Interview with Agent Attitude! (English Version)

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Agent Attitude is a hardcore band that comes directly from Uppsala and started in 2010. The band consists of five guys that wanted to start a band, but without the rules that many bands live after. In short: real hardcore punk, played in the way it’s supposed to be played. Since 2010 they’ve  recorded one demo and two EPs, toured in Europe plus in Sweden and they’ve made themselves a name both internationally and inside the Swedish hardcore scene. In the year 2013 they’ll be releasing their first full-length album and herein comes a foretaste, but also aftertaste to what they’ve accomplished so far, who they are and what they’re aiming at. Invisible Guy interviewed Jacob, which is the lead singer of this band. Have in mind that this interview was conducted some months ago.

Who are the people behind Agent Attitude, when did you start the band and how did you come in contact with hardcore for the first time?

– Agent Attitude is me, Jojje, Victor, Lars and Sven. We’re all from the Uppsala-area. We have one future librarian, a programmer, an construction-worker, a music-nerd and one sceneworker in the band. I came in contact with hardcore by my brother who played drums in a local punk-band. When they started to play abroad, I went with them and got into it more and more. I was about ten years old or something when I got into it for real. After that, I began  to attend more and more local gigs and there I met Jojje and Sven that played in other bands at that time. Me and Lars are childhood friends and played together in Pointless Youth for seven years. I met Victor in higschool and he had a Ramones t-shirt on him so we bonded straight away.

What does UAHC (Uppsala Hardcore) mean for you, what separates that scene from the other ones in the country and how long have you been a part of it?

– Besides a cool letter-combination, it’s basically our lifestyle. I’ve got to know loads of people through UAHC and friends that I’m mostly hanging around with and gotten friends for life. We put up gigs together and support one another. The thing that separates UAHC from other scenes in Sweden is probably mainly the attitude. Many people in Uppsala are crazy, for real. When you go to gigs in Uppsala you’re sometimes scared as fuck. There’s much blood and punches in the face and stuff like that here. We’re not afraid to say what we think and we don’t follow all these trends that come and go.

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I know that you write songs about both hate and love – but what’s the strongest one right now? Specifically, where does the inspiration comes from?

– I don’t really know, maybe I should. But I write about what I feel is relevant for myself. There’s so much to be pissed off about and that’s something everyone should agree about and then it easily becomes something you write about. But we’ve got songs like Never-Ending Mess which is a tribute-song to UAHC also. We’re not exactly a positive hardcore-band. The inspiration comes from everything. I almost exclusively write about my own experiences. Things I’ve been through. It only feels wrong for me to write about this “normal” stuff (I have no example, unfortunately) just because that’s how its supposed to be. I’m not exactly a great writer, but my song-texts become much better if I can believe in them, which I believe many bands forget about at times.

Since you started out you’ve been getting a rumor about yourselves of being really good. I’ve almost exclusively gotten to hear about Agent Attitude, but what do you think about it yourselves? Is it justified?

– Haha, tough question. Of course you like your own band, otherwise it would be boring to travel around, playing your  bad songs all the time. We’re very serious with the band. We rehearse three times a week, book gigs all the time, write new songs et cetera. That was the whole purpose from the beginning, to be serious and not to sleep on it. We’ve played in many bands before that were the exact opposite, where there isn’t happening anything. But it’s actually much more fun to do what you think is pleasant, all the time. It’s fucking great that people have been stoked about it since the start.

But people should go and see us today. We’re better now.

In what way would you say that you complement each other in the band and who does what?

– Everyone’s in on it. But I’d have to say that I do most of the work. I like to tinker with everything, from writing songs to booking tours. But sometimes I force the others to help out. The music is starting to get written, more and more, by everyone in the band. Very often, someone in the band just comes up with a riff, so we put the song together with everyone in place joining in to finish it. We sort of like the same music so everything flows on great almost every time. Everyone in the band are good at drawing the line, which is important to us. Otherwise we’d be sounding like Metallica or something now if we’d allow ourselves to wing out. It can actually be purely retarded ideas that we can imagine ourselves doing at times, but there’s always someone saying; no, this is the world’s lousiest idea.

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What do you think about Uppsala when it comes to hardcore and how is it on the bandfront? How was it before and how is the shape of it now?

In Uppsala we’ve got Undergång, Bad Review, Diskonto, Obnoxious Youth, Always War etc. We’ve got a lot of very good bands, considering the size of the city. Before my time, there were a lot of crustbands and such too. If you compare with Stockholm, which almost doesn’t have any good hardcorebands, makes it pretty cool. We have a small but active scene in Uppsala today. It’s a pity that there are not enough gigs there, maybe. People like to play in their own bands instead of putting up gigs here, which isn’t negative at heart, but it would be great if there were more gigs. But we’ve actually got a new place underway over here that we’re hoping to get started, featuring more gigs. So we’ll have to see about that.

But I think when we’re talking about bands is that Uppsala is fucking great. Both in quantity and quality.

You’ve also got a blog that you haven’t updated or deleted the posts on, how will it be used in the future and what happened with it?

– Well, it was some kind of impulse thing that we thought of updating when we were on tour. But we realized that it’s funnier to do stuff instead of sitting by a computer and writing about it when you’re on tour. I don’t really know what’s happened to it right now, or if it even exists. We’ll see if anyone in the band will take the task of writing every once in a while.

You put up your first demo for free, how was it received and what did you think about it yourself?

– It was fucking well-received! We wrote the songs on some week and recorded it in a couple of hours in our rehersal room, so we had no expectations at all. So it was fucking cool to see that people liked it for real. Even though it felt more like an EP than a demo, directly when we received it and it turned out as an EP later on. Very primitive songs. I like it myself a lot, especially when playing the songs live.

Some time after this you also had two songs featured on the compilation SHITFUN #1 with other Uppsala-bands, could you tell me more about the two songs and how did the record turn out?

– Yeah, it’s ”Can’t stand to stick around” and ”Change your ways” from the already mentioned self-titled EP. It’s those two songs that people often recognize. I don’t remember if they were written as one song or two, but it certainly turned out as two songs bonded together. At that time most of the songs didn’t have any certain deeper meaning. For example, Can’t stand to stick around, is about hanging out with people you don’t like which could result in a bad atmosphere. Which in turn would make you want to run away, haha. Not that I write deep lyrics now, but they could at least be slightly deliberate.

I only released SHITFUN #1 on CD-R and it was just a thing we did to promote UAHC-bands. We sold it for, like, 20 SEK or gave it away for free. It was only printed in 100 copies or something like that, but I’m afraid I don’t have it in my belonging anymore and I’ve barely heard anything about it after the release.

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It seems like you’ve been very active since you started out, where do you find all your energy and how is it that you’re so inexhaustible?

– As long as you like what you’re doing, you could be going for as long as you’d like. I don’t really have a good answer for that question really. We’ll be carrying on as long as we like doing it. I’ve said earlier that we’ve always tried to be as serious as possible about it and it’s the same thing here. We’re not even thinking about going at half-speed when we can do everything to 110%. There’s no reason not to do things, I think.

I read in an interview that you’ve been arrested by the cops in Poland and that there’s been severeal incidents when you’ve been out touring, is this what usually happens when Agent Attitude is in town?

– Haha, it sounds worse than it actually was. We were at an afterparty in a tattoo-studio in Krakow and were about to go out on a pub or something. We were a bit loud, I think and I drank a beer on the way there, which the cops didn’t like. But we managed to bribe them so everything went smooth. We’ve actually been pretty spared from cops and trouble on tour, it’s pretty weird since we like to act like you shouldn’t be acting. I think we got away with the fact that we’re: “crazy Swedes, they’ll leave tomorrow” so people can stand us for the day, at least.

But at times you can be a little bit frightened when hanging around with the idiots of this band, haha. I myself am one of them so nothing harsh meant about it. We like to have fun.

Of pure interest I wonder what internal-jokes you throw around? I’ve heard that you’re quite good at that part too?

– Well, it’s really not funny jokes if you’re not there when it’s happening. It’s mostly our guitarist Lars that like to hold forth. There where some people that asked us on our latest europa-tour: “what’s the name of the funniest guy in agent attitude”, and the answer was of course: Lars. We also got to know, in Serbia, that his name means bad ass there. So then it became like: “Bad ass, the funniest guy in AA”. Many inconvenient jokes can emerge.

We listen to a lot of nonsense-music when we’re out touring, too.

If we’re to talk a little bit more about your records as you have so far released “Never-ending mess” and a self-titled seven-inch last year – could you tell me about how you proceeded in the studio before both of the records?

– As I said, the first self-titled seven-inch only sook some hours to record. We recorded it live, every instrument at the same time and added some solos and the song afterwards. The other seven-inch took a little bit longer to make, we took some time for us for some reason. We were there in a months time, maybe four to five days or such, recording. I thought it was a painful process, I would’ve rather been there constantly for five days and had it done all in one time, otherwise you get off in between the recording sessions. In those sessions the bass, drums and guitar were recorded at the same time. We put on the song, solos and things like that afterwards. But it was fun like hell to have guests in the studio that were widespread on the record. Johannes from Dr Living Dead and Undergång, Affe Piran from Undergång, Obnoxious Youth and Joel Håkansson from Pointless Youth where there, guesting.

There’s also a lot of coffee, hamburgers and beer so you can put up with it.

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You’ve also gigged on Stockholm Straight Edge, what does Straight Edge mean to you and do you live that lifestyle?

– No, no one of us is straight edge. Straight edge, to me, is like Minor Threat and I love Minor Threat (who deosn’t?). But because I’ve never occupied myself with things like that, I can’t express any thoughts in that matter. People can do whatever they want for my part, I’m not going to judge anyone. Straight-edge people in general usually, at times, have a tendency to do stuff and be dedicated from what I understand. I fucking like that a lot. I’ve got a difficulty for people that don’t want to do anything at all, sit-at-home-not-doing-shit people aren’t the ones I often hang around. They’re pretty uninteresting. Drunk or sober doesn’t really matter if you’re nice.

There have been a lot of tours on your part, how many have you been on so far and which of these have been the craziest? What cities did you visit and when did these tours take place?

– We’ve been on two big tours in Europe and then had some smaller ones in Sweden. The latest Europe-tour was definitely the craziest, so much ruthlessness and cool gigs. It was so fucking cool, and that tour was in June this year and the first one was in June last year. Studies and jobs have held us back from touring even more, but now we’re apart from that and we’re going to try to do more stuff. We’ve almost played in every major city in Sweden that put up gigs. Even though we want to play everywhere, so some cities are probably remaining. We’ve been a lot in the west and east of Europe, but it’s been too many cities to count it out. On the latest tour almost every gigs were the best we’ve done, but it was often because we went on to another city and told ourselves that: “yesterday probably was the funniest gig we’ve ever had”, which is a pretty cool feeling.

We’re going to try to tour in more places, we’ve been talking about the US, Indonesia and Australia. I’d really like to get over to the states and start touring!

I’ve also read that you were torn to shreds by Swedenmetal.se, what do you think about that specifically and have you  learned to handle real chords yet? Haha.

– That joke of a journalist probably haven’t heard a real rock-song in his entire life. However, it was amongst one of the funniest things I’ve read. He thought that I looked like a tiger in a cage, is that supposed to be bad, or? And he wrote that we couldn’t play real chords, we play power-chords, and yes, that’s something you ought to know about. I don’t know if he wanted us to play some kind of whimper-emo-chords.

What’s the difference between Agent Attitude in the year of 2010 and Agent Attitude today? What’s happened to you since then and in what way have you developed?

– We’re older, more handsome and wiser. No, we’re just older. Honestly, I don’t know. We’re definitely a much better liveband as we’re more played together in a totally different way and the fact that we’ve played about hundred more gigs since 2010. When it comes to our music and our influences, it might’ve changed a little bit, maybe. We’re probably a little bit more influenced by the Oxnard-bands and stuff like that. Before that, it was a lot of Minor Threat, Uniform Choice and stuff in that vein. Battalion Of Saints has in the latter period been a huge influence for me. We’re a little bit rawer, a little bit faster and a little more face-punch today.

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I also saw that you’ve worked a lot on your choreografy, have it gone home with your hardcore-fans?

– Eh? That I do know nothing about. We’ve actually never ever decided something prior to a gig. Everything that happens there is totally spontaneous.

What could one expect if one is present in the same room where Agent Attitude is playing?

– I don’t know. As I said, we don’t usually prepare ourselves in the way that it’s like we have certain things planned out. Everything that happens is impulsive. I think people should come and see it for themselves. But idiocy is guaranteed, at least. Last weekend we played in Malmö when someone started shooting with a fire-extinquisher during the gig, which resulted in dysnopea. Good times!

Something funny always happens, we like being retarded.

You also eat a lot of tacos, but is it hardcore to do that? Do you go with the hot stuff?

Of course! Replace the punk-stew with tacos. Sometimes we actually have taco-Thursday with the UAHC-crew, whereas we do a Thursday at your own home and make tacos for everyone. So fucking good. We actually only eat two dishes: hamburgers, tacos and texmex-burgers. Uppsala has a good range of taco-restaurants so we’re fortunate. A Mexico-tour would be like a dream come true.

Agent Attitude were also in the Uppsala-article in the fourth edition of the Law & Order zine, how does it feel to be there? What did you say?

– It’s cool as fuck to be in and represent our generation of Uppsala Hardcore. The article is cool, but I can think that some things should’ve been more highlighted. But as I said, it’s fun to be in it, especially among the other bands in the article, that basically are legendary. It’s cool that people have started to notice that there are things happening in Uppsala too. We mostly talked about our tour and how we got into punk and hardcore. However, there’s much, much more than what’s in the zine.

I thought that we should talk a little bit more about your merchandise, what is there to buy? Who design your logos and stuff?

– We have the usual things: t-shirts, stickers, records and such. However, we’d like to print some cooler stuff, but perhaps it will come. We’ve put a big emphasis on our artwork. Primarily, we ask our friends who we think are rad at painting and doing stuff for us, like Erik from Hårda Tider that have created both the cover for Never-Ending Mess and our signature, the agent that sticks everyone the finger. Our logo was made by our pal Affe from Undergång/Obnoxious Youth. We’ve also got a t-shirt made by Tremor from Milisi Kecoa, which is a band from Indonesia. We’ve got a release on the way, “First Two EP’s”, that will be painted by João whom plays in the band The Black Coffins, from Brazil.

Coffee-mugs, underwear, toothbrushes, footballs etc are things we’d of course want by our merch-table. So we’ll have to press up some stuff like that.

What’s going to happen in the nearest future on the gig-front now when you had to cancel your gig on Ingbofestivalen?

– Hehe, we have a policy to never cancel a gig. The reason that we canceled Ingbofestivalen was because we didn’t have time to get to the time we’d gotten because of work. But we snuck in later in the evening and played after another band on their time. It was nice as hell, but maybe not the most appreciated. However, we’ve never ever canceled a gig! We gladly play, and often, but now there haven’t been showing up anything. We’ll probably tour a little bit in Europe in autumn, winter and spring. This gig-drought come very opportune, because we wanted to work on our full-length. It will be recorded this winter, so we’re hoping to get it out in the beginning of the next year!

Are you going to release anything new in the nearest future?

– As I’ve said, we’ve got an LP and cassette titled ”First Two EP’s” that will contain our first two EP’s plus two unreleased songs and the full-length is on its way! It will be the best one we’ve done, guaranteed.

Thank you for letting me interview you! What do you want to fill the end up with? Say something clever!

– Thank you! I don’t really have anything sensible to come up with, so it’s good as it is.

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