Interview by Doug in Short, Fast + Loud
MASSGRAV live in an abandoned warehouse lined broken
teeth and busted jawbones. When they aren't busy wrapping rusty barbed
wire around their fists, they like to pass the time playing fast, hateful
Questions asked by Doug and answered by the three trolls called
as Johan, Indy and Ola.
Please introduce the members of Massgrav and give
us a little background about the band. Who's the toughest member of the
band and which guy is the biggest hit with the ladies?
Johan: I'm Johan, sometimes called "Norse",
I play the guitar and do the screaming. My screams are a bit darker than
Ola’s, if you're having trouble guessing who's who. I am often referred
to as the "Big Enos Burdette of Massgrav" - maybe because I'm
the spiritual leader who guides the other two lost souls through the darkness,
or maybe cause I'm the toughest guy who gets all the ladies.
Indy: Or maybe because you have such a big
Johan: Well… Me and Ola started Massgrav
back in 1995-96 in a small shitty town called Skövde in Sweden. Back
then we had a guy called Erlando on drums but he only lasted a couple
of rehearsals and a demotape. We sacked him cause he was too slow. Then
we had sort of a break from Massgrav for 3-4 years when Ola moved to Stockholm.
We did do some rehearsing in Ola’s small apartment when I visited
him but it wasn’t that serious. I moved to Stockholm in 1999 and
then we got started again. We found a drummer called Conny Slägga
and recorded the "Fast i Skiten"-demo. Now that one didn't really
turn out the way Ola and me wanted. Crappy songs and crappy drums resulted
in us sacking Conny, writing some new songs and looking for a new slave
to put behind the drums. We found Indy and here we are today, on top of
Indy: They found me in the gutter sometime
in november 2002. I was there screaming about raw power and brains. I’ve
been their slave ever since.
Ola: The early days was a fucked-up mess,
things are better now in every possible way. I’d say Norse is the
biggest hit with the ladies, he’s the one living the life of the
midlife crisis playboy from hell. I’m probably the toughest though.
I’m a meat, potatoes and knuckle sandwiches kinda guy.
Indy: Fuck, that makes me the weakest then…
You guys have had several drummers since you started
way back when. Is it hard to find a solid drummer in Sweden or are Ola
and Johan just so demanding that most guys can't keep up?
Johan: Oh it’s hard to find a fast
one that can cope with the songs Ola and I are writing. Most punkdrummers
in Sweden just wants to play the slow d-beat in the vein of Discharge,
Meanwhile and Wolfpack, which is such a bore! So I guess we're kind of
demanding, but after we found Indy there are no problems since he was
born to be in Massgrav.
Indy: Correction, I was born to die in Massgrav.
Ola: Correction number two and three: yes,
there are problems since Indy keeps breaking down and getting sick (probably
due to him eating nothing but fruit soup and potato chips) and no, we’re
not very demanding or we’d have sacked his ass a million years ago
for being a weakling. But... when he occasionally does manage to drum,
he does it good, so he stays.
Indy, who are your drumming mentors, forefathers,
heroes, etc… and do you ever try to test the speed limits of these
two old fuckers you're in the band with?
Indy: Hell, it’s actually them trying
to kill me with their merciless songwriting. It’s like ”Ok,
Indy, play as fast as you can”, and I do that and then I die. It’s
Some of my fave drummers are Nicke Andersson (Nihilist/Entombed), Hoccy
(G-Anx/Counterblast), Dennis The Menace (Macabre) and Jallo (No Security),
but I can’t play like them, so I usually end up sounding like the
d-beat version of Ventor on Kreator’s ”Pleasure to kill”-album.
I think that chaotic style suits Massgrav pretty good.
Judging from your vocals (coz the only Swedish
word I know is "fitta") you guys seem sorta pissed. What's the
driving force for all that hate? What are your lyrics about?
Johan: All lyrics deal with hate in some
form, it’s the whole concept idea with Massgrav. Pick a subject
that makes you angry and filled with hate, and the ultimate way to deal
with it is to make a Massgrav song and just release the fucking fury!
After all, blind, unfocused rage is the emotional core of all great art.
And once you've experienced that, you can make rock'n'roll. Most of my
lyrics deal with different sort of people that I don’t like: My
bosses, cops, politicians, "the rich and famous", the punks
and the crusties.
Ola: You’d think being born male in
one of the richer countries of the world would give you less to complain
about, but yet I find myself brimming with hatred several times a day,
figuring out things to do to punish people that piss me off, daydreaming
about going postal. My songs are usually more focused on the pointlessness
of life, the despair and anguish and cold, black hatred that runs in my
veins instead of blood. How’s that for pretentious bullshit?
Indy: And of course, all lyrics are based
on true events. The opening track on our album, “Va ere för
fel på socialen”, is actually about Terje from Arsedestroyer,
whom I lived with for two and a half years, and who suddenly stopped paying
the electricity bill. We had to live in the coldest darkness for three
weeks. Crust as fuck. Norwegian black metal.
Do you ever get tired of having to draw those
little dots and circles over your vowels?
Johan: No. Do you ever get tired of having
fourteen fingers, small eyes, a big nose and playing the banjo?
Indy: Hey, this is an important question!
I sure as hell get tired of doing that shit, cuz it wastes my precious
time. Anything that may speed up this shitty thing we call daily life
is good. Fast forward to the inevitable death, please.
Ola: Nah, you replace the two dots with a
line and the little circle with a dot and it’s really no sweat.
Now, the French, there’s a people who should get their act together
and get rid of at least half of the stupid extra little things that make
their language a complete disaster. I hate French.
How come there aren't more straight edge bands
Indy: Well, there was a couple of years
ago, but it seems like all of them assholes were just trendy, stupid kids
who couldn’t think individual thoughts, imagining they could make
a difference by not drinking beer. You see, in Sweden everybody follow
trends and since it’s not trendy to be straight edge anymore there
aren’t any sXe-bands left. As simple as that.
Johan: The whole Umeå-scene with Refused,
Abhinanda and all the other crap bands that claimed that they where in
it for life in 1995 are now drinking beer, eating meat, having sex and
playing crust in Total Jävla Mörker like the fucking posers
they are. Right now it seems like Massgrav is the only true hardline,
sXe band in Sweden and that really is a shame. But you can count on us
man… We'll create a firestorm to purify, street by street - block
Indy: I heard Uncurbed have mended their
bent edge and now survive on juice and green tea alone, so I guess it’s
time for the ecological crust movement to take over soon.
Ola: Whatever. The best thing about the sXe
scene being dead, is I no longer have to see their boring, sterile, ugly
fanzines and I don’t have to listen to their boring vegan jokes.
I miss kicking their asses though, thank god there are still crusties.
By the time this interview sees the light of day,
the new CD will have been unleashed on the unprepared world of hardcore.
Anything to say that would make the uninitiated folks wanna go out and
buy your album instead of the newest band featuring that guy from DS-13?
Indy: If you want to get the feeling of
having your whole body demolished by a jackhammer gone mad, you should
get the Massgrav-CD. If you want poses and emo-shit you should get whatever
else comes your way.
Johan: To be honest with you I haven’t
heard Suicide Blitz, but I’ve heard they are a band with a tough
as hell "we hate everything and everybody, fuck off and die"-image,
but in reality they just play some sort of emopunk. Sounds lame to me.
Ola: Just look at us! Old, ugly and fat (at
least me), not a cool fibre in our bodies. That should tell you we have
to put it all in the music, our looks sure won’t sell any albums
(not that I’m implying anyone else sells albums by sporting cool
tattoos and cop hats, no sir, not me). We didn’t spend one nickle
on make-up, we spent it all on speed, hooks and hatred!
Have you guys done much touring? Any future plans
for it? Anything wild happen at the gigs in your area?
Johan: We’ve been way too lazy to
even consider touring. With this line-up Massgrav has only done a few
gigs so far, but with the new CD out we are prepared to hit the road.
We would love to do some touring in the US or Japan, for example. Feel
free to contact us ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and we’ll work something
out. Be prepared for lots of blood, insults, violence and chaos. Pretty
much like The Dwarves back in the days.
Ola: Be prepared to pay for limos and hotels
and shit though, Escorbuto Recordings spoiled us in that way. No sleeping
on the floor in your shitty squat.
Indy: I’d probably hate touring. I
just want to cancel gigs and go check out some cool foreign culture, like
archeological sites and strip joints.
What are some of the main influences for you guys
(bands and other shit as well)? Any modern bands that really kick your
ass? Could you beat up the dudes in Krigshot?
Indy: Mob 47, Krigshot, Frigöra and
Dropdead are pretty obvious influences, I guess. I still listen to a lot
of grindcore, like Arsedestroyer and old Napalm Death. As for the new
bands that influences me… that’s pretty hard. I don’t
think there’s anything that influences my playing in Massgrav anyway,
but I recently discovered the “Nemo saltat sobrius”-EP by
Illdåd which had some mighty fine tracks.
Johan: When I tried to convince Indy to play
drums with us I told him that we sounded like Hellnation mixed with Krigshot!
Now that’s what I call a lie… Actually there is a band that
I also would like to mention as a big Massgrav influence, an old swedish
band called Kurbits I.R. They released an EP called “Inget liv”
back in 1993 or something and it’s fucking amazing! Really fast
punk stuff. To me it’s one of the best EP's I've ever heard. But
I think there are a lot of modern band that kick my ass! It's so fucking
boring with all the idiots that just complain about everthing being better
in "the good ol' days" - fuck you assholes! Hell, there are
so many great bands around these days. Just listen to bands like Diskonto,
Uncurbed, Yacopsae, Krigshot, Victims, Sayyadina, Backstabbers Inc, The
Fasts, 9 Shocks terror, Kontrovers... I could go on for ages. Listening
to all these great bands I really don’t miss old farts like Mob
47, Siege and Infest. And when it comes to Krigshot... Man, they are so
fucking great – totally untouchable!! “Örebromangel”
is THE best punkalbum ever made. Me and Indy once drove like 250 km, one
way, to see Krigshot perform their first and so far only gig. But Massgrav
could easily beat up those fat fucks, but it would definitely not be worth
it. All hail Krigshot!
Ola: And to continue, I’d like to drop
a couple of names that sound nothing like us, but inspire by being fast,
angry and having a bad attitude. Bands like Limp Wrist, Knife Fight, Jag-offs,
the earlier mentioned Dwarves (the way they used to be), ATR... I could
go on here...
What did you buy with your first royalty check
Johan: Haven’t got it yet, but we’ll
invest everything in the stock market. Or maybe we’ll just buy some
Indy: I hope to get a house in Venice.
Ola: Knowing the others, I’ll probably
never see that check. If I do, I’ll get me some more gear and some
cheap beer, that’s all it takes to keep me a bit less rabid.
What's the main thing that keeps you playing hardcore
punk? Goals for the band that you haven't reached yet? Any shit that makes
you wanna pack it in and start playing jazz instead?
Johan: To me it’s all about the money.
Indy: Me too. A house in Venice…
Ola: And beer. And a nice, juicy steak. Of
course, Norse being sXe and all, he’ll just be wanting some lentils
Johan: But seriously, we just like playing
as fast and angry music as we can and if somebody else likes what we do
- fine - good for them. No goals, we just wanna do more gigs outside of
Sweden. The way I see it there’s only one thing that could slow
us down and lead us onto the right hand path (jazz), and that's if Indy’s
weak arms can’t keep up with the pace. The man really needs to get
some work out done.
Indy: Hey, I work out everyday in front of
my Playstation along with a bucket of chips, so no fucking around! I feel
as strong as Conan (the librarian, not the barbarian). I’m into
power yoga as well. As for goals, I’d like to combine playing gigs
with seeing some strange places and cultures before this fucked up world
is put to dust. Another goal would be to release a ten inch, maybe a split
with some of our fave bands. I’m into tapes as well, so a tape release
would be cool. See, we haven’t got much bigger plans than that,
Ola: I want us to do some of those crust
patches, the ones that are, like, made out of old sheets, so that all
crusties can wear them, not knowing we hate them. That’s my goal.
That, and going to Japan. And the main thing about that will be to tell
the boss “I need some time off, we’re touring Japan”.
What's Stureplan and why do you wanna dump napalm
Johan: Stureplan is a place in Stockholm
where all the rich and famous people hang out. You know, fancy restaurants,
trendy boutiques, women in fur, yuppies, wannabees, the royal family,
Suicide Blitz, Totalt Jävla Mörker...
Indy: I like women in fur, though…
Is it hard living in constant fear of Finland invading
Indy: Yeah, it really is! I truly believe
that the damned finns are planning on taking over the world or something.
Finland is so close to Sweden, still we hear nothing, absolutely nil,
from that country when it comes to news etc… It’s really strange,
and they speak this language which is so totally different from swedish,
norwegian and danish. I’m totally convinced that Finland is occupied
by aliens. Scary shit.
Johan: Finland is a fucking wasteland filled
with drunken retards and disgusting beer, and everyone in Finland looks
like an albino… The only good thing that came out of that country
since they left the union with Sweden is Impaled Nazarene, but even they
have wimped out lately… To me, all the Finnish punkbands suck ass.
They are so slow and boring - just the ordinary slow fucking d-beat shit.
So, as long as they can't keep up with the pace of Massgrav I dont really
think we do need to fear the Finnish invasion. By the way, the worst thing
with Finland is that no one in the whole world understand what they say
– finnish is probably the ugliest language on the globe. I'll tell
you – Japanese makes more sense to me than the sounds they make
in the woods of Suomi.
Indy: Well, I like Kaaos and Riistetyt, no
matter what you say, big mouth!
Ola: We used to rule them a few hundred years
back and they still acknowledge our superiority, I’d say. Going
to Finland is like going back in time to the seventies, everything is
fucking bleak and ugly. They suck. Oh, and Norse is a closet Klamydia
fan, just so you know.
Tell me about the typical Massgrav rehearsal session.
What do you guys do to get in the mood to crank out the noise? Trapped
in a small shack clad in wolf skin boots during the six month winters
must make writing all that hateful shit no problem?
Indy: Ola drinks a bottle of napalm, Johan
rapes himself and I inhale darkness. And hey, I ain’t got no lame
ass wolf skin boots! I wear Armani Seal Skin Sandals (ASSS) exclusively!
That’s the biggest secret for making the scandinavian d-beat of
Johan: Writing hateful shit is no problem.
The real problem is that we’re so fucking lazy and that our drummerboy
is such a weakling... I read on the internet that “Massgrav could
be as big as Ramones and Clash but their drummer is so weak they can’t
do any major touring”…
Indy: Never believe what buggerfuckers write
on the internet. I am Conan, I tell you!
Ola: I’d say the biggest problem (apart
from Indy’s poor quality) is that we’re so dumb, we have to
practice songs over and over again, even though they’re dead easy.
Our rehearsals have improved since we got a new place where we can all
stand up straight, the old one had a really low ceiling with sharp objects
sticking out. It’s so much easier to do what we do without blood
running down your face, let me tell you.
Are the new tunes you've been writing even more
insane than the last batch? You guys ever gonna do a concept album or
Johan: We’re actually composing an
epic rock opera about the thrash metal scene right now. Some working titles
that can be revealed exclusively to the readers of SFL are: “Reign
in hate”, “Bonded by hate”, “Hatred descends”
and "Pleasure to hate". But I heard that Ken Pollution is sceptical
when it comes to releasing this nugget. Sound Pollution may not be ready
for this masterpiece yet.
Indy: The new songs are so damned fast I
can’t even remember them. It’s just ”sccchhhwwwiiisshhh”,
and then it’s over.
Ola: When we recorded “Napalm...”,
we also recorded a cover that won’t be on the album, we’re
saving it in case anyone is putting together a good compilation that we
want to contribute to. Anyway, that song was fast as hell and now I find
all songs I write are that fast. Expect some fast shit in the future,
that’s all I can say. Concept? All our songs are about hatred, can
it get any more conceptual than that?
Johan: We’ll probably enter the studio
in april or may to record them. We’ll actually enter the studio
earlier than that, to record a song for an upcoming Napalm Death-tribute.
It’s a tribute to the amazing “Scum”-album and we’ll
cover the song “Control”. Of course we'll do it in swedish.
Indy: And to finish this off I’d like
to dedicate “Napalm över Stureplan” to Mieszko Talarczyk
as a tribute to the mighty Krigshot, a band which has influenced us a
lot – and still will. Peace, Mieszko, wherever you are.