It’s always easier for a new band to get heard when you see a well-known name in their description. I hate when press releases try to create a hype around a new pack using such information, but in this case, it doesn’t really matter that the new Swedish emo rock band THE WAY THEY RUN features Claes, the vocalist of ANCHOR, one of the greatest, still-running European hardcore punk bands (here’s my interview with the band), Julian from ATLAS LOSING GRIP and Viktor from GUILTY, Gustav (ex-LION’S DEN, also featuring Viktor) and Ted, the sound engineer for Stockholm Straight Edge booking crew. Their music defends itself pretty well. Mixed with the band’s honest and DIY approach, serves you a perfect blend of 90s finest.
THE WAY THEY RUN have just signed to Blackstar Foundation and issued the following statement:
This is what our new label Blackstarfoundation got say about us: “So… as some of you already have figured, we are about to release a 7″ by new Swedish emo rock band The Way They Run. We must say that it’s not very often these times that a band plays the most splendid mid 90’s emo rock and consists of people sharing exactly the same ethics as us. The Way They Run consists of scenesters that have been involved the hardcorescene for many many years, playing in bands like Anchor, Atlas Losing Grip, Lions Den, Sista Sekunden, etc. We are very much looking forward to September when we will release this piece of vinyl!” Lets just say that our feelings to BSF is mutual!
For the love of 90s emo, huh? Lots of people are quite excited about this new project of yours. Tell me about the idea behind THE WAY THEY RUN, Claes.
Yes I think that´s one of the main influences of this band. Especially when we started talking about it we had all the classic Revelation Records in mind. However I think it came to be a little bit heavier and rougher then we first expected it to be. I´m very happy about how the songs turned out and it´s fun for us to do something different from the other bands we are in. And yes, so far we have had a very good welcoming as a new band which is great and more than we could hope for after just having one song online!
You have called it “political emo”. What’s that? :)
Oh have I already said that? Haha! Oh well, Ian MacKaye and EMBRACE said something like “your emotions are nothing but politics” and I think it makes very much sense in life in general and for this band. We are all from the hardcore/punk community which in Sweden has always been a pretty political environment and all of us have been or are involved in different political movements. So that we have something to say just comes very naturally.
And where does the name come from?
The name comes from a song and 7″ by an old and short lived emo band called THE FIREMARK from Linköping where I (Viktor) lived for about 6 years. This was before I moved there, but if you ask me, it’s still one of the best emo bands from Sweden. Sadly they called it quits a bunch of years ago. Karl Blom from Swedish hardcore legends OUTLAST used to sing for them and did it really well too. I don’t think that many people remember them today, so if our name can make some kids out there listen to it, that’s awesome. If someone could get them to do a reunion show I’d go mental! Check them out at http://backthen.se/2012/12/04/the-firemark-the-way-they-run-7-demo/ and thank me later!
What other projects do members of THE WAY THEY RUN play in?
Claes sings for ANCHOR, one of Sweden’s biggest hardcore bands as of right now and Julian that plays drums also drums for ATLAS LOSING GRIP; one of Sweden’s finest melodic punk bands, coming out with a new record soon. We got a chance to hear what they’ve done so far with the recording and damn… That shit is going to be crazy good! Me, I play guitar in GUILTY; a NYHC style kind of band with more heavy metal influences. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the links.
How many tracks have you already recorded? Did you get any outside help to record and produce them, or was it all on your own?
We’ve recorded four songs to be released on a 7″ sometime soon. We’d love to have it out this summer! Our good friend Gustav from ATLAS LOSING GRIP helped us record the songs down in Lund. He’s a great guy and a true talent when it comes to recording, so it was a blast. He helped us out with some new ideas that turned out really good in the end so we’re really grateful for that! He also mixed it and mastered it. We’re really happy with how it turned out!
Are you giving it away for free before the actual physical release?
No, we won’t give it away for free before the actual release as it wouldn’t be fair to the people releasing it. However we are giving it away to friends, zines, promotors, magazines and stuff like that cause we want the promotion. We want people to know about this and what better way than for people to hear it and hype it? However, we are not against giving away free music and at some point we will for sure release the songs as a free download, and if people decide to put it online, then who are we to argue? They obviously did it out of love for what we do. If anything, we should be flattered. That’s how I feel whenever I find something that I’ve recorded that is now free on the internet. If someone would write me saying “Hey, I can’t afford to buy your record, but I really love your music. Is there any way that I could get a hold of it for free?” I’d send them a copy right away. Money shouldn’t keep anyone from enjoying culture and the fact that it does is a problem.
So tell me more about the “sometime soon” :) What’s the timetable for the release? Will there be only vinyl format available?
Sometime soon in this case means the summertime. We’re still talking to some different labels so we will see who will end up releasing it in the end! We will for sure release it digitally, but other than that it will only be vinyl.
Can we take it as a sign of a debut full length on the horizon?
We’ll take it one step at a time at this point. First of all we wanna start playing out a lot, but of course a full length would be awesome in the future. Nothing planned already though!
What labels will you be working with?
We’re talking to a couple of labels at the moment. We really want the label to be on the same page as us when it comes to the punk attitude and the political view of things so that’s what we’re looking for right now.
How long have you been working on these songs?
We started working on the songs about 6 months ago, but the last song that got finished got finished about maybe a month before the actual recording.
Who’s responsible for the lyrical part?
I´m writing most of it but the others have added some stuff as well. We´ve been looking through the material together and improved the parts that haven´t been as good as the rest of the lyrical content. I think it’s nice that all of us can and want to add something to that part of the songs as well.
What does inspire the band when it comes to writing lyrics? What do you mostly deal with? Is there something you’d like to manifest through THE WAY THEY RUN?
I had about two and a half months to write these lyrics and of those months I spent one on tour in South America, so I guess many of the lyrics are inspired by that journey. It’s a lot about class and differences in class in society and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Often when you leave what you consider a safe place and your home, these differences become clearer both watching another country and looking back at Sweden where that gap becomes bigger and bigger. The unemployment rate in Sweden is getting higher, our government are selling out our welfare system to private corporations, racism and anti-feminism is showing its ugly face at every corner and yeah… Things are basically just going to hell right now. The poor, the old, the women, the minorities; they are the ones paying the price. Social politics are always gonna be a big part of this band and in many ways it’s what fuels us in making music and being a part of the punk and hardcore scene and community.
Yup. If change or improve society in one way what would you change or improve?
Oh shit, that´s a question we could spend a day talking about but I´m gonna try to be short. I think to start with we need an economical system that is sustainable. A market economy needs to constantly grow or it will crash, which we have seen in the past years.
And it should be obvious by now that the western lifestyle built on consumption is not sustainable either for people who have to work more and harder or our earth who does not have as much resources as the market demands.
For society itself I think the most important political question is to get rid of the upper class and create a more equal society. For us ordinary people they serve no purpose, why should we let them bathe in wealth while we live on our knees? Makes no sense to let them. Then of course that´s not a simple task but there are examples out there in the world where people got sick of their rulers and did something about it. Also, they are the ones who benefits from the economical system we have today. They reap what we saw.
Does it mean you’re not allowed to run a successful company and become a businessman providing a serious flow of cash for your firm? There are lots of people who take it as a chance to reach for their dreams, visit places they would never have a chance to see without their outstanding financial situation. How would you draw a line between such honest people and the big fish taking advantage of others? You can’t just get rid of everyone living a higher standard, can you?
I think we need move our focus from the perspective of the successful business men and look at the average person’s situation in life. “A serious flow of cash for your firm” as you call will not come without having other people working for you, which is not a bad thing, providing people with work is of course positive. I oppose the way it´s done. Implicit in the idea that “well, if you worked hard and got a better job, you wouldn’t be impoverished anymore” (which isn’t true) is that some other person is going to have to become poor to replace that person. And it doesn’t matter who’s in poverty, just that someone is. I think maybe the most important thing to remember is that it´s often a matter of class if you are gonna have the chance to “reach for your dreams” or not. In Sweden 80% of the people who go to the university have parents who went to the university. In other words if you are born into wealth you will most likely live that sort of live and if you are born into poverty statistics prove that you will most likely stay in those conditions. Sweden is still though a pretty equal country compared to others. In most other places in the world it gets very obvious that you are born into a class and you will stay in that class. Mahatma Gandhi said “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Meaning poverty is the result of a system designed to enrich some at other’s expense. So for me this is really just about wanting a equal society where all people have the opportunity to live good lives and not live to serve others.
What can we “ordinary people” do about it? How would you make society more equitable?
I think people need to do what they always have been doing: Educate each other, organize and protest. We need to make our voices heard and people need to speak out. If you’re not comfortable with the privatization of healthcare, schools etc. say so! But there´s a lack of interest in politics which makes it very easy for politicians to rule undisturbed and I understand that, people are busy… just getting by with their lives. As a result of that people don´t get that deep into it. In Sweden a huge part of the working class vote for right wing parties even though they are the ones who will take away your rights in benefit for the company you work for to make more money, they are the ones who will oppose the demands of your local union. So yeah, education, discussions and debates with your local community is a great start to make people aware of what´s really going on out there.
Do you try to draw kids’ attention to these problems at shows?
We haven´t played live yet, I think we will start doing that this late summer when the 7″ gets out. Sometimes I feel like talking about stuff and sometimes I just wanna play shows, I guess it´s a mood thing just like in everyday life. This band is mainly about making cool music but with some sort of content and deeper meaning than “yeah yeah wow wow” lyrics. But yeah since everyone comes and dwells in the punk hardcore community it´s natural to express and share ideas. It´s really what makes our community special, without the ideals we are just a bunch of kids playing heavy metal or rock. I´m not so impressed or attracted by that.
Oh, right, sorry. So what are your touring plans then?
After the release we will do some weekends in Sweden and a shorter eurotour during the autumn and another eurotour next summer! We will see how things develop, we are pretty open minded about stuff right now!
Any specific dates you have booked already?
Oh, and what festivals are you heading to this Summer?
No we haven´t. We just added a second guitar player to the band yesterday so we will figure that out pretty soon. We won´t start playing live until after the summer. Personally, I wish I could go to … Fluff Fest, New Noise Fest and Ieper Fest, those are … great fests that we´ve been playing with ANCHOR. They carry the true spirit of punk and hardcore. I hope I will have the money and time to support them as a visitor this year.
Yup, I’m hoping to chill out at Fluff, too.
Tell me more about the new acquisition.
His name is Ted and is the sound engineer for our local booking group Stockholm Straight Edge. Cool talented dude and a good friend, we are very happy to have him in the band.
Great! It’d be cool to catch you guys somewhere on the road!
What features does a modern emo band have to have no to be generic? Or simply be a good emo band? :)
Oh I don´t know, I think good and well written songs with lyrics that means something is good enough in any genre.
What do you think are some of the reasons why bands like TITLE FIGHT are nothing but successful? Where’s this inter-genre hype coming from?
Some of us saw them in Stockholm a couple of days ago. I think they have been around for about ten years so the hype is well deserved. They’re a good live band with good songs and they feel very honest. Happy that kids are psyched on them!
Alright, guys. Let’s sum it up. What can e expect from THE WAY THEY RUN later this year? Is there something we missed here?
You can expect that you will hear a lot from TWTR in future! We just sealed a deal with Blackstar Foundation who will put out our first 7″ in the end of the summer/beginning of the autumn, so we are very psyched about that. Shows and tours will be announced later this summer and new songs are already starting to take shape. Thank you for doing the interview and thanks to kids who read this. Fight the power! / Claes
Thanks so much for your time!