The Swedish first-class EBM-Chaostronicer Severe Illusion made a their comeback in front of the Electro/Industrial scene with their new CD “Shortcut To Civilization”, out on the US-label DSBP (www.dsbp.cx). It seems that 2K6 was indeed a fine year for Fredrik and Ulf with the release of this full-length album, a MCD on the Swedish Plutonium Records and some special gigs. In the last two weeks of 2K6 also the long-awaited debut release of their mutual side-project Instans got released on the Hungarian label Advoxya-Records (www.advoxya-records.com). More to come in 2K7, both their update through this interview…
Chain D.L.K.: Hello comrades, I guess for “Shortcut To Civilization” you and Anders Karlsson, who did the artwork for “Shortcut To Civilization” had to waste some free time so that you could watch too much movies like “Planet of Apes”, am I right? Tell us a bit about the monkey-soldier concept…
Severe Illusion: Fredrik): Not really. In between all the “monkey business” there is as always a lot of seriousness. We are trying to point at violence as the driving force behind human evolution, and at all the hypocrisy people use to pretend we are all so civilized.(Ulf): In a broader context we are all monkeys trained to act, think and believe in certain patterns. And I wouldn’t consider watching “The Planet of the Apes” a waste of time. Well, Tim Burtons version perhaps, but not the real movie.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides this, I think the past year 2006 was a quite good one for Severe Illusion. You could release a 5-track SiCD “Panopticon” on Plutonium, the above mentioned new full-length CD on DSBP and last but not least also the debut of your side-project Instans saw in December the light of a release. How do you see this, I guess 2K6 can hardly be topped?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): We will see about that. 2006 was a good year, yes, but we are already hard at work with a CDM called “Armed Evolution” that will be released in April. There will be a few new tracks, a new version of one old favorite and a bunch of remixes by some of our favorite artists. We hope there will be a new release from Vanvård and you can be sure we will start working on the second Instans album soon, now as we have finally got the first one released.(Ulf): One thing at least I have missed the last year is that we haven’t been able to get out and play live as much as we would have like to. Hopefully we will be able to play live more this year.
Chain D.L.K.: Some words on Instans, please and on the release of “Common Ground”. I guess a long journey full of misunderstandings after the demise of the Polish Black Flames label has finally come to a good end with your deal at Advoxya Records, right?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): Well, if it wasn’t for Black Flames being so encouraging in the first place there would have been no Instans. For some reason they spent all their money on another band that no one liked, and now they are no more. During the two years that followed, we still had the Instans web site and a Myspace site up and running. Through this we soon learned that there was a demand for the album, so when Advoxya offered a contract we were happy to sign it.
Chain D.L.K.: You made also a gig with both projects at an Advoxya festival in Hungary. Please tell us some funny stories about that trip. How hard and long is a trip to Budapest? How did you travel? And how much is your condition effected by doing a gig with both projects on one evening?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): During 2006 I have also visited Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and we played at the Chrona Rada III festival in Ukraine. So Budapest does not feel like something too far from home. It is also our third trip to Hungary, so also from that point of view it is not very exotic to us.(Ulf): Playing with two bands on the same show is far from ideal. It gets hard to focus on either of the bands performances. But it was a fun night all the same. As Fredrik mentioned, we have played in Budapest several times before and playing in Kiev in September felt far more exotic. We would love both to go back to Ukraine as well as play in Russia some day.
Chain D.L.K.: Back to “Shortcut…”: To my taste this album globally tends to leave the harsher and distorted kind to go further back to your roots and it awakes some minimal 80’s-inspired remembrances. An intentionaldevelopment for this album?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): I do not agree. My “roots” are SPK and TG, and we have never been farther from their work than we are now. I have never been a fan of 80’s pop music, not even back in the 80’s when I was young. But it is true that the sound has become somewhat more minimal at the last album. That should not suggest that Severe Illusion will stay true to that formula forever, or even at all.
Chain D.L.K.: With the previous question in mind, why does “Panopticon” differ that much?
Severe Illusion: (Ulf): Perhaps because we made them straight after each other. The last couple of years we have recorded a Severe-album and then something else, Vanvård or Instans. We like to be able to make lots of different things and need to do that so we don’t get bored when making music. When we where starting to record “Shortcut…” right after the relatively chaotic “Panopticon” it felt natural to make a pretty soft and laid back album.
Chain D.L.K.: “Killing Useless Nations”, well, which nations are that useless that you’re gonna plan to kill them?
Severe Illusion: (Ulf): It’s not so much about killing certain nations, as it is to kill the people who lives there.(Fredrik): An example would be to bomb Iran back to stone age unless they are nice little Muslims who buy expensive technology from the EU and the US for their nuclear power, rather than developing their own and thus gaining too much political and economic independence.
Chain D.L.K.: The track “Right In Your Hostile Little Face” was already released on the Plutonium “Showcase 2” compilation. Nevertheless, it fits pretty with the float of the album. What are the reasons to re-animate “Bad People”, an appearance for a DSBP compilation in 2004?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): We included Bad People because Tommy T at DSBP had us do it. I do believe it was a good plan. “Right In Your Hostile Little Face” was intended for the album to begin with. The version on “Showcase 2” is not the same as the one on the album. I am singing backwards on the album version, and a lot of other things are different, too.
Chain D.L.K.: What else do you expect from the future, musically and for your private life? Any new releases in the works which you can already confirm here?
Severe Illusion: (Fredrik): We are more or less done with the above mentioned CDM. Only some small details needs to be fixed. And for my private life, I don’t have one.(Ulf): When we’re done with the MCD it’s probably time to start with the new Instans album and perhaps we have time to make some stuff for Vanvård. We have loads of ideas about the next Vanvård release but haven’t had time to start working on it. Privately I have just bought a small house deep in the forests and most of my time goes to worrying about it falling apart. Apart from that the day job takes most of both time and energy.
Chain D.L.K.: Your final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Severe Illusion: (Ulf): Nothing I come to think of right now. Thanks for the interview.
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Kevin J. Cazier]