I interviewed Sweden’s Alloy Six for Hymn a few months ago about their upcoming release on Copasetic. Now it’s finally here, and it’s called Turn Out the Lights. Here’s a new interview in English, originally meant for Noisey. So it’s my pleasure to present it right here, on Record Turnover.
Forget The Hives, forget The Movements – The Alloy Six is the best garage group outta Sweden these days. They proved that when they levelled the Fred Perry store for Gothenburg’s Sinful Mod Weekender a couple of years ago, and when they played mine and Lauren Miller’s night Phasing Out in Malmö. They’ll soon be unleashing their first LP, so RT sat down with Jonas Lindholm (vocals) and Mathias Westerlund (lead guitar) to talk about the Swedish mod scene.
The Swedes seemed more into it back when you guys were doing The Fortune Tellers and The Moving Sounds. Strange, because internationally artists like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, King Gizzard and Temples quite popular today. Is the Swedish 60s scene still there?
M: I think we’re in a transitional period here in Sweden, as far as 60s-inspired bands go. A few years ago, when Graveyard hit big, that brought on a heap of 70s-sounding bands instead. Hold on a few years and the 60s will be back again.
What do you do if you want to have a good time but don’t have any money – you start a band of course. And if there are no venues around – you do it yourself, just find a garage. This might sound like a like probable scenario if you lived in the countryside, but even in Sweden’s capital this could happen – and you have experienced it for years. How do you put up with it?
J: Unfortunately, many artists lead anonymous lives in Sweden today. I would love to play more here, but unless you are an established name with good contacts and management, it’s hard to shake anything loose. People are still interested in music, of course. But I think there’s a great difference between people who just ”like” music and are happy with the radio or what their friends recommend, and people who genuinely put an effort into finding and listening to bands they’ve never heard before. That’s the stuff you can only find in obscure media or during ungodly broadcasting hours. It’s two vastly different things to me – liking music and being interested in music.
Yeah, and that’s the inspiration too, finding records. I know that releasing music on vinyl has always been important for bands into 60s music. You cut your first 45 last year, with the savage “Eye to Eye” on the a-side. You did that yourselves in only 200 copies. It’s still not sold out, which I think is astounding considering the quality of the song. If it had been 50 years older it would be collectors’ gold. Is that a compliment in your ears?
J: Yeah, me and Staffan and Per all played in The Moving Sounds before, a band Per started 15 years back. Back then it was all about doing covers of the records that were big on the scene.
One of those was Swedish schlager artist Tommy Körberg’s monster tune “Igor the Dog”, right? One promoter of the Sinful Weekender that you played a while back used to run a clothing store with that very name. So the “gear” has always been naturally integral to the mod scene. You even played in a Fred Perry store – how do you feel about that?
J: It was awesome with the whole scooter caravan thundering onto the narrow pedestrian street in Gothenburg where the store was located. A lot of people turned up and it felt quite continental. It’s not every day an event like this takes place in Sweden, especially not when it comes out of a specific subculture like the 60s scene. I loved it! Besides, Fred Perry and Ben Sherman are the brands I buy the most. In the Moving Sounds we had matching mod cut suits for a while. You know – short, taken-in trousers, tightfitting jackets with three buttons and the top one high up on the chest. You grow tired of that eventually, which might be because of the amounts of sweat. But I do think the outfits should reflect the kind of music you are playing. It should never come to Mick Jagger spandex or Pete Townsend dungarees. Some people really fucked up. No one in The Alloy Six has gotten that sloppy yet…
M: Yeah a couple of members are a bit sloppy with stage clothes haha! If it was up to me we’d be even more meticulous. I think the band’s style is important, because thoroughly thought through concepts are cool. People are going to stand staring at us anyhow, so we can make sure to at least look smart. If we all wore our everyday clothes it would be so damn boring. No motley crews here. But we are pretty well matched, at least you can tell we are inspired by fashion from 60s subcultures.
You’ve picked a song from your upcoming album that you want share with Noisey. Tell us about it!
J: “Each Night” is the opening track of our debut LP that should be out this spring. It’s about the usual stuff, complicated love and all that shit that’s so wonderfully hard.
M: I wanted the lead guitar to sound like the 45 version of “Looking At You” by MC5.