Interviews

From the vault: an interview with Swedish chaotic, bleak hardcore band OAK!

OAK hardcore
Ok, so here’s a thought. There’s a specific category of artists, bands and musicians that IDIOTEQ can be well associated with. I call them ‘friends’. I mean, we haven’t been hanging out for years, bowling on Friday nights, but, as much as any two souls who spend time helping each other, e-mailing and communicating over years about their work and their passions in a positive manner, I’d say we were friends. Swedish chaotic hardcore band OAK is definitely one of them. We’ve been in touch since 2014, we’re grateful what they have contributed to the modern European hardcore community, and it is our pleasure to give you our newest interview, a short chat about OAK’s latest impressive EP offering ‘Your Mess as Much as Mine’, released on January 28th through Truthseeker Music (UK), Hydrogen Man Records (US) and State of Mind Recordings (US).

EP credits: recorded and mixed by Ulf Blomberg at Hoborec, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. Artwork by Carl Hugosson.

Hey guys! Thanks for taking some time with us. Now that your new crushing EP is out, how does it feel? How do you view this material and what does it mean to you? Also, considering its insufficient length, was it mean to be a prelude to a full album?

Hi! Of course, we love IDIOTEQ and all the hard work you put into the diy/hardcore community in Europe.

It feels so good to finally have it out. It’s been a pretty long process since our last record and we’ve been working really hard on these tracks. To me (Robin – Bass) they reflect what we’re all about. I think we’ve developed a whole lot since our s/t and to me these songs are both more agressive and emotional. Also, Carl (Drums) wrote all the lyrics on this record and they are soooo good and made a lot of impact on me. Making an EP was more about making an as intense record as possible than making a prelude or anything. I can’t really tell for sure how our next record is going to sound or when it’s going to be out (we’re already working on it though). The reason it took so long, on top of the process of figuring out the release, is pretty much we spent all the rehersal time we could get the first year after our first record on rehersing for tours. We basically hit the road every second month that year and couldn’t find time to write. So when we started writing we didn’t want it to take too long before we’d have something out, while still allowing ourselves the time to write the best songs we could.

Have you found most of your inspiration in everyday experiences, objects and observations while approaching writing for this EP? To what extent do you consider your work to be a much needed commentary to current news and happenings in the world and how much do you want it to remain more abstract?

Robin: I definetely think our lyrics are more abstract or at least touch on subjects that aren’t bound to a certain time or event.

Carl: My writing is always based on personal experience but since writing has become a way to try to understand the world the lyrics tend to be more questioning and philosophical and in the end the personal or everyday experience isn’t that important anymore.

OAK hardcore

Do you find it necessary to write within a wider concept or does it happen naturally? Could you take us throught the record and tell a bit more about each of the tracks?

Carl: Usually we write a lot of lyrics and then pick the ones that we like the most or find the most fitting to the song or the record. I guess this kind of creates a concept for the record and I think it’s important that the songs are connected in some way. The lyrics on ’Your Mess as Much as Mine’ are a lot about relationships. The two first songs are more focused on the relationship with yourself and the others are about relationships with loved ones.

OAK vinyl "Your Mess as Much as Mine"

Sonic-wise, I get this feeling that your song structures are constantly on the move. How does that take shape from a songwriting perspective? How is the process for you guys?

I (Robin) guess that’s kind of true. Haven’t really thought about it that way before. A lot of our songs tend to build up dynamically throughout the song and result in a release through some sort of heavy part in the end. Similar to a lot of post rock, however with a completely different sound and pace. Usually when we write songs someone has a song part or full song they want to try out. So we do that and try to figure out whether there’s something we’d like to change or not and work with the song together and let it take shape that way. We usually spend a lot of time with our songs so they often change a lot over time. Maybe that’s what causes the feeling you’re talking about. That we’re always trying to reach somewhere new with our songs where we haven’t been before.

You’re hitting the road with DISAVOW this Spring. How do you arrange this tour? How’s booking going so far?

That’s right. DISAVOW is good friends of ours and we’re stoked to have them with us. We handle all our booking ourselves. Doing this tour was a pretty last minute decision so booking it has been tough but it’ll work out. Overall I think it’s gotten tougher to tour Europe over the past years. There seem to be fewer promoters and it’s getting harder to get any guarantees, which makes it almost impossible to break even. Especially coming down from Sweden makes for a lot of costs in terms of extra miles and ferry fees.

How do you remember your first punk shows and how do you feel has your local scene evolved since then?

I came in from metalcore and kind of slided into hardcore from there. In a lot of aspects things were pretty much the same. Some shows were pretty wild and others pretty empty and lame. Sweden has been depending on parts of the crowd travelling to shows since I started going and everyone know eachother. So shows with smaller bands won’t draw that much, but whenever a bill with a few bigger or hyped bands, or a lot of Swedish bands happen the turnout tend to be pretty good and there’ll be a good vibe going. There’s not too much going on and everything goes in waves. But there’s also a sence of community and really good shows every now and then and a lot of really passionate people that make you want to hang in there.

Any newer local bands you’d like us to check out?

Yeah for sure! EXISTENCE from Stockholm are really sick. From Gothenburg we’ve got DISAVOW, UNDONE and WASTE. All pretty straight up hardcore bands doing their thing really well!

Cool, thanks!

Ok guys, thanks a lot for the quick update. Let’s wrap it up and reveal some of your plans for the rest of the year.

The pleasure is all ours! Thanks for talking to us!

We’re doing another tour this summer, yet to be announced. The fall will likely consist of one off shows. We’re also back at writing new material. If things turn out well some of it might get released before the end of the year. All in all we’ll be working hard and keep pushing ourselves further.

Great, thanks! Good luck with that!

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oakhardcore@gmail.com
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