- anno 2011-
Johan Johansson is a man which have done very much good for our rich punk/rock/poplife here in Sweden with groups like KSMB, John Lenin, Strindbergs solosgigs etc. This interview was done in the same time as the new Cd comes out…the first in many years. The interview was done 5/9-2011 and the record comes 20/9.
It was almost 20 years since I interviewed you the last time I think, what have happened in some short terms since then?
-It have been rolling on, that life. I have raised children, continuing to play, produced a lot of records with other artists and arranged concerts and festivals. And then I have been going on and become older and more angry.
You have become 50 years(I have one and a half year too that time), how does that feel?
-The alternative is worser, hahaha. Honestly so wasn´t that anything that I have counted with, so as I have been living. Now is everything bonus and I will take the rest of my life to say what I think and be bothering the people over us. Why change a already good concept
Trodde du när du var 20 år att du skulle hålla på med musik när du var 50?
-Ja, men jag kunde inte tänka mig att jag skulle göra det professionellt.
Punk is warm to your heart I presume?
-For me is the thing punk most of all an attitude. The one that I bear with me. Musically I like many styles of music. Of course there is a lot of good punkmusic, but a lot of shit too.
Is there any new punkbands that you like?
-I still think that DLK is one of Sweden´s most skill bands, the musicians there have pure Frank Zappa-class. Monark X I really like but they have been quit playing. And the same thing with Alarmrock. En Svensk Tiger have I worked with, they do really good songs. Is Boris & The Jeltsins punk I have them on the list.
It came a record with a tribute to you with your songs, was it as a surprise or did you know that it would come?
-I didn´t know anything about that project. I don´t know how they managed to got so many people to don´t talk.
How did it felt to be tributed this way?
-Straight into my heart. Imagine yourself. I become really shy and embarrassed to get so much undisguised love from all fine friends.
It´s maybe hard to say but which are your favouritesongs from the record
-Most of all so is it a really good recoerd as a wholeness. It´s fun with songs from all bands and eras is on the rcord and I think that everyone do really good and do their songs in their own way. Fredrik af Trampe, Kajsa Grytt, Frans Haraldsen, Karin Renberg and Strandvägen do really own things with my songs but as I said, I like the whole record. But the thing that touched me most is that Kjell Höglund was on the record. I don´t know how much he was forced to struggle to record his song on this record – and it feels big when a hero and friend like him makes it best to show his friendship with me.
You release your own record now…it was a long time since the last one…tell us?
-Yeah, it was long time since the last one. My last record, ”Johan Johansson…och hans lilla svarta värld” was record 16 years ago. One of the reasons why it have been so long time since the last one was that I was so satsified with that record. I still think that is a whole album. I didn´t want to release anything which wasn´t as good as that one. You always want to better than the last time and now I think I have managed to do that..
And then it´s coming to much music. Many people wants to release but not so many people should release. I want to show that I am one of the ones who should release record. The record which is called”Svea Rike Rivjärn” is a statement over our lost time. It´s a really scary era which this country goes through right now and I do as I am used to do, I tackle it with black humour and easy to sing along songs. On the cover so am I crucified on the Swedish flag, it says the most about my new album. Musically so is ”Svea Rike Rivjärn” somewhere the things I did with Strindbergs and the Flum-record.
Is it on your own label?
-Yeah, our artistcooperation Branschen starts an own label together with Nacksving. I don´t see any meaning with going to a conventional record label. Nowadays it helps more with a good distribution. Recording and promotion you must pay for yourself. It´s people with many years as artists in the Branschen-gang, me myself, Dan Viktor, Frans Haraldsen, Sanna Carlstedt, Lars Demian and Caj Karlsson. We know how the bransch is and we know that we haven´t any use of so called branschpeople. For fuck´s sake, it´s we which is the bransch.
You had a website which was really much going on on before, how is it now?
-I´m building a new updated site which soon will be out on www.johanjohansson.se. The net is a really good forum for people like me, who likes to have directcontact with my listeners and really wants to say what I think about things.
You´re active on Facebook(you´re my friend there) and do you think that is a good place to get out things?
-Right now it´s really good and it´s a very good way to hold the contact with friends and meet people who thinks the same. And then there can be a lot of shit , precisely as on TV, but you can choose that away.
Are you still angry, I mean politically. I interviewed Mikael Wiehe some weeks ago and he said that it was more easy to be angry today…do you agree?
-I really agree with Mikael. I´m even more angry today and how this world is being treated, The world I was swearing about when I was a teenager was a really nice to live in if you compare with now. It´s really odd that it haven´t been people´s raisings long time ago but now it´s going to come, which I can see as a sign on that people are good. The cover to ”Svea Rike Rivjärn” says the most about how I feel. To have qualities as consideration, solidarity and moral it´s criminal with 2011 years norms.
Sure is today´s government really good as long as you have a work and you don´t get sick but how would we get rid of them?
-It´s surely great for the people who takes their boat to Falsterbo and plays golf. But if you get sick or unemployed, god bless you if you are a woman, refugee or disabled. It´s simply a government which thinks that people are worth different. To respect a gang so must you have a rotten view on people and be egoistic and I don´t have those qualities..
Do you work politically…then I mean for any particular party?
-I have never been a member to any particular party but all who have heard me knows that I am to the left politically. Before the election 2010 I decided to play for any party who wanted to get rid of the government we had then and have now.. But I cannot say I like a special party as a wholoness. I must always say what I think and that means that I could criticise the ones I almost agree with. And then I don´t think any party could be part of all my opinions either.
Can you live on your music or do you work with something else too?
-Most of all I live on that I play myself. But I also is a part of Kompledigtfestival ini Köping, Sveriges Visfestival in Stockholm and I use to take care on the concerts on Kulturhustaket in Stockholm. I do it mostly because of the fact that it is a social and nice thing. But the ground is my own gigs.
Do you plays much with other artists, produces much nowadays?
-I play often with my colleagues in Branschen and I produce one and another record now and then. The latest Sanna Carlstedts ”Ballerinan”. I have never been any guy who produces much. Will I do the producerwork so can I maybe do two albums a year with artists that I like really much. And then it´s unavoidable that I am on the same stage as Stefan Sundström and one or another gig with Strindbergs every year of course.
You was out on a small tour with Strindbergs...how was it...and how did people take your music….does it become something more?
-Really fun. Strindbergs is my own heartband of everything I have done. It´s really fun to meet Janne and Robban and play some times every year.
When does every Strindbergssong comes in a box then?
-Not a clue. It´s MNW which is the ones who owns the Records. I hope that they will be available on Spotify and Itunes anyway. ..
When does John Lenin comes out on a CD...it must be enough with one CD+ I would like to have them digital…....
-It´s the same thing there.
KSMB have reunions now and then but without you, have you been asked the latest or do they know that you don´t want?
-I think that KSMB is better to be rest in peace. I´m proud of it but it would surely be worser if we would try to do it again.
Many lyrics are actual today too of the songs you did 30 years ago…isn´t that scaring?
-At least said. The world have been going back since then.
Which of your lyrcis are you most satisfied with?
-I say a cliché which is true and I must say that the lyrics on the new album is the best I have done. There I pull down the trousers on our time right now
Could you imagine doing english lyrics, have you ever done that?
-I have written some songs in english to Diamond Dogs and done the countrysong ”Please don’t shoot at Jesus” to a movie. Otherwise I´m comfortable with the swedish language but I will tell you a story:
A good friend burned a couple of mixed records and sent them to a netpal in USA. She was writing back to him later and tells him that her husband was interested of things I have done and wondered if I wanted to do some of the songs in English and send to him. He worked in the musicbranch but that do every american if you ask them – so I didn´t care so much about it and it was poured out in the sand. After some time I was aware of that her husband if I have understand this right was Ahmet Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records. It could have been me, Otis Redding and Led Zeppelin, but what is a ball on the castle;-)
Will you come out now much and play, will it be by yourself or with a band?
-I hope it will be both Anyway I want to do some concerts with a full band in Stockholm, Gothenburg , Malmoe and some other places. It´s really good musicians on the record, The rhytmsection with . Rickard Donatello and Bobo Ölander swings as is almost is blackening. . Henrik Widén (Diamond Dogs) plays keyboards and guitarists is Ola Nyström (Weeping Willows) and Fredrik Fagerlund (The Facer, Diamond Dogs).
When you´re out and play, are you playing any KSMB, Strindbergs, John Lenin-songs or is it only own material?
-I mixes a lot. Often I don´t decide before which songs I am going to play and I do the ones which is coming up in my head. The latest song I played on a stage and it was some days ago was when we finished that concert with . Sex Noll Två, but it´s not being played so often and it must have a full band.
Futureplans with the music?
-To continue using it as a tool to say what I think and meet funny people.
Futureplans for yourself?
-Now I will think more about my own music for a while. I want to come out and play and get people to understand that I´m still a fucking good liveartist which is doing really good records, even if they don´t come out so often.
-”Life is a time of running between double nothings”.
Five best records right now?
-KG Malm ”Murardrömmar”
Cotton Mather ”Kontiki”
The Fine Arts Showcase ”& The Electric Pavilion”
Loudon Wainwright III “Social Studies”
Something to add?
-Svea Rike Rivjärn will be fighting until his death!