Beyond Pink is a band that’s lasted since 2002 and is pretty old in the game by now. They’ve released a bunch of albums, but their later additions include The New Black and their newest release Pride and Prejudice. Consisting of Clara, Ida, Patricia, Tijana and Cajsa. Playing rather humorous hardcore with a punk-edge to it. I got the opportunity to interview Clara and Cajsa about the band and I asked them about their latest record, their earlier ones and much more that you’ll have to find out about below. Stick around and read this, you won’t regret it!
Hello Beyond Pink! Could you tell me about the history of your band?
Clara: – Me and Patricia became friends in around the year 2000 and we like the same kind of music so we talked about starting a band together. After a year or so of just talk Patricia brought some other friends that also were interested and so we started the band. At first none of us could really play any instrument, we had no equipment whatsoever and rehearsed very sporadically. Then in spring 2002 we were offered a show in Malmö (don’t ask us how they knew we existed…) and we decided to take it. So then we started rehearsing a lot and by early summer we also recorded a 7”. Cajsa was not in the band the, she joined us in 2003.
Cajsa: – I joined the band after seeing them once in Copenhagen, and it was in 2002! I knew Patricia and had met Tijana a couple of times. Clara and Ida were kind of new to me, but I was happy to join with my tiny amplifier and crappy guitar. We are celebrating a 10 years anniversary this year, whether the other girls like it or not! I expect nothing less than cake and presents.
So, what got you into music in the first place – and why did you choose to play hardcore?
Clara: – We all listened a lot to riot grrrl back then and were really inspired by that whole everyone-who-wants-to-have-a-band-can-have-one-no-matter-if-they-can-play-or-if-they-are-girls-attitude. But since we also listened to more hard punk, crust and hardcore it felt natural to play that kind of music.
I thought you were a quite new band, but I checked you up on Discogs and your first release dates back to 2002. Namely: Cunt-oh-licious. Could you tell me anything about that record?
Clara: – No, we are like the oldest band in the Swedish punkscene. Well, this record was recorded when we had only played together for real for a few months. We recorded it with a sound guy who didn’t know shit about punk and who thought we were totally crazy. All songs contain of 2 chords or so, and the singing sounds like chickens on speed. I guess we thought that kind of vocals sounded cool or something back then. This record feels like a novel you wrote as a teenager or so: I’m partly embarressed, partly proud as hell over it.
This release was featured on Cunts On Discount Records but also Lipstick Machine Gun Records and the only release on those labels are this record – were these your own labels?
Clara: – We didn’t know anyone to ask for releasing it, so me and Patricia paid for half of it with money our parents had saved for us when we were kids, and we called our label Cunts on Discount. The other half a friend called Jenna paid for, she called her label Lipstick machine gun.
Which musical act have been the most inspiring for your musical development?
Clara: – You mean a band? I can’t say one band that have inspired us more than many others. I think that’s one thing that makes us kinda special: we never just decided to be a “totalitär-band” or a “modern Negative approach” or anything like that. We just take all influences we like and mix it together. There aren’t many bands that all of us listen to even.
How many pressings were made for that record in particular? Where would you find it if you wanted it?
Clara: – 500 copies. I don’t know. I have one copy and I wont sell it. You might find it in a random punk distro somewhere around Europe, we don’t have any left.
If we fast-forward from 2002 to 2005, you released the Jedan Dva, Jebla Te Ja album – now for the first time featured on Emancypunx Records. What had changed from your first record up until this one?
Clara: – We had learned to play a bit better and on this record we definitely had some more crusty ambitions with PC-songs like “Top-meeting theme”. Jedan dva… was recorded at two different times in 2003 and 2004 and we did it with the same sound-guy as the first time. So the sound is kinda crappy and uneven.
Cajsa: We had two guitars on this recording, though it´s barely noticeable.
Why did you pick Emancypunx Records – could you tell me anything about how you got in contact with each other?
Cajsa: – I think we met Jenni in Warsaw when we played there for the first time. We were going to release our record through an American label, Agitprop Records, but Angela who released the records sadly lost her job and wasn’t able to do so. We met Jenni a while after the devastating news, cried our hearts out to her without knowing she had a record company and eventually Jenni was kind enough to take us under her protection.
It seems like you didn’t get the praise you deserve until you released This Is The New Black and one of my favorite songs Aldrig på min sida – why do you think it was such a success? Or at least, in my mind?
Clara: – I can agree with this. I think we did two new things with this record: record with good sound quality and started touring which lead to us becoming a much better and secure live act and also gave us more fame in Europe of course. It was like in 2009 or so we decided to become more of a real band, a better live band, to start touring, to release a well-produced record, to make more merch and so on.
Also I think The new black (which is the title, “This is the new black” is just something that that page Discogs have made up….) was a more solid record than the previous and the vocals hurt less in your ears.
One other noticeable change since your first records were that Try This At Home Kids featured a more colorful front-cover. What inspired you to create this interesting cover?
Clara: – Cajsa, our guitarist, made it. It wasn’t like we thought much about this being colourful and the ones before not, we just liked it a lot. But of course, with this record maybe we also left our a little bit more crusty ambitions.
At the same time that you released Try This At Home Kids you were recording material for This Is The New Black at Studio Bengt in Lund. In what way do those two releases differ from each other? What new ideas did you have for the latter one?
Clara: – It was at least four years between the recording of the two records, even though they came out with only a year in between. So that the two records sound different is maybe not so shocking. Try this at home, kids was recorded by ourselves, Ida had learned to manage the studio and we did it all by ourselves. With this record we aimed for a more heavy chugga-chugga sound. With The new black we decided to finally work with a sound guy who knew his stuff and also knew this kind of music. So we asked Matte P, who we knew had recorded Sista sekunden and others. This turned out to be a match made in heaven, we immedietly liked him and trusted him a lot. So we told him to have opinions, not only about the sound but also about the songs. So he acctually came up with some really good ideas and we made a few differences in the songs in the studio.
I don’t think the songs are super-different in between the records, not more than the songs on the same record are. It’s more the sound, the sound quality and the vocals that differ.
What would you say is the main message you want to get out to people via your music?
Clara: – Don’t be stupid and don’t take yourself and everything around you (like us for instance) so seriously.
It seems like you’re quite into this riot grrrl thing – could you tell me why? What do you make of it?
Clara: – I was very in to it around the end of the 90’s-beginning of the 00’s. Then it made a huge difference for me: made me feel much more confident and made me realize I could be in a band. I like riot grrrl better than many other feminist movements, it’s less rigid, more fun and they sure look cooler.
Cajsa: – I totally missed it. Sure, I like a few Bikini kill songs, but I heard them a couple of years later than everyone else. I think Patricia and her leather jacket with Bikini kill written on the back was the closest I got during the 90´s. I was a sucker for hardcore bands (very few bands, I may add) , but I remember Patricia´s jacket with shiny letters. It was awesome and for a very long time I wondered what kind of band it might be. I may also add that I wasn´t a big user of the internet during the time.
You also tend to mix English songs with Swedish songs – but what language is best for what purpose? Is there any certain thought behind it?
Clara: – We write the songs in the language that we first start thinking of the song in. Sometimes it feels more natural to write in English, sometimes in Swedish. Maybe in general you could say that when the songs are more personal they are in Swedish and when we want the whole world to understand a bigger message they are in English. But over all that is not something that we think a lot about. When we wrote “A statement on statements”, “Get in the van” or “Thanx to all the boys” for example, it was reactions to something that we had heard/met on tour or in other places by English talking people, so off course our response had to be in English.
There are also certain mixtures of Swedish dialects involved with some songs – which dialect do you think sounds best and which one don’t you like as much?
Clara: – I think we all like Skånska best and Stockholmska the least. Neither Tijana or me who sing most has those r-sounds that is typical for Skånska, but since we all have lived in this part of Sweden for a very long time this is where our heart is. We all feel very embarressed if some word sounds like typical Stockholm-dialect on a recording, then it’s re-take immediately!
I spent some time reading the Riot Grrrl manifesto on the Emancipunx site – would you agree on this, that your music is inherently political? It feels noticeable in your songs at least. What kind of change do you think your music makes?
Cajsa: – First of all, I wasn’t able to read the manifesto, so I don’t know what it says. Our main goal isn´t to be a “look what girls can do”- kind of band. All five of us can relate to the warm, fuzzy feeling you had when you were younger and you saw some cool girl in a band. Of course it would be amazing if other girls felt that way about us, but that´s not what this band is about. I suppose it may be political that we´re girls playing, but above everything else we want to be recognized for our music.
Clara: – Yeah, but it’s obvious that more girls come to our shows than to random all-boy-bands shows. To me that is proof enough that it makes a difference if there are girls in bands or not. Also we sometimes hear stories from girls telling us how our music made them start a band of their own, or just discover other hardcore bands.
What is your opinion about the hardcore-scene in Sweden?
Clara: – It’s interesting when you tour in Germany because then you realize what a huge scene they have, such good places for shows and a big audience, but- no bands! Here it’s the reversed: small scene, no places for shows and often very small audiences, but - a lot of great bands! The Swedish audience is kind of snobby compared to the rest of Europe, it’s like “don’t DARE to move unless you know that this is a band that al of our friends think is really cool and has a lot of cred”, but still, there is a few ups on Swedish audience compared to rest of Europe: we have a sense of humour, we dress better and in many cases we smell better. But as a band of course we prefer to play in front of happy, dancing people than well-dressed ones.
Cajsa: – Compared to Germany, it´s also a “no dogs on shows” kind of scene, which I prefer.
Could you tell me more about the track you’ve contributed with to the Turist i Tillvaron compilation? Will you or have you been featured on any follow-up?
Clara: – The song is called “Fattiga riddare”, it’s about people (guys) who try to “save you” when you get in an argument or something, like you can’t take care of your self just because you’re a woman. We even might have started that argument intentionally just ‘cause it’s fun to argue and then it’s extra annoying if some knight comes and spoils your fun. I think only you can be in on that compilation once as a band, but I don’t know. They’ve played us twice on national radio thanks to it so that’s nice.
Your new record Pride and Prejudice is up for pre-ordering right now – but when will it officially be released?
Clara: – We will get it any day now.
What was the purpose of having a cat on the front cover of the release – what does it symbolize, if anything at all?
Cajsa: – We love cats, we love every kind of cat, we just want to hug all them, but we can´t, can´t hug every cat.
Clara: – We’ve had this longrunning internal joke about how bad guys in movies always have a fluffy mean cat in its lap, so when we’ve said something mean we laugh an evil laughter and pet our invisible evil cat. So, this is our invicible evil cat, you know like Molgan.
You’ve also been out on some tours – what have been your best experiences so far? Which tour have been the best?
Clara: – Every tour is the best, but it has really been better and better each year.
Cajsa: – We´ve had great tours and a lot of wonderful experiences. We could probably write ten pages each about our best tour memories. The thing is, the worst experiences often make the best stories, so even though we know for sure that we were really annoyed and tired as hell in Zelebsko (don´t know the spelling) it still makes a really good story to tell over and over again. We also know how incredibly angry we were in Marseille, but we love the stories you get from a good fight with a complete asshole. We will probably tell these kind of stories to our grandkids one day when all the good memories about clean, comfy beds and tasty breakfasts are long gone.
What bands and artists do you listen to yourselves?
Clara: – Lately I’ve mostly been listening to audio books when I’m out on long walks with my dog or on the bus to work. I really need to find some new music. Yesterday I listened to records though (!) and then I listened to the Swedish hardcoreband Guilty’s new 7” and an old Peter LeMarc 12”.
Cajsa: – I listen to the same songs over and over again. It´s mostly songs from movies I like, Halo by Beyonce and Flyktsoda by Ebba Grön. The last band I really liked was Dead swans, but that was years ago and I´ve gone back to the 20 songs I usually listen to on my playlist.
You’ve also made a video out of the song Aldrig på min sida that’s pretty humorous – and so is the song, but what was the thought of the video? What inspired you to create one?
Clara: – The girl who made it asked us if we wanted to do a video and we thought it would be fun. We just came up with the idea like the night before we did it, since it’s really easy to do. So there is no real thought behind it. Some of the scenes obviously illustrates the lyrics, other than that, no thought.
So, now that you’ve got a release coming out – what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Clara: – There will be European tour between the 6th and 22nd of July. We are looking forward to that a lot. We will also play Ieper fest in August. Then we are planning a shorter UK tour and a shorter Portugal-Spain tour and when those will be I don’t know. Maybe this fall but more likely around Easter or so. We also want to go on another short Sweden tour and combine it with Finland and/or Norway.
At the same time that you have political and serious songs – you sometimes switch for humorous passages, is it just because sometimes you need to kick back, relax and have a laugh about serious subjects?
Clara: – We joke all the time and I just think it feels very natural for us to joke and be ironic also in more serious songs sometimes. You can’t take everything so freakin’ serious all the time, that would just be too boring.
What does the D.I.Y-culture mean to you?
Clara: – It’s what the punk scene is built on so of course it’s very important. It’s why it’s possible to get shows everywhere even in the smallest village in Slovenia and get a good place to sleep and food.
Listen to their latest record Pride and Prejudice over here:
Listen to their earlier record The New Black over here:
Also watch their musicvideo for the song Aldrig på min sida:
You can also find them over here: