MYTERI have been around for quite a while so you should be familiar with them by now. The new LP called “Ruiner” out on Alerta Antifascista shows a mature band with a great sound. Being a hard working touring band with two full-lengths on heir account, thousands of kilometers driven, it is time to talk about their crust, Europe and Sweden.
SP: MYTERI have just released their second full-length album. You recorded it after, more or less, two years. What did you learn and how did you develop as a band during this period?
Franz / Erik: We have probably learned to take better care of each other (and ourselves). We have gotten to know each other even better than before. Perhaps we have learned to communicate better both musically and as a group.
SP: As a relatively young band you have toured quite a lot. Tell us where you’ve been and how do you organise your tours?
Franz / Erik / Johan: Through hard work, we have built up a network of contacts with amazing organizers who made it possible for us to get out on tour. When we booked our first tour we did this together with Agenda (Norway) which was very helpful. That two of us have also played in Eskatologia have helped with the booking I think. But without all those who organize gigs on Sundays, Mondays, without any guarantees that anyone will come, it would be impossible for us to go on tour like we do. We have been to countries such as: Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, and Belgium. And we will go on tour with our friends in Protestera this November! We hope we will be able to tour outside Europe sometime soon.
SP: Touring like that requires having a considerable amount of spare time for each five members of MYTERI. Do you have freelance jobs? You’re pretty young chaps, aren’t you?
Franz / Erik: Haha! Thanks a lot! Very young indeed. We are between 28 and 37 years old.
We don’t have a lot of spare time but we all try to make it work. We all take time off work without pay. A couple of us have small children now so it’s getting harder and harder to be away from home.
SP: Any places you’ve been to on tour that you would recommend as a MUST visit and why?
Johan: if you had asked me about the worst places we experienced the list would be short. But you asked for the opposite, so the list is going to be long. ☺ Here comes my top ten best places and evenings we have experienced on tour!
XI20 | Vilnius | Lithuania
We booked a two week tour with the Norwegian band Agenda, a band we didn’t know anything about. It came to be one of the best tours ever. When we booked the tour we still didn’t have a bandname and only about three songs. It probably would never had happened if not for Agenda and me previous experience from touring with my and Eriks old band Eskatologia. We went on tour without any expectations for big crowds at the shows. This completely changed in Vilnius. XI20 was packed with dancing people, some even knew our lyrics and joined in on the chorus-parts. After the show we met a person who hitch-hiked 100 km (!) this day just to watch the show. Those nights it doesn’t matter if you get your underwear stolen or that the toilet floor was full of piss and water. That night left us with a great feeling that lasted for a long time!
Club Gromka | Ljubljana | Slovenia
Metelkova is by far the coolest venue we have visited. The architecture and vibe reminded me of a miniature version of Christiania, Denmark. Before the show we took a walk in the beautiful neighborhood. Two other bands played this night; Intrigue and Left in Ruins. The audience was awesome just as the food, which we ate several times this evening. Outside of Club Gromka there was a Pride festival which we joined up with after the show. After that we danced all night to some of the best crust-tunes we know. The party seemed to go on forever this night and was really memorable.
Liwi | Leipzig | Germany
Leipzig has been a favourite place for me ever since I played there with Eskatologia on Zorofest 2010. We have played there several times after and it really is a town we try to get a show in when booking tours. Liwi/Strö/Zoro is always excellent to play, always welcoming and well-organized. Seems like the capitol for punks with their dogs and bicycles. Always easy to find great vegan food. For me it’s never a question if we should return to Leipzig, only a question of when. Really hope it will be soon again.
Hafermarkt/Senffabrik | Flensburg | Germany
Flensburg is another city that I’ve had the opportunity to play several times, always great to come here! Great food, warm place to sleep, shower and two clean toilets with toilet paper (!). May not sound so special, but this ”luxury” can really make your day on a punk tour. To go to Flensburg often feels like coming home with the possibility to hang out with great people
Hygget | Värnamo | Sweden
”Hygget is the punk party at a small place called Svartmyra out in the dark woods of Småland”.
”The summer’s biggest little party” has ever since its first year been a must-go event every year. This festival is special for me, although the vibe wasn’t as familiar this year as previous years. The shows take place in a barn and familiar faces show up everywhere in this party. Regardless if we play with Myteri or if I’m a visitor this is a place I go to every year to enjoy punk with punks!
Asatru-Pazo De RíoMaior | Ortigueira | Spain
On the way here I was in a total mental meltdown and really felt like shit. This slowly turned over though during the ride with beautiful landscapes. We came to a small village and met up with great people which made me feel a lot better. We played in front of an open fire in a house from the 17th century. Even though it was a small village the small house was filled up with every musically interested person in the village. When I really feel like shit I sometimes think of this place to make the worst of it go away.
Sala Hollander | Sevilla | Spain
Awesome arranged show and great audience! This night we shared stage with two awesome bands; Leaf Coffin and Rencor. We still Keep in touch with people in these bands, getting new friends is really one of the best things about touring. The audience was really memorable, we were tired but really gave all energy we had! We fell asleep satisfied and Happy with the evening, happy to meet great people who love punk as much as us.
DIY Sound Violence | Barcelos | Portugal
We departed really early in the morning to make in time to Barcelos. After a long day in the car it was a feeling of freedom to walk around on solid ground again. The city we arrived to seemed to suffer from a plague or virus. The streets were empty and the few open food places only served dead animals, so we stayed hungry. Xispes bar hadn’t open yet. We just felt like going back to the car and drive to the next city on our tour. I’m really glad we didn’t! The bar was run by a kick-ass lady who wouldn’t have backed down from anything, not even aliens with laser guns! We were told stories about when cops came to the bar to complain, she just kicked them out and locked the door. If I hadn’t met her myself, maybe I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m totally convinced those stories were true. The bar was placed next to a river. At the backside of the bar it was a cozy garden filled up with punks. The show took place in the Basement of this maybe 200 year old house. It felt like everything was going to fall apart and that we would die. There was a red carpet on the floor which we were told to stand on. Our Singer had to wear a rubber glove to avoid getting electrified. We soon forgot all warnings about the electricity and the show was crazy! The party went on all night long and I fell asleep standing up when trying to party as long as I could.
Tunghørt | Stavanger | Norway
I can go on forever about the beauty of the nature on the way to Stavanger in Norway but I only have one negative thing to say, Stavanger is fucking far away! Tunghørt is arranged by some of the members of the band Agenda and is the largest underground festival in Stavanger. Great city and people, extremely well organized festival. We have played on the festival twice and even though the long journey and expensiveness of Norway is harsh, we wouldn’t hesitate to make it more times if possible. I really hope we get the chance to, would like to make it a yearly tradition to visit Stavanger at least once a year.
Obscene Extreme Festival | Trutnov | Czech Republic
First time I heard about Obscene Extreme Festival wad around year 2000. I and a couple of friends planned to Take a car and visit the festival, but it never happened. Ever since then I have wanted to go there. During the years I’ve heard lots of bad things about the festival, I was curious if these rumors were true. My experience from it is that it’s a great festival although all the visitors and bands might not be. Only vegan food was served. The food was amongst the best I have hade at really reasonable prices. During the 4 days we visited the festival it was a great party spirit. Even though we didn’t sleep at the camping space we walked around there and got a feeling of the atmosphere. Drinking beer with a great view over Trutnov. I really hope we have the possibility to come back and play again, hopefully a little earlier so the audience isn’t as sleepy. Until then I will remember OEF as one of the better festivals I have visited.
SP: All of you play in other bands. Does that conflict with MYTERI plans and is MYTERI a major band for each of you or not?
Franz / Erik: It can sometimes conflict in our plans but we try to have time for all bands. Myteri is definitely the band that consumes most time.
SP: While touring, what differences do you see between countries when it comes to the level of organisation, audience reaction and general involvement?
Franz / Erik / Johan: Not much really. The shows and the places are usually very well organized. Some places are perhaps a bit cleaner than others. It may be that in countries where squats are common, it’s usually easier to book gigs when finding a venue never is a problem.
SP: Judging by the titles of your songs you sing both in English and Swedish. Is there any particular reason for this?
Johan: I´m more comfortable writing in Swedish while John prefers to write in English. What language we use is not something that we have discussed, but it has fallen natural that the person that have the time and interest in writing a text has done that. Everyone in the band reads all lyrics written, and we always discuss the lyrics if we need to.
SP: Name TWO, relatively young and unknown bands from Sweden SANCTUS PROPAGANDA readers should pay attention to and support them.
Franz: Anhedoni from Malmö is definitely a band to look up! Awesome crust, wild and free, just the way we like it! And if you haven’t heard Selkäsauna by now you should definitely check them out. Finnish käng from Gothenburg.
SP: What’s Gothenburg DIY scene like? Is there any dominating style of punk? Any sociological and political activities going on worth spreading out?
Franz: I think that the dominating style is mostly hardcore oriented. Like crust, käng, etc.
That’s what I see most anyway which says more about me I guess. There’s also a lot of metal of course. There’s 128:A in Gothenburg. Sort of an activist collective. There’s also Punk Illegal that supports “illegal” refugees. Another thing worth mentioning is Punk For Rojava. It has not much to do with Gothenburg but it’s important anyway. They support the Kurdish revolution in Rojava.
SP: Let’s talk about Sweden now. Who is an average Swede in his/her 30s? What is a family model, work style, holiday style, etc?
Franz: The typical Swede works as little as possible so they have time to tour with their D.I.Y punk band all over the world. That’s what we do for holiday. As far as I know anyway, ha ha.
SP: Sweden for many post-communist countries like Poland was the land of the free, a place we could immigrate to and be treated like friends, obtain social security and good jobs. Nowadays, the issue of refugees in Europe is used by our government to threaten us that Sweden is flooded with immigrants, the country is going bust soon, and Sweden is not Swedish anymore. This even made the Embassy of Sweden in Poland to issue a dedicated statement denying these political games. So first of all, what is the reality in this respect, first hand?
Franz: Sure, we have many immigrants in Sweden but we are not “flooded” in any way. That’s bullshit. Sweden is still “Swedish” if that’s important, which I don’t think it is. Fuck nationalism!
In times like these we must help people that risk their lives fleeing from war and poverty. “Otherwise we are nothing but dirt!” (Astrid Lindgren)
There’s a song about that on our latest record called “Dödens Hav” (Sea of death)
SP: What is the approach to immigration and refugees in Sweden at the very moment? Sweden took on more refugees than Germany. Does that activate racist movements in the country and do they gain support from the public?
Franz: There is lots of racism in Sweden. Lots. And the Nazis on the prowl again. Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen (Nazi scum) is gaining lots of followers. And they are militant, armed and dangerous. We have a fascist party in the government and in the communes. Sverigedemokraterna. A bunch of idiots called Sons of Odin was big for a while. Like a bunch of vigilantes “protecting” the streets but I think they are gone now. So yes, obviously people are very afraid of other cultures and racism is bigger now than for the last 20 years.
SP: How racism is dealt with in Sweden?
Franz: From the government? Not at all. But people usually react against nazis on the street. And we do have AFA and similar organizations.
SP: What do you think is the reason for the rise of nationalism in Europe and America these days?
Franz: Capitalism as usual. If we fight each other we won’t fight the state. Keeps us busy.
And it’s really easy to blame someone else for your own shortcomings. Society is under constant change and development and when some people can’t keep up they dream of the “golden days” from before. They need scapegoats. And immigrants are an easy target. Or as we like to call it, plain stupidity.
SP: What is Swedish upbringing of children like and what are the results of that. I hear that in Sweden children and brought up in a very loose manner, with a total respect of their freedom, they decide what they want and parents serve them which mean that children rule adults. Would you confirm that and give your opinion?
Franz: No I can’t confirm that at all! All children are brought up differently. Some are brought up loose and some really sturdy. They are all different. In my opinion a parent’s role is to make the child a good, caring social creature full of love. But it’s my personal opinion and everyone who raises a child has their own view on that subject. And my place in all this is that I am a 1/4 part of raising my partners kid. There are 3 more adults that are a part of the child’s upbringing. And then there is school. The kids learn a lot about social behaviour at school. Things I can’t teach the child at home.
SP: Does that lead to behaviors such as informing authorities about children being treated badly by parents?
Franz: Sometimes parents are reported if they can’t take responsibility for their role as parents. Like in destructive drug abuse, domestic violence for example. But not enough times. Too many children are brought up in homes they shouldn’t be in.
SP: One of the common beliefs these days, also “thanks to” many crime stories coming from authors from Scandinavia is that people is Scandinavia are more vulnerable to depression than other Europeans. If so, what is this depression mostly related to?
Franz: I don’t think we are more depressed than other countries. Perhaps we talk more about it. It’s no shame to suffer from psychological problems. As an individual you are under an unbearable pressure from society. It’s no wonder some can’t take the weight.
Johan: Movies doesn’t always reflect the reality in an honest way. I can only express what I have seen and read about in Sweden. After WW2 Sweden developed a strong Welfare society through reformations by the social democrats. This has gradually been torn down by right wing politics. You have to stand in line for longer and longer time to get psychiatric care, more antidepressants is consumed and people in Sweden get more and more isolated. Sweden is one of the countries in the world with most single households. People separate more often which makes it harder to handle your expenses. This result in that the weakest groups of the society gets harder economic conditions, more stress and worse mental health. Healthcare and other important parts of the society are getting more and more privatized. These companies want us to make more and more pseudo-decisions about insurances, electrical company, retirement savings and more. Everyday life shouldn’t be about having to choose between dozens of companies so that your grandmother will get the health care she needs. This puts more pressure on people, and we also have expectations to be successful at work and at home. Expectations that might be hard to meet. I think these things affect people’s mental health in Sweden.
SP: OK, with 2 LPs on your account, what are the plans for MYTERI for 2018?
Franz: Well, all we know so far is that we will tour again in March/April sometime. We know where we are going but since the plans are not fully confirmed yet we wait to announce that.
Hopefully we’ll play some festivals to.