Musicscan: Give our readers a short briefing about Relevant Few, please.
Ok, here we go. Back in 1991-92 I got very influenced by Napalm Death and Brutal Truth and thought it would be great if I could manage to get some people with the same influences and start a grindcore band just for the fun of it. I tried to put a band together in 1993 but we didnt last for long and it wasnt until much later in 2000 I found the right members with the same goal and attributes. I formed Mindsnare, which later became Relevant Few with my old mate and companion in the late Gooseflesh back then, Kristian Lampila. We found interest in a drummer called Mojjo and started jamming around with a couple of ideas. Kristian knew of singer J.C. he had seen performing in a club here in Gothenburg that he thought would fit perfectly in the band. J.C. joined forces immediately and also brought his friend Johan Nilsson along, which was the guitarist in his band Abandon at the time. We wrote about 10 songs in just a month and released a demo that got us signed to the Swedish underground label No Tolerance Records. Shortly after that we changed our name on the band to the more suitable Relevant Few and released our first album Who Are Those of Leadership in 2002. In January J.C. decided to leave the band according to personal problems in his family. We were really devastated and for about 4 months we finally found a replacement for J.C., Henke Svensson, a guitarist who recently had found out his vocal capacity and knew about me through a friend of his. Just after one month with Henke we got an offer to play the Fuck the Commerce V festival in Neiden, Germany, to replace label-mates Retaliation, who had cancelled. The gig was a blast and we felt very comfortable with Henke live on stage and he was the man. We started right away writing songs for a new album and in December 2002 we recorded The Art of Today. But then we lost our drummer Mojjo that wasnt comfortable with the band situation at that time and our second guitarist Johan Nilsson also left the band to move about 850 kilometers from Gothenburg, so everything stopped for once again. After a 7 months pause we finally got our drummer Mojjo back in the band and No Tolerance released the album in Sweden in November 2003.
Musicscan: Whats your self-understanding of Relevant Few? What does your band stand for? What was your motivation to start this band?
I think we have something unique in Relevant Few and all members in the band connect perfectly and we all share the same goal. As I write mostly political lyrics you can say that we want the listeners to react of course but most important, to draw their own conclusions and read a little between the lines, cause I often write from several angles I guess. We stand for what we believe is right and try to live as honest we can, I suppose. There are no laws and shit involved in the Relevant Few world and we always expect the worse so we dont get too disappointed when something shitty happens, you know. Our motivation to start this band seemed to fit perfectly into each member of the band at that period time. Weve struggled through everyday life with depressions, failures, injustice, distress, and hatred and with a large feeling of disrespect and lack of trust against our government and politics. We wanted to have our say and we love heavy and hard music, simple as that.
Musicscan: It looks like you are very experienced with tough situations. Like "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." am I right?
Ooh yeah, thats correct. Weve had our moments when we thought there wouldnt be anymore Relevant Few. When our first singer couldnt achieve as much as he wanted anymore and had to quit, we were devastated. It was hard for us to lose such a characteristic and talented vocalist as Johan Carlzon but we found Henke Svensson after awhile and he connected perfectly. It didnt really stopped our writing and inspiration but we were a little stranded and couldnt go on tour and such. So when our drummer Mojjo wanted to leave after the summer 2002 we felt almost like the Relevant Few saga had come to an end, but after 7 months trying to get hold of a new drummer Mojjo decided to return. Our second guitarist left us in August 2003 to move up north about 850 kilometers from Gothenburg so we decided we wanted to continue as a four piece. I would say that this is the strongest line-up since the very start and yeah, you are definitely right; "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Musicscan: Why did you choose to be around as grind-outfit? Whats your motivation to play especially this heavy kind of metal?
I always thought it would be interesting to try out some heavier stuff and just take it from there, so to speak. We all listen and grown up to this sort of music so its very natural for us. And as I said before its a great release for your body and soul when youre playing this kind of music and it certainly lets your daily frustrations out. Its like some kind of therapy for you, its instead of going out there and beat someone up or violate your environments or even shoot somebody.
Musicscan: For me personally grind is always close to metalcore and punk. Are you connected to the hardcore-scene? Maybe you have kept some kind of hardcore/punk-attitude?
Personally, I listen to bands like Dead Kennedys, Sick of It All, Downset, Discharge to name a few, so yeah it probably reflects what we do in Relevant Few. The new material were working on for the moment has more of that punk and hardcore feel to it, I think it has a lot to do that were a four-piece now I guess.
Musicscan: Unfortunately I only received kind of promotional copy without the lyrics so I only can read your song-titles.
What are the topics you deal with on this record?
In general the daily life experiences and past relationships I have dealt with, also if there is something I read in the newspapers or watch on TV that upsets me, those things are some of the topics concerning The Art of Today. The main issues this time became a more personal view but still in a much political oriented structure which we developed with our first album Who Are Those of Leadership? Some of the lyrics are very intimate like for instance the opening track on the album, Is there no hope? which deals with a relationship I once was involved in. Then you have No Savior that deals with the fact that every store, bus, building, you name it, has surveillance cameras in every corner watching your every move. Lustrous Pattern was something I wrote when US declared war after September the 11th. So I will say the main issues we deal with in our lyrics are mostly political. Next album is going to be written from an even more personal view. Its a fucked up world were living in and theres so much to write about, its an inexhaustible source to dig from.
Musicscan: What are the topics you take care of in general? Is there something like a certain message you guys try to get out in the scenes?
Its much about frustration, disappointments and hatred, yet without losing the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Its a statement against life and the world at large, my point of view facing troubles along the path of life. You can also see it as a political aspect with the cover and the lyrics, what goes on in the world today. There is not really a message we want to achieve to the public its more of my private opinions and I think its also up to every listeners own interpretation.
Musicscan: Are the lyrics equally important to the music? For metal-bands lyrics are often less important, but I always think that bands should have something to say, because it's not only about the music, whether the lyrics are not understandable most of the times.
Relevant Few: I think the lyrics are just as important as the music and I always try to make the lyrics as interested as I can. Recently I found out that I write mostly in a subconscious state of mind and the each lyric I write can be interpreted in many different ways.
Musicscan: Do all band members identify with the lyrics? Do you have conversations about controvers topics?
Because the lyrics is that important in the band everyone wants to be involved even if its just one member that contributes on the lyrical matter for the moment. So, everyone is interested and like to comment on the lyrics I write. Its very important to get some feedback and ideas from the rest of the band.
Musicscan: Its a great honor for a younger band to be on new hawen. What are your feelings about it?
It has gone smoothly so far and were glad that we finally can reach the people in Europe with this album and hopefully we can get out on the road and deliver our shit live with this one, that is at least what we hope for right now. I have done interviews both on mail and phone for this one so its a big step up for Relevant Few compared to the last release, so you can say that were very satisfied when it comes to the collaboration with Century Media and New Hawen.
Musicscan: There seems to be a very active grind scene in Sweden, but what is different about Relevant Few? What sets you apart from other bands? Hearing Sweden and grind, everyone thinks of Nasum. What does stand out about Relevant Few?
To me were a little oldschool with some metal in it like Terrorizer and Napalm Death. I love Nasum and bands like that but we really want to be special and have our own sound. My personal opinion is that we sound a little different and stands out a little compared to other bands in this genre and as everyone in the band listens to a lot more than just grindcore and almost not, I think we stands out. Were simply a very hard and intense band who wants to explore its own ways and sounds. Ok, Relevant Few is grindcore and will probably stay grindcore for a long time but we dont want to be boring and just play the fastest we can all the time. I think its important to not have any limits when you create such music as grindcore and remember that grind isnt just only about speed and how fast you can play on your instruments, theres so much more to it. We have to keep it interested for ourselves as well as for our listeners and why not broaden our abilities in creating more variety in our music. Theres a lot of bands out there playing this kind of extreme music similar to Relevant Few that forgets about dynamic and diversity, I hope we can achieve more of that on our next album. I think anything is possible in this band but we wont forget where we come from.
Musicscan: Where do you put Relevant Few in the grand scheme of heavy music? Is Relevant Few "only" a grind-band? I think you play a more open sound and grind is limiting that...
To categorize a sound is very hard but if I have to do that with Relevant Few it would be just Hard-music, no more or less. So I dont like to classify or put the band in a corner cause our music expands every time we start writing new shit. We certainly try to make a more open sound and dont want to be stuck in just playing as fast as you can all the time. We think its very important to not lose the live-vibe when youre doing a record so that people can feel the presence and the nerve of the band. I think theres more soul and rawness to it when its recorded live and as I said I think people in general can hear that. We did about 2-3 live takes on each song and some of the material you can hear on the final product is even first takes. I think we achieve the more open sound when we record everything live, simple as that.
Musicscan: If you would have to summarize the message and atmosphere of your music in one sentence, what would it be?
I would put it in just one word instead, and that word is honesty!
Musicscan: Can you take one typical song and explain what you hope people are getting out of it, please.
Ok, Ill make it easy for me and choose the opening track on the album; Is there no hope? This particular song is about a relationship I once was involved in which developed into frustration and hatred in lack of respect and love. The message is that whatever happens to you dont lose your senses and focus, dont fall flat and dont blame yourself. Dont try to avenge or anything similar, it is just a waste of energy and youll get nothing in return. Dont hurt yourself more than you already are.
Musicscan: What is the song you guys feel especially proud of (whether compositionally, lyrically...)?
Crisis is probably a song were especially proud of, it was the song that set our new direction and opened a lot of doors for us as a band. That one was actually the first song we wrote after our first singer had left the band, it set some new refreshing goals for us.
Musicscan: For how long do you think that you can tour on the record? I think you didn't tour that much in the past, right?
Relevant Few: No we havent done that much of touring in the past just a couple of gigs here in Sweden with Nasum and Daybreak. We are working to get a mini tour in Holland but it all depends on money and connections. Weve talked with our friends in Gadget to do something in September in Europe, but nothing is scheduled yet. But were very anxious to get out there and deliver some madness for you sometime soon.
Musicscan: Your biggest wish to happen for the band in the future?
Relevant Few: To get on a tour with a major band just to prove everyone that were an explosive unit on stage, Napalm Death or The Haunted would be great bands to tour with and of course Nasum.
Musicscan: Something you would like to mention at the end? Just do it.
Relevant Few: Our expectations are that people will like this album so we can hopefully get out on tour to explore new things and make some new friends and just have a blast. Thank you and take care, Cheers!