got to play with, which I probably never even would’ve heard of if it weren’t for that tour. Everything went pretty smooth, the only big set-back was a delayed flight between Indonesia and Malaysia, and a couple of upset stomaches. So my advice is to stock up on diarrhea pills. Haha. And drink a lot of water! Playing in 35+ degrees celsius with a humidity of 95% takes it’s toll on you. I had to re-learn how to hold my guitar due to the sheer amount of sweat gushing out of my skin. A fast fret stick is also to recommend as my strings started rusting after just one show. And if you’re planning on going, give the Pyrate Punx collective in Bandung a holler, Dead Beat Shop in Penang and Rumah Api in KL.
O: We have a bunch of stuff going on now and the next longer tour we’ll be doing is a West Coast USA tour together with Frustration (Seattle) that will be in June this year. After that we’ll be doing some weekend trips for festivals in Germany, France and England. Even some vague plans for next year already but we’ll post more on our webpage when we know the exact deals.
Crutches “Tsunami E.P.” 7″
Contorture “Who’s in charge” LP
Lautstürmer “Bedtime for humanity” LP
Visions of War “King of swines” LP
http://www.crutches666.blogspot.se Tsunami E.P: 7″ OUT NOW
http://www.ursut.se “Dårarnas Paradis” CD /LP available