Lead Singer of Swedish Band ‘We Live In trenches’ On Their new ep

We realised recently that we were missing some good old noisy music, and this was rectified when we discovered the excellent We Live In Trenches – a band who describe their sound as ‘idiot rock’ (a new genre for us to investigate).

We caught up with lead singer Ulf who talks to us about the history of the band and what is next for them after the release of new EP Dead Class.

Tell us who you are and what is your sound

We Live In Trenches is a monolith of slow grinding hardcore punk mixed with noisy blues-rock. Or as we simply call it, Idiot Rock.  WLIT is an institution that we’ve sold our devotion to in exchange for primal therapy. The band is not about four people’s individuality, it’s a movement legacy we’ve to pass on to future generations. We owe a debt to Flipper, Sonic Youth, The Fall, No Trend, The Ex, Discharge and PJ Harvey to name a few.

Robert Samsonowitz founded this band in 2007 and he plays the guitar and is responsible for all graphical parts regarding this band. He likes craft beer and 70’s rock and is also an awesome drummer.  Johan Meiton plays the bass and is the storyteller and he like to draw pictures. He is also a guitarist in Gothenburg based metal act Bombus. Håkan Johansson is hitting the drums in WLIT which he also does in legendary punk indie rockers Division Of Laura Lee. He likes skateboarding and play disc golf.

And at last it’s me, Ulf Stöckel, I’ve been a member since the start and I’m the vocalist. I’ll have my coffee black and I like to hang out in record stores. We all have regular jobs and we don’t think we will be rock stars doing this. We’re privileged to have some time to do this and that some people enjoy our music and come to our shows. But we aren’t afraid of selling more records and do shows all around the planet.

What exciting projects have you got coming up?

The most exciting thing is the release of Dead Class EP (out now) on Gothenburg-based Welfare Sounds. It’s been six years since our latest release and we’re really proud of the new songs. We took a long time-out to recharge our batteries after some break-up’s.

Just before the releasing of our second album Life Crisis our drummer David Augustsson decided to quit and we were about to book a European tour. We decided that we could find a quick replacement and still do the tour, but we didn’t. But we find a great drummer at last in Johan Reivén.

Then the second disaster came up, Johan Meiton decided to leave the band to focus on his other bands, so we had to find a new bass player. We found Tommy Hanning. We did some shows and recorded a Hammerhead cover for a tribute compilation, but something didn’t really felt right. We couldn’t work together in writing songs and it was hard to find shows.

So, at the end of 2015 Tommy and Johan left the band and Robert became a father. As we see it now, there was a void after David left the band since he and Robert started the band and he was one of the main song writers. It can be hard to see things clearly when you’re in a middle of a process.

Sometimes I wonder if the Life Crisis-album was a curse or something.

So, Robert and me licked our wounds and tried to find our way back to the thing we love, write and perform songs as We Live In Trenches. Johan Meiton sent us a message, early 2018, and said that he wanted to join again, and we were very happy to have him onboard again. Then there was this drummer issue. We just wanted it to be the right one that could work socially and musically. I was at this indoors festival called Banned in GBG were I met our old friend Håkan Johansson whom I’ve known since our hardcore punk days in the nineties. We talked about life and shit and then he asked me about WLIT and I said that we were about to restart the band but we lacked a drummer. You can’t quit, Håkan said! At that moment it hit me. Håkan is a great drummer. So, I asked him if he wanted to join and he said yes. At the end of 2018 we were ready start rehearse and write songs again and six months later we recorded four new songs.

This long story will actually set things straight and might explain how the Dead Class EP, a tiny 12” vinyl, can be the most exciting thing for us now.  And as soon as this pandemic is beaten, we hope that we can do a lot of shows and maybe release some more records.

Where did you grow up and what music influenced you?

We’re all from small industrial towns around Sweden but nowadays we’re based in Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden. The common background except for the geographical position’s things were pretty much the same. I grew up in the north, above the arctic circle with total darkness in the winter except for reflections in the snow and 24h sunshine in the summer. That might be a little bit different from my more southern based friends.

We all grew up on listen to Heavy- Thrash- and Death metal and this is a country were metal music is huge. But we are into all kinds of music, but mainly influences for WLIT is hardcore punk, Alternative indie rock, Post punk and weird sounds in general. There were/are great opportunities to learn an instrument and be involved in a local scene in our country.

What cool places do you recommend to visit in your city (bars, restaurants, etc)?

Oceanen, a nice venue to see bands and a cosy bar where you can get tasty vegan hot dogs. And if you’re lucky you might have Johan as bartender.

Blackbird Vegan Kitchen & bar. The best place to visit if you’re up for great vegan food and good drinking while listening to Killing Joke or The Cure.

Hagabion, an old alternative cinema. Hollywood is far away from here. They also house Bar Kino, a nice bar and restaurant.

Discreet Music, newly open record store with mainly focus on alternative music. Here you can find weird jazz as well as classical jazz, psych, progressive, hardcore, punk, indie and noise. New records and second-hand records. Next door is another record store called Music Lovers Records, with almost the same supply except for even more second hand and more mainstream music.

There’s also a lot of clubs for live music like, Koloni, Farsot, Levande Begravd, Showdown, Up the Punks, Ideal, Pustervik and 128Ⓐ.

Beautiful Gothenburg (one of our favourite cities to visit) – Credits: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

We love recommendations – what have you been listening to, watching, or reading recently?

I listen to music as much as I can. If it’s good I wanna have it on vinyl. I really recommend Okkultokrati, Norwegians finest. Their three latest releases are just outstanding if you ask me. I have been listening a lot to Cut City-Absolutes, Anna Högberg Attack-Lena and Rat Cage- Screams from the cage.

A book I really loved and read this summer was Antarctica of Love by Swedish author Sara Stridsberg, I’m not sure if you can find a translation yet. But some of her older books are probably available and she’s a great writer.I also recently read The road to unfreedom, Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder. A horrific document on the rise of fascism. 

TV-series I recommend are Watchmen, Succession, Peaky Blinders and The Plot Against America. There are too many great series so I can’t list them all. I’m all hooked on TV-series. Also, the Korean movie Parasite is a must.

Finally, what was the last thing that made you swear out loud?

I hit my head in a coat hanger rack and lot of coat hangers and other crap fell to the floor so there was a flood of Swedish dirty words that was spewed out of my mouth.

Interview by Alex Minnis
Band Photo Credit: Sarah Andreasson

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