Interview: Snuffed By The YakuzaDecember 16, 2017
Originally from Upsala, Sweden and the remains of other bands like The Unkids and Mother Superior. Snuffed By The Yakuza is a band devoted to beat, noise, destruction and the best hardcore, rock and punk.
Before continuing, it should be noteded that Snuffed By The Yakuza is not for the faint of heart. They are not just a bunch of guys trying to revive the real dirty garage rock sound. They are an explosive mob with songs with enough force without losing sight of the melodies. Listening to them is like drinking from a cup without knowing if it is hot coffee or cold beer. A punch to the ribs. One night to get drunk and burst your head against the wall. It’s rock n roll! Damned! And it is impossible to resist !.
With 5 albums under his arm, (all available to listen on Spotify) “Everybody’s Gonna Die Tonight” from 2006, album that was nominated to the best rock album in Sweden. All highly recommended. “Snuffed By The Yakuza” (2005), “It’s dirty Chords but someone’s gotta play ’em” (2004), “Yakuza Slide” (2004) and “Beyond Belief” (2003).
Surrender your mind, soul and body to the beat of the Yakuza. To the euphoric feeling of mania. Of a primitive and wild sound. Of those that many media preach that is already extinct. But he is still alive and furious in the records of this band.
We talked with the band about his return and his new Ep.
1.- Drop us some knowledge about the origin of Snuffed By The Yakuza. Where did it all begin?
Snuffed by the Yakuza emerged from one of many line-ups of the infamous Swedish punk band “The Unkinds”. In 2003 Lee de Parade (vocals and guitar), Felix Culpa (bass), and Barefoot Baby Brown (drums) left Unkinds to start something new. The three stooges teamed up with the extravagant and frenetic guitarist Petty Theft who just happened to cross their path. The quartet turned out to be four personalities that just fit perfectly together. It was one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of the components. There and then, in the cellar of a shut-down textile factory, Snuffed by the Yakuza was born.
2.- Snuffed By The Yakuza – the name is awesome. How’d you wind up choosing that?
The name Snuffed by the Yakuza was originally a song title from a song recorded by the Unkinds in 2002. The song that gave the band its name was actually a different song than the song Snuffed by the Yakuza recorded by the band Snuffed by the Yakuza that occur on the third release “It’s dirty Chords but someone’s gotta play ‘em” from 2004. The original Unkinds-song “Snuffed by the Yakuza” dealt with the putative feeling of being betrayed, tortured, and slowly killed by a powerful criminal organisation. In other words, much what it is generally like to be a human being in the 21st century. We thought that the title and the content of the lyrics (street crime, physical pain, money, and mortality) was very substantial themes to build a band on. And the rest is history…
3.- It’s quite evident you are in love with the raw and wild sound of garage and punk. Where did this obsession begin for each of you?
Garage has been following us and particularly Lee de Parade since forever. It crossed his path many times until he finally bought Volume 1 Of Back From The Grave. By then he was late in the game, it was in ‘92. He listened to nothing but sixties garage for more than a decade. The other members of Snuffed by the Yakuza are also big on stoner, grunge, metal and obscure punk. We do our best to be classicist in a sense, but also always ends up trying something different. In that sense, pure garage rockers might find us a bit unorthodox.
Well, let’s get to it: your new EP
What’s the story behind the new record? It’s been 11 years since your last studio recording. And exactly how you mention, the new songs are more raw, faster and dirtier than ever. Also it seems that you did not lose your touch and scence. You sound heavier and wilder!
4.-Was it difficult to return to that state you already had? How was the process of awakening the band again?
Thank you! We are happy with the outcome of the new EP. It is indeed the most unpolished recording we have released.
Snuffed has always been a band driven by inspiration. In 2007 there was no inspiration. No fun. No Energy. And as many bands do we went through a severe identity crisis, from which the band did not come out alive. 10 years went by and except from a few occasional re-union concerts the band was dead during this period. But, in October 2017 Lee de Parade contacted the other members and wanted to meet up, learn a couple of songs, and record them.The idea was to see if the passion from the old days was there to be found. And BOOM!!! the energy and the inspiration was indeed back.
The EP was recorded, mixed, and released on digital platforms in six days. We have a good collaboration with Hybris records that helped us get the stuff out on a really short notice.
We listen your previous albums, thanks to Spotify. Man! What good albums!
5.-How’s it feel looking back between records?
Going back to the older albums is always a lovely trip down memory-lane. We like the old stuff almost as much now as we did back then. And as time passes you learn to love even the odd songs that was hard to relate to earlier. But as much as we love our old songs, writing new and relevant songs is of great importance to us.
6.-Was this recorded and mastered by the same bunch as the ‘Everybody´s gonna die tonight!?
No, Everybody´s Gonna Die Tonight was recorded by us, but mixed and mastered by others (Pelle Gunnerfeldt from Swedish hard-core legends Fireside mixed it). The Trippin’ EP was recorded, mixed, mastered by ourselves on a 6-channel cassette portable studio. We think it sounds absulutely killer with the analogue distortion and natural compression that follows with that recording technology.
7.-If it’s not entirely too tedious, I’d love a track-by-track walk through. Anything about the songs, really. Anecdotes about composing, practicing, or recording them are welcome, as is any insight into the meaning or inspiration of the songs.
TRIPPIN’ – Without getting too graphic or unveiling too much of the double entendres, this song is about daring to leap outside of your comfort zone to experience new things.
HATE YOU ALL – Pretty self explanatory. It is a tribute to all the Travis Bickles in the world. The paranoia and misanthropy is evident.
GET SNUFFED – Our manifest destiny. An invitation and a threat, laced with poison and sent with a fevered passion in a blood red envelope.
WE KILL – Originally written about the American privat military company Blackwater, it also serves as a glance upon the successful, the powerful, the rich, and the beautiful. The raw power and feral force that lies behind wanting not only to survive, but also to succeed and surpass. There is fascism in that. To win you have to accept that someone has to loose, and you have to be ok with that. In fact you have to make that your religion. This is were the ugly in humanity resides.
NIGHT TRAIN – We all know that feeling, being stuck on a ride while out of your mind on drugs and/or alcohol. It is a decadent and derelict feeling, not knowing where you are, who you are, and where you are going. This song celebrates that strange limbo and acknowledges the hidden wisdom in being lost and confused and seeing the beauty of sheer existence in the way you can only see it from the gutter. Everyone should lose their mind at least once in their life.
8.- To the all-important question: is ”Trippin´” coming out on CD, vinyl, tape, or all of the above?
We’re planning a 7” vinyl-release during spring 2018. We have some record companies that are interested but no deal is struck yet. No Cds. Maybe cassettes. We like cassettes, but neither of us or anyone we know have cassette-players anymore… It is a shame.
9.-Who did your artwork? I really dig it. That creature on the cover – what is it? Looks pretty damned scary. Sure you’re not keeping it away in a basement somewhere?
The superman-artworker Kalle Mattsson did the art-work. He is a local character. When asked about the cover he answered that it is a self portrait. According to him, his skin is actually green from the envy of the eye color of each member in the band. Mr Mattsson is a big Bowie fan and when he heard about the color of our eyes he sent us this strange image for no real reason. We were just about to record so we asked him if he could add the title on it, and if we could use it as a cover. He said yes, and had the final art on a printed t-shirt the next day. We photographed it ourselves, and that’s what you see on the cover. A strange story.
10.- What’s the vision for Snuffed By The Yakuza moving forward? What do you each hope to bring to the table and where do you think the project will go next?
We already scheduled a studio-session to record another EP in january 2018. Since we had such a blast recording Trippin’ we figured that it would be a shame not to get on with new stuff right away. We are also discussing the possibilities to do some live-shows in 2018. So, if everything feels right we will probably take over the world in 2019.
Ok guys, thank you very much for your kindness of sharing your music and words with the readers of Pirate Rock Radio. And good luck in your future plans!
You can follow and listen to Snuffed By The Yakuza here: