There has been brief mention of underrated Swedish grind punks Fredag Den 13:e ‘round these parts before, with our salute to their ability to maintain an infectious quality to its song writing even while trawling along at a couple hundred miles an hour. The Gothenburg quintet pushes that quality to the limit on new album Dystopisk Utsikt and also doesn’t hold back on airing their political views. However, since they write in their native tongue and I’m about as proficient in Swedish as I am in Swahili, it was decided to ask the band about what’s been bouncing around in their brains these days. So, while you’re checking out a stream of the new album, Niclas, the band’s drummer, gives us the topical lowdown.
Dystopia Through the Eyes of Fredag Den 13:e
The dystopia is what we’re facing today in Sweden, Europe and many parts of the world. The rise of easy and stupid populism, the normalisation of the extreme right, and the right wing leaning in politics and society in general; religious dumb-nuts from all angles, with the hate and segregation that comes with both religion and cynical politics. Cynicism, egoism, quick fixes, blaming the outcasts and the weak when, really, the economic and power structures are designed in a way that it needs and thrives on class gaps and the simple fact it would collapse unless you turn people against each other. That we still, in this day and age, rely on this system and these evil, cynical and destructive ways is for us hard to grasp. The world is a smaller place today than it has ever been and with that one could hope that we could learn and take inspiration from one another to make it a better place. But still, xenophobia and hate rules, now more than it has in many decades. And all to uphold a system designed for the great and powerful elite. The worst part of it all is that we really can’t see any this change anytime soon, but rather the opposite – this is a downward spiral that’s only just started.
Fredag Den 13:e and Resistance
For us, it began with the Swedish capitalist/right wing alliance’s takeover of government when we started the band; the disassembly of welfare, privatizations, sales and out-sourcing of public institutions. Diapers began to be weighed in retirement homes and the children’s groups in the schools grew larger. Economic surpluses and unpaid taxes disappeared to tax haven islands. The transition took place gradually and when the refugee crisis came a couple of years later, people thought they were getting it worse because of immigration. That’s when the nationalists got the space they needed, and people haven’t let go of that idea since. But at the same time, one can’t pity “common people” who are being fooled – they are selfish, un-empathetic swine that for ages been on the strong ones side, and voices must be raised against them. They’re not to pity, after all they have fascist ideas and it doesn’t matter if they’re of low income and of working class, although all focus must be on class society in the political debate so that the infected matter of immigration issues can be balanced out.
My Lethal Weapon is My Mother Tongue
In the beginning, we wrote our songs in both English and Swedish. Then Anders, our original vocalist, felt more comfortable and natural writing and singing in Swedish. We all agreed that it felt better to stick to one language and since it was 9/10 songs in Swedish, we just stuck with that. To be honest, I don’t think it was for a certain purpose, but just something to go with. When the band started, the main topics of our songs were Swedish politics, with the new right wing/liberal alliance that we loathed and still loath. Nowadays, as predicted, the Swedish fascist party is the second largest – something we knew the right-leaning, populistic, privatizing, segregating, unjust politics of that alliance would pave way for. Even though we write about what happens all around the world, as well as personal reflections on everyday life and the struggle that brings, our main source of disgust lies here at home. So therefore, I suppose we stick with Swedish in our lyrics.
The Right Wing and the Foundations of Hate Policy
Some years ago, the answer would be education. Education, meaning both history and facts, just as well as values. Today, it’s harder to understand it. It seems more people choose to resist simple facts and history even though the answer is right in front of them. That makes it even more cynical and disgusting. Hate nurtures hate and all normalisation of this is extremely dangerous since people don’t feel “extreme” in this situation anymore. It has become mainstream. So, I’d say today’s foundation of hate is a mass psychosis of deliberate ignorance. Sweden has always held a real soft line on right-extremists and the authorities never takes them seriously, treating them with a “boys will be boys, they’ll grow up” attitude, even with them peaking high with violence and murder. Yet again ignorance…
And for our European readers or anyone travelling and looking for something to do when the sights have been seen…
8/17 – Göteborg SE – Kulturkalaset
8/24 – Malmö SE
8/25 – Oldenburg DE – Kill The Plastic Smile Fest
8/26 – Tübingen DE
8/27 – Nancy FR
8/28 – Marseille FR
8/29 – Zürich CH
8/30 – Prague CZ
8/31 – Dresden DE – Paranoya Fest
9/01 – Gdynia PL
9/13 – Flensburg DE
9/14 – Eindhoven NL – Bloodshed Fest
9/15 – Hamburg DE
Dystopisk Utsikt is our now on Every Day Hate Records. Ordering info here
*Many thanks to Andy from EDH for translation and making this all happen.