This is a pretty classic Swedish crustcore band by now... And after receiving their latest LP I felt I had to do an interview.
It was done by email between the 19th of September and the 20th of October.
Hey man! Could we just start this interview off with you presenting yourself and the rest of the band members? Not a bio, �cause I know you�ve probably written a biography for dozens of interviews before, and it�s probably damn tiresome.
Tell me about it! Well, I�m Steffe, the singer of Diskonto and I�ve been in the band since 1993. Then it�s Martin (guitar) who founded the band and is the only original member, he was also the singer before I joined. Our drummer is called Jonas and he�s been with us since 1996. Our bass player joined a couple of years ago, his name is Rikard and he�s a bit younger then the rest of us. Actually he�s almost 10 years younger then me and Jonas�
The band was started in �92, but didn�t really get going until �93, and Diskonto was just meant as a joke, a way to make fun of all the dis copies around. So, when did the band get serious? �Cause I assume it must have gotten serious sometime during the years�
It depends what you mean with �serious�. If you mean rehearsing every week, printing new shirts and fliers all the time, updating the website several times a month, sending out lots of promos and shit to �zines and always bringing Diskonto records around with you so you can sell �em then we�re still not a serious band... It�s a little hard to answer this question, it�s not like we all of a sudden decided: �Hey guys, let�s get serious with this shit!�, but up until we recorded our first proper demo in April �94 everything was more or less a reason to party and hang out. The it gradually got more serious and I think the real turning point was when we did our East European tour in early �96 and straight after that replaced the old drummer and bass player. I don�t know, it�s been an ongoing process so to speak.
You�ve been around for almost 15 years now, and have grown to become one of the top names within the crust scene. Why is that, do you think? �Cause of your originality, something special you have to offer the listener that other crusters don�t?
I couldn�t help but laugh when I read this. �Top names�? Every time I go to a gig outside our hometown people always step up to me and tell me that they think we suck and that we�ve never done anything good. I never meet people that like us, I think we are both quite unknown and quite unpopular, at least in Sweden. The only thing people seem to know about us is the stuff we did on �Distortion To Hell� years and years ago and they judge us by that, so I don�t agree with you. On the other hand we are often mentioned as the most overrated band in Sweden, so there you have it� I hope I�m not sounding bitter �cause I�m not, in fact I�m very happy that we had such a long �career� and that we�ve had the opportunity to release so many records and being able to play so many concerts. We�ve had so much fun with this band and met so many interesting people.
I don�t know if we are an original band, but we always try to develop our style from record to record rather than changing it entirely as fashion dictates or doing the same thing over and over again.
Hehe, well. You�re at least one of the most famous names, I think. But I discussed the issue with Krogh of Attack!Fanzine, and his point of view is that you�re underrated. So I�m not the only one, hehe�
No, I guess not. Also Mattias �Indy� Pettersson wrote something in the last issue of Close-Up that we were underrated, but I still stick to what I said earlier. Personally I think this �overrated/underrated� thing is mainly a case of subjectivity. It�s a way to sound more objective then just �I like this band, and I don�t like this band�, but it�s actually almost the same thing. Can you mention any band that you think suck but that you in the same time claim is underrated or vice versa? �I really hate this shitty band, more people should listen to them��
What has kept you guys going under the banner of Diskonto for so long? Do you feel that you�ve evolved during the years, or have you tried to be as �true� to the original idea as possible?
Whoops� Seems like I already answered this question in my last answer, but I will try to elaborate my answer a bit; if you listen to our first EP and then our new LP straight after each other then it will probably sound like two totally different bands, although with similar vocals, but if you listen to every record in the order they were recorded you don�t hear that much changes from each record, at least I don�t think so. So we�re doing a bit of both, I guess. We stick with our formula; fast, d-beat based hardcore/punk but we don�t mind experimenting with the concept. I honestly don�t know why we�re still around but we still think it�s fun doing this and then there�s no reason to quit, is there? Besides, we believe we are a better band on all levels now than we�ve ever been.
What was your reaction when you first got releases offered? And when the offers kept coming? It must have been at least a little bit of a shock�
Why? Because we were so fucking lousy back then or what are you trying to imply? Actually, we saw Diskonto as just a fun side project but we were not shocked, as you put it, that some people wanted to release something with us. We weren�t that bad compared to some other stuff being released at the same time. We were happy and thrilled about the idea of releasing our songs on record, especially on a record label like Profane Existence that we had so much respect for, but I can�t say that we were particularly shocked.
As I mentioned earlier you�ve been around for quite some time now, and the scene in Sweden and the rest of the world must have changed quite a lot through the years. Are there any significant changes you�ve really noticed, or just a bunch of people/bands that have come and gone?
I often got asked this question and it�s quite funny because I definitely don�t feel like some kind of veteran in the scene, I started to listen to punk quite late in my life actually. Anyway, I can only speak from a Swedish point of view really. I don�t know the international scene in-depth enough to make comparisons about �then� and �now�, so I�ll refrain from that. I also like to add that I might generalize a bit in this answer but it�s hard to describe a certain period in time without doing so. Of course everything isn�t black and white. In Sweden, however, it was really trendy to be a crusty asshole when we started, the scene was very nihilistic and it was considered �cool� to be drunk all the time and don�t give a fuck about politics. People were bragging about that they eat at McDonalds and so on. After a few years that changed, thank God, and the new trend was to be as PC as possible, which was much better, but to me it was just a pose for many people, they just acted politically/socially concerned because that was hip at the time.
It�s much better now when these too extremes have mellowed into a nice mix. Now most people are interested in the political side of punk, but they�re not making a big deal out if it, it�s not a competition, you know, �I�m more political than you!�.
Also a lot of foreign bands (mostly American) are touring Sweden now, before almost no one toured here, so that is good. There are also a lot of new really good bands in Sweden at the moment (a lot of shit bands as well�) so I think the Swedish scene is better than it�s been for years.
I�m not as old in the game as you are, hehe, but from what I understand it seems like the metal and punk scenes have blended together more over the years. Tons of metallers also play crust as well as punks getting involved in metal bands. Do you think this has made the two scenes evolved, or has it always been like this?
You might have point there. Since I personally are very fond of both styles, even though I consider myself �a punk� (whatever that means, we can argue about this forever, right?), I find good and bad things about the two scenes and I think we can learn from each other to make our �own� scene (depending which scene you�re a part of) better. I think it�s positive with interaction, but let�s face it; most punks trying to play metal, which was very popular in the late �80-ties, fail miserably and most metallers trying to play punk sounds too �metal� which kills the feeling in the music. But I think it�s good that we can get along.
And while on the subject of metal vs. punk, a natural question comes to mind. I�m sure you�ve been asked this several times before, but I still feel that it�s my duty to ask it. Some years ago a band called Sportlov rose, and instantly received fame. While the members of Sportlov tried (more or less serious, I don�t know) to stay �secret�, it didn�t take too long before the word got out. Matte Modin is fairly famous �cause of involvement in Dark Funeral and Defleshed, but it also got known that a certain member of Diskonto stood for the vocal duties in Sportlov� Now, have you grown tired of people talking/asking about Sportlov? Did the �hype� around that project interfere with Diskonto, maybe? Or maybe you just don�t care commenting on this issue, hehe�
I don�t find this too interesting, but yes I was the singer/lyricist for Sportlov and the guy writing almost all music (�Lord Dubbd�ck�/ �Dubbd�ck Doom Occulta�) was actually Diskonto�s old bass player Kaj� We only did a couple of gigs, which we demanded ridiculously much money for, so it didn�t interfere with Diskonto. In fact, I handed over the mike to Danne (see next question) on two of �em because Diskonto were going to play in Ume� with fuckin� Discharge.
A couple of years ago a guy called Daniel Dellamorte was a member of the band, right? He participated in a Swedish TV-show called �Baren�, and so I suppose he received some fame �cause of that. Did his appearance on TV affect Diskonto in any way?
This, however, I�m very tired of and I know Danne hates this question, he absolutely refuses to answer any questions about �Baren� when asked in ints with his current band Insision (death metal). But, OK, here we go: Danne was our bass player for some 5 years or so. When he applied to that show (for fun) he had absolutely no income and means of support so when he was admitted to the show he did it just for the money. We had no problem with that, but we told him not to wear Diskonto shirts on the show. The problem came after the show ended when he and Dick from the same show started touring with this stupid Lundberg/Dellamorte-band. Once again he did it just for the money, he was totally uninterested in becoming some form of mediastar, but we had to cancel shows and bringing stand-ins to play bass and when he didn�t show up for the recording of an EP (which we recorded but never released) we told him he was out of the band. That was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make since he was, and still is, one of my best friends. I don�t know if this was the answer you wanted, but as I said earlier; I really don�t want to talk about this.
You�ve also released quite a lot of records; can you pin point a particular one that meant the most to you as a band? Or maybe just a special one you, as a person, really took to heart?
We have released 5 LP�s, 4 EP�s, 2 split-EP�s and 1 split-10�, I don�t know if that�s a lot or a little. I just recently listened to all our old EP�s because we will do a one-off �reunion� gig with the old line-up (me, Martin, Malmen, Kaj) in Uppsala in October and I wanted to hear what songs that are good and that we could play. I have always considered our first EP (�A Shattered Society�) as the best one we did with that line-up and after listening to it again I still do. That one really meant a lot to me and Martin because it was our first and we thought it was great back then. We are going to do one-off reunion with the old line-up (me, Martin, Kaj, Malmen) in Uppsala October 15: th and we�ll do 5 songs from that 7� and 6 songs from the other 7�:s we did. Personally I think our best records is our three latest LP�s, they are all good I think and we only play material from these records nowadays. I also think our upcoming split-LP with Massgrav (great!) will be really good. We are in the process of writing songs fro that one right now and we will record it in November.
Not only have do you have a bunch of releases, but you�ve mangled your way through a bunch of countries too. Though, if I�m not mistaken, it�s been a couple of years since you last toured. Grown too old, lazy and tired? Hehe�
Between 1996 and 2001 we did 3 European tours and 2 American ones, we also visited Finland 2 times. After that we haven�t really toured outside Sweden properly, only one-off gigs at festivals and such. The reason for the lack of touring is that me, Martin and Jonas all have became fathers during the last years. We were supposed to tour Europe last year but we had to cancel the whole thing because of yet another childbirth. Hopefully we�ll get our shit together and do a tour next year. I toured the States with Uncurbed in Oct-Nov 2004 and it was still fun. If a band gets the opportunity to tour they shall grab it, you learn so much from it, both as musicians and as persons. We�ve always been lazy and tired, by the way�
Almost all of your releases are available for download on your site, which one can only assume is your way to try and fight the copyright issue (and also since it says so on the site, hehe). What�s the reaction, about your decision to offer your music for free, been from the labels?
I don�t know what the labels think but no-one have complained, and if they would we wouldn�t care. I see it like this: it�s our songs, we do what the hell we want with �em. Apart from that I have really nothing to add, that copyright thing I don�t care about at all, that�s more Martin�s concern, I just think it�s nice that people can listen to our old deleted records if they want to.
A natural follow-up to the previous question is of course what you think of all these discussions about programs like DC and the likes, where you can find almost everything for download? I assume you�re fairly positive towards it. Do you think that this is the main reason for the price of a regular CD has sky rocketed over the last couple of years? In the more �underground� punk and metal scenes the prices are still quite reasonable, which is probably �cause it�s done for the love of music, and not for the love of money�
I have never downloaded a song from the net, I don�t even know what DC is� I personally don�t think the prices of underground/DIY-records have �sky rocketed�, we sell our albums for 80 Swedish (approx. $10), so do most people in the scene, and that�s not a lot of money compared to what other things cost, is it? I really don�t care if people want to download music instead of buying it, the only problem is that bands only source of income is by selling records and they need that money to pay for studio costs, instruments, rehearsal places and such. If they are derived of the opportunity to make some money to pay for these things then they have to find some other means of income. I don�t know, in the future records may have ceased to exist and bands only sell shirts and patches.
Well, no. The underground keeps it reasonable, as I said earlier� I�m mostly referring to the whole copyright/internet discussion. But that concerns the mainstream more, of course. And DC, or Direct Connect, is a widely spread program for downloading music, movies, PC games etc. from other users. But it�s quite unusual to never have downloaded a song from the net, don�t you think?
Eh� Maybe you did said that, I don�t know, do you honestly think I read your stupid questions? Hahahah, just kidding. Thanks for enlightening me about DC, sounds really cool if you�re into this stuff. Unusual? Yeah, perhaps, but there�s a lot of other things I�ve never done as well.
Since you�ve been active for so long, you�ve probably come across quite a number of rip-offs too. Now, rip-offs are fucking sinister creatures, and deserve nothing except a good stomping. It pisses me off� Have your encounters with such vermin been serious?
Yeah, it�s inevitable that sooner or later you get ripped off. The scene is built on trust and some people take advantage of that. Fuck �em, these people have a tendency to leave the scene fast but unfortunately there will always be someone else to take their place.
You were meant to release a split with Intensity, but instead you later on recorded more material, so you could fill a fullength. Why was the split cancelled?
Because Intensity decided not to release their side! I really don�t know why because the stuff I�ve heard from it was great. Since we already had recorded new material Rodde (Intensity, Putrid Filth) and we decided that we should do a �full� LP instead. That�s also the reason why the record was delayed so long.
The two recordings became the LP/CD �Watch Us Burn�. What�s the reaction been like from the fans? Are people still as eager to hear the new Diskonto as they used to be? How do you feel you did with the new album?
Yeah, but the CD is still not out� Crimes Against Humanity (USA) are doing it and there�s been a lot of problems with that release. First we found out that the master tape was scratched, or rather; Nick (CAH) found that out the day before he was going to send it to the pressing plant! So we had to find someone that could master the whole thing again and send it to the States again. During that time Nick released two other albums before us and when it was time to send it to the pressing plant the second time they refused to press it since we didn�t had a permission to do that D.R.I. cover we did. We need to work that out with D.R.I. and get them to fill in some paper and shit, hopefully that will be cleared pretty soon. Oh, maybe I should answer the question? So far everybody that has heard it thinks it great! I think you are the one that has been most negative to it, hahahah� I guess if people took the time and effort to listen to it a lot of �em would like it.
Haha, I�m negative about the album? I gave it 8.5 out of 10, I think that�s fairly positive, hehe� I definitely hope that Diskonto will continue playing for several years to come. So I hope the passion for the band is stronger than ever. Do you think you�ll continue playing as Diskonto for years and years to come? We�ve mentioned it a little earlier, but you guys are also involved in a number of other bands/side-projects. Is Diskonto the main band for you all?
Well, your review was really positive, I wrongly assumed you were one of these guys that gives 10 to everything you like but when I checked your other reviews a bit more careful I saw that 8.5 actually was quite high. Thanks a lot! About us continuing for years and years, well, I just can�t answer that, maybe we do, maybe we quit the band next month, we�ll see. We�ll try to stay together at least until we have recorded the split with Massgrav, hahahah� Side projects? No, I don�t think it�s that many. I�ve quit Uncurbed so the only ones having other bands are Rikard (Gadget) and Jonas (Harkkorauta). For me and Martin Diskonto have always been the main band, I guess it is for Jonas as well. I believe Rikard sees Gadget as his main band since he writes music for them and also lives in the same town as them but Diskonto is hardly a �side project� for him.
So, the last question concerning your long career, now. You�ve probably done tons of interviews by now, are there any particular questions that you always tend to receive, and that you�re damn sick of answering? Maybe something I�ve even asked, hehe.
No, don�t worry, this int was great. I get really annoyed on questions like: �What is your lyrics about?�. That�s about as smart as �What do you sound like?� I also prefer questions that concerns the band rather then stuff like: �Tell me about the squats, police, etc in your country.�. Apart from that I think it�s fun to answer views, too bad that they often never get printed/put on-line because the editors get bored of the zine. The most strange question I�ve been answered was from Indonesia I think: �Do you think it�s OK for Asian people to be racists?��
And on to the less serious questions. These are not really necessary, and doesn�t really concern the band, but I like asking them, and I find it amusing reading the answers� So here we go.
Latest record you bought?
I got the new Spr�ngd CD the other day, but the last one I actually bought was a couple of old oi! records on a record�s fair. Sham 69, One Way System, A country fit for heroes Comp, etc.
Latest record you listened to?
Deep Purple: Machine Head on my way to work
Latest book you read?
A book about franchising and fast food called �Fast food Nation� by Eric Schlosser
Latest show you went to?
Me and a friend arranged a gig for Signal Lost in Uppsala last week, the other bands were Skitsystem, Rajoitus, To What End?, etc. It was great!
Crappiest record you've bought?
Don�t know� Probably something that was a totally different style of music than I had expected.
If you could pick any band, dead or alive, to do a split with, which would be your choice for Diskonto?
Agathocles. No, just kidding, Mob 47 maybe?
And lastly, if you ever committed suicide, how would you do it?
I don�t contemplate suicide, I have a one-month-old son and a wife, don�t wanna leave them. Ask Acursed this question instead.
And with that note we�ll end this interview. Thanks a lot for doing this interview, I really appreciate it. As usual it�s up to you to finish it off with some last minute words. Best of luck with everything, and take care!
Thanks a lot for this great interview! Sorry that it took such a long time for me to answer it. If anyone wants us something write me at:. Stay punk!