Sju Svåra År: Poetic Punx from Sweden
Folk Zine's interview with political punk rock band Sju Svåra År from Stockholm, Sweden
Sju Svåra År was an amazing hardcore punk band from Stockholm, Sweden.
The group formed in 2001 and disbanded after playing some shows in 2009. Members of the band have been playing in other influential Swedish bands such as Burning Kitchen, To What End?, and Wolfbrigade, although Sju Svåra År were singing in their native Swedish and therefore never got a wider recognition outside of Sweden.
Here’s a reprint of an interview with Sju Svåra År conducted by Andreas Nillson for his Folk Zine in 2009. Pictures are taken from their last gig at Fullersta.
Sju Svåra År’s LP “Storma varje hjärta” was posthumously released in 2011. Band members were also featured in the 2011’s DIY punk documentary Noise & Resistance.
What’s the story behind both the name and the band Sju Svåra År?
Sara: Wasn’t it the result of both Josefin and Dadde brainstorm? And didn’t you use a mind map?
Dadde: Yeah, I think it was something like that. I was a big fan of Burning Kitchen and devastated that the band went on hiatus, so I wanted to start a similar band, and to do that with Josefin seemed like a good idea.
The band was put on ice in between 2003 and 2008. Why and what made you pick it up once again?
Jos: Peter Hedberg, from SPATT in Gothenburg, offered us 1 million SEK. I also think we missed playing together. We’re good friends but we didn’t see each other often enough otuside the band so it was a good reason to start playing again. On top of that, Punk Illegal asked if we wanted to play on the festival in 2008 and we couldn’t resist that offer.
Dadde: I really missed playing this simple punk rock, so when the offer came it seemed like the perfect thing to do. Still wondering what happened to the cash though…
Nowadays a whole lot of bands sing in English. What made you decide to only sing in Swedish? And is there another goal with the band? Other than to deliver some of the most amazing political punk rock I’ve ever heard, that is!
Jos: Well, thank you! The main goal is to change the world and having fun whilst doing so. To inspire people to get organized and to tell them that they are not alone. The society is crazy, it’s built on oppression and it makes people think bad of themselves.
Sara: Personally, I express myself better in Swedish. And it sounds a lot cooler. We have a sparkingly beautiful language, perfect for poetic punx like us.
Your lyrics are highly political yet maintain a certain intimate honesty, and at times feels based on experienced events. Is daily life a common input for writing lyrics? And do you express your own personal thoughts and ideas throughout your texts?
Jos: Everything is an inspiration. I think daily life holds a lot of different stories, sometimes they are political, sometimes just full of emotions that need to get out.
Sara: And you can’t just wait for inspiration. I often do reasarch for my lyrics. Like the last one I wrote about “crap”. I read articles on the subject, found the essence in them, and then I diluted it with some empry phrases that just sound good. Once you crack the code on how to write lyrics, there’s no end to the possibilities! But it takes practice before you reach the simplicity in writing. I’m sorry, but you have to produce a vast amount of poorly written lyrcs before you master this form of art.
Sju Svåra År recorded seven tracks for a seven inch in 2002. And, if I’m not mistaken, the covers are already printed? What happened, why didn’t the record get released? And what do you need to get the record of yours out to the distros and people?
Sara: We never actually printed the covers but Stina Hjelm made the design for parts of it. The whole recording story started out bad, started with a hungover sound engineer in the studio, back in 2002. Let’s blame it all on him! Because of his bad condition we never mixed the songs that Sunday night, as scheduled. And then weeks passed, and months, and then… Now we’ve accepted how the songs turned out. Unmixed, that’s our sound! I think it’s cute. I heard about bands spending thousands only on the mixing… Dadde?
Dadde: Hmmm. Well, let’s blame that on a hungover sound engineers as well. As a matter of fact, a guy at the other side of the Atlantic is working on that recording as we speak. We’ll see what he’ll come up with.
I’m not sure how much you’ve toured before your hiatus. But at Punk Illegal III last summer, you played an incredible set where the crowd only wanted more, and got you to play some tracks all over again. I’d say that pretty much speaks up for itself. Yet you remain a well kept secret for the rest of the world. Have you got any plans for more gigs or maybe even a tour?
Sara: Yeah, I guess that’s our way of keeping the myth alive. You never know when we will play again. Or if we’ll ever release anything. But sure, we wanna do more shows this summer!
Dadde: That’s so weird that the band somehow got this huge following, eventhough we never did that much… I guess, we can thank free downloading for that… And good looks.
At the moment, what’s going on with the band? Have you got anything else you’d like to bring up?
Sara: We just welcomed Linus on guitar. It feels like he has always been a member. He is also a neighbour to me and Josefin, and part of our extended family. All of us are as usual busy with other music projects. But we’re finding time right now to write stuff and arrance the shape of punk to come, haha.
And here’s some food for poetic punx & hungry activists.
Saffrontofu à la Bagarmossen
- 400g Tofu
- 0.5 g Saffron
- White wine vinegar
- Soysauce, budda
- salt n’ pepper
Fry the tofu along with all the ingredients until it gets a nice color. Serve with rice, green beans and brown sauce.
Thyme/Green pea Soup with Chili
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1-3 Cloves of Garlic
- 500g Green Peas
- 1 liter Vegetable broth
- Soy cooking cream
- Lots of fresh thyme
- Salt n’ pepper
Fry the onion along with garlic and chili until tender. Add the peas, let them get a bit of color, then pour in the vegetable broth and tare in some thyme. Let it boil until really soft. After that puree it all with a mixer and add as much cream as you see fit (depending on how creamy you want it to be). Salt and pepper, then you’re all done! Serve with some toast maybe?