Now and then we put the message out there that we’re looking for people to contribute (we always are!). Earlier this year this guy from Sweden answered our call. Time to meet Jonas (or The Invisible Guy).
So who are you and what do you (pretend to) do at SWNK?
I don’t really know who I am. I guess you could say that I basically have no relations to the hardcore environment whatsoever. But I have gotten more and more involved with it. The essence of who I am is that I’m unknown, which is an effort to shine a light on what I write and not who I am. I’m adding to the outsider perspective and therefore the writings about HC/Punk/Crossover that I write over here come from that perspective. I (pretend) try to write interesting stuff but I’m still falling short stylistically.
When you don’t pretend to do anything for SWNK, what’s taking up your time?
I’m studying at the university at the moment. I’ve also been occupied writing for other sites. But at the moment I’m very busy with my own blog Invisible Guy. I’ve managed to build it up over a short period and I try to make it as informative, in-depth and intellectual as possible. Otherwise I try to hang out with friends as much as I can.
What or who inspires you?
Many people, which is the boring answer. I’m very inspired by music in general, and it changes once in a while. Andrew Eldritch has made a huge impact on me, especially his music with The Sisters of Mercy. But also his lesser known side-project The Sisterhood. He’s a pretty interesting person. I’m also somewhat inspired by Nick Cave, primarily when he was in the band The Birthday Party. Also, Klaus Nomi was a very inspiring and interesting person, I’ve read and seen documentaries about him and also listened to his music. He seemed to be such a lovable and kind man. Now I’m at that part when I’ll be namedropping some people: Siouxsie Sioux (from Siouxsie and the Banshees), Ian Astbury (The Cult, Death Cult), Au Pairs (mainly Pete Hammond and Lesley Woods), Evening Legions (french new-wave band that didn’t make it, even though their music was very good), Anna-Varney Cantodea (Sopor Aeternus, mainly her song In Der Palästra, the first song I ever heard by her), The Pop Group (…classic song: We are all prostitutes?), Mike Stewart (from The Pop Group, when he went solo), his album As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade is a masterpiece. Southern Deathcult, Ausgang, The Dancing Did (mainly the song The Lost Plutoon, what can go wrong when you blend folk with goth?), Flesh For Lulu (their song Roman Candle is a masterpiece, too). I could be going on for ages, since there’s so much that inspire me. But I would say that I’m mainly inspired by music and the aesthetics of it, whether it’s minimalistic or grandiose. I tend to like the dotted line between negative emotions and positive emotions. Also, how they encompass each other to form an eccentric live-act (ever heard of Lene Lovich? She is great). I also like the outrageously perfected J-Pop/J-rock-outfit, their dresses and hairstyles must’ve taken long time to sort out. I’ve been influenced by the likes of free improvisation (music) and no-wave as well, even though it took some time to figure it out. Now I’m trying to learn how to like glitchcore and other weird genres. So, yeah, that’s about it.
How did you get in touch with hardcore / punk? What went wrong?
I think the real entry to hardcore and punk came with the classic bands Poison Idea, Cro-Mags, Adolescents, Stalag 13 and the whole nardcore thing. I had listened to some hardcore before but mainly punk. I didn’t really like the ”classic” acts such as The Clash, I focused more on The Dead Kennedys and the likes. I also liked The Dead Boys and Deadbeats (especially their song Kill the Hippies). It actually took longer time for me to figure out that Crass existed, but since I discovered them (late, I know) it struck me how awfully underrated they were. Then when I started writing about hardcore and punk, I found SWNK and applied. So I would say that SWNK have inspired me to write more about this and listen more to it. Actually, 50% of the inspiration came from SWNK and 50% of the inspiration came from the wonderful Lukinzine (swedish punk/hc/whatever-ezine).
I’ve never been to a real hardcore show. That’s a shame, since I’ll be missing out on some good stuff, but I’m trying to better myself. I’ve been to numerous punk shows, but none of them were really exciting but that was because the audience pretty much sucked.
Do your parents and / or family understand your love for this music?
Yeah, of course they do. They mainly listened to Pink Floyd, garage and classical prog-rock. They’ve also listened to a lot of punk music so they understand. I think it’s because of their immense vinyl-collection that made me seek out and broaden my musical perspective.
What made you start to write about music?
This is a tough question. I started to write about music because I’m good at writing. Even though I suck stylistically, I still wanted to inspire people and help them in this musical ocean. I thought that the general music-taste was too generic. But I really like when I’ve managed to write a good review or do a nice interview, to get the reward and appreciation of smaller artists and bands. My focus has been coming from the underdog perspective, since real music journalism has basically died out. I don’t consider myself to be a journalist though, since I haven’t gotten the education to get the title. I’m a writer, fair and square. I also like to help people out. But I’m still fair and objective in my judgement and you can’t buy my opinion about things. So, yeah, here I am and I’m still going strong.
What was the first band that made a big impression on you and how / why?
First band that made any impression would’ve been Slipknot. But I believe that I was too young to appreciate the more psychedelic music of Pink Floyd and the political punk-music that I had access to, because I didn’t understand it. I really loved Slipknot when I was younger and they helped me through some rough times. You could say that I’ve developed and that would be my first ”real” wave of music, then came the second, then came the third, then came the fourth and then the fifth. My second wave included bands like Rammstein and the likes of it. That’s when I was about 15 years old or something like it. Then came the third wave when I started to have some interest in other music. I came into the electronica-sphere and collected the goods. With artists such as The Birthday Massacre, Patrick Wolf, Emilie Autumn, Ayria, Angelspit and Helalyn Flowers. I got away from the third wave by getting introduced to Ladytron and The Sisters of Mercy, these two bands really bridged it and made me leap over to the fourth wave. In the fourth wave I was very interested in EBM, first with Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and all the classical acts and then A.D.A.C 8286, Sturm Café, ELITE!, SPARK!, Kropp, EkoBrottsMyndigheten, Astma and the whole anhalt EBM section came waltzing along. So I would say that I’ve discovered more artists and bands in between these waves, but this is how I like to describe it even though I’m leaving out some things because otherwise I’d be rambling about this all day long. I would say that I got into Crass and hardcore punk more and more in the fifth era (where I am now). It also opened the world of IDM, Neo Folk, Folk and Martial Industrial. So, I didn’t really just have one band that influenced me really much. I’ve always had many.
What’s your current playlist? Anything we should be checking out?
Haha, don’t even go there. I have so much music to recommend. Right now, I’m stuck in the late 70’s and the whole 80’s. I really love to recommend music. This is what I would like to recommend:
Evening Legions – Evening Legions (their one and only album, great pop-influenced new wave)
Club De Rome – S/T (new wave with industrial, what can go wrong?)
Malaria* / Die Hausfrauen – New-York Berlin (split between the german band Malaria! and the US-band Die Hausfrauen, experimental and new wave)
Vono – Dinner Für 2 (their debutalbum, minimal wave and hints of EBM and synth-pop)
Ausgang – Manipulate (debutalbum, it’s goth rock)
Big In Japan – From Y to Z and Never Again (legendary post-punk madness)
The Pop Group – We Are All Prostitutes (dub, punk, experimental… yeah!)
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Juju (legendary… beyond belief)
The Sisterhood – Gift
The Birthday Party – Prayers On Fire
Poesie Noire – Pity For The Self Or We’ll Teach You To Dance
Pankow – Freedom For The Slaves
The Astronauts – Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs
Stalag 13 – In Control
Josef K – The Only Fun In Town
Stendeck – Faces
Virgin Prunes – …If I Die, I Die
Christian Death – Catastrophe Ballet
Soma Holiday – Shake Your Molecules (The Neutron Dance)
Kas Product – Try Out
Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad
Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Well, I’ve got about hundred more recommendations. But that’ll be enough.
What’s Sweden’s best kept secret?
The nature is amazing. If we’re talking about music: Dom Dummaste.
What’s left on your todo list, what are your goals in life?
Completing university studies. Starting up an EBM-group. Performing in front of a small crowd. Starting a post-punk band, starting to make some weird experimental. Trying to become a household name when it comes to DJ’ing (not going to happen). Discovering the world. I still want to be weird when I’m older.
Anything else we need to know about you?
Not really. I think I’ve said what’s important. Or, yeah, I laugh at my own jokes and I’m very silly from time to time. I’m a pretty social creature and I try to be kind.
To close this off, what’s your favorite article / post / review on SWNK? Doesn’t have to be yours of course, but it can be haha.
I’ll go with Dogheads interesting review of a bad record. Otherwise, anything that stimulates my mind or is written in an interesting manner. But I know how hard it is to write something that’s really original and stylistically perfect.