Livet Som Insats – which Google Translate sort of reveals means “Life into Death” – is a band of crusty/grindy noisemakers from Sweden upholding the tradition of fellow yellow-and-blue wavers like Victims, (early) Nasum, Gadget and Sayyadina. Throw in some non-Swedish calamity like Wormrot and a little Spazz and there you go; fast, ripping and clanging like a derailed train tearing through Baltimore’s Soundstage during Memorial Day weekend. In true grind fashion, most of their releases are of the quick ‘n’ easy split EP or limited edition 7” variety. Now available is the band’s second full-length, Check Your Grind featuring, as you can see, a take on the iconic Beastie Boys album cover. We’d say the similarities end there, but there’s nothing stopping us from doing some reaching and drawing specious parallels between the chaos of Check Your Grind and the Beastie Boys super-early hardcore incarnation. Listen to a portion of the album streaming below for yourself and see if you can pick up on the (probably non-existent) similarities while we introduce you to them via a getting-to-know you interview.
When putting the band together, did you have a particular goal or direction in mind? Were you looking to deliberately do something that stood apart from past projects or did your sound just happen naturally? And now that you’ve been a band for a few years, how would you say things are different from when you first started?
At first we were supposed to just get together to play some fast thrash, Hypnosia style. But when K.J (guitar/vocals) played a song with Sayyadina in our rehearsal room, we all suddenly wanted to play like that. The only thing different from when we started and now is that we are one person less since Patrik (bass) isn’t in the band anymore.
Was there anything that was done differently in terms of the way the album was written or recorded that what you had done in the past?
We have always written and recorded the same way. We are always in the writing process, but we normally decide what kind of a release we want to do. This time it was an album, so we decided how many songs we wanted and just wrote the remaining part.
Where was it recorded and how would you characterise the recording process? Was the album bashed out pretty quickly?
We recorded it as we usually do. We rig our rehearsal space with a computer, mics, snacks, coffee and some "folköl" (Classic Swedish low ABV beer; Google "Pripps Blå Folköl"). I think we did the drums in two days with some table tennis breaks here and there and the guitars/bass in one or two days. The vocals took some serious time though. I don't think I even had two lines written down when we started the drums. When the lyrics were done I did a couple of vocal sessions, kept some takes, listened to it the other day and then scrapped it all. Why? Becuase it sounded like shit (laughs). And then I re-did the whole thing. And then it sounded slightly better in my opinion.
Who was behind the Beastie Boys rip on the new album cover? Were you at all worried about copyright infringement? What has the reaction to it been like so far?
K.J is behind that idea. I came up with it when I found the Check Your Head LP in a record store. Every time I looked at the cover I would think, "Man, this is a bad ass looking cover!" And then it hit me like "Wait a minute? We are a three piece as well! We should do a similar bandpic sometime.” Then we decided to do it as a tribute to MCA when we heard he passed... Copyright infrigement? Nah. We are a very small grind duo from tiny Sweden Hopefully the law-sharks at Capitol/Grand Royal don't find us. Please don't tell ‘em. And I have faith in the Beasties that they still have a D.I.Y feeling and see it like a tribute, IF they will find out about it.
I see that you’ve been confirmed to play Obscene Extreme Festival this year. Will this be your first time playing there? Have you attended before and what are you expecting?
I played there with Infanticide 2013. Great and weird festival. I'm expecting drunk people in banana suits, really good bands and really shitty bands (laughs).
If grindcore didn’t exist, what would you do with yourselves? Would there be a reason to live?
I probably would have played more videogames if grind didn't exist, maybe some Hardcore/D-beat. [Drummer] Tord definitely would have played thrash metal like crazy if it wasn't for grind.
How long have you been involved in the Swedish grind/crust scene and how would you say it compares and has changed from when you first got involved?
We started 2009. At that time I can’t say there was much of a “scene” in Sweden. After Nasum threw in the towel, a couple of bad clones popped up here and there but they never last any long (with a few exceptions of course!). In ‘09 everyone was into Black Sabbath stuff and nothing else pretty much. And I can’t say things have changed a lot since then either, but there are a few more bands around now though in comparison to ‘09 when it felt like we were all alone.
Do you have a plan once the album is out? Will you be doing more touring? Hoping to get on as support to a bigger tour? Plan on getting to new places in other parts of the world?
Hopefully we will play some more. Tord has two kids that he needs to take care of. But we will tour around OEF. Catch us there.