"Songs to fan the flames of discontent" is our 6th release and whether you're familiar with us or not I figured it might be interesting for you to see our perspective on our early shit. Since a Refused discography wouldn't be complete without our first demos I'm going to start from the beginning. Me and Dennis started the band in January -92 following the split-up of Step Forward, godfathers of the Umeå hardcore scene. The original line-up consisted of me, Dennis, Pär and a guy named Jonas. We played our first show in Stennäset, Luleå together with Heffaklump, Illbutts, Better Change and Apesex. Our repertoire included 2 original compositions (no lyrics, Dennis made them up as we went along), "Back in black" by AC/DC and 4 Gorilla Biscuits songs. We sounded alot like early Gorilla Biscuits but, of course, not as good. Our first demo, simply titled Refused, contained 7 songs and was recorded and mixed in 2 days by Pelle Gunnerfeldt at Hortlax hardcore studios with Stefan and Fredrik on back-ups. There's not much else to say I guess, except that in very, very, very intimate circles it's regarded a classic. We sold it at shows for months and I think we managed to move about 300 units. 
We were always an active live band but something was missing so we got rid of one guy, brought in a proper bassplayer and added a guitarist. Dennis had been the main songwriter up until then but with the addition of Magnus and Henrik we started writing as a team. The Operation Headfirst demo was a direct result of that. We were branching out, and the lyrics which on the first demo were very personal were now getting political. Also, me and Pärs metal roots were starting to shine through (to the old-school kids dismay). Recorded at the end of -92 at Hortlax hardcore studios, now relocated in Luleå, with Pelle in control, the sound was great. With help from a friend we managed to scam our way into sending out demos free of postage. We must have sent out a hundred copies when Burning Heart records called us up. They wanted a mini-CD and we delivered. 

This is the new deal: Recorded at Hortlax hardcore studios23-25/5 -93 by Pelle Gunnerfeldt. Consisting of 3 songs off of "Operation Headfirst" and 2 new ones, this CD, together with No Fun At All's "Vision", marked the beginning of the new wave of Swedish hardcore. For those of you who have it, the hidden track at the end is a cover of "Dirty Rotten Skate Society" by the Afro Jetz, Dennis band before Step Forward. When I listen to it now, I really don't think the vocals are too low in the mix on "Soft". Anyways, it did pretty well considering it has the worst cover I've ever seen. And yes, that is a Biohazard shirt in the group photo and yes, that is a guitar solo and yes, that is Dennis rapping at the end of "Hate Breeds Hate", so what? Every band goes through puberty.
We also recorded two songs for Burning Hearts "Northcore" compilation, "The New Deal" and "Guilty". A guy named Fredrik Holmgren showed interest and we thought he seemed sincere so we decided to release records on his label instead. Looking back, I'd say that was the smartest move we've ever made, next to that one time when we got in that accident because I kept sticking a brush in Pärs face. But seriously, the label was Startrec and a fullength recording was approaching. We were going metal in a big way now and Sunlight studios seemed the most attractive alternative (mainly because we all loved the new Entombed CD).

Pump The Brakes: (See "This Just Might..." for recording information, this is the single taken from the album.) The song with the riff. I think it was Pär who came up with it. At first we thought it sucked, we even threw it out. I can't remember who brought it back in, but about a month later we were working on it again. I was doing some kind of drum-roll march beat and it still sucked. My arms were getting tired from doing the drum-roll so I started playing a straight beat and that's when it happened (you know what I mean if you've heard the song). In about an hour we had finished the song except for the three tones at the end of the riff which Fred Estby actually deserves credit for. Needless to say, we're pretty tired of that song. It's been almost 3 years since we wrote it and it's still the only song people want to hear. It's lame, but I guess every band has one of those songs (Nirvana- "Smells Like Teen Spirit" / Devo- "Whip it" / Illbutts- "Ove och Börje" / Judas Priest- "Breaking The Law"/ Fireside-"TCC"/ Abhinanda-"Spiritual Game", you get the picture). Whatever. The best part about this single is that we were doing some shows with Shelter at the time of the recording so Ray,Porcell and Norm (and anyone else who happened to be in the band for that tour) came to the studio and did back-ups. It was awesome, we even made them scream "We're back !" for the intro to "This Just Might...". And speaking of that album... 

This Just Might Be The Truth: Recorded at Sunlight studios in 10 days in October -93 by Fred Estby and Thomas Skogsberg. I really don't wanna delve too deeply into this one but let's say that alot of the songs were written very quickly and turned out very similar to eachother. All in all it's an OK album, but it's dogfood compared to the demo versions of the same songs. In case you haven't noticed, bombastic album titles have always been our strong side. 

In the following months we went through alot and I couldn't possibly do our gathered experience justice here, but I'll at least try to give you an idea about our schedule. In March we set out on a tour of Norway together with brother northcore band Abhinanda. It was an adventure that ended abruptly when we crashed both our cars and had to take the train home. Everything else that went down on that tour is strictly between us and Abhinanda (and the entire female population of Norway). Besides gigging sporadically all over Sweden we wrote two songs for different compilations, "Everlasting" for local sXe label Desperate Fights "Straight Edge As Fuck" compilation and "The Real" for Burning Hearts"Hardcore For The Masses II". In May -94 we did our first tour of Sweden, 18 shows under the somewhat cheesy banner "Adrenaline", together with Randy, Ashram and Mary Beats Jane. We played alot that summer, including a one-off show in Belgium with this kid named Anders on bass. All this touring would prove to be decisive, but more about that later. Right now, we were up for another challenge...

Everlasting: Recorded at Sunlight studios in 5 days in July -94 by Fred Estby and Thomas Skogsberg. Again, we were in a hurry. We had two songs done and we needed more. Magnus and Henrik were doing their military service and Pär... Well, he just wasn't into it, I guess. It was up to me and Dennis. Now, Dennis was going through some heavy personal shit right then so I was feeling alot of pressure. "This just might.." had been a total group effort but since I really didn't like that album I figured I'd take off in a different direction. I don't know if anyone noticed the change, since we recorded in the same studio with the same sound, but it was apparent to us. With help from our stand-in guitarplayer Kristofer Steen, who helped us out in the writing process although he was busy with Abhinandas "Senseless" album, we pulled it off. His contribution to "Everlasting" made him invaluable to us, so we brought him along without actually firing someone else, which was weird. Anyways, I was really proud of Everlasting and I still am. I think we all are, actually. 

Pär was tired of touring and playing his ass off for short-change so he left the band after the recording. We kept going as usual, since it came as no surprise to us (well, not me anyway), but although we wouldn't admit it then, his unique sense of humor was sadly missed. With our line-up problem solved in theory and two guys playing war in some faraway hole in the ground, we needed a bass player not afraid of heavy touring. In the last possible minute we found our man. Jesper was his name and with minimal rehearsal time, he made his debut with us in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on the first show of our European tour in support of 108. In retrospective, I can easily say that it was the heaviest tour we've done so far, but with David M.A.D. showing us the ropes,we had a blast. We made alot of friends and, considering it was our first tour outside of Scandinavia, responses were great. Our 2nd tour of Sweden started 10 days after we said goodbye to 108, this time with Mindjive as support. 25 dates later Jesper played his last show with us and we went home. The punkrock crusade was in full effect that following spring with Magnus in position and shows every weekend. The only problem was that we never got to play with Randy. We really wanted to, but we just never seemed to be at the same place at the same time. We needed an excuse to tour together and since we had been talking about doing a split ever since the Adrenaline tour... 

Refused loves randy: Our part of this cd was recorded at Hortlax Hardcore studios by Pelle Gunnerfeldt. ...we decided to interpret eachothers songs. It seemed like a good idea until we realized exactly how intricate most of their arragemenst are. After days of pondering we decided to do a new-school hardcore version of their ska master piece "TV-freak". It didn't quite work out. We were almost freaking out two days before the recording and in the last possible minute we turned "Humanalogism" into a jazz-ballad. It didn't quite work out. Randy did "Re-fused" from our first demo and a brilliant version of "Pump The Brakes". Both worked out beautifully, so what can I say? To fans of both bands I guess this record is indispensable. Anyone else shouldn't bother. 

I'm not sure exactly when Henrik left the band. None of us are, really. We just lost contact since he never toured with us. Well, actually, he did come along for the Mindjive tour, but he didn't play, he just drove the van. For some reason he just couldn't decide whether he was gonna play punkrock or grow up. I guess his ambition was somewhere else, he always wanted to be a fireman. Anyway, our schedule remained full all through that summer with festivals, small tours and some completely amazing roadtrips. We also recorded a song called "Cheap..." for Desperate Fights "Straight Edge as fuck II" (buy it, there are some excellent tracks on it). Despite all of this, Magnus was having trouble motivating himself. He didn't really believe in our crusade anymore so he completed his mission in a blaze of glory on the 16th of june in Rasslebygd. Like that wasn't enough for one summer we topped it off with a european tour in support of the sassiest men in hardcore, Snapcase. With a new stand-in bassplayer, Jon, and three good new songs in our luggage ("Rather Be Dead", "The Slayer" and "Beauty") we were as hungry as ever. I can't actually imagine myself having more fun in one month than I had on that tour. Jon worked out beautifully and we decided we wanted to keep him. He agreed, as they always do (inside joke),and we found ourselves with time on our hands, a close-to-full line-up, and a fullength album to write. This was on the 8th of September and in the following 3 months we wrote and recorded an album that we, after swaying back and forth, decided to call Songs to fan the flames of discontent. Since it was the first time me, Kristofer and Dennis (and Jon) wrote together we almost see it as our first record, and I think anyone would agree that the band who wrote "This just might.." could never have written "Songs...". Now with the addition of long time acquaintance Magnus on bass we're practically reborn. However, I don't want to talk too much about it ("Songs...") because, since you're actually reading this, I guess you've heard it and liked it (of course there is always the possibilty that it's the year 2034 and you're stuck in your grandparents house during winter break and in a desperate attempt to entertain yourself you started going through your grandpa's old fanzine collection and after reading several punkrock publications with names like Heart Attack, Anti-Matter, Simba, Love Child, MRR ("Can't believe it's still around, although it's just a political factsheet these days since no bands are boring enough to still play that 20th century punk stuff he's always on about, how old must that Yohannon guy be? I've heard he was always like that"), Hymen, Juggernaut, Pie mag, Extension and Abnormalcy you finally stumble across a pathetic, self centered, pseudo-political fanzine from some hardcore punk band writing essay after essay about themselves, their politics and some album that seemed to matter a whole lot to them but, most likely, never meant shit to anyone else since you've never heard of them or their music, although the singer of the band has an uncanny resemblance to the notorious revolutionary terrorist Benny Franzén) so anything I have to say about unpretentious writing processes or painful recording sessions would only lessen the experience for you. Anyway, we're planning to tour until the end of -96 (and longer if possible) so we'll probably see you in some smoke-filled, half empty club along the road. 
I guess that's the story so far, and all the rumours you heard... 
Well, most of them are probably true anyway. This is just how I saw it. From the drum stool.

   - David

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