Interview: Bad Nerve
As you may have noticed, our latest foray into the medium of 7″ in diameter wax platters is a split between Genjing lifers Fanzui Xiangfa and hardcore leaning, genre-bending Swedes, Bad Nerve. If that monumentous (if that isn’t a proper term, it should be) musical development has somehow flown under your radar, well, naturally, we’re here to help, folks! Both bands are literally powder kegs of manic energy that’ll make whatever sound system you’re currently rolling with wish it took a couple of Xanax. For serious. What’s more, both bands are currently drinking 3/4 of the squats and punk rock friendly hovels throughout Northern Europe out of whatever free liquid offered them: In other words, they’re currently touring together. Gejinger/Fanzui Xiangfa axe man, Nevin Domer took time away from eating pickled herring or whatever they eat over there, to interview his tour mates and the results are highly readable. These dudes go way back, share members and gots stories, people, stories I tell you! Basically, if you don’t find this interview half as interesting as we do, you’ll find a 1 kuai coin behind your left ear upon completion of reading. Okay, that part’s bullshit, but take our word for it anyway. Ain’t nothing bullshit about Bad Nerve, kids – easily one of the most under-appreciated groups of hearing loss assistants hailing from the European continent. Period.
Bad Nerve has been around since 2012. Can you tell us a bit about the band and how it started?
Jonas: Mårten and I have worked together for about 5 or 6 years now, and we always joked about starting a band. We had a band for a short while called En Bortkastad Ungdom, but we never really got it going. By chance I met a girl called Anna from Finland that had moved to Umeå and it turned out that she played bass and was pepped on starting a band. So Anna, Mårten and I got together and started making music, it felt really good from the get-go. Since no one had sung in a band before we sort of decided that everyone should try to sing, and it turned out really well. Mårten is the lead singer/guitar player, Anna played bass and sings on a few songs, and I play drums and do backup vocals. Unfortunately Anna had to move back to Finland, so after our first recording we were in hiatus for around 5 to 6 months until we decided to look for another bass player that could rehearse and play with us, and that is how we met Melody, our current bass player. Anna is still in the band, but her focus right now is on doing the graphics and such.
Mårten: Jonas and I were playing with En Bortkastad Ungdom which eventually broke up while I was recuperating from a shoulder surgery. The day after Jonas called and said that he had met this Finnish girl, Anna, who wanted to start a band and that became Bad Nerve. We hit it off immediately and found that, being a three-piece band, everything went so much easier. Before it was a struggle just to get everyone in the rehearsal space at the same time, now we can just get to it. When Anna moved back to Finland we started looking for a new bassist in time for the upcoming tour and that’s when we started playing with Melody. She saved us!
Your members have, and some continue to, play in other great bands including Confessions from the USA and DS-13, En Bortkastad Ungdom and Trots from Sweden. How does Bad Nerve differ for you compared to these other bands, are there things you feel you’re able to do with Bad Nerve that you weren’t able to do before?
Jonas: For the last 10 years or so I have mostly played in really fast hardcore punk bands, so for me Bad Nerve is something new. The music is more mid-tempo, there are more dynamics and we work a lot with harmonies between Mårten and Melody, focusing more on the vocals, but still keeping a lot of that raw energy from my previous bands.
You describe your sound as “inspired by 80ies American hardcore” what draws you to this style of music and do you have any specific influences or goals you’re trying to accomplish? Thirty years later why is this style of music still relevant for you?
Jonas: It is the kind of music I grew up with. Music that still holds the test of time. It is just good, energetic and raw music and how can we not like that? I guess also what i like a lot about those 80ies band is the angry pissed off vocals instead of just screaming furiously, which most bands do these days.
Your lyrics are pretty simple and directly political covering topics ranging from the inhumanity of modern warfare and wage slavery to the stagnation of small town life. Why do you choose to focus on these issues and do you feel like anyone is truly listening?
Jonas: We just write about things in our lives that makes us angry or pissed off, and there is no shortage of topics to write about. We had a right wing government in Sweden these last eight years and they really fucked things up here, making life harder for students, old people, sick people and unemployed people while selling out our welfare system, privatizing schools, medical care, the elderly care and so on. I hope people can relate to our lyrics in their lives too. I think we have the same problems all over the world and most people get pissed of by corruption, war, starvation, police brutality, oppression, and small town boredom.
Last April you played the Punk Fest at Verket in Umea along side an awesome line-up of bands from all across Sweden. You had great time slot on the first day of the fest! What was it like to be a part of an event like that?
Jonas: We had the Punk Fest for many years in Umeå but then it just sort of died out, so this year was a revival and it was great. Three days of good music with bands from all over Sweden. We were very happy to get a chance to play because there are many bands in Umeå and not every band could play. There is such a strong DIY spirit in the scene here and many people worked really hard to make this festival happen and it is nice to have been a part of that.
You’re going to release two tracks on an Umeå Hardcore compilation put out by Ny Våg. Can you tell us a bit more about that and also about the Umea scene in general?
Jonas: Ny Våg wants to document the current scene so they decided to make a compilation with all the hardcore bands in Umeå. I don’t really know what other bands they are planning to have on the compilation, but there are quite a few bands from Umeå that is worth checking out such as Latest Fashion, Fukushima, Instängd, Regulations, Dumb Fucks, UX Vileheads, INVSN, Epidemics, Trots, Lesra and still more.
The scene is pretty good these days. We have a venue called Verket and we started booking bands from other countries and cities. We’ve been able to offer them good deals so they feel the long trip to Umeå was worth it. Umeå is really far up in the north of Sweden and not really close to other cities where you can set up gigs.
Why do you think Umea, a relatively small city, has been able to sustain such an active and supportive scene?
Jonas: Umeå has always been an activist city with occupations, demonstrations and people taking matters in their own hands and I think that is something that has shaped our scene. There is a strong DIY culture in Umeå these days, both in art, clubs, music, skateboarding and so on. In the punk scene there are many involved people who set up shows, takes care of our venue, plays in bands, makes zines, releases records and such. Many great people work hard to keep the scene alive, and all just because of their passion for the music and the scene. We don’t rely on other people to do thing for us, and instead we make them happen ourselves. GO DIY!
Besides the Umeå Hardcore comp you also have a 7” of your own coming out on Ny Våg Records. How did that get lined up and what’s it like working with them?
Jonas: Ny Våg is a small local label that mainly releases bands from Umeå, so it was quite natural to start working with them, and the people who runs Ny Våg are our friends so it is easy to work with them. We are really looking forward to the 7´.
One of the songs off that upcoming 7” is War Games which you made a video for, black and white footage of drones and bomb tests, it looks awesome! I’m curious who made it and how that came about.
Mårten: I made that video. Jonas had been messing around making a music video for another band using YouTube-videos. We talked about making a video for one of our songs and War Games has such a simple message; we figured we could find enough material for a video on that theme. I started editing the video when I got home from work and by early morning it was done. I got stuck in the merciless mist of obsessiveness but I think it turned out really good in the end!
You’re also putting out a split 7” with Fanzui Xiangfa which you’ll be selling on your upcoming tour with them through Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The whole thing feels pretty natural as you both share a member, but how did you decide to do this and what are your expectations for the tour?
Jonas: Both Bad Nerve and Fanzui Xiangfa had some songs left over from previous recordings and since we are going on a tour together it felt pretty natural to release those songs together on a split seven inch. It is also nice to have a new recording out when going on tour, so i think it worked out really great, and we are happy that Genjing Records wanted to do this.
We are really excited about the tour. It will be our first bigger tour so we are just happy to be able to play and make more people aware of our band and our music. I think it is going to be a fun tour.
It’s quite a busy year for you guys, do you have any other upcoming plans that you haven’t told us about yet? We would love to have you play in China.
Jonas: I think our plan is to start making new songs after the tour with Fanzui Xiangfa, rehearse a lot this winter and record again in the fall. We will also try to play some more shows around in Sweden and we will start working on a t-shirt design, and hopefully make a new video.
We would love to go to China and play some shows, but maybe that will be for next year if someone can set up some shows for us?