Danish Systemfejl plays music which is somehwere between punk and hardcore, they mix english and danish(norwegian) lyrics. Here they have been so nic and answered a lot of questions from me. October-2023
Please tell me a little history of the group, members and what you do when you don´t play music, what do you work and which ages are you in?
-Systemfejl started winter 2019. We met through concerts and the Danish punk and music scene. Bartos and Kristian were talking about starting a band and once Julia joined in they started playing together. Together they wrote D. 11 landeplage but mostly played covers to get started and get to know each other as a band. Shortly thereafter Kasper joined and completed the line-up. A brief overview of who we are:
- Bartos, 39, works at a punk rock cocktail bar in Copenhagen called Skovbar. He's also massively into retro gaming, enjoy hiking in the mountains (mostly in Norway, as they don't exist in Denmark) and book and arrange punk gigs under the name Punks Undead. Bartos has booked, together with a friend, over 100 shows in Copenhagen, over the past 14 years, under the name Punks Undead
- Julia, 32, works in the field of social work. Spends a lot of time with patching the ever expanding holes in her pants, nerding books mostly about psychology and critical social sciences, helping out at DIY punkshows or with hours of thinking about the complexities of life and the state of the world
- Kristian, 29, works at a small organic farm growing vegetables. Wood carving, playing computer and going to many concerts.
- Kasper, 31, works as a software developer and hopes the punks will never realize that they let a white-collar worker into their midst. Beyond that, just nerds out on music, both playing and consuming, and board games.
Have it been the same members all the time, or have it been many lineup changes? Please tell me a little about every member? Earlier bands?
-Bartos has played in a variety of punk bands since around 2006 (I think), which has been everything from oi! to hardcore punk. The line-up has been mostly consistent throughout our time as a band. Kristian initially played guitar before Kasper joined but switched to bass afterwards. We have also played a few shows with our friend Ewerton, guitarist of Belief Control, who played guitar while Kasper played bass in place of Kristian. It may sound strange to do such a rotation instead of just finding a stand-in for Kristian, but Ewerton already knew the songs on guitar because he was supposed to be stand-in for Kasper back in February.
Systemfejl is the name, where did it came from and you wasn´t afraid that some other group would be named so?
-We definitely liked the political connotations of the name and didn't find other bands at the time with that name. Though we have since learned about the Swedish band Systemfel and the German band Systemfehla who share a very close resemblance to our name. So we try to put up our stickers next theirs whenever we see them.
What´s best with playing live ? Where is best to play, which country, town, place?
-We for sure have a very special fondness for Underwerket in Valby (Denmark) because we've all come there for a lot of gigs and Bartos also books Punks Undead shows there. Kasper especially likes it because it is in his close vicinity and because it was at Underwerket that he got asked to join Systemfejl. Bartos also has a special fondness for Blitz and Barrikaden in Oslo, as it's sort of his hometown. We do however also want to mention Frølageret in Odense (Denmark) as it really is a nice place to play as a band. The organisers really make an effort to make it a great night for both the bands and the guests.
Is it important to give out the record as physical releases do you think? Would it feel like you have released a record if you only release it digital?
-Well we have only released digitally so we think it feels like we've released something. While some of us still think it's cool to collect vinyls, cassettes and CDs we have to recognize that in this day and age a digital release is as much a release as physical releases. We are considering doing a physical release, maybe with our current or next album.
Do you play any covers when you play live? If you do, which then?
-We have been known to play "Krummes Sang" from a Danish children’s movie "Krummerne" which is great fun when people sing along. We also used to play a punkversion of "Pinne for landet", a Norwegian after-ski song, but with more original songs we have been cutting down on that.
Please tell me a little about following songs
Hevn - it was written in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, and it's basically about how I'd like to see revenge for the countless murders the police are behind, and how I think the riots that followed are very understandable.
Police Hate - Assuming you mean our song Officer Down - I wrote this a long time ago, and it's basically about the same as the song Hevn. My hatred for the injustice and abuse of violence by the police goes way back.
Hærverk - This is a fun drinking song talking about how we're gonna paint the town red, in more than just one way.
Is it important to get out your opinions in your music, and is it a good way to get out frustration too?
-"The lyrics of 'Porcelænstronen' are really important to me, as I find that they resonate with my everyday life" –
Kasper That being said, it is mostly Bartos who writes the lyrics and he finds it rather therapeutic sometimes to write them. As a band we think that it is quite important that we can get our opinions out.
Do you think that your lyrics can have effect on other people who listens to them…any example on it? Have you changed anyones mind?
-Probably the people who listen to our music already kind of share our views so we may not have changed someone’s mind in any drastic way. But perhaps we have inspired some people to think twice about certain topics. Our song No Fucking Way has touched a few people, and we have gotten specific requests to play this live during gigs. It's about Bartos getting shit for having dreadlocks and being white.
Bartos: All I have to say to those people, is that they may want to look into the difference between cultural appropriation - cultural appreciation and cultural assimilation
How is it to play this sort of music in Denmark and which type of bands are you having concerts with? Which is the most peculiar band you have been playing together with? If it hadn't been cancelled it would probably have been the grindcore band "Anal Anus Angreb" as they put on quite a peculiar show. So if we can only say the ones we actually played at the same show as then it would probably be Michel Belli.
You sing both in English and danish? Which do you prefer?
-Bartos: I switch between English and Norwegian, and it really depends on the song, which language that feels natural. My Norwegian lyrics, and way of singing is inspired by Norwegian punk from the 1980s, which is an era that produced some of my all time favourite bands.
I like beer and also make beer.. If Systemfejl would do a beer, what would it be named and which sort of beer would it be? Or maybe you´re straightedge?
-If we were to make a beer we would call it "Systembajer" and it would be a German helles but it would end up never arriving and we would lose touch with whoever was brewing it (this actually happened). So we are not looking to try that again anytime soon.
How would you describe your music in three words to anyone who never have heard you?
-Catchy, concise, critical
Which is your own favorite song among your own songs? And which song is the people choice?
-Our favourite song(s) are: Mutant Mink and Verdens Undergang It seems, based on stream counts, that the people’s choice are Mutant Mink and Bathroomgate.
What´s the biggest difference when you plays live nowadays if you compare when you first started to play in a band?
-Well the bands current lineup completed in December of 2019 so our first shows were obviously rather hard to get set up. So a big difference is the amount of cancelled gigs, which is fantastic. We also have cupholders on our microphone stands now which is very cool
And have you opinion about punk changed through the years? What do punk mean to you, only a musicstyle or a lifestyle?
-This is something we feel like we could discuss for a long time but for the sake of keeping this fairly brief we'll say this: To some of us it feels more like a lifestyle, as otherwise we would have outgrown this phase. The lyrics of bands have stayed fairly consistent in topics while still keeping up with current events. Some of the sounds of older British bands that we listen to might be hard to find nowadays so some things are changing.
What do you know about Sweden? What is typical Swedish?
-Surströmning! And of course our favourite when we play in Sweden: canned "Dansk Fadøl". We're always very happy if a venue has it. We of course also have to give a shout out to Pippi and since we had played a cover of a Danish kids song we decided to play a cover of Pippi Långstrumps theme song the first time we played in Sweden.
Have you ever been here? Any good bands from Sweden that you like?
-We have, we have played in Stockholm on our first Scandi-tour with Wayl and Lazy Sodz and we've played Gothenburg with Dårligt Selskab.
Bartos: I have a real soft spot for the Swedish band Sötlimpa. Strebers is another great one, and we used to cover Betongbarn in my old band Knark Kalas!
Julia: There are plenty, take e.g. Larma, Hårda Tider, Slöa Knivar and Glöm allt (Swedish/Danish)
Your audience when you play live, which type of people comes, age?
-That seems to depend a lot on the venue. Sometimes it is quite a youthful crowd and other times it feels like some of them may have been the ones to start the first wave of punk. It doesn't matter much to us though, we just like connecting with people through music and if we can give somebody a good show then that's great.
What´s the best of playing live? And where is best to play?
-The best thing about playing live is going out and meeting new people, both in the crowd and other bands. Going to a gig and playing with a band you never heard about who then becomes a new favourite is crazy, and you get to be on a first-name basis with them before they blow up in popularity. Standing on stage and seeing somebody vibe out to what you're playing is a great feeling and we really love to share that. Which is why, though our music may seem angry, we can't help but smile when we play. We have played a few times in Sweden and in Norway and when we go to Norway it can sometimes be difficult to get Bartos to come back to Copenhagen.
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during a livegig with your band? -Kasper was very eager to share this story: When we played at Barrikaden in Oslo, Kristian had some trouble with his microphone cable falling out during songs and at one point also his strap. Luckily he caught the bass before it dropped. Kasper was very amused about this situation but karma would not have it. So when the sound tech went up to get Kristian a new cable for his microphone he inadvertently trapped Kasper with it because it wasn't drug across the stage floor. Instead it was suspended mid-air, too high for Kasper to step over and too low for him to ducker under. As a karmic cherry on top, one of the other bands in the crowd was laughing at this situation as Kasper had been earlier. We do also want to mention last summer when we played at Bike Wars as part of K-Town Hardcore fest. If you don't know about bike wars then look it up, it's crazy and we got to play while there were a bunch of punks destroying each others bikes. It was hard not to be a little distracted.
Is there any good bands in Denmark today? New bands which is good? Old bands which is still good?
-Oh there are heaps of good bands in Denmark so we're very pleased to be part of the scene at this point in time. Some of the bands we really like are Nexø and Dårligt Selskab and we've been lucky enough to play with both. When it comes to slightly older bands we all really like Paragraf 119 and Skarpretter. We guess we just like anything that Adam O. plays in, which is why we're also really honoured that he designed our logo for us.
Which is the record that you always must have in the tourbus?
-It may not be the entire record that we listen to but there is one song that we all MUST listen to when we drive anywhere: "Car Song" by Woody Guthrie (https://open.spotify.com/track/3ZvYhbTmbpyyYAXtJKYu4I?si=64320d6a5b1b40a1). We all sing along although only some of us can do the "brrrm brm brm" sounds.
Do you buy much records, or is it only Spotify and those type of things to listen to music? Don´t you want to put out your songs on vinyl or something like that?
-As mentioned earlier, some of us buy vinyls some of use also cassettes but we of course also use Spotify, it's kind of hard to completely avoid streaming these days. We might put something out on vinyl but now you can catch a single one of our songs on cassette if you attended KBH Fest in February or you find someone who did and is willing to sell it.
How is it to live in Denmark, racists and politics overall?
-We want to acknowledge that we're quite privileged to live in Denmark but no place is without it flaws and we definitely think that the newer political parties and the way the voters seem to be swaying are moving towards some ill-considered trends and there is a lot to work on there.
Do you care about reviews? Which is the most peculiar you ever had, with this band or any other band you have been to?
-Bartos' old band Shocktilstand got a review once that said something along the lines of "It's not very good but luckily the vocalist saved it all" and he was very pleased with that review. His band mates were slightly more disgruntled. Kaspers other band "Beskidt Service" got a review which said that the band was "Dumber than Situationsfornærmelse" which he had to explain to his band mates was a good thing. This was also confirmed by the reviewer to be a good thing.
If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?
-Bartos: I'd probably go with Svart Framtid or Kafka Prosess, which are both Norwegian punk bands from the 1980s
Kristian: Guddommelig Galskab, NOFX.
Julia: Crass, The Restarts, Discharge, Schleimkeim (old German band)
Kasper: NOFX, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Situationsfornærmelse and Joe & The Shitboys.
Future plans for the band?
-When we started playing, we had three humble goals:
1. Play a proper gig
2. Release an album
3. Acquire a private plane with a rehearsal space
So we guess we're looking to get a private plane with a rehearsal space, as we've accomplished the two first goals.
-We sing about some serious topics and listen to a lot of bands who do as well but no matter how fucked up the world gets, make sure you find the time to enjoy time with people around you, whether you know them (yet) or not. This is why we smile so much when playing.