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Okay, I admit, I'm giving this band too much attention. The Art For The Ears webzine exist for less than a year and this is the third interview with the Swedish hardcorepunk band who got signed to a Dutch label. Even though this is the third interview there was much to discuss as Soapbox just released their first full-length album, the follow-up of the critically acclaimed debut EP. This album, A Divided Man, was released by Sally Forth Records in Holland as well as through Structure Records in Sweden.


Interview with: Simon Brännström (vocalist), Andreas Rejdvik (drums), Pär E. Augustin (guitars)

Date: July 26th 2000

Where: Interview at the Peacedog Festival.

Other Bandmembers:  Krister Mörtsell (bass, backing-vocals)

Band's Geographical Home: Umeå, Sweden

Discography: Soapbox (EP, 1999) A Divided Man (2000)

Available Through: Sally Forth Records

Official Website: Soapbox

Interview by: mpo


First of all I want to look back to the release of the EP. How well did the EP do?

Simon: I don't know actually how many copies were sold. But I think...

Andreas: We bought a lot of copies from Sally Forth and we sold these copies. But we don't know how many Sally Forth sold here. Maybe 350 copies or something. But the record is not released in our homecountry. It's just released in Belgium and Holland. So it's just the copies that we've sold at our own shows.

How is the response in your own country and Scandinavia to your music?

Andreas: They haven't heard it because it's not released. So, in Scandinavia the EP doesn't exist. Our friends we sold to and so on.

Simon: We send it to the local newspapers and they made reviews of it but that's about it.

Like the Close-Up Magazine perhaps?

Simon: No, just the local papers. We didn't dare to send them to Close-Up (laughs).

Why not?

Simon: No, we'll send this new one though.

Now you're gonna release the EP in Scandinavia?

Simon: The EP? No. It's only for Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

So we are the lucky people. This is the third time within a year that you come over the Holland to play here too. You're also gonna play on the Flevo Festival, mainstage I believe. But how do people in Scandinavia then think about Soapbox and how do they look at your success?

Simon: I don't think they know we're going here (laughs).

Andreas: No, it's the truth. Soapbox is not released in Scandinavia so the majority of the people don't know that we exist. The scene in our hometown knows about us and a lot of the Christian people.

But you played the DP Festival at least one time, perhaps more. So, how do people respond to you on such a festival?

Simon: Pretty good. They know us from the Christian scene and they've heard the EP. It's the one we played in Trondheim and we've sold them the EP. So people at the DP Festival have heard the EP. So it was a pretty good response this year.

What I wonder about is....Because you're signed to a Dutch label, does that open doors for you? I can imagine that when people hear that Soapbox does things abroad it has....Is there some interest from people or maybe labels?

Andreas: We're gonna release the full-length album on both a Swedish label as Sally Forth.

You mean Structure Records?

Andreas: Yeah. So the full-length will be released in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe by Structure and in the Benelux countries by Sally Forth.

Today you're releasing this full-length album entitled A Divided Man in Holland. Can you tell something about this album?

Simon: It was released last Saturday. Jos from Sally Forth Records drove from Holland up to Norway. He drove the entire night to bring us the CD's. We had the covers with us from Sweden. So that was the first time we actually saw the entire album ourselves. So we only have it for less than a week. So, it's nice. What can we say more about it?

Andreas: It contains fifteen songs. And there are some songs from the EP but the biggest part is new. Of course.

Pär: We recorded it in the same studio as the EP.

I saw the back of the cover. There are fifteen songs on it. Five of them are from the EP. Last January when we spoke you said you had recorded thirteen songs. Thirteen plus the five from the EP makes eighteen....or am I wrong?

Andreas: One of the songs is going to be...

Simon: ...We recorded one cover song that we will release later and one of the songs we recorded we weren't satisfied with. So, we won't release it.

Ah, that's the solution to the mystery. The cover, who did the cover?

Simon: She is named Melanie Seiler, the girlfriend of Samuel Durling who owns Structure Records. So, it's her pictures. Samuel and his neighbor designed the cover for us. It's nice.

Are you satisfied with the kind of package? Is it the kind of cover you wanted for the album?

Simon: I like it because it's different. It's without the jewel case, the plastic box, so I think it's more....I don't know, I like it.

It's indeed different. How would you like to describe the music if you compare it with the EP? On the EP you had song with the fast parts and the melodic singing of Krister and your screaming. How is A Divided Man compared to the EP?

Simon: It's pretty much the same, actually. We've developed some parts more but it's pretty much the same.

You have been described as a hardcore band with punk influences or a punkband with hardcore influences plus emo. How do you feel about that description?

Simon: Personally I don't think we're emo. Not very much. So punk/hardcore would be a better description. I don't know.

Andreas: Because there can be melodic parts in punk without being emo. There have been melodic punkbands for twenty years before someone invented the word emo.

Is there some kind of song on the album that has a special meaning to you? You always write lyrics from the heart. About environmental disasters and things like that. Is there some kind of a song that really speaks to your heart that you would like to share with people through this interview?

Simon: Well, Way Too Much, Way Too Sick is a song about pornography. It's a stand, I feel, that we have to take to end pornography. Because it's destroying so many people's lives. That's one of the songs I feel strong about. Also the song Angel which is a dedication to my sister who was victimized for the first six years in school. It's pretty much a dedication to her. And, what else do we have....Yeah, We Like It is a good song as well. It's like why we do this. We don't invent something new with this kind of music but I hope people can feel there's a heart in it and that we like doing this.

Structure Records is a label created by Samuel Durling. He's quite well known with Endtime Productions. Structure Records is quite new but with Endtime he seems to have good contacts in America with Tooth & Nail. Is it so that you want to try to get your album out through Tooth & Nail, maybe a license-deal?

Simon: We'll see about that. First we want to see how the reviews go in Scandinavia. Structure will be like a sublabel to Endtime. We'll wait and see what happens.

But is that maybe a desire of the band, to bring it out in the States?

Simon: Not like the biggest thing we want. Of course it would be nice to release something in America because it's a much much bigger scene there. You can get out to a lot more people. But, we'll see.

Okay. You said, "we'll see about that". It's not the most important thing. So, what is really important to you to play in this band, to bring out albums? What is important? What makes you love Soapbox?

Simon: It's a good place for me to....There's no English word for it. To express my thoughts and my feelings about different issues.

So it's really to bring out something that's in your heart that you want to share or is it not only to share but also to have a good impact on people?

Simon: It's more to share. And to be abled to deal with it yourself. Some things at least. I can put it in a lyric and scream it out on stage.

Andreas: But the most time doing Soapbox is just the four of us standing in the rehearsal room practicing and we love it. If we didn't do that it wouldn't be fun. But playing live shows and getting out the record is great.

So you're kinda satisfied with what you've achieved right now?

Simon: Yeah, because we all have jobs and Pär is studying. We can't do the band full-time. So what we do now is basically what we can handle with the band at the moment. Maybe some more live gigs wouldn't hurt.

You're already going a bit into the direction of my next question. As Soapbox is not your full-time occupation could you tell a bit of yourselves? What you're doing in normal life, hobbies, are you married....those kind of things?

Simon: I work as a kindergarten teacher with children from one to five years old. That's my full-time job and I totally love it.

Do you have hobbies besides playing is Soapbox?

Simon: Yeah, I like to go mountain climbing and also bicycling is great. I'm not married by the way.

Do you have a girlfriend then?

Simon: No!


Andreas: I work at a home for teenagers with social problems. I work full-time there. Or more than full-time. I really like it and it feels important to help these kids. I'm married. Well, my life is my wife, Soapbox and the work and meet some of my friends sometimes. And that's it.

Because you work with teenagers and have to face with their problems, is that something you put into your lyrics?

Andreas: Not so much. It's mostly Simon who does the lyrics.

Pär, can you tell something of yourself?

Pär: I can. I'm studying. It's to become a social worker. So that's my everyday life's thing but it's an easy life to be a student. And I have a wife and would like to....

Simon: ....and three children!

Pär: Three children? No.

Andreas: Soapbox has no kids.

Pär: No children yet, but.....

Andreas: But, what????

Pär: Who knows......? (laughs)

Andreas (meaningful): Not yet??Aha!

Andreas & Simon: Oh! Yes!

Pär: Not yet can be like twenty years. And I like to do things with the computer. In the winter I like snow boarding and things like that.

And how did you all start playing music? Did you learn it in school? Or was it like "hey, let's start a band, let's start playing an instrument"?

Simon: Uh, I don't know. I lived with Andreas for one year. We shared an apartment. And he was playing in a band back then. And we wanted to do something together. So that was the first time ever I was in a band. Since I couldn't play an instrument I had to sing.

That's also a good reason to sing.

Andreas: I and Pär have played in a band before, some years ago. I played for as long as I can remember. I learned playing drums in the musicschool.

Pär: His mother was my guitar teacher.

And Andreas started beating on the guitars and that was the first time drumming....?

Andreas: I got this drumset when I was about four or five years old. Since then I've played a lot.

And how....

Pär: I think I started in music school at school and kept playing. I don't know if I'm getting any better (laughs).

Simon (joking): We don't think so!

Pär: No! (laughs). Well, I'm good enough to play with Soapbox.

Simon: So far!

You have all kinds of occupations. Pär studies and Simon and Andreas have jobs. How do you combine it with playing in a band and coming over to Holland and do touring? Is that easy to combine?

Simon: It's like we go on a vacation. We get free from work for a week or so. It's pretty easy.

Pär: I'm a student so I can take free whenever I want to.

Andreas: We use all vacation-days to do Soapbox. So we can't do anything else.

Simon: There's no time to relax.

Sounds familiar. I was told by Samuel Durling that his greatest hobby is to sleep. "But I get too little of it" he remarked....I have only one question left. You're gonna play the Flevo Festival, mainstage. Besides that, are you gonna do some shows around that?

Simon: We play Freakstock this Saturday. Then we go home to Sweden to play at a festival in the south of Sweden, the Saturday after Freakstock. Then we go home for two weeks and then we come back to do Flevo. We play twice at Flevo. Mainstage at 8:00 or 9:00 PM on Saturday, and we play on a smaller stage at 1:30 AM or something like that. Well, that's about it, what we know now.

So there are no other shows scheduled in Holland?

Andreas: No, we have to go back to work. We just come over for Flevo and then go back.