Interview by Sarah Williams.
The Friday Prophets are a Stockholm based punk rock band who ooze energy, positivity and good times. They’ve recently released their second album In The Key Of Sublimation via their own label Holy Howl Records. It’s exciting, upbeat punk rock with heart of gold that’ll appeal to punkrockers worldwide!
We spoke to Mattias Robertson to get a proper introduction to the band.
How would you sum up The Friday Prophets for someone who’s just discovering you?
I would say that we are a punk rock band from Stockholm that tries to unify the harmonic part of punk rock with the more gritty side of it. Then I would recommended some songs to check out! Which songs? I would say Reason, Where Are You?, La La La and With You. That oughta be enough for a start!
What inspired you most when writing your album, In The Key of Sublimation?
First of all, I would say music in general. I listen to a lot of music and it just inspires me and makes me want to pick up the guitar and start writing something on my own.
Regarding the sound, there have definitely been some albums that have been particularly influential and these are: Lifetime‘s self-titled album, Green Day’s Dookie, Against Me!‘s Transgender Dysphoria Blues and The Bouncing Souls‘ self-titled album and How I Spent My Summer Vacation. To me these are exceptional records, the kind of records that you can rediscover again and again.
Lyrically In the Key of Sublimation has been inspired by a lot of things. The album has some political songs, some songs about relationships and personal growth and a couple of songs that are a bit hard for me to put it a box. I guess the common thread for them are me and my experiences. Hopefully they are relatable and interesting for others to listen to in one sense or another.
Are there any themes you’ve tried to stick to?
We don’t have an outspoken theme for our music but I think we all would like to keep a punk rock foundation for everything that we do. I also think we’re all in agreement that we don’t want our sound to become too polished which would kill the soul of it.
However, there are some new songs/demos that we’ve written that have more of a theme to them. They’re still in the making so we don’t want to give too much away about them in this early stage. Regarding our lyrics, I guess the themes will continue to be pretty scattered since I want to write songs that concern life and not just a certain part of it. At least, that’s how I feel now.
You’re based in Stockholm, but originally from Umeå in Sweden. What’s your local music scene like?
Ok, I’ll start with Stockholm. The scene over here is good, I think there are a lot of exciting bands around these days. Among them are Twin Pigs, Power Face, Svart Katt and Rotten Mind (Uppsala).
Regarding Umeå, I don’t know whether the local scene there is any good today. I know some bands but I don’t know how active they are and if they put on a lot of gigs. With that said, I’ll also add that the scene here in Sweden it is a bit different from the rest of Europe in that bands here tend to lean more towards indie-, garage- and hardcore-infused punk rock, rather than the very melodic one that is seen in rest of Europe in greater part.
Tell me a bit about how the band came to be – how did you meet?
Me and our previous bass fiddler Isac started the band in a garage in outskirts of Umeå. I had written a couple of songs and Isac had some riffs that he wanted to us to try out and the session ended up being the result of one finished demo track.
Today I’m the only original member of the band. Edvin our guitarist joined the band in 2011 or something like that. He just started to show up at our rehearsals, even though we couldn’t see any good use of him at that time. It was lucky that he stuck around though, he was better at making things happen (booking studio, recording demos, etc.) than the rest of us. Klara, our current bass player and Simon (drums) joined the band during the last three years.
Where did the name The Friday Prophets originate?
When we started the band I listened a lot to The Bouncing Souls self-titled album from 1997 (still one of my favorites). To me that album was the perfect punk rock record to blast out loud at a house party since it was fun, intensive and rugged around the edges. I wanted to play the same type of punk rock at that time and with that in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to have a band name with the word Friday in it since it’s the day that represents the start of the weekend. After that, me and Isac threw some band name ideas at each other and eventually we ended up with The Friday Prophets.
What bands kick-started your interest in music when you were younger?
I got stuck on Blink-182 in high-school when I was about 13 or 14. That was the hook, line and sinker for me at the time.
At the time I wanted to start this band my two main influences were two bands, The Bouncing Souls and Randy.
And what bands are keeping the fires burning now? What new releases have got you really excited?
For better or worse, I’m a bit conservative when it comes to punk rock, so I still listen to a lot of old classics. Everything from Bad Religion to Descendents and on to The Clash.
Regarding new bands, what I listen to most these days is a hardcore band Gouge Away. I think they made the best album of 2018 with Burnt Sugar. Other bands I’ve listened a lot these last years are Against Me!, PUP, Petrol Girls, Twin Pigs, Accidente, G.L.O.S.S and Days N Daze.
What do you enjoy doing, outside of playing music?
I work as web developer, so I enjoy doing that. Well, at least for 4 hours a day. Today I do it for 8 hours a day like the rest of us do but preferably I would like to do it less. It’s not 8-hours-a-day-good if you know what I mean. I don’t think anything is. Apart from that I love listening to music. I also love red wine and the effects of it.
What are your ambitions for the band in the future?
I can only speak for myself but I think it’s time for us as a band to reinvent ourselves and write new music that feels fresh and exciting. I love it when bands try new things and let their sound evolve in to something unheard of. So, we’ll just have to see where the inspiration will take us.
Interview by Sarah Williams.