How did Fiendens Musik come about?
To answer that question I’ll have to try to paint a picture of Sweden in that period.
The leftist movement of 1968 of course hit Sweden like a lot of other countries. But maybe it was more narrowed down to just students from the middle class here. A lot of them went out to work in the industry with the purpose to make the workers aware of "the oppression" and start a revolution, but since most workers lived in villas and drove new Volvos, they had little if any success. After all, we had a social democrat government for 40 years. If any should start a revolution, you’d think it would be the right wing, not the left.
Some of the left-wing organisations fell apart in the 70’s, others were radicalized. There were Maoists and Moscow-followers and people with contacts with the RAF in Germany and PLO in Palestine.
In the early 70’s there was another movement growing, called "den svenska musikrörelsen”, the Swedish music movement. The idea was to play your own songs, and sing in Swedish, not English. Of course it was a leftist movement, but the bands and artists spanned from very political to more poetic expressions. From Stalin and Mao to hippies, you could say. So there was a lot of discussion in this movement.
The Maoists even printed a pamphlet titled ”Folket kan inte segra till fiendens musik” - ”The people cannot win to the music of the enemy”. They wanted a nationalist Swedish folklore music by people playing violins and dressed like 18:th century peasants, and considered rock n’ roll or anything American or English as capitalist music.
This music movement had it’s own paper, Musikens Makt (The Power of Music) 1973-80, where I actually wrote as some sort of freelance in the late 70’s. So did Mats Zetterberg, and Mats Bäcker was taking pictures. We were working at a place in Lund called Grupp Fem, which was a group of young freelance reporters and photographers. There and then (late 1977) Mats and Mats decided to start a band. They found some guys who wanted to be in, and started to play Rolling Stones and Iggy Pop covers.
It was Mats Bäcker who took the name Fiendens Musik from the Maoist pamphlet as a very deliberate statement: We loved ”the enemy’s music”, not this boring so-called folk music.
The band evolved from a cover band to a band in it’s own right when I by accident started to write lyrics in Swedish, which Harry Schiffmann set music to. As parts of the Swedish music movement, it was natural for us to write in our own language even though we loved American and British music. This was in the spring of ’78.
We were all coming from lower middle class homes all around southern Sweden and just happened to meet in Lund, where some of the other guys were studying at the old university. Given the time and place, I would say we all had some leftist ideas, more or less articulated. But we hated the sectarian left-wingers who saw music as just a tool.
We were aware of the punk movement and supported the local bands, but never saw ourselves as punks. We were a bit older, 24-25 years, when the other bands were maybe around 20. To us it would be like masquerading (which it actually was what most Swedish middle-class ”punks” were doing, in my view).
”En spark rätt i skallen” (A Boot Right in the Face) was one of the first songs I and Harry wrote, and it tells the story of what happened to me one late night in the streets of Gothenburg, where I had studied before.
It is not political in any conventional way, but maybe in the way it tells about street violence. This was ten years before that became a topic in the media. And we kept on writing songs about our lives, not trying to pose as rebels or punks. Another early song was ”Hårt mot hårt”, an anti-racist anthem at least ten years ahead of the media scene.
Fiendens Musik created a lot of fuzz in the music movement, since left-wingers accused us of trying to be punk rockers and playing capitalist music. Mats Zetterberg ironized over this in his Swedish cover of Iggy’s ”The Passenger”, ”Du går aldrig säker för Fiendens Musik” - ”You’ll never be safe for the enemy’s music”, which was the B side of our first single, with ”En spark rätt i skallen” as the A side.
Another early song was ”Moderata brudar” which is a sweet ballad ironizing over the young right-wing jet set and their pretty girls. It turned out to be a hit among the young right-wing jet setters in Lund and their pretty girls. Maybe they took the text too literally.
So, er, what was the question again? Ah, yes. I guess we carved out a niche for ourselves as not being punks, but sympathizing with the punks and playing gigs with them, and not being a political band, even though Fiendens Musik played at a lot of those music movement places. And we didn’t try to be poetic, we were just telling stories. Maybe you could say that we didn’t want to fit in any ready-made mold.
Fiendens Musik played regularly between 1978 and 1981, when the band split up and the members engaged in various other projects. We remained the best of friends, and lately the band has come together again. A private party concert in Stockholm 2013 marked the start of a new era. Fiendens Musik played at Southside, Stockholm, in april 2016, and then again in 2018 when we also played at Snövit, Stockholm, and the capitals classic punk scene, Kafé 44. The lineup is intact: Mats Zetterberg, vocals, Harry Schiffmann, lead guitar, Mats Bäcker, saxophone, Ingvar Krupa, drums, Ulf Karlberg, bass, and Peter Kempinsky, guitar.
And yours truly, writing lyrics, managing web design and now and then designing record sleeves.
Lund, May 2020
Karl G Jönsson