Interview + MP3 + Video: Swedish Punks Masshysteri Proclaim Love for Chuck Berry, Touring

The Swedish punk band Masshysteri, which is in the middle of a one-month trek through the U.S., is playing The Wedge tomorrow, March 31. (Read Jason Toon's critic's pick here..)

I called up guitarist and singer Robert Petterson to ask about the tour thus far. Luckily, he was sitting in a van in traffic in Texas somewhere and welcomed the distraction. Petterson, 29, has been to the U.S. before, playing in superb acts, The Vicious and in the Regulations.

masshysteri.jpg
Konstantin Sergeyev
Masshysteri photographed on their current tour. Petterson is on the far left.

Courtesy of the band, here's an MP3: "Hatkarlek" (click "Save As" to download), which translates to "Love-Hate."

 

How has the reception been thus far?
It's been really good. It's really cool to be able to come over here and sing in Swedish.

Why does Masshysteri sing in Swedish, when your previous bands have sung in English?
It was during The Vicious tour [in 2007] I started thinking about singing in Swedish instead. When English is not my native language -- I can just pretend to sing in English -- I can pull out all the cliches. It can feel all right, but it's not really from the heart. It feels better now too. Less people understand the lyrics, but it's a lot more honest. The feelings are really close to me and to us, and more honest. I might write a song in English, but for now we'll continue [to] write in sing in Swedish.

Are there differences between this current U.S. tour and previous tours in the States?
Well I came here with the Regulations and the Vicious. It's not really the same -- maybe a little bit different, but I think like this better. This time around it feels like we can play in front of a crowd and surprise people, kind of.

Can you describe the scene in your home city of Umea? It's been described as incestuous because many bands share members.
Right now it's a great scene. We have great places to play and they have a lot of good bands and shows are really fun. There's a lot of healthy competition going in some ways, because people are there are a lot of good bands and people want to keep making good music. There are a lot of artists and stuff too. it's a cultural city a college town with a lot of young people.
 
Hjerstop is also touring the States soon. What is your relationship with them?
They're awesome. We live kind of far away from them. [For their tour] they're on some huge three-month long tour, and we just did a month.
What can fans expect from your live show here in St. Louis?
I've never thought about it like about that. It's not as hardcore [as Regulations], there are a lot more melodies. Sometimes [there is a mosh pit] anyway.

A running joke in St. Louis is for fans to yell "two more and a cover" at the end of a touring band's set. What covers are you working into your set this tour?
We cover "Johnny B. Goode" sometimes and people start diving during the song. It's funny.

You know Chuck Berry is from St. Louis?
[Laughs] Yes, now we have to play that I guess.

Can you describe your sound in three words?
It's about love, death and rebellion.

Have you seen American fans singing along in Swedish?
Yes and I love it. It's amazing. No [they don't get he words right]. Some people sing along to whole songs and I love it. 

Do you have any limited records on this tour?
No, there was some kind of color vinyl, but it's sold out.

Who are a few of your favorite, currently playing U.S. bands?
Roky Erickson [laughs], Government Warning was good, the Germs [laughs]. Pissed Jeans. I've seen them three times and they are amazing.

Which U.S. city has had the best food on tour thus far?
Gotta be New York. We had a lot of vegan food and they have like vegan cakes and stuff. I guess they have that in almost every city, but in New York they were everywhere.

Which U.S. city has shown the most hospitality?
Almost every city so far.

Aww. that's sweet. Which city has had the largest show?
Richmond [Virginia] and New York. There were 200 people at the show in Richmond, and it was awesome. We have a lot of friends there from before.

You were in St. Louis last with the Regulations in 2005. What do you remember about that show?
I think it was at a skate park. That was like, that could have been the last show of the six-week U.S. tour, we were all very tired. [Masshysteri] will be better this time.

Masshysteri appear on March 31 with Rundown, Maximum Effort and Glass Teeth. $9 under 21, $6 over 21. 8 p.m. The Wedge, 442 Bates Street, St. Louis.

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