We were fortunate enough to interview Mr. Lyxzén before his band, INVSN, plays Mr. Smalls Tuesday with Minus the Bear. You can read our entire preview, and learn how to register for a giveaway that includes a pair of tickets to the show, here.
It is a rather easy transition. Sometimes ideas and influences trickle over a bit, which is not that strange. Even though the projects are different, I am still the same person. And yes, last year was intense - every day when I was not playing with Refused we were writing songs and practicing with INVSN. I managed to record two records and play over 100 shows in one year.
INVSN has been around, in one form or another, since the late 1990s. How has the sound evolved since the early days? Most of your new songs are longer than four minutes – that is a lifetime in punk terms!
I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that INVSN has something to do with my past solo projects with the Lost Patrol. However, I did two records with The Lost Patrol that evolved into The Lost Patrol Band. And the core of that band is still playing with me in INVSN. Most songs are longer than 4 minutes, but INVSN never really claimed to be a punk band - even though that is our background and the soil we plant our feet on, we are pretty far from it. On the last record we did before our English debut, we had some songs that were over 7 minutes! I really think that you just evolve, as an artist and as a human being. I've covered the entire spectrum from lame dude with an acoustic guitar to superfast hardcore. It’s just life.
What would you say to fans who come out expecting to hear The Shape of Punk to Come? Do you find fans of, say, The (International) Noise Conspiracy are also fans of INVSN?
If they expect to hear another version of that record they will be sorely disappointed. It has been a lifetime since that record was recorded and time moves and people that are interested in art and creativity and in challenging themselves move. Since The Shape record, I've released something like 15 records and they've all been different. I meet people that have followed me along this ride and it makes me happy to see that people are interested in what I do as an artist and as a human and not just into one particular project. That being said, if your favorite album is Shape and you've heard nothing since, INVSN it might be a bit confusing!
Recently, you told Rolling Stone, that while music can change an individual's worldview, “nowadays I'm not so confident that music will change the world.” Has the spectacle of politics and media today left you feeling disillusioned, or is that the statement of a man whose idealism has matured and evolved?
Well, in all honesty, it could never change the world. If music once had that power, we failed to use it. I think that music is a powerful expression. It can articulate dreams of rebellion and revolution like few other art forms. Music can change your world and set you off into a totally different orbit. It has an inherent power that very few art forms have in the way that it is so direct and has the power to connect people. However, this world is such a fragmented place and music is so divided into cultures and sub-cultures that it is almost impossible to find some sort of coherent structure that can bind people together into a mass-movement. I still believe in Revolution and I still believe that a different world is needed and possible, but music will not be the catalyst to start that. If it does happen/when it does happen, we are more then ready and willing to support it with the proper soundtrack.
There are plenty of Swedish groups that tour America; Pittsburgh alone has been visited by Ghost, In Flames, and Katatonia in the past six months. Is there a rock or punk band from Sweden that you've been listening to that you think might be the next to break out?
That’s fantastic! I like Ghost! Great band. Some Swedish bands to keep your eyes open for might be The Holograms, Terrible Feelings, Fukushima and The T-55's.
Lastly, how did being voted “Sweden's Sexiest Man,” in 2004, affect your reputation in the hardcore scene?
My reputation within the abstractions of the scene was already shot to hell at that point, so I think that it had very little effect, ha.
- B. Conway