In case you hadn't heard... Swedish punk rock legends No Fun At All are back! They have a new album called 'Grit' coming out tomorrow via Bird Attack Records and well, it's good. Like, really good! We caught up with vocalist Ingemar Jansson who was kind enough to answer all of our questions about doing the band as a hobby, the new album and teaming up with Bird Attack Records.
PRT: No Fun At All has never really been away, but you weren’t quite as present between 2004 and 2016 as before. Was that simply a matter of having different priorities in life?
Ingemar: Actually between 2001 and 2004 we were really gone. Then we took up the NFAA-thing as a “hobby” in 2004 and then gradually worked our way up to where we are now. But yes, different priorities you could say. Got ourselves steady jobs, wives, some kids etc. etc.
PRT: Looking back, was that a comfortable way of doing things? Or were there ever any frustrations as well about not having enough time for the band?
Ingemar: In theory it is a very nice way to do the band. Travel around the world for 2-3 weeks a year and enjoying your hobby. And get paid doing it. Nice. But to find a time that suited everyone and everyone’s families is not a very easy task. Sometimes we had to say no to really good gigs and that hurts.
PRT: When you were doing No Fun At All as a hobby band… did you notice a decline in attention from press/shows/fans or was it the other way around because you weren’t playing shows all the time?
Ingemar: I would say that we had very little contact with media during those years. When we released 'Lowrider' there was a small peak, but otherwise not very much. Attention from fans has been very good thanks to the internet. It’s so easy nowadays to have a personal relationship with the fans, it doesn’t have to go through media. Regarding shows, we didn't promote doing shows. It’s been an organic thing where we’ve pretty much done the shows/tours we’ve been offered.
PRT: Did those priorities shift again now that you have two new members in the band in the form of Stefan and Fredrik?
Ingemar: Well, it was already decided before they joined the band that if we were gonna do this again, it was gonna be all in. Stefan and Fredrik came on board knowing this.
PRT: Did the new members inspire you to write new material right away?
Ingemar: Mikael writes all the music in the band. He already had like 10 songs pretty much done when the new line-up was complete. So it was just a matter of diving into the rehearsal studio and arranging the hell out of those songs. It went really well, those new guys are really talented.
PRT: The new album is called ‘Grit,’ which can mean either ‘small, loose particles of stone or sand’ or ‘strength of character’. I’m guessing you chose it because of its second meaning?
Ingemar: It's a play on the word. The cover is pretty gritty I would say. But the underlying meaning I have to agree would be the second meaning. Hopefully we will be that.
PRT: When it comes to the lyrics, do you still work the same way as when you started out? Or has your writing process changed over the years?
Ingemar: It pretty much works like it has always been. I sweat, swear, cry, hate everything, have small strokes and sometimes am extremely happy. This time Mikael and Fredrik wrote some lyrics as well.
PRT: You recorded the album with Millencolin’s Mathias Färm at his studio. Is that a comfortable way of doing things?
Ingemar: Recording at Soundlab Studio with Mathias Färm was heaven! We had recorded the odd song there years ago, but never a whole album. It was a pleasure to be there and Mathias is such a professional and funny guy. He really knows what he's doing. We are truly happy with the result.
PRT: I saw an interview with you where you talked about how you would do things differently if you had the chance to start all over again after some not so good experiences with labels and booking agents in the past. Which is also why you chose to release ‘Low Rider’ on your own label. What are some of the pros and cons of doing everything yourself when you are at the level of a band like No Fun At All?
Ingemar: Well, when we decided to try to do this pretty much full time again, it was not an option to do it on the same level of DIY. It just takes too much time to manage a record company and tour at the same time. Plus we don't have the connections to book tours all over the world.
Like I said before, as a hobby band it was really rewarding doing everything ourselves. Being in total control. But now we have a record company, Bird Attack Records, and a booking agent in Europe, Destiny Tour Booking, and these people are really down to earth and very punk rock I think. We're dealing with booking agents and other stuff around the world pretty much ourselves.
PRT: You just mentioned Bird Attack Records. Are they a good match for you?
Ingemar: I think we were made for each other. To have a Record Company Boss like Garrett Wadford who really, and I mean REALLY loves your music, is such a rewarding feeling. You know that this guy will just do good things for you.
PRT: What is the best part about still being in No Fun At All after all these years? Are there still moments when you feel equally excited about being in the band as back when you started out?
Ingemar: Yes, I feel really excited about the whole thing right now, almost like it was 1994 again. Releasing and touring GRIT fills my stomach with butterflies.
To be honest I think our live performances is just getting better and better, and we're just having more and more fun.