Thursday, 1 June 2017

Jocke Karlsson Interview

We say hello to Jocke Karlsson, a name which don’t need a special introduction. He’s well known from more than 25 years with his involvement with cult bands such as Pro Patria, Pluton Svea, Pitbullfarm and more recently his new project Code 291.

So, Jocke let me first ask you about the gig you held few months ago in my Fatherland. What are you recollections from the days in Bulgaria? Do you want to come again with your new band?

I was half dead and my liver hated me for weeks after the visit in Bulgaria, which means I had the time of my life over there. Haha.. You guys are doing a great job with the organizing, and your hospitality was top notch. I’ll be back in November again with CODE 291, it’s already booked, so see you then!

That’s great news!!! Going back to the major part of interview. I will try to structure my questions in chronological order… Tell me about your teen years? How did your interest in music have started? How did you get involved in skinhead scene as well?

When I grew up I wasn’t the kind of kid who enjoyed any typical music for children, and my elder brother was a Punk back in the late 70’s. I loved the tunes I heard from his room, and in the early 80’s he became one of the first skinheads in Sweden. He gave me a few mixed tapes of Punk/Oi-bands, so my interest in music came very early. In the middle of the 80’s I bought my first guitar and we started a punk band. Back in that days punx and skins were friends here, and my best friends were skinheads. 

When Skrewdriver released the Blood and honour album 1985 I was totally paralyzed! About that time the punk scene started to be a left wing movement and the skinhead culture matched my mind and thoughts much better. 
One thing led to another, and the year after, I shaved my head.

Your involvement in Pro Patria?

We started the band 1987. I dropped my guitar and bought a drum kit. 
We were active until 1990 and the only real album recording we made was 3 songs for the compilation Nordland. After we broke up one full length album and some compilations are released.

A little known fact is that you have been part of band called “Slapping Suspenders”… few words about it?

Our bass player from Pro Patria started that band as a project beside Pro Patria. 
They recorded an album, and just before they released it their guitar player (also from Pro Patria) left the band. I liked the sound of the old school Psychobilly, so I joined them for the next 5 years.

What are your recollections from the second Skrewdriver gig in Sweden back in 1989? As far as I know Ian Stuart borrowed your guitar for the concert.

Yes. Pro Patria was one of the support bands at the gig. So both Ian and Merv borrowed our instruments. Unfortunately that guitar doesn’t exist today.

In the beginning of the 90’s you were a founding member of Pluton svea, rated as one of the best (if not the best) Swedish WP bands. You have started just as guitarist, not singer, haven’t you?

That’s correct. The first singer was the singer from Pro Patria. But after our first album he left the band and it was impossible to find a new singer. The recording studio was already booked for our second album, so we had some panic. I didn’t want to sing, honestly. That was just an emergency solution. I couldn’t stand hearing my own voice in the beginning, but after a while I felt comfortable with my new role in the band.

Your creativity with this band faced problems with the law in Sweden. Your second album Stöveltramp was taken to court. What was the “legal” reason for this? What were the other actions of ZOG against Pluton svea?

We have a law here which is most comparable to the American charge: hate crime. 
And every song on that album (except one) was found illegal, but the limitation period for an approved prosecution had passed. Which probably saved our former record label’s ass.
It was nothing personal against Pluton Svea, I can say that all the bands and organizers in the Swedish scene had really hard times back in the 90’s. 

What was the reason to stop activity with Pluton svea?

The last years I was the only original member left. I had to borrow musicians from other bands, so my inspiration to continue with Pluton Svea died slowly but surely.

Few words about your cooperation with Saga and her tributes to Skrewdriver? Can you compare it to the tribute to Skrewdriver “Blod & Ära” where songs were sung in Swedish?

Personally I think the Swedish stuff were better and funnier to record. 3 albums with Sagas voice to Ian’s songs is too much!

Last one about Pluton svea… some years ago a “best of” cd was released by Midgard. Which were the “new” songs included?

Över gravar framåt, Nothing but a whore, These boots and Dömda att dö.

Story goes further to your next band. When you first started Pitbullfarm in 2002 did you want to start a PC career with the band?

I’ve never tried to make a musical career ever. I don’t believe in mainstream music or bands.
But I must say that I’m relatively sure that I’ve had the chance to do that a few times. Before we start to play gigs with Pitbullfarm we received some deals and requests that many musicians can only dream of. And also my other band Völund Smed which I left a few years ago. We sent a song (just for fun) to the biggest radio station here. They have a region based radio show with bands from the middle part of Sweden, and a competition where the listeners can vote on their favorite song. And after one week we were the no.1 at their top list.

They found out who played the guitar, so they arranged a live interview with the band on the same radio show the next week. But the interview didn’t go the way like the radio actor wanted. They thought they had a big fucking scoop here and probably much more than that. 
I felt the enthusiasm sparkled from the radio people before the interview began, and they seemed to have plans that the listeners should hear me take an officially distance from my past in this live broadcast. Well… I had other plans. I stood my ground instead of getting my 15 minutes of fame. I told them that I will always stand by my nationalist values and never become a turncoat. Of course all hell broke loose and they kicked us out. Hahaha.

Around those years a picture of you and non-white person appeared in I-net. Who is him, where and why you took this photo?

The non-white guy is a very famous rapper from the Hip Hop scene. His name is Ken Ring. I had not even heard his name before, but the same day I met him, he was all over the Swedish media. My ex fiancée saw him on the news the same morning and she shouted: "Jocke come here, you have to see this". (I just use google to remember all this) He made some really strong statements against immigration and also attacked other artists verbally with anti-semitic words of abuse like:“He’s a fucking Jewish scum” etc. 

The same night I went to a party with my old MC club to another club, and Ken Ring had a gig in that city too.. In the middle of the night He showed up at the clubhouse for an after-party. It's no more complicated than I felt that I have to take a picture of him and send it to my fiancée. I thought it was a funny thing, and I also posted the pic at facebook etc. Of course there’s always people without a sense of humor who can’t see the funny in it. So I’ve heard there was people who really believe that me and Ken Ring were close friends and things like that, which usually happens when genius people speculates. I still think it’s fucking hilarious :)

In 2005, there was a now very famous statement on German psychobilly forum under your (or somebody imitating you) account, that you stopped with hate an fascism, etc.. Was it you making this statement? Some people heard from you that you were in prison by the time and technically cannot do it.

I think it’s even older than from 2005. And yes, I was in prison then. First time I saw/heard that bullshit was not so many years ago. But in that story the story was “It’s from an interview”. There were several factual errors revealed themselves in this so called statement. The not so unknown Kuggnäs-festival where 9 of 10 bands play every summer are nationalists was an “antifa-festival” etc.
When I buried Pluton Svea and left the NSF (National socialist front) I became a “racetraitor” to some cunts. I actually didn’t give a shit about that then. And the very few who had the balls to say something in my face was smashed down, of course. I must say I was sick and tired of big parts of the Swedish nationalist movement in the early 2000’s. Backstabbers, comrade-thieves, informers and other trash people were involved. People I wouldn’t even piss on if they were on fire! I’ve done a shit load of crazy things and always walked my own way in my life, no matter where I ended up, but I would never turned my back on my beliefs. 

We can divide the history of Pitbullfarm into two periods - aggressive non-politics Psychobilly and RAC-a-billy. What was the reason for this transformation? You failed with your chances in Psychobilly scene, or were just matter of things happening around you and your life?

In the first Line-up of Pitbullfarm (2002) the other members were totally different than me in many ways. None of them were a leftie or an asshole, but we had different opinions in almost everything, except how we should create our sound. So it became natural to make non-political lyrics. At that time I had played political music for more than 15 years so this was a kind of a challenge for me. I didn’t want to play classic Psychobilly, cause the scene is very left wing infected, so we sneaked in a lot of punk and other non-typical Psychobilly stuff into the songs and created a very own sound. After 4 years I killed the band for some personal reasons. But 6 years after (2012) I regrouped the band with new members. RAF (Rock against fascism) judged us the same second as we were reborn, so now we were officially a fascist-band. Hahaha. Just kidding, but it’s not far away from the truth. We weren’t or didn’t even want to be a part of the Psychobilly scene.
We said no to all gigs (except for one in Russia) with a Psychobilly organizer.

What was the REAL reason to end up with PitbullFarm? I’m asking because it’s not the first band that is splitting up after they played in Bulgaria, hahaha?

I think it would be funny if our trip to Bulgaria would be the true reason, So let's decide that this is the official story. It’s your fault, you bastards!! Hahaha!

Why you started immediately new band under the name of CODE 291? Many people associated it with Pluton svea... is it a resurrection of the band under a new name?

I had those plans for a long time, and in December last year I asked the other guys if they were interested of starting a band. And here we are now.
The new band is not more of a resurrection of Pluton Svea than of Pitbullfarm.
CODE 291 is something totally new and shouldn’t be compared to any of my other bands from my history. But of course you will hear that this is me.

Why you decided to entitle the album "Tolerant today - dead tomorrow"?

I saw that phrase at internet, and it was both better and matched the rest of the whole concept Code 291.

What about the lyrics? It seems you have returned to good old politically incorrect style?

A different thing compare to my earlier bands there’s no fiction in the new lyrics. Most of the lyrics are based on the concept of Code 291. There are some historical lyrics too. I sing about the bitter truth that our system is tried to cover up. And of course, they are automatically classified as politically incorrect.

Which was the song you recorded first? Can you rate your best song, both from lyrical and music point of view? Why did you made a track about Simo Hyaha and do you think this can upset your Russian listeners?

We recorded six songs (not one song) to a promo CD a couple of month before the recordings of Tolerant today – Dead tomorrow. It was just for fun. It’s impossible to pick just one best song. When I listen to the final result of the album, all the 13 songs are 13 important components which makes the album a full-scale unit that I’m 100% happy with and proud of.

We should all pay our respect to Mr. Häyhä. Not just the Finnish people. As the Swedish man I am, I feel so much loyalty with the Finns, because of our countries common history. They were our brothers more than 800 years ago, they are our brothers today! Simo was a true war hero and without his efforts and sacrifice I’m pretty sure that both Finland and Sweden would have been a part of the former Soviet Union. 

I don’t think our Russian listeners will be upset about the facts that I salute our kinsmen who stood up and beat the enemy who invaded their country. I don’t point at Russia today and accusing the Russian people for all the shit Stalin and his red army did to Finland, Germany and Sweden during WW2 and the winter war. Yes, I wrote Sweden too. It’s not very famous, but even though we were neutral in the war, we were bombed by Soviet air force a couple of times in the 40’s. 

Recording sessions with CODE 291? In the same time you've done the “farewell” Pitbulfarm album. You literally recorded both of them very fast. Tell me about the days in the studio?

It was the toughest studio work I’ve ever done. 2 albums in 2 weeks, but I worked almost 24 hours/day. It took me about one week to be normal again after that.
I don’t know what to say about the studio days. We worked like hell, and we reached a result we´re all satisfied with.

Tired already?!? Hahaha… ok just a few quick ones for an end… Some unknown bands make a “Tribute to Jocke” mini CD, what were your feelings about it?

Yes, I’m tired as fuck. Too many questions here! This is the last interview I’ll ever do! 
Hahaha :D Some of the big musicians usually get a tribute album after their death. 
I’m not a big musician, and I’m still alive. So I would say that I’m deeply honoured!

You have played hundreds of gigs, can you tell us some hilarious moments while touring around Europe?

I will keep them all for my book.

Do you plan any new face tattoos?

No. Not at this moment. But that doesn’t mean I won’t do another facial tattoo. If I find something that I like, then I’ll decide whether to do it or not. The time will tell.

And finally who is producing CODE 291 new album and where fans can order it from? 

Midgård Records. The obvious choice of record company for me :)