Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crutches Interview

Crutches from Malmö, Sweden were one of the highlights of the recent Chaos in Rumah Api fest here in Kuala Lumpur. Blistering crust punk infected with HM-2 gnarliness, theirs is the kind of hardcore that makes Sweden the D-beat capital of the world. I fired off some questions to the band, which guitarist Andreas and vocalist Oskar were kind enough to answer.

DoC: Who or what are Crutches?

Andreas: I’d say we’re a bunch of misfits from different backgrounds who share the same love for D-beat, Noise, Beer and the same values in life. We’ve been friends for many years and have been through a lot together. Daniel [drums - DoC] is the latest addition in the chaos squad family but has been a childhood friend with Oskar and Tom since forever as far as I know. So in that sense it’s more me who’s the new one. 
Oskar: Four individuals angry as hell joined by a common ground of terrorizing music taste and energy craving restless souls.

DoC: When was Crutches formed? What were your goals when you got together? And why did you choose the name "Crutches?"

Oskar: Crutches was formed by the end of 2009, beginning of 2010 during the end of a band that me and Tom [bassist - DoC] had for almost a decade. We wanted to continue to play together and that's why we formed Crutches. The name was found together with another friend to the band while discussing band names back and forth, Crutches felt like a really suitable name, especially when our old band was called Project Hopeless.  

DoC: What is the link between Project Hopeless and Crutches? Is Crutches a continuation of Project Hopeless?

Oskar: The link is that me and Tom were doing Project Hopeless and formed Crutches when we decided to call off Project Hopeless. We're doing the band in the same vein but at the same time different. Crutches is a new band, but never the less a connection to what we did before, guess it's kind of hard not to be connected to your past.

DoC: Your band is based in Malmö, in the south of Sweden. What's the hardcore scene like there? How is it different from the scenes in other parts of Sweden (Stockholm, Göteborg, Umeå)?

Andreas: The scene is as any scene I know of in Europe. It’s divided into bits and pieces where people who enjoy the same kind of music and share the same ideals hang out with each other and put up shows with bands they like and want to spread the word about. So there is a variety of really good shows of different genres, depending on what you like. Which is nice. The only bad thing about Malmö is that it’s constantly struggling with keeping an autonomous culture house (or steady gig space in general). I think the longest was for three years, but they always get evicted and the likes of it. Therefore it’s hard to put up shows in other places than at bars, clubs or practice spaces. Which is the biggest difference compared to Göteborg (the only scene I have experience with out of the three you mentioned).  

DoC: Crutches was actually recommended to me by Johan from Eskatologia. How well do the two bands know each other? Did they offer you any advice or experience from their own South East Asian tour?

Andreas: As for me personally I only know Jonna in Eskatologia, and had some conversations about touring SE Asia with her. I also spoke a lot with my friend Erik (Hårda Tider). But I think nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. Our tour was beyond everything I could’ve ever imagined, both amazingly fantastic and extremely hard in some aspects. As for expectations I tried not to have any, but that’s of course something you only tell yourself. I was deeply moved by the sense of DIY movement and collective mindset in SE Asia. As well with how open and friendly people were. I felt so welcomed and taken care of it’s hard to describe in words. It’s definitely been one of the best tours and things I’ve ever done in my life. An experience I’ll never forget as well with all the people I met and talked to.  

DoC: What made you decide to tour this region? Where was your best show? And where was your worst?

Oskar: Since I had a lot of contacts in this region from my last band I thought it was a really cool thing to go and tour here. I've dreamt about doing this for a long time. Before we broke up Project Hopeless we had been asked to tour your region and were about to do so, but the band called it's quits and therefore we couldn't make it. So seeing the light in Crutches making the tour was awesome in my head.

Andreas: I met Appäratus when they played Ktown festival in Copenhagen at Ungdomshuset. Where I usually volunteer in the kitchen every year. We started talking and they really wanted to come to Malmö before going back home so I offered to show them around. The day after the festival they showed up in town and gave me a call and stayed the night. We started talking about touring together, and less than half a year later we were playing our first show of the tour together in Jakarta. For me I’d say I had several best shows of the tour. Bandung was the first. A totally mental night in a villa high up in the mountains with all the amazing people from the Pyrate Punx collective. Chaos In Rumah Api was another one, but I can’t recall much from the show (except that it was crazy fun to play the fest) as I had high fever and diarrhea, so my mind was mostly trying to focus on standing on two legs. Worst show was probably Johor Bahru, as that was the night before when I started to get sick and felt like shit, and spent the rest of the night at the toilet.  

DoC: A number of your band members are vegan/vegetarian. How hard is it to find food on the road? What tips do you have for any other vegan bands that tour Indonesia/Malaysia/Singapore?

Andreas: I’m the designated food freak in the band, and vegan. So I guess this one is for me. Finding food in Indonesia was no problem at all. Sure everything was made a hell a lot easier due to our amazing food manager Martin (Appäratus). But tasty vegan nosh was all around. Tofu and Tempeh dishes at every street corner! Gado Gado and buffets! Although getting to Malaysia was a whole different story. Finding something with protein or even something else than just rice with Daal or noodles was problematic. But I guess it all depends on where you go. You (Adrian) gave me a very good recommendation though. Indian (preferably all veg ones) and Chinese restaurants are your best bet, even if it means some hassle and language barriers. Singapore was easy as well, there were vegetarian/vegan restaurants all over the place.  

DoC: Crutches played Chaos in Rumah Api, the big end of the year event organized by Man Beranak of Sarjan Hassan. What stood out to you about the experience?

Oskar: I'd say that the heat stood out! I guess I never played anywhere as hot as that. Other than that, the house was amazing! Loved it from the first sight.

Andreas: As I wrote before, playing Chaos in Rumah Api was one of my tour highlights even though being sick. The organizers were super friendly and it kind of felt like coming home. Rumah Api was a fantastic place as were the people there, from the organizers, to the rest of the crew and visitors. It also did make up for it’s name. That place sure was a sauna! All in all a super well done festival I’d love to visit more than once again! 

DoC: Which do you think Sweden exports more of - D-Beat Hardcore or Ikea furniture? And when will we be able to get D-beat at Ikea?

Andreas: Haha, of course ask the Swedes about Ikea… [It was either that or Volvo - Dreams of Obviousness] Since Ikea is a multinational company driven by profit, Sweden probably exports more furniture than D-beat. But in a sense of what’s the most interesting of what it exports, it sure is D-beat. Just in the last couple of months a lot of new bands have started to emerge from the harsh D-beat tundra that is Sweden. Especially Malmö has been a cauldron ready to burst with the latter. With new and old bands such as S.L.a.R.V., Korp, Korsfäst, Infernöh, Knægt and Lautstürmer. As for when D-beat will be available at Ikea is probably when Ingvar Kamprad's children realize the true meaning of life. Or they just start making all black ”rustic” furniture and find the name on some fan page on Facebook.  

DoC: What's next for Crutches?

Andreas: First of all I think we all need to get used to the fact of being back in the apocalyptic winter land. Compared to being on tour in warm and lovely SE Asia. Then next up for Crutches is a release show for our new album LURAD which hopefully will be available on vinyl here in Europe around February. (SE Asia got it first!). We got some interesting ideas for that show. We’ll probably break more than just a pair of Crutches then, and I’ve heard some rumors about fire… We’ve also got some really sweet stuff coming up but I guess you’ll all have to stay tuned for that. For more information visit our website and thanks a million for both the rad photos and this interview Adrian. It was a pleasure meeting you in KL, and I hope to do so soon again! All the best with the blog!

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