Very active in music since he was a teenager, Dennis Lyxzén has toured the world many times over. He is the lead vocalist of Refused, the influential hardcore band which reunited in 2012 after 14 years apart. He was the frontman of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, which was active between 1998 and 2009. He sang for AC4, 98 Million Miles From The Sun, and Step Forward at different points, beyond singing lead and playing guitar in INVSN.
INVSN is now fully active, again, and has a new album coming out via Dine Alone Records on June 9th. Titled The Beautiful Stories, the band recorded its latest studio effort with Adam “Atom” Greenspan (Nick Cave, The Veils) at the helm. However, Lyxzén is not the only Swedish musician of note in INVSN as Sara Almgren played with Lyxzén in The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Christina Karlsson is from Tiger Forest Cat, Anders Stenberg from Lykke Li’s band, and André Sandström plays in DS-13.
Dennis Lyxzén spoke with PureGrainAudio about his past, present and future.
Check out the video for the song “Immer Zu”
I had the pleasure of interviewing you around 15 years ago for a New York punk rock magazine and bothered you by asking why you don’t write songs about love or relationships. Is it still easy for you to write about politics and the state of the world?
Lyxzén: Yes, it is still easy. Maybe easier than ever. Relationships and love and such things do interest me but mostly from a cultural and structural level. How capitalism affects our interactions and how religious and economical structures are set up to control us. The state of the world is pretty damn sad and sometimes it is downright depressing to still have to write about politics but…on the other hand, I’ve always been a political person, so when I write I just write about and relate to my own life.
You’ve been a part of many bands, but I’m not aware of a full-length album being released under your name. Why is that?
Lyxzén: ‘Cause I think that anything that I can do by myself will become much much better when I do it with people that I trust and know. I am a socialist not only in theory but also in practice. And I think going solo is both ridiculous and egotistical!
Also impressive about you is that you are just the singer on some projects, then have played guitar, bass and drums in other bands. Which is your primary instrument?
Lyxzén: My primary instrument is of course singing. I play a decent guitar, but Anders always believed that I could be a pretty good bass player. I like playing the instrument and it gives you a bigger scope and understanding of music. I would love how to learn to play the piano!
Dennis Lyxzén Talks Veganism and Animal Rights With peta2
I’ve read that your first touring outside of Sweden was done in China. When did you first play live in New York? What do you remember about it?
Lyxzén: No, that’s not actually true. I toured Europe and the States a bunch before going to China. But it was the first INC tour that we ever did and it was a stark contrast to touring the more traditional countries. We were the first western band to ever tour China and it was a very wild experience. The first time I played in New York City was with Refused in 1996. Actually, we played somewhere in Long Island with Snapcase and Serpico. I remember it being a fun show.
I last saw you live at the Theater at Madison Square Garden opening for Faith No More. Did it feel different to be playing inside of MSG? Or is a gig just a gig for you at this point?
Lyxzén: Well, once you start playing there’s little difference. But in the sense of bragging right playing MSG is kinda huge and definitely something to add to you CV. I’ve played a lot of places with gravitas and history that might be a bit overwhelming in theory, but once you start playing it is pretty much all the same. MSG or the Acheron Brooklyn, it matters little once the music starts!
Any idea when we will next be seeing you live in New York? Or at least touring North America?
Lyxzén: INVSN is trying to organize a tour of the USA after the summer, and I am pretty sure that New York will get a visit then. So hopefully sometime in September.
Last question about New York, I promise: Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Lyxzén: I have a bunch of favorite places but maybe I would pick Superiority Burger due to the Born Against connection!
Your new release from INVSN will be released in June. Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Lyxzén: Yeah, my favorite is probably “Love’s Like A Drug.” It has an interesting structure and a pretty surprising “middle-eight.” I like when you manage to write songs that are non-conventional and challenging that can still feel linear and catchy. The whole record is very rhythmical and based on percussion and drums, which makes it a bit different to most music that I’ve been part of before.
Do you have other projects in the works currently? Or INVSN is going to be your main focus for a while?
Lyxzén: I always have projects and stuff in the works, but for the next year or so I will be focused on INVSN. At least playing live and such. I am going to write for a new Refused record and also work on some other creative projects, but as far as the main focus, it will be on INVSN.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Lyxzén: I don’t like to have free time. It makes me depressed. I play soccer and then I think about the destruction of capitalism and such. I also read and listen to music.
Is there something you wish more people knew about Dennis Lyxzén?
Lyxzén: No, not really. Maybe I sometimes wish that more people knew about Dennis Lyxzén! (laughs)
Finally, Dennis, any last words for the kids?
Lyxzén: Thanks for supporting alternative and independent music. We don’t take this for granted and the support means a lot to us. Also, stay wild!
The Bloody Beetroots feat. Dennis Lyxzén – Church of Noise (Official Video)