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Club 8

Waiting For a Change

May 19, 2013 Club 8
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It’s eve of Club 8’s eighth album release, Above the City, and Johan Angergård is contemplating his musical hero, Morrissey. Having just released his first protest song, the pro-vegetarian ballad, “Kill Kill Kill,” it seems inevitable that the ex-Smiths frontman will come knocking any day. Right?

“We can do a duet or something,” Angergård jokes. “I can produce the next Morrissey album. He needs a new producer! He needs me more than I need him.”

The Swedish songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (who also performs as part of Acid House Kings, Pallers, and The Legends) isn’t prepared to go to the same lengths as Morrissey (who once famously remarked at a festival, “I can smell burning flesh ... and I hope to God it’s human.”) when it comes promoting his beliefs. But he does hope that the “Kill Kill Kill,” and its accompanying video featuring scenes of animals waiting to be slaughtered, will make people question their dietary choices.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to change people, that all of a sudden they’ll stop eating meat,” he muses. “But I think it’s realistic that they will eat a little bit less meat, maybe…I don’t think anyone thinks that animals, the way that they’re treated, is natural. Because it’s not.”

After working with producer Jari Haapalainen (The Concretes, Camera Obscura, Ed Harcourt) on 2010’s Afrobeat inspired The People’s Record, Angergård reclaimed his position behind the mixing desk for Above the City. Alongside singer Karolina Komstedt, he created an album that plays like a mixtape of influences, filled driving pop anthems, 1980s-influenced dance beats, down-tempo ballads, and the occasional instrumental interlude. But being in full control of the final product brought out his love of minutia—resulting in a nearly three-year album gestation period.

“It’s easy to become a perfectionist,” he says ruefully. “You know if the song sounds a particular way, you can directly see what you need to do with it to make it sound even better. But if someone else produces the song and they say it’s finished, you accept it.”

The album covers some familiar thematic territory for the duo, recognizing the bucolic beauty of day-to-day existence while simultaneously longing for an escape. While “Kill Kill Kill” is the only political song on the album, Angergård admits activism is something he’s becoming increasingly interested in. He compares much of the movement in his home country to an episode of his favorite TV show South Park, where people are too blind to see the hypocrisy of their own actions.

But how to motivate people? Uninterested in turning his music into a soapbox, Angergård considers the question, eventually tossing out the idea of creating a new political party.

“What the party should maximize is the happiness of people,” he muses, “It sounds like a hippy idea, but I think do believe that it’s more important to be happy than to be rich… I think it’s strange that no one has started a party like that.”

Political salvation non-forthcoming, Angergård admit he’s left waiting. What for, he’s not sure. It’s a theme, he says, that colors both his life and art.

“I think I’m always longing for something bigger and more important,” he ponders. “Someone to expand life and make it big and important and change everything. Death is always hanging over me. I don’t see any salvation to that problem, so far. I guess I’m still waiting for that to happen… I think my anxiety is not death, I think it’s eternity. Being alive forever is perhaps almost as terrifying as being dead forever.”



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