Formed in 2002, Beyond Pink is an all-female hardcore punk band from Sweden that released a couple of amazing releases through the feminist Emancypunx Collective. The band consists of ex-Yugoslavia born singer Tijana, Clara (bass & second vocals), Ida (guitar), Cajsa (guitar), and Patricia (drums).
This interview with Beyond Pink’s drummer Patricia Isabel Elmqvist was conducted by Elena Krsteva in 2010.
Hey Patricia! Can you start with introducing yourself?
I’m a 28 year old punk living in Malmö in the south of Sweden. I play drums in the family group Beyond Pink that has existed since the dinosaurs ruled the earth (ok, for reals it’s only 10 years but it feels like more and not many punk/hardcore bands stay together for that long). I also have another band called Slöa Knivar (which sorta means dull knives) that I “sing” in, but mostly I monkey around on stage. Sometimes I put up shows here in Malmö with bands I like. To pay the rent I work in a clothing store called BikBok.
When did you start playing together with Beyond Pink and what’s the story behind the band?
We started in 2001, but none of us could play any instrument then. We managed to make a few songs anyway but we didn’t have enough equipment so when we rehearsed not everyone could be heard. We had to take turns on the two tiny amplifiers we had. From the beginning it was me, Ida, Clara, Tijana, and two other girls (which left the band pretty soon). Clara moved away to another town during a few months and the band more or less took a break.
In spring 2002 she moved back and we picked it up again. A guy called and had somehow heard that we had a band and wanted us to play in Malmö at a show. We only had like five songs and couldn’t play them very well but we still accepted, cause we figured maybe we won’t get another chance. So from then on we started rehearsing more for real. We didn’t think it mattered that we couldn’t play very well so we soon after decided to record, in june 2002. Soon after we released a 7″ EP named Cunt-oh-licious all by ourselves. In the fall of 2002 Cajsa joined the band and we now had two guitars. Since then the band has always been the same. I play drums, Tijana sings, Ida and Cajsa plays guitar and Clara pays bass.
In 2003 we recorded our first full length album, the LP Jedan dva, jebla te ja but it wasn’t released until 2005. By then we had already recorded a few new songs. We had been in the studio all by ourselves even though we really didn’t know what we were doing, but we had had some bad experiences with stupid sound guys not understanding us and being rude so we figured we might as well try by ourselves.
There’s a lot of mistakes on that recording but a few really awesome songs. It became the 7″ EP Try This at Home Kids but it wasn’t released until 2009. In 2009 during the fall we recorded for the fourth time. This time we did it together with a guy we really trusted, Matte P, former member of Kontrovers and a lot of other bands. For the first time ever we became really satisfied with the sound on the recording and didn’t feel embarrassed. It became our latest full length LP The New Black and came out in Spring 2010. Now we’re gonna record with Matte P again in january.
What’s the meaning of your band name?
There’s no deeper meaning. The words means what they mean but we didn’t put any political meaning into it when we chose it. We just stole the name from Barbie. When Barbie was rockstar Barbie her band was called Beyond Pink, so we just thought it would be fun to steal her band name since we all liked Barbie.
What’s the message of your music and lyrics? Where do you draw your influences, in both your music and the way you think about things?
We have a lot of different messages in our lyrics, we are five very different people in the band and since we all write lyrics they become really varied. We also have a lot of songs without any message, lyrics that might just be about something you like or hate or just came to think about at the time. Our songs can be about everyday issues that makes you life suck or be great, about how your brain makes you fuck up all the time, or something completely else. We have songs about everything from racism in the punk scene to missing the bus and not looking like Beyonce.
We all like a lot of different kinds of music and are so old that we have gone through many phases of listening to different kinds of punk so it’s really hard to name any specific influences. I guess I’m influenced from everything from Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep to Supremes and Anti Cimex. I like great smart lyrics and interesting unexpected rhythms. I’m also a sucker for good refrains that makes you feel like singing a long. I can be inspired by something in an Oi!-punk song as well as something in a heavy metal song. If it’s good I like it. My whole life has made me who I am and it’s definitely not possible to say that any band has made me think about things in a certain way.
Tell me something about your European tours! What are your impressions on European scene?
It’s very different from place to place but in average the European scene is great! We especially like the Balkan scene and the scene in Eastern Europe.
Does the guys around you respect what u do? Аre they supportive?
Of course they respect what I do, why wouldn’t they? And yes they are supportive but not more supportive than they are against guys playing in bands or putting up shows. People in the punk scene try to support each other as much as possible but I certainly DON’T get more support because I’m a girl. I wouldn’t want that either, that would be weird. If I put up a show with a band no one likes not many people come, they don’t come just to be nice to me. If we play a bad show with Beyond Pink not many people say “Good show”, they only do that if it was a good show.
What do you think about straight edge and veganism? Are you a vegetarian/vegan? Favourite veg meal?!
I don’t drink alcohol for five years already. I stopped when I was 23 because I couldn’t handle it, I got to aggressive and got into fights all the time. I’m not straight edge though cause I use snus, a kind of swedish tobacco. I was a vegetarian from the age of 14 to 16 and then I became a vegan.
I stopped being a vegan when I was 20 years old because my stomach was really bad and I’m a lazy person who doesn’t like to cook, so i mostly ate bread with peanut butter and that was a bad idea with a bad stomach and a beginning ulcer. I started eating meat then and still eat meat. I like the straight edge culture because it’s nice to go to a show sometime when everyone’s sober, but in another way those shows can sometimes be pretty stiff and boring. Everything has it’s good and bad sides. It’s good if you’re straight edge for your own sake, because you don’t like to drink etc, but it’s bad when it becomes something you use to preach to others and think that you are better than them because they’re drinking.
I don’t like when people use something to think that they are cooler or better than someone else. Or when straight edge kids think that they can’t go to a party with people drinking because it will be so boring for them. I’m always at parties with drunk people and i always have a great time, also, most of the times I’m the one doing the stupid things! My favourite meal is hamburger and fries, I like my meat the best but if it has to be a vegetarian or vegan meal I still want hamburger and fries.
Top 3 female fronted bands?
Hard one. Like now or all time favorites? Right now i would say:
- Iggy Azalea (rapper).
- Dig og Mig (Danish ’80s-style pop-punk, kind of like the pop version of other great danish punk bands like Lost Kids and Gorilla Angreb)
- Jean Grae (rapper, ALWAYS the best).
If I should say my all time best I think it would be:
- TLC (best all-female RnB)
- Livin Sacrifice (Swedish ’70s punk band with all girls).
- Raooul (crazy ’90s riot grrrl punk). Nowadays most of the hardcore and punk I listen to isn’t made by girls. I had a period from when I was 15 until like 20 when I ONLY listened to music made by girls, it was really important to me then. But I got tired of caring so much and limiting myself so nowadays I listen to everything I like.
What are your plans for future? Any last comments for the guys & girls reading this zine?
We record in January so hopefully a new Beyond Pink record will be out by summer 2011. My other band Slöa Knivar will also record again soon. We have released two 7″ EPs and one LP. Check out that band too, you can find our songs a Spotify and at myspace. Also there’s a lot of videos with Slöa Knivar on youtube as well.
As for my last words: Don’t ever limit yourself thinking “others can do that but I can’t” and don’t ever put yourself in a box and think that you have to stay that way. You are allowed to change, you can change every fuckin day if you feel like it.
Listen to crust punk one day and hip-hop the other, wear all black one day and all pink the other. It’s not the end of the world if someone might think you’re fake. The more you fake it the more you are like the person you want to be. So, STAY FAKE!