Interview by Doug in Short, Fast + Loud #13.

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 punk rock.
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 mouth...
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 the world.
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 pure torture.
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 from Sweden?

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 by 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 ( ) 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 from SP?

Johan: Haven’t got it yet, but we’ll invest everything in the stock market. Or maybe we’ll just buy some more napalm.
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 and shit.
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, hehe…
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”. Fucker.

What's Stureplan and why do you wanna dump napalm on it?

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 your country?

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 death.
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 rock opera?

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.