First of all: How does it feel to be „Back From Hell“?
Andy: Great! There’s a lot of things happening now and it’s very exciting! Did you know there’s no use for sunglasses in hell? Your eyes adjust once you get there. Stuff like that!
Magnus: It feels amazing with the album finally released!
The announcement of the reunion of SATANIC SURFERS was like a wet dream for every fan of classic Swedish Punk and Hardcore. What were the main reasons for bringing SATANIC SURFERS back to life in 2015?
Andy: We missed each other and playing music together. Plus some festivals were on our backs, begging us to play. And who are we to say no? Skaters come and skaters go, but surfers never let go.
Magnus: I really missed playing shows. The other guys were busy with other bands, but I wasn’t, and after a few years away from touring, I started to miss it. And I missed them. After all, being in SATANIC SURFERS really changed my life, and it would be weird if we never hung out or played together again.
For me personally your show at Groezrock 2015 was absolutely stunning. It felt so great to sing all the old classics along again. The sold out gig in Cologne in May 2017 was even more marvellous with all the thirty-somethings shouting their lungs out in front of the stage. How surprised were you in regards of the overall positive reactions of the audiences in various countries?
Andy: Honestly, not so much. I’m very humble and grateful to the fact that 100’s of kids (kids?) show up at our gigs and scream, but since I joined the band in 2004 the support has been constant, and after 9 years hiatus, the response must be overwhelming.
Magnus: I wasn’t that surprised either, but I felt a sense of relief. It would be very disappointing to start the whole reunion thing only to find out that nobody was interested.
Rodrigo: The response playing those festivals in the beginning of the re-union was great! Maybe not too surprising that there’s a lot of people. After all those were festival gigs. But hearing the vast crowd singing along was immense. But I think what amazed me most was the overall response and turn out to our club shows that followed. F.ex. all the sold out shows on the short Germany tour… Conclusion, I was surprised and very happy about it.
Your long awaited new album „Back From Hell“ was released on a Friday the 13th. A coincidence?
Andy: That’s typical Rodrigo’s wicked mind.
„Back From Hell“ was released via your own label Mondo Macabre Records. Did you found the label in order to ensure full creative freedom?
Andy: I’ve never been on a label that diminished the band’s creativity, but of course there are pros and cons doing in yourself. I just think it’s what we know best, and what we feel is most natural.
Magnus: I haven’t experienced a label that try to control the bands I’ve been in. We didn’t really get any offers that felt interesting, so we decided to try this instead.
The first single, „The Usurper“, is a reckoning with ATLAS LOSING GRIP. How have the reactions on the lyrics been – and was there any response from the people addressed?
Andy: I’m close friends to everyone in ALG – we all are. I was anxious how they were gonna take it, but they’re all fine. Michael Farber once said: „There’s something cathartic about a punch in the nose.“
Rodrigo: It is what it is. What was is in the past. We have worked out any issues between us. That hatchet is long buried already. My despise for the incompetent management of ALG still remains though. Bands beware!
And how have the reactions on „Back From Hell“ in its entirety been so far?
Andy: Great! Mostly good! People love the old school sound. Someone wrote some shit about the reggae part I guess. Haha.
Magnus: I’ve only heard good things. Even the reviews are almost 100 % positive. Maybe people expected a mellow, mid-tempo album, and were pleasantly surprised when they got something completely different instead. Full speed attack!
To me, the most astonishing aspect of „Back From Hell“ is the overall structure, because it’s far away from the way of least resistance. Especially the strong metal influenced guitars make the record so much more than a simple recap of old fan favorites. What can you tell about the working process on the new material – and the influence of new guitarist Max?
Andy: Max definitely put the spice on the rice. We all worked for a long time on those songs.
Magnus: Rodrigo wrote the songs or in some cases the structures for the songs and then we arranged them in our rehearsal space. I don’t think we’ve ever spent so much time working on songs before recording them. Well, having Max in the band means that we finally have a real solo guitar player. His influence on the record is huge. It would definitely sound completely different without his input. Amazing guitar player and amazing guy!
Besides personal topics your lyrics are dealing with political issues again. How do you see the latest developments in Europe – especially in regards of the increasing influence of right-wing and nationalistic parties?
Andy: Most of the time I’m terrified of the future seeing how things develop these days. Europe is going to crap just like the rest of the world. I think there are few politicians who have a vision that gives energy and hope of a future. And the few who do, sadly have a very xenophobic view on people and life. But at least they seem to care about their cause. That’s why they get so many votes, cause people follow someone who believes in something.
Magnus: The rise of the right wing parties in most of the European countries isn’t that surprising. It’s no secret that they base their politics on fear of everything that’s different or foreign, and with the increasing number of refugees that came during 2015, they saw their chance move forward. According to them, all problems can be solved by not letting any more refugees into Europe. Of course, there’s going to be challenges when it comes to integration, but we have to help people in need. Anything else would be inhumane.
April of 2018 seems like sort of a golden month for punk rock fans – new records from SATANIC SURFERS, NO FUN AT ALL and PENNYWISE. Sure feels a lot like 1999. In what way do you think the scene has changed over the years?
Andy: I think some great changes has been made since the 90’s. There are more women involved in the scene these days, even if a lot festival line-ups rarely include more than a few women. I hope promotors think twice about that.
Magnus: It seems like the European skatepunk scene really developed since the 90’s. Every country seems to have many new bands that draw big crowds. In the 90’s everything was very focused on the American and Swedish bands. At the same time, it’s still the same old bands that headline the punk festivals.
You will be touring a lot over the coming months, playing clubs and festivals. Any cities/venues you are really looking forward to perform?
Andy: I heard France is punk rock again, so I’m very excited about the upcoming tour in France. And the next chance we get to hang out with NFAA, cause they’re so great! Have you heard “Grit”? It rules!
Magnus: I’m looking forward to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia. It’s such a cool festival. It’ll be fun returning to Montreal again. I’ve always loved playing in Canada.
How do you think audiences will respond to the new songs live, given the consequence that some fan favs might be played more seldom?
Andy: The support so far have been very good on the new songs, so I’m stoked to play them live. The crowd sings along too! That’s just about the best review you could ever get!
Magnus: I think the audience will appreciate a few new songs. We can’t keep playing only the old songs forever. And don’t worry, we’re still keeping our biggest hit songs in the set.
In the past – especially after the release of „Unconsciously Confined“ (including the song „Aim to Please“) – it seemed like playing the old hits has lost its charme for you. How does it feel today when many people attending your shows are demanding classics like „Don’t Skate On My Ramp“ or „Hero Of Our Time“?
Andy: There will always be some songs that will never die, and it’s our duty to play them – ernest. It just so happens that we enjoy it very much, and when that changes, we’ll stop playing them. People see when you fake it, and that’s not our intention.
Magnus: When we recorded “Unconsciously Confined”, we were really tired of the songs from “Hero of Our Time”, and we were trying to take the band in another direction. As a band you go through phases, and we always tried to evolve as a band. We never wanted to record the same album over and over again. But of course, when we reunited the band, we knew that we had to play those really old songs again, and for me that’s no problem nowadays. Those songs are good and that’s why people keep wanna hear them 20 years later. That just makes me proud to be a small part of them.
Besides touring, what comes next for you guys?
Andy: I’m going to Japan with my solo band next month, that’s exciting! My album came out like a week after SATANIC’s.
Magnus: Rodrigo’s already showed us two new songs, so we will keep rehearsing new stuff. We’re on a roll now! Other than that, I’ll be spending the summer skateboarding with my daughter and my fiancée.
Any last words you’d like to share?
Andy: Stay punk! Don’t be a dick!
Magnus: See you at our shows!
Thanks a lot for the interview – and especially another splendid record! See you at Brakrock and Cologne!
Andy: DANKE SCHÖN!
Magnus: Thank you, Sir!