This book is better than expected: a lot of people – major players as well as people who happened to start a fanzine or attend a club – have their say in stanzas of interviews, some people saying a lot more than others, e.g. Alexander Hofman, and there’s a lot more repetition than there should have been, but still: this is a document of a past age, and it’s direct and doesn’t waver. It’s the only recollection I have of my days of yore other than through pictures, people and the music itself.
Oh yes, the music. And here is the Swedish side of it, not only from the musicians, but from people who distributed the first synthesizers in Sweden, those who booked bands (imagine Front 242 playing in a shanty in Eskilstuna) and experienced “synthesizer-based music” first hand as the scene blew up and kind of fell apart, over a period of 20-25 years.
Synthare. A Swedish word at its core. It means “person who listens to synthesizer-based music”. Which today is everybody, really. But back in the day, in Sweden, people carried prejudice about music that was made on synthesizers, and some of the bands were spat upon for being too gay or too nazi.
But the stories, oh, the stories. Of parties, starting bands, not knowing what you were doing when playing/dancing/cutting up fanzines/meeting people/whatever. I think one of the most beautiful things about it was the punk aspect: do it yourself, and never mind reading the manual before you go.
What was expensive and hard to record in the beginning of the book is now very cheap and easily done with the advent of software and the Internet. In a way, I prefer the hardware: the cassettes, the waiting for ages before you had access to music. You couldn’t preview shit! You had to trust your reviewers! In Sweden we had the Hot Stuff music catalogue from where you ordered your music and even if what you received and paid dearly for didn’t sound very good, so what – you were part of a scene. A very tightly knit bond of people. Who stood up for each other. It’s like discovering other people who like The Smiths. It’s tight shit.
All in all: in need of an edit, but it’s a testament of time. Kudos!
P.s. I love seeing pictures of friends in this book, of course from back in the day. Wonderful.