Slob 78 is a band that one of the singers of Slobobans Undergång, the younger (62 years) of the Hassling brothers, has together with Mats and Björn who are the same age. One of the best albums that have been released this year and this on Sockiplast Records. This interview was done in December 2023.

 

Please tell me lie about every member first, age, band before etc etc?

-Members Mats Byström, drums, Björn Holmudd guitar and me on vocals. Born 61 Björn was in the original Sloboban but dropped out in 1979. He has said that he has always regretted it. We met again after 40 years and Björn wanted us to start making songs together. I would sing and do lyrics, he would make music and melodies. I immediately declined. I didn't think I would be able to do lyrics, I didn't have anything to write about, not an idea. I was also unsure if I would be able to front as a singer. In Sloboban I have been quite comfortable standing in the shadow of Per. Maybe I sing better,  But I've always thought he's had a more personal voice. And except for the first two years in Sloboban, it was always Per who wrote the lyrics. I hadn't written a text in over 40 years. But Björn nagged me and in the end I agreed to try. Björn and I had some years earlier done two new recordings of two Slob songs which was from the time when Björn was in the group. Vi vill också komma in in and Klapton. They had never been recorded and were so good that they deserved some new life and immortality. I thought it was so much fun and was such a creative kick when we made them, so it was a feeling I wanted to relive. The first text I wrote was FotoAlbum and I discovered that you might be able to be a little personal without it being navel-gazing and boring. Now Björn is back with Sloboban as a bass player. Something that felt very natural and good. It's always nice when you come in a full circle.

 

It almost feels like this is the punkiest thing you've done, is it you who are the punkiest of the brothers?

Yyes, this is the punkiest thing I've done. 77-punk is a form of music which is very natural to me. I listened to it so much when it came out. All great singles. Our workflow is that Björn sends me drafts of songs with a shell and a melody. When Björn sends me a song, I can hopefully hear what needs to be added or subtracted. And I'm starting to think about a text. Then the collaboration between us develops and we can sometimes send the same song back and forth 20 times before we are satisfied. No songs sit directly. And it's maybe not so punky. Before, you could do 2 songs in one day that never changed. But we are extremely careful and keen to make it as good as possible.

 

Tell us a little about the following songs. Fet ful och grå, Nittonhundrsjuttionfem and Välkommen till Kyrktorget.

-The idea for Fet, ful och grå comes from a line of lyrics by Sprints, I swear to god I'm the only fucker in this place who isn't doing fine And I'm not fine Something I could relate to. You could say that the lyrics are about mental illness, self-loathing and the difficulty of dealing with this without alcohol. How hard it is not to feel ugly, fat and gray in a sober state. The background of the solo is exactly stolen from ourselves. It's the same chord as Sloboban's old song Maktgalen. Then Noel, my son, came along and did a fantastic solo over Maktgalenparties.

Välkommen till Kyrktorget is yet another nostalgic flashback. We went to Porthälla school and during recess we went to Arne's Konditori where there was a jukebox. And for some strange reason it had Plastic Betrand's Ça plane pour moi It ran all the time. And at KH there was an incredibly beautiful girl who I never dared to talk to. We listened a lot to Specials Message To You Rudy, when we did the song.

Nittonhundrasjuttiofem is a sadness at the fact that life is coming to an end and a vain, bittersweet desire to start all over again. How influenced you were by music at the age of fifteen. How one could fall in love just by a moment of eye contact. And how sad it is to feel that your body has started to give way to it. We had problems with my vocals on the stick. I didn't succeed, so we had an idea to contact Kai Martin if he could do better. He said yes right away and put it on first. Maybe not exactly as I imagined. But better.

 

To be in the 60 ́s and play so vital punk, what ́s the recipe for this?

 -I don ́t think it has so much to do with age. I believe it's important to do things. Whether it's painting, writing, coaching a football team or starting a band. I think it's revitalizing to have something to get involved in. Something to think about. Something you can always carry with you. And when Björn wanted to start this band, it was natural that we would pick up where we once left off. It would be weird if we would suddenly start making dance music. We, and the rest of Slobbar, have our roots in the seventies. Status Quo, Slade, Sweet, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Queen. When punk came 76-77 it was a tidal wave which it was very easy for us to take to heart. Sometimes I think that Slob78 sounds more like if Slobobans have continued on the more punky style we had in the beginning. If we hadn't gone over to being a little heavier and tougher. A style that I also like very much.

 

It feels sick that you thought 65 was so far away when that song came... Now we're almost there, how do you feel about that?

-Since I've started a new family with two children aged 8 and 10, I don't have much time to think about my retirement. But when Grisen Skriker wrote the song, it felt very far away. And the 65-year-olds in 1978 were incredibly frail than we are now. But of course it was a little bit dizzying when we recorded the song with all its punkicons and it dawned on you that now we are actually there.

 

How come you do this LP which is almost your LP debut... sure you did the split with Rövarna but here it ́s mostly own songs.....how is the feeling? Why at Sockiplast?

-We didn ́t have any real plans at all when we started to do songs. But we were so pleased that we got in touch with Danne at Sockiplast who to our immense joy was positive to publish it. It's all been a treat. From making the songs to thinking about the album cover. Just deciding on the order of play is a boyhood dream. What is the opening song? The all-important second song. Which songs go together? Which don't fit together. How to end the record?

 

Välkommen till Kyrktorget have a little skasound, is it a style that you like a lot?

-We really liked it when Madness, Specials and similar groups came up. I remembered Madness' first record. I had never heard anything so funny and danceable before. Those records are still very good.

 

Your son is playing on the record, how does it feel, do he have an own band otherwise or how is it and which style of music do they play?

-It feels really good to have Noel on guitar. I don't think any guitarist in the world could have done it better than he did. He's extremely talented. He plays with Internet Friends who released an LP this spring which of course is much better and more vital than anything we will ever be. I can really recommend them. I have another older son, Nils, who is also very good at guitar. But more interested in jazz. Both extremely musical, something that surprises me because I've never considered myself musical. More like a consumer of music.

 

The last song it says that Tore Sundström sings... Who is it?

-Tore is a poet from Vilhelmina. We went to folk high school together. I've always liked his voice, so when Björn came up with the idea to include a ballad, it felt like a good idea to bring in Tore and ask if he had a lyric and wanted to be a part of it. Maybe I didn't really dare, or felt comfortable fronting a ballad. We had Clash Getto Defendent in the back of our minds how we wanted him to sound. It turned out great. It was also great that I got a brass section that is very influenced by one of my favorite bands, Hunters & Collectors.

 

Was it difficult to write the lyrics to the record, or is there so much to write about?

-It ́s really hard to write lyrics. One hell of a process. I also have such a strong performance anxiety when it comes to things I don't really master. I talked to Jönsson in Attentat about it but he said what? It's just a matter of reconnecting your brain to the writer's mood, and you get a different way of looking at life. Then come the lyrics. It's so easy! I understand what he means, but for me it's incredibly slow and time-consuming. But now I feel proud to have done 8 lyrics which I actually think is good. But I wish I was the kind of person who can just sit down and write while the band makes the music. As I've heard Johnny Lydon and Bono do. Completely incomprehensible to me. But I steal some. A word, a line here and there that I can then elaborate on.

 

It feels like if you write nostalgic lyrics in the same time as it ́s contemporary depictions? What inspires you to write?

-Like I said. Or as Jönsson said, it's important to connect the writer's brain. So you pay extra attention. It can be a line in someone else's song, a phrase in a podcast. You can't write about what was important 40 years ago. It would be a bit strange to write about the school or the police. Or politics for that matter. I dislike SD as much as most others in our audience, but I have a hard time seeing what I could express that no one else has done. I desperately dislike them, they are evil and a little too smart and I feel a great frustration that people can't see it. Maybe I should do a text anyway.... Therefore, there will be more personal texts. And nostalgic. Nostalgia is close to my heart, I have always liked Torsson's lyrics.

 

How does it feel to have done one of the best punk records of 2023?

-It feels good and I'm proud of us. Listened to it last week and was struck by hubris. I felt that it was the best Swedish album that has been released since Ebba's first. Good lyrics, good production, sound. A fun, tough record. Therefore, it feels a bit sad that it will probably just disappear into the ether and not get the attention it deserves. It should have been published in 1978!

 

How have the reviews been so far?

-We have only got one review and that is Skrutt Magazine. We hope for more, so that more people will listen to it.

 

Will it be a continuation of the group?

-We will continue to write songs together. Björn drowns me with song ideas, but I haven't had any energy this fall. Among other things, a herniated disc that was not a hit. But we're aiming for a new album in a year or so.

 

Have you played live yet?

-We've never played live. We had a thought about making an acoustic set in connection with the release of the album. But, as I said, my energy has not been at its peak. I have a hard time seeing us playing with a whole band. On the one hand it takes a lot of power to rehearse a whole band and on the other hand you want people to come, and would it really do that? Then both Björn and I suffer from stage fright. And it's one thing to hide behind the people of Sloboban, then it can even be fun. But to front yourself....Very doubtful. Or would it probably be useful.

 

Is there any new punkgroups you like and some of the old ones which is still going strong?

-I listen very little to new punk. I'm one of those guys who think it was better before. But I like Bad Nerves. And Gallus. If they count as punk? I think Trubbel is terribly good. I saw them live this spring and it was really good. By the way, at Välkommen till Kyrktorget we stole their way of laying choirs. Genius of them. We will certainly use it again. I think KSMB released a record a couple of years ago which had a couple of songs which was really good. I like a lot of what Attentat still does. Jag äslkar inte dig något mer, it's one of the best things they've ever done

 

Which five records have meant the most to you through the ages?

-You listen to music in a completely different way today. I never put on a record at home, I only listen to Spotify where I put together playlists with new music. You listened in a completely different way in the 70's when you could sit with headphones and listen to the same record for hours. And you sat with the fantastic cover and studied it meticulously. I miss it. During the 70's almost all the music I love was made. Paradoxically, I rarely listen to it now. Punk was very much about singles. Not everyone was able to complete an entire album. If I have to rank my top 5 punk albums it will be like this:

Sex Pistols: Never Mind…

Damned första

Stranglers: Rattus…

Vibrators: Pure Mania

Clash; London Calling

Ramones: Leave Home

Ruts: The Crack

Would I rank my 70´s favorite it would be like this:

Slade: Slayed

Queen: A Night At The Opera

Status Quo: Quo

New York Dolls

Led Zeppelin: Physical Grafitti

Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies

Alex Harvey: SAHB stories

 

What does punk mean to you? Is it just a word or is it a lifestyle?

-Punk came to mean a lot to us. We had never formed Sloboban, Slobobans had never got an audience. We went from Partille into town and met like-minded people. I sometimes think that we were damn lucky to be right there, right then. It came to characterize our lives and those of many others. It was a fantastic do it yourself movement with its own aesthetic, music. Fanzines, singles, music venues. For many, it came to characterize their entire lives. To always question, not to be afraid, to stand up for yourself. For me, who is a bit shy and maybe not always so good at standing up for myself, it's more, I think, that I like to start things up. That I get ideas that I implement, even if I'm scared and uncertain all the time. Like the project when we did the remake of 65. I thought it was a great idea to collect all the old Gothenburg singers who are now around 65. But once the idea is set and is about to be launched, it is only characterized by fear and uncertainty. I have to force myself to contact Grisen Skriker to get their approval. With Jönsson, Per, Tobbe Kai to hear if they want to be a part of it. Terrified that they won't think it's fun or good. That they should say that is the worst idea they have ever heard. Pathetic and useless. Same when we all got together to make the recording. I was afraid that it would be stiff and only half-good. Then everything became awesome, it's a fantastic energy in the recording. But it's only then that I can enjoy it. When I have the result and it turned out just as good as I hoped for. Maybe even better. But the process itself is only marked by uncertainty, anxiety, and low self-esteem. I have to force myself to do it. But maybe if I hadn't grown up with punk, I would never have even started the project.

 

Futureplans for the band? For yourself? Something to add?

-I hope that Slob78 can do more songs, that we can maybe release more records. Both physically and digitally. It's great to release vinyl, to have something physical to look at. I hope that Sloboban can do more songs. Now that we have Björn in the band again, we have got a creativity and engine that we can benefit from. I hope that Sloboban can do more gigs. We are in favour of that. As long as the conditions are right. That we know it will sound and look good. That we know it will come. It would have been horrible to play in front of 15 people in a basement somewhere. If Slob78 will ever play live is written in the stars. In one way it's tempting, in another it's frightening. Otherwise, I just hope that everyone will be nice to each other.