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Soapbox

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Early May Art For The Ears organized a message-board interview with Soapbox from Sweden. This hardcore punk band released their first album through Solid State Records in the same week. But Soapbox is a band known already to people in Europe through previous releases and concerts. And this quartet also played various festivals like Brainwave, Peacedog, Bobfest, DP Fest, Freakstock and the Flevo Festival. Their first Solid State Records album A Divided Man was the right opportunity to invite vocalist Simon to the Interview Message-Board. Here are the results.

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Discography: Soapbox EP (1999), A Divided Man (2000, 2001). Available through: Solid State Records Structure Records & Sally Forth Records. Official website: Soapbox. Interview by: mpomusic, Liz, DaPHNe_K, Skarel, DfTg, Jarhead.   Article work-out: mpo. Date: May 5th-10th 2001.

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mpomusic: In Europe you're already familiar to people through your tours and festival appearances. But can you first give an introduction to the band? What are the essentials?

Soapbox: An introduction to the band... Well... I, do the lead vocals, Krister plays the bass guitar, Pär handles the six string, and Andreas takes care of the drums. We play hardcore/punk with fast songs and loads of energy. The essentials of Soapbox are that we have the opportunity to give voice to our opinions about issues in the world today that are (in our eyes) wrong or that we as humans can do our best to make better. Something about that!

Liz: And how did the four of you meet?

Soapbox: Pär and Andreas are childhood friends. Andreas studied in the town where I come from (Lycksele) and we got to know each other. Me and Andreas were roomies for a year here in Umeå, and the thought of starting a band formed in our minds. Me, Andreas and Pär all knew Krister from the band he had been playing in, and I also knew him some time before I moved to Umeå. We had exchanged tapes with music for some years. So that's basically it.

DaPHNe_K: I just wondered. I never heard your music, and I'm sure I'll visit your site one of these days. One thing I'd like to know is what you sing about. Can you tell me how you're inspired for the lyrics? What subjects are important in your lyrics?

Soapbox: Do visit our homepage and drop a line in the guestbook! We love that! We do not have the lyrics for our songs on the page, but I can give you a small overview right now. Our lyrics are based on how we feel about the world today, or rather, how we feel that it should be, but ain't. Stuff like pornography, environmental destruction, racism and so on destroys us as humans...

Skarel: Go Vegetarian is a song by Youth Of Today/Ray Cappo. Have you been influenced by him when you were younger or not at all? I mean, I think it's ridiculous that he made the whole sXe-concept well known and influenced thousands of kids with his Krishna-beliefs and now sold out on sXe and Krishna while he still plays with Shelter now and then. He drinks, smokes, blows, eats meat (at least that's what I heard) which is kinda strange for the guru of straightedge!!

Soapbox: I didn't start listening to Youth Of Today until recently, so I'm a bit late... and I didn't really like the album I bought. It's sad to see that a guy like he lets go of his ideals and visions... I recently read an interview with Ian McKay (Fugazi) and his thoughts and all about sXe/veggie. He said that he gets questions from mags and whatever when they ask him like, "are you still sXe, are you still vegetarian?". And he said "of course, why wouldn't I be?" Being sXe or vegetarian is often (I think so at least) connected to a youth culture, and in this case, the hardcore/punkrock scene. So when people grow up, they kind of let those things go. That's sad... I would like to encourage people who are vegetarians or sXe to not let it go.

DfTg: The question that comes to my mind first is that I read in a review in a Dutch magazine in which the author said: "This band should be aggressive, but the stage act was rather hilarious." Now what I wonder is, are you happy with the above sentence? I wondered that, because it occurred to me you're trying to get a rather negative message through on a rather positive way (to me this ain't hilarious at all).

Soapbox: I do not know what show he/she refers to, so I cannot answer to what he thought was "hilarious" and whatever. But we want to say what we feel is important from stage, and in our songs, and if that is seen as hilarious or not is up to the audience.

DfTg: The guy referred to the Flevo show. I could also put this question this way: What are your views regarding the impression a Christian band should give on and off stage?

Soapbox: That is up to each band, and each member... I cannot set up frames or rules for all bands. As I see it, and this is my opinion, you have responsibility for what you say from stage.

Liz: How do you interact while on stage , or maybe I should ask how do you present yourself on stage?

Soapbox: I, as the vocalist of the band, try to have as much contact with the audience as possible. I love to go dancing among them and sing all the while... That was not the case on main stage of the Flevo Festival though. It was too wide a gap between stage, security area, and audience... Though big stages are fun and cool, I like smaller stages better, where I can have more contact with the audience.

mpomusic: There are people who call themselves fans of the band Soapbox. Are there bands of which you call yourself a fan? And if yes, what bands are you fan of?

Soapbox: Yes. Glorybox. Glorybox is totally great, on CD, and live they are totally awesome!! If you haven't heard them, check them out. I do not really think any one of us call ourselves "fan" of a specific band, though each one of us listen to a lot of music.

mpomusic: Your album A Divided Man is out through Solid State Records. You're the fifth European band on that label. The others are Extol, Blindside, Selfmindead and Lengsel. If I had the power to send you on a European tour with one of those four bands, which one would you choose?

Soapbox: Difficult choice, but I think we can exclude Extol and Lengsel, due to the fact that we play quite different music. So I guess the choice will be between Blindside and Selfmindead, which doesn't make it easier... Wait a second! I'll flip a coin... Heads: Blindside, tails: Selfmindead... *flip*, *catch*, *look*: Tails! Selfmindead it is! Both bands are friends of us and we love them a lot. I haven't heard Selfmindead live for quite some time and would love to see them live soon again. I would also love to do a tour with Blindside, rock over Europe or something...

mpomusic: With the release of A Divided Man you're supposed to go to the USA for a tour and some festivals I believe. But I've heard that things are not certain yet. Can you tell us about the touring plans?

Soapbox: Yes. We had some plans to go to America and show them what punkrock is all about. But unfortunately (for America) we had to postpone the touring "over there". We have no dates set for the tour, but it will probably not happen in 2001. It might be easier to set up a tour when the album has been out for some time.

Jarhead: Your album A Divided Man is out through Solid state. Uhm, but this album was recorded more than a year ago! So, are you working on new material or even thinking of recording?

Soapbox: The album was recorded more than a year ago, so some of the songs feel quite "old", for us at least. We have been working on some new material and a little new sound as well... We will present at least four brand new songs to the Dutch/Belgian audience on the upcoming tour. No dates are set for recording, and we want to finish a couple of more songs before we book a studio.

Jarhead: What's the new sound sorta gonna be like? What direction/influences?

Soapbox: Musically we work more with dynamics in the music, make the soft parts softer and the hard parts even harder. Also, I will try to develop the singing to mix melodic vocals with screamy parts. No particular influence, as far as a band or so, but there are loads of great bands to listen to and be inspired from. Check out At The Drive-in, Sense Field, Sunny Day Real Estate, Switchblade, Neurosis and on and on... I am not saying that we want to sound like any of these bands, but they are great sources of inspiration.

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