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AC4

 

Sweden’s AC4 played their first show in May 2008 at a squat in their hometown of Umea. That in itself is fairly innocuous, many hardcore bands across the globe have kick started their journey some inner-city accommodation, appropriated by the outcast and disenfranchised. However, for AC4, a band comprised of vocalist Dennis Lyzxen, bassist David Sandstrom, guitarist Karl Backman and drummer Jens Norden, this was seen as either a massive step backwards, sideways or even career suicide.

 

People often say I am a complete idiot,” laughs Lyzxen, as he drives home from soccer practise, his other great passion, “which is mostly true, but I like the contrasts of life; I like the fact that you can go to America and record in the finest studio with Rick Rubin and then two weeks later be in a garage with fuckin’ AC4 playing in front of 30 people. People get stuck in the either/or…” he reckons. “Either you’re always gonna be playing the big shows for the big cash or you’re always gonna be the punk guy playing shows on the weekend.”


Speaking of the big cash, it may seem crass but how on earth can Lyzxen and co. think they are gonna make a red cent out of travelling all the way to Australia and playing a handful of shows in some well cool but small-ish venues? I mean particularly with the current high Australian dollar?


He laughs, knowing full well that every one reading this knows he is not in this for the money, “I don’t expect to make any money out of this. If I was doing this for the money I would have quit a long time ago. You make a buck here and a buck there, you sell a T-shirt… but this is more about wanting to go to Australia for a couple of days. I mean, if you are 35 and start a fast, fucking raw hardcore band, you aren’t doing it for the cash.” He adds with a slightly more serious tone.


When AC4 began (their name like many in the current hardcore scene is derived the regional code for the county Västerbotten where Umeå is located) Lyzxen insisted on doing interviews with ‘zines and particularly with writers who were under 18. It’s a very punk rock approach, one that has sustained folks like Ian MacKaye for years, however I suggest to the restless frontman his motivation was less of a reaction against the mainstream and more about education.

 

That is a valid point, we grew up with this music and fell in love with this music a long time ago. It had a certain attitude and just by telling people… a lot of people and a lot of journalists take the easy way out by reading the press release and looking back at what we have done to say that the band sounds like such and such. But we like to make it a bit harder and get people to educate themselves to find out about what our background is, where we have come from to get to where we are… I think that is a good thing.”

 


There is no doubt, on first listen, that AC4 are a hardcore band, and Lyzxen and band have no issue with that pigeon hole, though he says they come from a place even more primal than that. “AC4 never set out to break any new ground. It’s not like we are breaking the barriers of popular music. Our approach is the way the Stooges, AC/DC or Motorhead approach it – it’s just raw rock ’n’ roll played really fast. You have your Minor Threats and the Bad Brains and all that great music, but when we write songs we think about AC/DC, Stooges and about how that basic rock ’n’ roll applies to what we do.”

 


Raw rock’n’roll played loud, fast and aggressively… hell, what is not to like about that?

 

 

AC4 will play one of the final shoes at the Arthouse on Thursday April 14, as part of an Australia-wide tour. See thearthouse.com for details.