The new Viagra Boys album “Cave World” tells the story of conspiracy myths, substances in little plastic bags and the daily madness that the “punk rock loser” has to go through.
It happens in the best of families: Viagra Boys frontman Sebastian Murphy is unable to perform in a short space of time, but is replaced by saxophonist Oskar Carls. Unfortunately, he is a bit crumpled on this day, which is why some of his answers are monosyllabic.
You recorded your new album “Cave World” completely from scratch, even though you had finished recording – how did you come to this decision?
Yes, he was completely finished. But then we thought: why don’t we try to take the project even further? We re-auditioned the material and only kept the best songs. Then we entered the studio again to record new songs that fit the atmosphere of the other songs. It was about finding songs that would fit with the rest of the material. Sorry to be a bit hungry today (laughter).
What happens to songs that aren’t on the album – do you still want to release them as B-sides or use them some other way?
Fully. We have a lot of material that we didn’t put on “Cave World”. But we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do with it yet. Maybe it will become an EP, but maybe we will release a collection with other unreleased songs.
At your concerts, the songs never sound like they do on the album. How important is improvisation and unpredictability for you in your shows?
It has always been a way of keeping songs alive for us. Not only for the audience, but also for ourselves, we force ourselves to be present and to constantly communicate with each other. On the best days, it feels like music can go anywhere.
Understand. Several members of Viagra Boys have jazz experience as well, including you.
Yes, actually I come out more from free jazz, from improvised music. We all have different musical backgrounds. This is one of the best things about this band, each of us brings something different to the mix. We want to remain open and allow this influence completely.
“Yung Lean inspires us all”
Viagra Boys was founded in 2015, you joined two years later. How did you survive this time?
I think there were already two saxophonists in the band before me. They both dropped out for a variety of reasons. seb [Sebastian Murphy, Anm. d. Red.] then he called me. It was the first time I heard about the band. Seb asked me to play with them in Tallinn, Estonia, and I agreed. And even during our first gig together, it felt like we’ve been playing together for ages.
Were you friends with Seb before joining the band?
No, it is not true. We went to the same school when he moved to Sweden from the USA. But we never met. We talked about it today. He said, “You were the guy who stood in the corner smoking cigarettes!” and then I said, “No, you were that guy!” (laughter)
What role did YEAR0001 play in creating Viagra Boys?
Oskar Ekman, the co-founder of the label, was our manager almost from the beginning. He is also a Yung Lean manager. It’s very nice to work with him and YEAR0001 and not with a big major label. We have a very close relationship with the label because there are not too many artists signed there.
.. and yet the musicians in YEAR0001 are very different. You just said that, Yung Lean keyword.
Yes, I think that’s great too. Yung Lean inspires us all. We have a certain atmosphere that is similar in both projects. It’s fun to be in the same label as him.
“I don’t feel like part of any scene”
How to imagine the music scene in Sweden? Are there united movements or cities where certain species are particularly present?
It is true that different species are present differently in different cities. The rock scene in Gothenburg is very strong, Malmö has really good rappers. In Stockholm, the music scene is more fragmented. I don’t know either. I don’t feel like part of any scene here.
Cave World revolves around conspiracy theories, while Sweden has been through the pandemic without much restriction. How have you experienced the last two years?
It was a really strange time. It’s even hard for me to catch individual events because everything is so blurry. We just tried to make the best of it. At first, it was unclear how long this would all take. We’ve all been in some sort of survival mode. At the same time, we suddenly had a lot of time to work on a new album. Without the pandemic, the album would not exist in this form.
You’ll be doing a lot of shows over the next few months. Do you have any rituals as a band before going on stage?
Everyone has their own personal belongings. I try to find the shortest shorts. I am very pleased with the faux leather pants I have now found in China. They’re really fucking short! (laughter)
Note: Viagra Boys celebrated their breakthrough with the song “Sports”. Among other things, “short pants”, that is really short sports pants, are sung.