Dennis Lyxzén is a man who just can’t keep still. Having shot to fame with the hugely popular post hardcore band Refused, he has continued to move on to different projects since the bands demise in 1999. There’s been International Noise Conspiracy, his new wave outfit The Lost Patrol and now his new straight out hardcore band AC4, touring in April with Star Fucking Hipsters (featuring members of Leftover Crack and The Specials) When I got a call from Dennis he was currently melting in the summer heat touring the Big Day Out with The Bloody Beetroots. I got the rundown on AC4, he’s involvement in The Beetroots cover of a Refused song and why punks shouldn’t organize anything!
Music Feeds: Hey man how have you been?
Dennis Lyxzén: Hot! It was -27 when I left my house (in Sweden) and yesterday it was +42 so you make the math. [laughs]
MF: Can you give us a run down AC4?
DL: We’re a bunch of old friends who’ve known each other since the ’80’s. We all used to play in punk and hardcore and rock bands and just known each other forever. A couple of years ago we decided we should just start a proper hardcore band together. Then we put out a record on my label (Ny Våg) , we toured a bit and now we’re coming out to Australia. That’s a quick run down.
MF: In the beginning you chose to boycott media interviews and you only answered questions from fans under 18 years of age, is that right?
DL: Yeah thats true. I think when we started the band we wanted to keep it close to the chest, because of the history of the members and our history, we figured if we don’t do it our way.
A ton of people are going to come out and talk about it, what we’re all about and they don;t understand where we’re coming from. So we just try to give the band music and the proper channels without having to abide to some sort “ex members of blah blah blah blah” selling points. Thats why we did that whole thing and started it that way.
MF: It seems to have a different sound with each project that you do, is that a conscience decision on your part or is it more organic on how things turn out sound wise?
DL: It’s a little bit of both. I’m a super restless guy. I always want to try new things, try to improve, do things I haven’t necessarily done before. But it also comes organic. The flow of your influences, the flow of life, where you’re at, you go “wow! shit I didn’t think I would do this.” so it’s a little bit of both. I’ve always been a little to curious to just settle in and do the same record 20 times. When I’ve done a record, I’ve done that record.
MF: You’re currently out here touring with The Bloody Beetroots who are covering your track “New Noise”, how did that all come about?
DL: They did the remix and I met them to talk about a possible collaboration and we kind of hit off. We talked about music, and ideas of revolution, aesthetics and stuff and then they asked me if I wanted to come on stage and sing “New Noise” with them. I was super skeptical but then I saw them live. They have an energy and power to them that I could relate to. We’d been in touch and we had plans to work together and I’ve played with them one offs here and there, then all of the sudden they said “Do you want to come to Australia with us?” and I was like “Yeah, lets do that!” It just happened. The kind of music they do isn’t really my thing. It’s just turned out really well.
MF: So now that you’ve been exposed to that style of music more, is that something we can see you doing down the track?
DL: Nah I don’t think I’m going to start doing electronic music! [laughs]Me and Bob (The Bloody Beetroots) are working on music together which will be that kind of style. As for myself, I’m a little too much in love with the loud guitars. So I don’t want to venture too much off into electronic music! And I don’t have the patience to sit in front of a computer and create music. I prefer old school, being in a room with three other sweaty individuals making music.
Last year there was a bit of a fuss over a Refused reunion, despite claims you made when you broke up that you would never get back together. Did you find the whole rumour funny, flattering or just a bit sad that people are still hanging on?
DL: Yeah, you know it’s a bit like…it meant a lot to a lot of people. I think also the whole break up and the whole mystical aspect of the band was so big, people are just curious and they’re still interested in seeing us play. Most people didn’t get to see us play. We were, at best, existed only in Europe as a semi big hardcore band. And most people who bought the record (“The Shape Of Punk To Come”) kind of missed out, I can kind of understand. There’s a bunch bands that I think “I would of wanted to see that band play”.
It’s kind of weird and flattering at the same time. There’s such a demand. You make music, you’re done, you move on to other types of music and then you’re done and move on and someone keeps reminding you of something you did twelve years ago, that’s what I find it a bit crazy.
MF: How’s things going with the label Ny Våg (meaning New Vogue in Swedish)?DL: Pretty good. We’re pretty fucking super disorganized punks [laughs], the amount of time we put into the label verses the amount of records we sell is ridiculous! If we put a little more time into it, I’m sure we’d do really well. The problem is it’s run by a bunch of punks who are always on tour or doing other things, it’s a bit hap-hazardous.
We got some really good releases coming up, it’s all good. It’s a little thing we do when we get the time you know?
MF: What are some of those releases we should look out for?
DL: There’s a new hardcore band called UX Vileheads. Kind of fast, American style hardcore. We did a record last year with a guy called Mattias Alkberg which is a singer/songwriter/poet guy from Sweden. He’s done a new record we’re going to release.
MF: What do you do away from music?
DL: Apart from music I play football, soccer. I play in a soccer team and I watch soccer. That’s all I do apart from music [laughs] That’s my other hobby. I think it’s on the opposite spectrum from being a musician and I like it because it’s so liberating. You get to run and sweat and not think about anything else for an hour or two. It’s very nice.
MF: You’ve always been outspoken in your political and social views, how have those views changed as you’ve gotten older?
DL: The views are my outspokenness [laughs]. I mean, I’m still outspoken, I still say whatever is on my mind. I don’t know how to hold back you know. I think the thing that might have changed when I grew older is that, when I get into situations that might not be that much of a use to talk about politics and get really angry, that you can pick and choose your battles a bit better as you get older.
As far as politics as you get older the changes, there are aspects of politics that are not the same as when you were a kid. But as far as the basic principles of what I believe in and what I think of them,it’s pretty much the same you know. I haven’t changed it much. When you’re young you can be a rebel and you’re revolutionary and then you get a proper job and it’s thrown out the window.
If you still hang on to these beliefs as you grow older, the stakes get higher. It’s life or death in another perspective. I mean when you’re 38 years old you still believe in this and you make it as a inspiring musician, the effects of the economical situation and of the social pressure makes it more tangible then when you were 19 or 18. So I think it makes you a bit more radical.
MF: Now with the tour with Star Fucking Hipsters in April, what can Australian audiences expect from AC4?
DL: I dunno…..a bunch of old dudes trying to pretend we are young! [laughs] Thats it. It’s pretty simple, it’s not like we’re coming over with some weird avant-garde art show. We play fast, furious hardcore rock n’ roll music. We’re a funny live band. We try to have a good time with it. The record might sound really angry, but when we play live it’s actually pretty good times.
The dates for the tour this April are:
7th – The Zoo, Brisbane
8th – The Wall, Leichhardt
9th – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
10th – Blush Nightclub, Gosford
14th – The Arthouse, Melbourne
Ticket info through New Noise Agency