Mats Hammerman was the singer in Vacum once upon a time, he has nowadays the record label Massproduktion there all the early punkbands from Sundsvall released their records. When he answered this interview he was free from work because of his child and I thought that he should have something to do, so therefore this interview about old times. 24/1-05
When did you start up Vacum?
-We had out first rehearsal 14 january 1979. I and Stephan had tried to form a band for a longer time but I haven´t got hold of any interested people. But then we got Cathrine and everything was falling in their right place.
Why did you start the group, was it because of the punk or have you started up it anyway?
-It was because of the punk. Without it we never had dared to do such thing- No one of us have been to a music school or something similar because we have all learned our instruments by ourselves. We almost learned to play together.
What was the best with playing in that time, was it much so that it was fun only because that you could play without being good at it or how was the feeling?
-It was a good feeling to dare and fun to play in front of your mates. The scene was so small so you knew the mest of the people in the audience.
It was a really good musiclife in Sundsvall during that time, why do you think. Did you get any help from the municipality or did you do everything by yourself?
-Any support from the municipality wasn´t it then, just that Torkhold and Musikforum get places to play and there we did our gigs. But the municipality was really against us and the punkbands couldn´t play on the youth recreation centres.
And then you started up Massproduktion, who was it who did that?
-It was the brother Nilsson in Massmedia who started the whole thing. They saw an ad in NME with cheap pressings in Texas so there was the first records pressed. And then they moved to Linköping so I took over the label.
How many records have you released there?
-We will have the number 100 record soon so we´re soon giving value for the name.
You went from punk to folk and popmusic, how did it went this way?
-Hm. It wasn´t so obvious changeover. W had continued with punk if it had been some good local punkbands then but the people who played in the first punkbands developed into new styles and the new punkbands which came wasn´t so good but we released other good local bands. But Krunch and Motorjoke which we released 1984-89 was punk. And then we release Marble soon. A new band which have taken punk to something new. So we haven´t leaved hold of the punk.
How have the punk formed you to the one you´re today?
-Wow, it haven´t been the punk only which have done that. But it gave me a healthy scepticism against the authorities and the law that says that you´re shit and a lot of DIY-spirit have it given to me
Tyou had two singers, you and Cathrine, it made you a little bit odd if you compare with other bands, why two singers?
-Cathrine started out as a drummer but moved later to England and when she came back a year later the drumsticks have been taken over by Sankan, so she came with the group on vcaols instead and during the recording of the first record we discovered that she could play the piano, so a short while after the recording she bought a synth and she came into the songswriting in a more active way. So it became really good without any big planning.
What do the other members do today?
-Stephan is the principal on a soundtechniqueschool, Sankan have Corruption records, Cathrine is a computertechnician. Anders is a teacher, Magnus is a teacher in statescience and Patrik sells vacuumpumps!!in Holland.
You started as a pure punkband and after that you went over to a more odd and difficult music, what happened?
- It wasn´t so obvious changeover as I said and it only came after a while. We hade a whole repertoire between the first and the second record which never came out on a record which was really fast music but on the second record we tried to come up with something new and slow down the music a little. Cathrine wrote more and more of the matetrial and then the songs became more synthbased. When Sankan and Cathrine leaved the band and Magnus and Patrik cvame into the band we had an extreme synthperiod which went over to rock later. When it was time for the third record it was very black and odd.
I saw you once as a support act to Theatre of Hate, do you remember that concert, could it have been 82, in Gothenburg?
-Sure, it was a fun gig. I remember that I was really nervous because it was the first gig together with Theatre of Hate, I think we sounded really good.
What was your strength as a liveband?
-Hm. We could both be really good and we could be really bad so we was really uneven live. But in the end we was really entertaining to look at. We wasn´t so still on stage as we were in the beginning of our career.
Have you done any reunion? You never played on the Punksvallthing, why not?
-I became a dad in the same time as the Punksvallconcert so I hadn´t the time but we was really keen on playing. We played on Pipelines 20 yearsjubilee 1993 with the last crew with Magnus and Patrik and the 25 year jubilee with Sankan and Cathrine. The last one was the best one. Really fin. It feels like if the originalcrew had something special.
You had a band after Vacum , what was they called?
-I and Anders had Crompojkarna because we were really tired of all the synths and we wanted to play guitarbased music. We had our moments. The first singles I´m really proud of. But we went a little bit lost in our production when we did the album. It really needed a producer.
Was the punks hated in Sundsvall at that time?
-If you mean between 78-80 so was it so. It was a lot of raggare and there you don´t wasn´t high rated. I managed to don´t get beaten up by them but many of my mates get smashed up. Today it isn´t so much danger.
Is there any punks still left in Sundsvall?
-Yeah. There is a constant kernel of 30-40 which haven been changed through the years.
Is there any good punkbands around today? Or is today´s punk not punk-what do you think?
-Of course. But there is noone which is good so they can get a big audience as for example Ebba Grön managed to get. But there is some good punk today too. C armee and Totalt Jävla Mörker is good example of bands.
Which punkgroup is the most important swedish punkgroup?
-Ebba Grön must be counted as that. Haven´t they played in every little town during the early 80´s haven´t the punk got that breakthrough in Sweden.
The best /most important punksong?
-Vad ska du bli with Ebba Grön.
If you could bring Vacum back again and play with five groups(any group) on a big concert , which is the five dreamgroups then?
-Besökarna, Brända barn, Urban Släke, Krunch and Grisen Skriker
There was a band called Vacuum later, did you knew about them or didn´t you care?
-Yes, we know. We was thinking about sue them but it never did went so far. …
What´s the ambition with Massproduktion?
-To release good music!!
Which of the records have sold most?
-Garmarnas Vedergällningen have sold about 20000 if you count the foregin ones too.
Garmarna is big outside Sweden?
-Yeah, they sell as much records there as they do in Sweden and they tour a lot more outside Sweden than they do in Sweden.
How many did you do of your early records?
-The was released in amounts of 500-1000.
What is the most expensive any Massproduktionrecord have been sold for?
-2500 swedish krona have I heard that many of them have been sold for.
Please rank your five best records, five best concerts you have been to and five most important things in life?
-Wire - Pink Flag
Metallica - svarta albumet
Alice Cooper - Billon Dollar Babies
Clash - London Calling
Ebba Grön - Kärlek och Uppror
Clash, London 79
Krunch, Pipeline 87
Adam & The Ants, Retford 79
KSMB, Torkhold, 79
DOA, Pipeline 89
Five most important things in life
-I don´t know. I work on it. I hope to get foreward a good list before I die.
First, last and the most expensive record ever bought?
-The first one was Spike Jones and his city slickers, the latest was The White Stripes
- Elefant and the one I have paid much to was The Sniveling Shits - I cant come.
The most embarrassing record in your collection?
-I got a lot of Sabrinarecord when I was having my 30th birthday.
What do you think was the difference between the punkbands in Northern Sweden, south of Sweden, the gothenburgbands and he Stockholmbands?
-Shall you generilize hard so was it more boogie in the Gothenburgpunk, experimental and rock n roll in southern Sweden(Skåne). The Stockholmpunk went over really fast to powerpop and the Sundsvallpunk was really black.
Are you angry about the fact that you weren´t in the book Varför tror ni vi låtersom vi gör, there it only was Skåne, Göteborg och Stockholm which was the thing?
-Not at all. I was interviewed to this book but they chosed to concentrate on Skåne, Göteborg and Stockholm.
Can you be a punk and be 40+ , Jönsson(from Attentat) ask us in his show En säkerhetsnål genom hjärtat, can you that?
-Yeah, I don´t look like one but in the heart you´re still a punkrocker I think.
Futureplans fro you, the comapny and so on?
-To do good music and have fun. Take 2 dan in ju-jutsu. To be a good dad.
When does Vacums records come on CD, Massmedia on CD(everything can be on one CD)?
-we´re working on that. Maybe late 2005. It can be early 2006.
Something to add?
-Keep up the good work!!!!