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Soapbox

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In January of this year hardcore punkband Soapbox played the annual Brainwave Festival in Bodegraven, The Netherlands. This is the first band I saw that almost needs one guitar per song (because their guitarist breaks so many strings)! Wish all of you could have witnessed it! Just before the show I had the chance to chat with them and here is the result

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Interview with: Simon Brännström (vocalist), Andreas Rejdvik (drums), Krister Mörtsell (bass, backing-vocals)

Date: January 29 26th 2000

Where: Interview at the Brainwave Festival.

Other Bandmembers:  Pär E. Augustin (guitars)

Band's Geographical Home: Umeå, Sweden

Discography: Soapbox (EP)

Available Through: Sally Forth Records

Official Website: Soapbox

Interview by: mpo

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Soapbox is quite a new band from Sweden. Can you give a description of the history of the band?

Simon: We started out in the Autumn of 1996. At that point it was more like for fun. Something you do in the evenings. Pär and Andreas were involved in another band and Krister was also playing in another band. But after a while those bands broke up and Soapbox was the only band left. So, we became more serious with Soapbox and we recorded a demotape in 1998. In the Spring of 1999 we recorded more new songs too. And those new songs are released on a CD-EP on Sally Forth Records.

Okay. What are the main influences that contribute to the sound of the band?

Simon: I think we have a lot of different contributions because we listen to all kinds of music. But of course the town we come from has lot of great hardcore bands and the punk and hardcore scene is very strong. So, we've been influenced by bands in our hometown as well as the upcoming Christian market in America with Tooth & Nail and all those bands. So, it's basically a very wide influence. Not just one band we want to sound like. It's more like we pick a little from everything and we like them and we try to do our own music.

Is this kind of music you like yourself or is it because all the members of the band bring in certain elements and you come up with one style but you don't listen to it so frequently?

Simon: I think we all like this kind of music. As I said before we also listen to a lot of other kinds of music. Especially Krister listens to... a lot of music! More than other guys in the band I guess

Krister: I listen to everything from country music to extremely hard industrial noise. And everything in between!

How is it then to play in a punkband?

Krister: Well, punk rock and hardcore is maybe the style that is closest to my heart. So, I like it.

You only released one EP-CD. How is that debut-CD received so far?

Simon: The reviews we read were fairly good. They like it and the songs are good and somewhat creating a new style with mixing melodic voice with screaming. It's fairly well received I think. We haven't sold a lot but we're working on it.

You had the opportunity to sell lots of CD's because you did a five date tour through Holland a few months ago. And now you're doing three concerts again. How do people here in Holland respond to the EP?

Simon: Oh, that's a tricky question. Oh gosh!

Let me put it differently. What is the fruit of the touring?

Simon: For us it's very fun to travel around and play in different places and meet a lot of people and it's more like spreading the name in the beginning. To get people know you. To hear you and respect you as a band. So, in the beginning it's more like promotion to us. To go touring and spreading the name.

Okay. Now some questions about the lyrics. The six songs on the EP are about all kinds of frustrations but never really specific/personal. Like the song Guilty. It's a song about a person who is guilty of murder or something like that. What's the story behind that song?

Simon: Well, the story behind the song is.....There is no story behind the song! It's more like pointed to all the people in the world that do nothing about injustices. When they see them on TV. When they see racism on TV. When they see pornography on TV. In the end they sit at home on the couch watching TV and go like "okay, switch the channel". In the long run it's destroying humanity. So, it's not an aggression song towards one person but more like frustrations over us as human beings not taking care of each other.

Another song that strikes me is Killer which is about pollution of the earth. Lyrics go like "you kill the planet, you strangle mother earth". Why do you write these kind of lyrics?

Simon: Krister wrote that lyric. He had read a book about environmental destruction and after that he was so frustrated over us as human beings -again- not taking care of our own planet. So, we're stupid to not take care of this planet. It's all we have. So we have to take care of it. We're gonna live on it for the rest of our lives.

Andreas: A lot of companies do know that their products are hurting the environment and because they earn a lot of money they continue doing it and they are getting rich on it while they destroy the environment. I think that's something to become upset of.

Do you see yourself as a person who pollutes?

Andreas: We try to do the best we can by buying ecological food and things like that. But we're not perfect ourselves, of course. But we think it's better to do something than don't care at all. And if everyone does a little bit, it's getting better in the long run.

Do you think Christians should be an example as it comes to taking a stand against pollution of the earth? And trying to find their way, not polluting?

Andreas: Well, we believe that God created the earth and it was good and he was glad over it. And now we slowly destroy it and I think Christians shouldn't destroy the Earth that God has created. So, yes, I think Christians should be examples.

Are they doing their best or not enough?

Andreas: Some do and many don't.

How do you feel about that?

It's upsetting to me when Christians that are aware of the consequences of their actions still continue to do what is bad for the environment. But this goes not only for Christians of course, but for all mankind.

It's maybe a strange question but can you give three simple ideas that people can apply easily in their lives that could make a difference already?

First of all, look for and buy ecological products at the grocery store.If they
don't have any, ask for them. They might be a bit more expensive, but it's
worth it in the long run. Two, eat more vegetarian food or become vegetarian. It's a lot easier than some people seem to think and it's better for the environment. And finally,     "do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12)

One last question. You released only one EP-CD with fourteen minutes. Are you planning a new CD?

Simon: We have actually recorded a thirteen songs just before we went here to Holland. We haven't still mixed them. So, we're going to mix them when we come home and send them to the recordcompany and hopefully a full-length will be released soon.

Krister: It's about 30 minutes long!

Simon: 35! People don't handle more than 35 minutes so...

But that's okay.

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