Thursday, April 2, 2009

Posted by xCHIPxSEM |
Ill be the first to admit I don't think Im very good at conducting interviews. I do what I can but I thought this one came out pretty good. Jose Saxlund was the vocalist for Umea, Sweden's Abhinanda as well as owner of Desperate Fight Records which released some of the best European hardcore bands of the day. Jose was gracious enough to answer the questions I sent him and this was the result. You can still check out the Abhinanda tribute on Myspace as well as the original webpage for Desperate Fight Records here.

Chip - First off, state your name and the bands you have been in.

Jose - Jose Saxlund. Bands: Abhinanda, Separation, Gringos Chiflados and now Soundtrack for Violence. There might be some more bands (or more “projects” that never really turned out to be a band) but i dont really remember them now!

C - When did you first get involved in the hardcore scene? What bands were you initially into?

J - Back in the early 90´s i was a metalkid into Metallica, Slayer, Testament, some grind and death metal and
all that kind of stuff. One day i went to a show in Umea to see our metal prophets Meshuggah and there was this band, Step Forward, opening for them… Oh my god! It was the best shit i ever seen! Since that, i´m hooked. The long haired dude in a Metallica shirt that i went to this show with, ended up playing drums in Refused, together with the singer from Step Forward...Back then the scene wasnt that big. We had some cool shows with Step Forward and some other cool punk bands. There was no sxe scene, except for Dennis and some other random kid. But when Step Forward broke up and Dennis and David started up Refused things started to happen. We where like 10 kids doing all kind of crazy things, one thing led to another and suddenly we had like 500 kids at our shows...

C - Abhinanda was one of the first hardcore bands to come out of the Umea scene that I can recall. What was the scene like before your formation?

J - Well as i wrote on the previous answer, there wasnt much of a scene out there. Then punk scene died out and i was quiet for some time. Then Refused got going, we started Abhinanda and everything went fast!

C - You also ran Desperate Fight Records. How did that come about? Did you start the label initially to release your own bands records?

J - Well, actually we started Abhinanda just for fun. None of us could play any instrument or anything like that. We just got tired of stage (well more sofa) diving back at Refuseds rehearsal room. We just decided we needed some more bands in town. So we got going with Abhinanda. Suddenly and from nowhere we had some 5 song recorded. We didnt even care to send them around to labels. We just said, hey lets do a CD out of it. And so we did... and that was how we started the label... So yes, we started everything to release our own stuff!

C - Everyone has their headaches with running a label whether its trouble with the pressing plant or trying to find distribution. What were your

J - Well my biggest headache was when both the label AND band started to grow quiet fast. Of course there are always problems with distros, pressing plants, etc but the fact that i had to be on tour AND running a label was problematic sometimes! But hey, i did have fun!

C - What was your best selling release? Favorite release?

J - The Abhinanda records are the best sellers. Specifically Senseless. That one built up the whole label. My favorite? mmm i dont really now. I like the SXE as fuck compilations cause we had such fun making them. Recording with all the bands and things like that. I also like the Purusam stuff just cause its weird stuff haha.

C - Umea became a hotspot for tours in the 90s. Can you describe what the shows were like back then?

J - Oh man... When we had our first "big" US act (Shelter)... That was amaizing. You know, Umeå is REALLY far up north... It take like 9 hours to drive from Stockholm, our capital. Then you have like 8 more hours down to the continent... So it wasnt easy to finnaly book a hardcore band to Umeå. But they did not regret it. That show was sooo great... After that the word came out and suddenly we even had b
ands like Mean Season playing Umeå!! (hey, nothing wrong with mean season, i really liked them but they where not the most known hardcore band around). It came to a point where touring bands didnt care if they just made it break even moneywise, they just wanted to play Umeå!

C - It really bums me out that so many great European bands never got the chance to come to the US. I remember my friend seeing a band (I cant recall who) in Miami, Florida that had members of Abhinanda or they were on tour with that band. After their set they got up and did a few
Abhinanda songs. Did Abhinanda ever tour the US or make plans to?

J - Can that be Separation? I think they did some US tour. Doughnuts made it over since Victory picked them up. Refused did some US tours as well. Actually we were supposed to go over. The tour was booked and everything. I think it was with Despair, not sure though. We had 2 weeks booked but we had to pay for almost everything and at the same time we got the opportunity to do 6 weeks with 108 in Europe... So we did the Eurotour...

C - Were there any bands that came out of the scene that you especially liked? Maybe one that never got a proper release?

J - Well i really liked Drift Apart but on the other hand i cant really tell, since they just wrote like 2 songs hahaha. Then i´m quiet sure ALL the Desperate Fight releases could have been better if we had more budget. I still believe none of the records where "proper releases". Well don't misunderstand me here. I really like the stuff, we really did records all the records in like 3 days... I´m sure if we had like 2 weeks for recordings all the albums would have been even better!

C - Once and for all, what does the name Abhinanda mean?

J - If i´m not wrong: Ever increasing bliss, or something like that. We took it from the first Shelter album. There is a long text in the sleeve where the word Abhinanda figures. And it wasnt cause we were a Krishna band. We didnt really know anything about krishna. Just that it sounded cool. But in some way some people always thought we were a Krishna band.

C - After all these years, what does Abhinanda mean to you? The band had a pretty big impact on the scene in Europe.

J - I have so many great memories! Oh shit... That must have been one of the best moments in my life. In some way it got to serious though. And that kind of took some of the fun away. But hey, that time means alot to me. As someone said... This is a time we´ll remember!

C - What have you been up to since Abhinanda broke up? I saw that you have you a new band, can you tell us about that?

J - Well apart from moving to Stockholm, get married, 2 kids and all that stuff... i have been working alo
t with football (soccer for you). After hardcore, thats my passion! But as you said, there is a new band! After 10 years i just had to!! Hahaha! We just started up and we dont have so much stuff yet. But we´re working on some songs! Give me a couple of months and we´ll see what happens!

C - Have you ever thought about starting up Desperate Fight again?

J - not really... but now that you say so... hahaha

C - I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions Jose. Im looking forward to hearing the new band and Im glad to see your playing music again. Any last words or shout outs?

J - Well thank you for your interest! To be honest, i´m also looking forward to hearing the new band! hahaha! But as i told you! Just give us some time and we´ll see if it turns out good! I think we´re recording something in late May!
Thanks again!


johnnyex said...

abhinanda was without a doubt one of my favorite bands in the 90s. good to see jose's still around.

xgabex said...

im stoked to see that this dude is still alive. i remember emailing him about coming to the states when i was in 9th grade. sucks that it all fell through.

Anonymous said...

Abhinanda & Umea hardcore bands was a big inspiration in the 90's ..Where a all the people from the Umea hardcore bands now ?!

Nice interview

xvx marty said...

I loved Abhinanda..
Actually thought Desperate Fight was dead but they could at leats leave a website with some info..

What i loved was Purusam!!!! sucha good band.

Jose, you're inspiration to so many people!! and finally wheres any infor about Soundtrack For Violence??

all the best!
xvx marty