In our first installment of post-ANCHOR interview series, we introduce you to THE LOVELESS CHURCH, made up of Mattias Rasmusson of ANCHOR (RIP), PAINTED WOLVES, GUST, CORRECTION, BLESSINGS, DISAVOW, END BEGINS! Despite being very busy boy, Mattias has found some time to sit down with IDIOTEQ to discuss a lot of stuff from his love for music, what inspires his new work with THE LOVELESS CHURCH to what it felt like to end his endevour with one of the most prominent European modern straight edge hardcore bands for almost the last decade.
Hey Mattias! It’s so good to have you here, buddy. How are you? How’s Summer going?
My friend! Thanks for having me! Really appreciate it!
Feels like summer just started and it’s already almost over. Total bummer, but oh well!
Just got back home from tour with GUST and it’s always an absolute pleasure. I love being a part of that family. Also just played one of very few shows this year with the PAINTED WOLVES. Tons of fun as usual! Apart from that my summer’s mostly been about working and working out. I’ve been writing and demoing songs here and there too of course. Whenever I’ve had the time.
Cool. Ok, I could wait a bit with this, but it’s too tempting, sorry. ANCHOR! Let’s start off with some insider trading and your commentary on the recent cryptic message from the band, posted back in April. Is the band really done? What happened?
Yes, 100% done, forever. Not going into any details though, sorry my friend. We were on the verge of breaking up already after a few months, but somehow stuck it out for another 9 years. How we did it is a bit of a mystery to be honest. No regrets though.
Wow, this is huge news and a bit of a shock for lots of of your commited listeners and supporters. Personally, what does it mean to you? How tough was it to say goodbye?
It definitely was a bit of a shock for me too. Even though it could’ve and probably also should’ve happened already years ago. When it happened it happened very fast. In many ways it’s a great relief though. I’m sure a lot of band people know what I’m talking about. Sometimes letting go is a great feeling. Did the whole thing make me sad? Sure! I helped build that band from day one. I wrote all of the songs. I put all of my heart, energy, ideas and time into everything we did. But as we all know, the end of one thing can lead to the beginning of something new!
No doubt. How did the rest of the team react? What are they involved in now?
Same old, basically. The only thing being different is we’re not doing it together.
What do you think of ANCHOR’s legacy now that it’s finished and locked for future generations?
I’m very proud of how we achieved things. Our work ethic, energy and determination. How we wouldn’t let anything stop us. Musically I don’t think we ever really hit home though. There was always something missing or not being right in there. Whenever I wrote songs I had visions and they rarely came into being. Sometimes things turned out awesome, sure. Most of the time the vibe just wasn’t quite right though. But it was out of reach for me.
To be honest I have a hard time seeing anyone being into ANCHOR ten years, or so, from now. It just feels like so much of a time and a place kind of thing. I never saw us from the outside though, so what do I know.
Apart from the music itself, how do you look back on what the band accomplished? Any favorite, absolutely outstanding moments with ANCHOR you’ll never forget?
Yeah, I of course feel privileged to have seen all the places ANCHOR took me and I’m very thankful for all the friendships I’ve made along the way. Some of the most important people of my life live hundreds if not thousands of miles away from me. Which is equally heartbreaking and amazing. Most people in my family never even made it outside of Sweden so I’m very much a lucky bastard. Then again, ANCHOR played some 400-500 shows. That’s roughly a third of what I’ve done in total, so I’ve had more defining moments with other bands to be fair. Still, there are a lot of stories and feelings connected to ANCHOR worth sharing.
I guess the biggest thing for me was getting the opportunity to share my music, my passion, my ideas and feelings with strangers all over the planet and have many of them become my friends. Having other people make my songs their songs is just incomprehensible. I lack the brain capacity to take that in. When writing music I’ve never thought anyone was going to buy the record, go home and listen to it. As weird as that might sound to some.
Touring places like South America, Asia, Australia, Mexico, USA and Canada was of of course very special. Seeing those countries, making friends, sharing moments, sharing pieces of life. I’ll never forget that.
Headlining Fluff fest was definitely a milestone too. Very thankful Tomas gave us the chance.
Having Mike Judge agree on singing on the next ANCHOR LP, the one we were planning on recording later this year, was of course going to be a very special thing as well. When that idea came to me I got so excited I couldn’t sleep. I first came in touch with JUDGE through the “You deserve even worse” comp when I was 13 or something and obviously didn’t think I’d be playing shows with them some 20 years later, on their request. Life’s wild. Those are some of the memories I’ll take with me.
Wow. Have you managed to secure some demos of these unreleased tracks? Can we count on some posthumous b-sides releases from ANCHOR?
I actually still have all of the demos from the “Recovery” era and on. A handful of the songs intended for the next ANCHOR LP will be recorded this fall, by me and some of the boys of CROOKED LETTER. Going for a 7″ I think. Anyone interested in working with a project like that is welcome to hit me up! Very excited about doing that with some of my favorite people on the planet!
Awesome. Ok, so how about your other projects developed over the years, including PAINTED WOLVES? Are some of that stuff still in the works?
I have a feeling I’ll always be a person doing projects left and right. I’m too restless, too excited about music and creatvity in general. PAINTED WOLVES is still a band, yes. We play shows every once in a while and actually have a new EP sitting around, since quite a while. It’s basically the same thing with BLESSINGS. Playing shows whenever cool offers come our way. We’re also in the final stages of mixing an LP. It will be something special. A while ago me and a bunch of dudes from OAK and MURDEROFCROWS started a straight edge band called DISAVOW. We just recorded an EP by ourselves and played our first show, with NEGATIVE APPROACH. We have a lot of things coming up this fall. Shows, recordings and releases. My main priorities however are END BEGINS and THE LOVELESS CHURCH.
Ok Mattias, I guess we shall get right into the main dish. Who’s behind the LOVELESS CHURCH and how did you decide to unleash this softer side of your soul and musical skills? :) How did this project come about?
It’s all me, for now. I started working on it quite a long time ago. But I couldn’t fit it together. Couldn’t get it right. I guess I didn’t dare to commit to it and I probably also lacked the confidence it’d take. I ended up forgetting about the whole project. Then something happened. My old man passed away, and even though I guess I never really knew him it sparked something in me and I instantly knew I had to finish this. Whatever it was. I had no real idea how I wanted it to come out, other than very minialistic and raw. In many ways this is the most punk think I’ve done, I think. Super stripped down. Just throwing myself out there. No safety net. Just winging it. The original idea was for this to just be me. But as friends got in touch about it the idea of making it a full live band grew on me.
How did you decide on the new project name? Also, content-wise, is there a certain message you would like to communicate through LOVELESS CHURCH?
I was studying religions for a while and came across this part of the book of revelation where Jesus sends out personal messages to seven different churches, telling them why they suck. One of them being the loveless one where people simply don’t feed his ego enough. I prayed to God once as a kid, but big papa didn’t answer. I’ve been an atheist ever since and liked the images those words created in my head. THE LOVELESS CHURCH. A church walking away, showing no love for man made psychopathic figures or obsolete doctrines. With that said I’m not doing this to get any specific message across. I’m a person with ideas and ideals. I’m sure that comes through here and there and I’ll be happy to talk about it with anyone, but THE LOVELESS CHURCH is all about my love for music.
What was your criteria, or what are you looking for, in terms of sounds and genres to be included in new efforts from LOVELESS CHURCH?
I wanted to make it atmospheric, but without layers upon layers of instruments. Stripped down and repetetive. Simplicity has been the key word all along. Maybe it’s the punk in me.
With the full length I’d like to stick to the formula, but bring in some new instruments. Replace guitars with piano, keyboards, violins or whatever makes sense for a specific song.
I’d say the material I have gathered now is a bit more in your face than the first recording. Feels like a natural progression for someone like me. Lyrically it’ll basically be the same thing. Me putting myself out there. Singing about love, doubt, autumn and death.
Do you some long-term goals with this band? Are you going to wrote for a full length record?
Yes, as we speak I have rough ideas for 7 or 8 songs! The plan is to record 9 or 10 with my friend David of CROOKED LETTER. I haven’t told him about it yet though. He’s a very talented man and doing it with him and all of my friends up there would be an absolute honor. Once I have a full length out I’ll most certainly want to do what I have always done: show it to the entire world, one way or another. It’s all I know. I’m thinking a lot about the full band thing. I’m sure it would be an amazing time.
Touring wise, what are your plans with LOVELESS CHURCH?
At the moment there are no actual plans. But that will change. I’d love to take this from city to city once I have an album out. After all that’s always been the one thing I love the most. But, first things first.
Ok Mattias, thanks so much for your time and good luck with this new project! Feel free to drop your final words and take care!
Thanks a lot, Karol, for being a good friend, always supporting! Really really appreciate it! Thanks everyone for checking out this interview and all of my past and present endeavours. I owe you the world. Keep you eyes and ears open. Hopefully see you all out there soon! Love forever!