Thursday, February 12, 2009

The (International) Noise Conspiracy/ Refused

This interview was already published on Asice late last year. Since I did it and I kinda like how the whole thing turned out, I decided to republish it here. Refused were a big influence on me when I first started listening to hardcore so it was nice to talk with Dennis Lyxzen about his old and his current band.

So are you happy about the collapse of the economical system in the USA and worldwide. Because both Refused and The (I)NC always had an anti-capitalist stance? And aren’t you out of topics to sing about now that you were proven right?

Well, I’m not going to be all like ‘hey, I told you so’. And though the collapse proves me right, there’s nothing to be happy about. If anything it will make the situation worse for a whole lot of people who lose their jobs and their houses. I always thought the capitalist system would fail in the end because it’s not based on morals, it’s inhuman. Karl Marx already predicted it’s failing two hundred years ago. The worldwide crisis doesn’t solve anything I’m afraid. It will only set up a whole bunch of new problems. As a band we still have a lot of things to sings about I think.

What’s your opinion on Obama as the man who will save the USA and the world?

I think with Obama instead of curing the disease only a part of the disease is cured. I admit it’s interesting that a conservative nation chose a black person for president. And he’s more progressive than any of the presidents before him. But he’s still the president of The States. He’s not going to drastically organise social welfare. He’s not going to take power away from the big industries. Simply because he’s only one man.

The (I)NC has a lot of criticism on the United States. But who are you to judge another country? Wouldn’t it be better if you stick to problems in Sweden or is everything all right there?

Lately things in Sweden are very bad. The right wing is in control. As a band we have set up these sort of rock against… concerts in Sweden, so we’re active in our own country. We also walk in protests and stuff and when we play in Sweden I address local topics on stage. Yet as a band we try to reach as much people as possible. That is why we called the band the International Noise Conspiracy. During the year we spend our time all over the world. So the topics of our songs are international as well. It’s just easier for people anywhere to sing ‘Washington Bullets’ instead of ‘Bullets on Saab’ or ‘Bullets on Bofor’ the two biggest weapon industries in Sweden.

Refused had a clear straight edge and vegan message something that seems to be all gone in The (I)NC. Why?

Both Refused and The (I)NC are anarchist bands. But with Refused we were put in the vegan edge scene, that’s also where we started. We were way more political than a lot of those bands and the scene became narrow-minded over the years. We wanted to talk about other things besides veganism. That’s also one of the reasons why Refused broke up. We felt imprisoned in a way. With The (I)NC we’re not part of any scene. You see punk kids, hardcore kids, rock kids and political kids at our shows. That’s what we want. I’m still vegan though and as of lately I do address the meat industry once again. It keeps getting more clear that this industry is the biggest polluter of our planet. The biggest benefactor or global warming is the meat industry. But that’s not a topic many politicians want to touch.

Has Refused’s ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ become a burden for you as the record is seen as a milestone in hardcore whereas the records you’ve made with The (I)NC so far haven’t received that kind of recognition?

I still think it’s quite of ironic that the record we wrote as a big fuck off to the scene, is seen as a classic. But the record isn’t a burden. ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ made me see what I wanted next, which became The Noise Conspiracy. I also think that the records we make with The (I)NC are less easy to label therefore they won’t be seen as a milestone of any scene, because they don’t fit in a scene. When we started the Noise Conspiracy people tried to place us under garage rock, but we’re way too political for that. Now we’re just The Noise Conspiracy.

Have you never thought about spending the energy and time you now put in the band in a political career? You might achieve more doing that.

Oh no. Music got me into politics. Not the other way around. I could never be a politician. As a musician you can exaggerate on stage to set people in motion. As a politician you always have to make compromises. I’m not very good with that.

Some people say you’re full of words but lack on action.

Only idiots say things like that. In my opinion individuals all fight their political struggle in their own way. I choose to do it through the band. We play numerous of benefits every year. We support Swedish left wing groups. We are part of demonstrations and visit areas like Palestine to help out. However most of these things we do as individuals. We don’t brag about it, because it’s just what we want to do.

You said that music got you into politics. Which bands are responsible for that?

Before I learned about hardcore I found out about punk. Bands like The Clash and Dead Kennedys got me interested in left wing politics. But it wasn’t till I found out about Born Against and most importantly ManLiftingBanner that I really became more political myself. Especially ManLiftingBanner was a big influence to Refused, most people don’t seem to know that. But to hear of a European straight edge band with communist ideas, that was so inspiring to us. That really fuelled me and the other guys to do a band as well.

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