Over a decade has past since the rise of The Embassy. We ask the godfathers of Swedish indie-pop if the end is near.
The house-influences are clear on your latest album Sweet Sensation; how important has dance-music and the club-scene been for your music?
Torbjörn: I love dancing, a dance floor can be a venue of dreams, for all colours, transgender and global. But generally I’m too scared to dance, so I make music instead.
Fredrik: We rarely enter the dance floor ourselves, but we always have it in mind. Before Embassy I used to be a DJ, it was a great practice. I learned a lot from that.
On your latest tour you collaborated with lighting artist Thomas Hämén and the guys from Press Think Tank, what is your view on art in relation to your music? Has it got any part in the making of your music or does it mainly apply to your performances and visual concept?
F: It has no part in the music-making, but of course it inspires us and indirectly affects our music. But all forms of art interact with each other, consciously or unconsciously. Only rock thinks it can stand on its own.
T: There are many examples of artist collaborations in our disco story, like covers/paintings by Carl Hammoud and Linnea Rygaard, statues by Lui Hof and a gravestone by Patrick Bengtsson.
Your discography consists to a greater part of 7” releases than of albums, are you particularly fond of the single-format?
F: Yes, we love the single-format. It is direct, inconstant, and communicative.
You used to be strongly associated with the Gothenburg indie-scene (you are basically considered godfathers in this context); how does it feel to be originators and what are your thoughts on the vitality of the scene today? (Second and maybe third generation of pop bands)
T: It’s not up to us to judge, but we had some good years in Gothenburg, it all happened outside the Internet and was only for locals. Today we are not part of anything, we have no connections in the music biz and all of our friends are gone.
Anti-Rock, if I may say, has always been your thing, what is your view on the term “indie” today?
F: Haven’t used the term indie in such a long time so it is almost hard to answer. Nowadays it just gets me thinking of boring bands and conservative audience, it doesn’t have any part of our lives. Indie for us is british political pop released on small provocative labels in the early 80’s. That scene we still love.
T: The Anti-Rock movement was a happening to get rid of the macho rock scene and to connect to the origins of pop and disco, like Sylvester, Mr. Fingers, KLF and Marine Girls. We replaced and clarified the concept further with the terms “Underclass Disco” 2005 and this year’s “Bitch House”.
Would you say your demeanor has prevailed?
T: No, we’re losing. In retromania culture, there’s no knowledge of the past and no intuitive feelings about the future. Today capital has to circulate to reproduce itself, to expand, and for this goal anything can be sacrificed, our lives, history, nature, and so on. Reality is a simulation, it’s fascinating and evil.
What is it that has made you able to stay relevant for over ten years?
T: Cos we’re guilt-ridden and fearful and constantly wanna revenge ourselves.
Tell us about the video you premiered here at Radar a couple of days ago.
F: It’s a revenge on ourselves.
T: It’s about failure and how to to survive in a post employment economy.
Its title, The Decline and Fall of Embassy, sounds dramatic, are you quitting?
T: Yes, we’re gonna work as street musicians for now on, the only true art form.
Watch The Embassy’s video The Decline and Fall of Embassy here.
Photos by Fredrik Andersson-Andersson.