ett namn med stil?
Varnagel, a name you remembers!
And the group touches me a lot so I sent some questions to them and before march became april 2004 they answered my 27 questions.
Many of the political questions was hard to translate so I hope you understand something of what I have written there.
Why did you start to play?
- From the start the band (around 93-94) was started in traditional punkspirit with that noone could play their instrument, but they could their punk. When the band after six years was putting down their musicwanted Tobbe and Henrik(from F.E.L.) wanted to continue play Swedish melodicpunk. And in the same time had Danne and Erik started the punkband Tarmludd(95) and after that the skateband Mindless. Aftre that Tobbe and Henrik have recorded Varnagels first demo “En ny Tid” came Erik and Danne to the group. Varnagel started because of the fact that four guys wanted to play melodic punk so called trallpunk. After their raise in the Swedish punkschool with bands like Asta Kask, Strebers, Köttgrottorna, Radioaktiva Räker, Orup, Coca Carola and so on, so was the band a natural way to go.
Please tell me a little about every member, age, family, work, interests and something bad about every one?
-The bands have Erik and Danne, both 22 years and members in the bigfamily ”Bastuklubben”, a collective in Hägerstensåsen(Stockholm). Danne study music and Erik have education as a professional workingfinder, but he haven´t got any results yet. Interests is music.
Bad things about Danne,is that one of his bands was offered a song in the Swedish contest to the Eurovision song contest (that the band said no is is only a extenuating circumstance). Erik shake his hand with Bert Karlsson. Henrik and Tobbe is 23 earthspins and they seek pen friends between 20 and 25. Their interests is promenades in the wood, mates and cosy evenings at home. Photo isn´t a must but it´s a plus. The interests for music binds them together and they have been playing together in the metalband, and plays right now in the deathmetal band Blind By Sight. Henrik works as a bartender and Tobbe works in a storage. Tobbe is having the new studio Studio Oliv and plays drums in some other crust/HC and metalbands, Moria is among them. One terrible thing about Tobbe is that he´s a workingmate woth Ultima Thules first singer and the founder of that band. Nowdays ha have the band(not Tobbe) and the bluebrown project Karolinerna with hits like Karl X Gustav. You shall not check them out. (it smells bad). Herik have eaten raw cowbrain when he was in Laos.
Varnagel(Pusnail), why the name? Is it many people who reacts?
- Varnagel is a term which ofen is used politically. The word is mean young “repellent example” and have been used a punishment for instigators of rebellion. The word have been used since the 18th century and it´s used a lot nowadays too. The listeners first thought was that it´s sounding disgusting or only punky. Varnagel sounds like bandname and the double meanings is a real plus
What shall we do to the fact that it´s not so many swedishsinging bands around anymore
-We cannot do anything without show a good(and repellent) example. Fanzines as Skrutt helps out to encourage the scene. The only thing we can continue doing is that we continue to do the things we do and try to do it as good as possible. And then it´s so that is trends in undergroundmusic also and right now it´s not so hot to do the sort of music we do. But we have no doubt about that it will come back again..
How have the reviews been on the record?
-Right now we have got a bunch of reviews on our eagerly awaited record ”Offentligt Häckleri” . This time we haven´t done the mailing ourselves Kamel Records have done that work. The result is that more reviews have arrived than any earlier release , but we wait for some right now. We´re happy to this fact of course. The reviews we have received can we divide in two. The first one is the ones which is interested in the music we play and/or interested of doing a review on the record they have got. The most things which have been written about us have been positive.
Most fun is that our political lyrics this time have woken up reactions and offence of some of the reviewers. It´s nothing we´re used to but we really want to see more with those things. Our political lyrics is a try to woke up discussions and debate and we´ll be more than happy when a reviewer take up those things.The other category of reviews we have received is really useless and can be summary like this “ Yeah, and so is it Swedish melodic hardcore again. I think that all music with lyrics you can hear is nerdy. But the 12 year old children maybe like it so if you are 12 years and nerdy, buy!”
Do you care about reviews?
-Of course does a band care about reviews, it´s a lie if you said something else. First it´s fun to know that anyone else have listened and says what he/she thinks. Second : reviews is a way for people to see what we´re doing. To care about reviews is also to care about response after gigs,contributions in guestbooks and opinions from the so called ”men and women in the streets”. We have always been happy to get better reviews than we ever could dream about. If the critics have been different so would we have continued to torture you with Varnagels melodic punk anyway.
Which is the most peculiar you have got?
-I could come up with some specific .We have got some odd slants through the years. One example is when we surfed after Varnagel on Internet and we found a review on a record with us in Youngconservatives paper “Blått”. The reviewer , Tove Lifvendahl, which became the chairwoman in the Conservatives Youth Society was raising our second demo “ "Ledarskap, karriär och kompetens". Tove praised our lyrics "positive contractorship and competence " and she ended the review with saying that ”Varnagels selfrealised lyrics and fightingspirit gives us proof to the youths inner strength. With more as Varnagel could the youth recreation centres serve out their decleration of incapacity and the youth would be stronger participants in the currency” Somebody doesn´t understand nothing.
Which bands are you being compared to?
- Except from the usual trallpunkselite we got compared with , we have been compared Cirkus Miramar, Nordman (!) and middleagefoolishmusic. (!!).
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word, or is it a lifestyle?
Punk is a mentality. And except from that´s a musicstyle. Deven if the music could be separated from each other you can really easy hear if it´s punk or not. For us punk is the same as D.I.Y.-spirit. Yeah, hiphop and singer/songwriters can be punk too. The question you ask us is the one which have been always and been talked about in 25 years. Many articles have been written in punkzines through the years and some answer on what punk is haven´t been delivered. The thing is that punk means so much different to different people. In Varnagel we agree about that punk isn´t about to have so many studs as possible and punk sin´t for us to booze, to be swinishly or to give a fuck to everything. For us it´s about having a critical view to what the established society try to give us.
Is there any good bands in Sweden today?
- To summary the whole bands opinions we drop these:
Henrik: Sex n´Samlevnad, Soilwork
Erik: Mimikry, Ohlson Har Semester Production
Tobbe: Skitsystem, The Knife
Danne: Bob Hund, The Hives
Why did Kamel Records reelase your record? And why did it took so much time to get it out?
- Varnagel have always done everything by themselves, but wanted to hit the big drum this time and get a little help from a label with ditribution. And some people we knew said that Kamel was interested of us and after we recorded a demo and we sent it to Kamel was the work between us a fact. Why the record was late was because a overload on Kamel. Websites and other record was released. And then we think that Varnagel hadn´t any higher priority in the Köpingcentre.
To have a violin in the music isn´t so often punkbands have, how did you came up with the idea?
-Swedish trallpunk have inspirations from traditional folkmusic(from Strebers) and violin have been used many times Tarmgas, Strebers, Dia Psalma and Räserbajs. Folktunes is expressed well with violin and when we have a drummer which have been playing violin earlier in life so thought we it would be nice to vary the record with this.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-2-tact, melody and politic.
How do you think it is to live in Sweden and then I mean politically?
-First we must look back and see a strong workingclassmovement as(with a little help from intellectual liberals) have worked foreward a democracy with freedom and rights as we should be really happy that we have. And we shall do everything to keep them and make them bigger. This positive picture of Sweden we can state that since the 70´s the most things have been worser. It have been some booms but it have gone to lesser safeness. After we have had a communityclimat there the futuresights have been good and the future´s bright we have turned the other side up and it seems like it has been more unsecure and dark. The public sector have been privatised so it will broke(both of socialdemocrats and conservatives) and that which was administrated by the common is now own by private persons. The winner in this cold climat is the international capitalist which have been moving their positions foreward in Sweden really much. The loser are most people, both the people with works and the unemployed. Economists from Svenskt Näringsliv and strategs from SAP and LO have agreed about prior the fight against inflations and that have been shaped a army of unemployed ,and their function is to hold down the wages and the workers powerless. The things that is needed in Sweden and rest of the world is that we take the power from the international capitalists and decentralize so the real decisions comes from where it belong. With the pople. True democracy is peoplepower, not to have the power over other people´s life because of their wealth as the rightwing thinks. So it´s really grey in Sweden right now.
If you became the prime minister for a week, what would you change?
-Hmm, what could you do in a week and what should you have the power to change. First we would see that the opinion against USA and Israel acts and we will see so that we could hit those powerful states on the nose. And we will do a law so everyone could work 6 hours a day. And the citizenspaymentand we had introduced a green taxchange. And when we talk about provisions should all food that not fulfiled KRAV:s criterion should be banned. The monarchy will not be left. Anmd if we had the money we would buy back things from the conservatives(both the red and blue ones) which they have sold out, and then we mean the more communitybenefits like hospitals. The most anticommunitybenefit like the royal family, Swedish industrylife, The Wallenbergs and other shit would we sell to the Russians. Big-SALE and quantity discount. And if we could get anything for it we tried to sell Skåne to Denmark and after that we should get rid of ourselves.
Please rank your five favourite records, five favourite concerts and five most important things in life?
-The list isn´t in good order in quality and it´s our joint statement:
Records: Rage Against The Machine -s/t
DLK - Le som en fotomodell
Räserbajs - Noppriga tights och moonboots
Dan Berglund - En järnarbetares visor
At the gates - Slaughter of the soul
Concerts: DLK + Dennis och de blå appelsinerna + Coca Carola.
Asta Kask (Vågen, Gbg-2003)
Refused (Kafé 44, Sthlm-1997)
Rage against the machine (Hultsfred+Solnahallen -1997)
Cosa Nostra (Kafé 44 Sthlm-96/97?)
Things in life: Tits
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
First: Twisted Sister - Under the Blade
Latest: Hiroshima - Brända broar
Most expensive: Strebers - Flickan och kråkan
First: Just D - Råck n´råll
Latest: OHSP - Ett slag
Most expensive: Incest Brothers - 4 år för sent
First: Trazan och Banarne - Sångtajm
Latest: Oddjobb - Koyo
Most expensive: The Skatalites - Foundation Ska.
First: Ebba Grön - 78-82
Latest: Maroon - About Jane
Most expensive: The Haunted - Made Us Do It
How is a good concert with you?
- A gig with Varnagel can be a little however, but it feels like our level on the livefront have been raised in the last time. A good gig with us is when we sweat and puff onstage(we hope) with a little help from the audience. We try to hold the 2-tactbanner high and play songs from all our releases. And sometimes we try to play a cover on some of our favouritesongs.
Which style is it on the people who buys your records and comes to your ocencerts?
- Studs, mohawks and people with trouser in rags is it sometimes. Palestinascarfs and popheads is it alos. The most isn´t in the ”crustpunksmarsh” or the popnerds(believe it or not) and they´re more trallpunky in their style. The most is between 16-20 and they´re often politically engaged. We´re ahppy to see that it´s really many women in the audinece. And except from these people it comes som old punks which was old when we were 14.
Is it many interviews? Is it boring?
-To be interviewed in a fanzine is really honourable and of course we´re proud, happy and a little bit surprised when there´s a new interview in the mailbox. To be interviewed we see as a golden opportunity to talk out and say what we think, want and what we stand for. To have a place there we can talk free and uncensored(we hope, Peter) and then we only can say thanks. And even more fun is it because we have been sitting and drool over fanzines and been jealous on the bands which have been interviewed. Skrutt is one of the fanzines we have grew up with. (We have Skrutt # 11 which came out in September 1992), the oldest in my collection. And that´s really cool that you still are doing it, but not on paper, which is a little bit boring. Paperzines rules.
Which si the question you want to ahve but you never get. Please ask it and answer it?
- For example: "What do you mean with the lyrics to the song "Den gamla hunden"?" Answer: -It describes a conservative generation and their unwill to change of the community(for example our parents). It´s really fun to get questions about our lyrics which we really puts a lot of energy in. For us the lyrics is as important as the music and questions about them says that the interviewer have a genuine interest for the things we do. And lyrics is the most important part if we should like a band or not.
Are you surfin around on different punksites? Any favourite?
-The one who surf the most is our webmaster Tobbe. But the other Var-members is also relative active, The punksites which we visit often is HYLK:s site, Secon Class Kids-site and the Var-site, Sex n´ Samlevnads website, Birdnests forum and Beat Butchers gig-guide.
What does Varnagel do in ten years?
- If Varnagel exists in 10 year so have we done some fullengthrecords and a lot of gigs, both in Sweden and outside Sweden. We have an own label since some years ago there we release our own records and we help other bands in the punkscene to release their records. Maybe we have a place there undergroundbands can play. When we think about other bands which have together in 10 years so will we sound a little bit different if we compare with today, but we have the Swedish punk as the common denominator
The futureplans? For the band? For yourself?
- We have precisly get through an intensive write and recordingperiod and therfor we put our force to come out in the country and play as much as possible. We´re doing new songs all the time so a new Var-record will surely be see the light in not so long time. Which format it will have we haven´t decided yet. The one who lives will see!
- Rather die in blood than live in shit.
Rather a pusy nail on my hand than 10 chapped vagels in the eye(or in my ass).
Something to add?
- After this mastodontinterview. No, I haven´t, not a shit, but a big cred to the fanzine-mogul Peter T-red!