Thursday, September 1, 2016

Retrospective view on Children of Fall's discography by Olle Hård

Children of Fall is one of my favorite European hardcore bands from 00's. I've reached guitarist Olle Hård from the original line-up, and he wrote down his retrospective view on the band's releases.

Children of Fall 2000‐2007

Anders Näslund ‐ Vocals
Olle Hård ‐ Guitar
Thomas Feltheim ‐ Guitar
Emil Björkander ‐ Bass
Morten Clausen ‐ Drums

Riding a Broken Vehicle ‐ Genet. 2000

We had only been a band for about eight weeks when “Riding a Broken Vehicle” was recorded. We had only done a three song demo as a two‐piece prior to this.

We had all moved down to Malmö in the southern part of Sweden where we didn’t know anyone and we started practicing everyday in Satanic Surfers and Intensity’s practice place during those eight weeks, wrote all the songs and then booked a studio to record it. For some unknown reason we all played “vintage gear” (not talking about expensive vintage gear just to clarify) back then. So it was Fender guitars, amps etc (it might have been due to an obsession with Dischord bands, I dunno). It made the sound kind of weird in relation to our musical style and in retrospect I think we’d been better off going for a different approach.

The lyrical theme behind “Riding a Broken Vehicle” could to a large extent be translated to “Living with scars from the past”. This was a lyrical theme that we had started to explore earlier with our previous band Serene. It was just something that was always present ‐ “what does it mean to grow up in a dysfunctional family and how do you deal with that later on in life”. Basically, how do you play the best possible game with the shitty cards you have at hand.

My personal favorites from that album would be “Childhood: Episode 1” dealing with the subject of neglectful parenting and “Shake the Heavens” also dealing with childhood experiences and the feeling of being completely alone as a kid and dealing with a life situation that doesn’t start on “square one” but rather on a minus 100 level, so to speak. Essentially meaning that you come from such a broken past that you need to work your way up to zero by yourself.

Ignition For Poor Hearts ‐ Scene Police, Acclaim Collective. 2002

The approach for this album was a bit different. Frustration was way higher while making the songs, we were struggling as human beings to some extent I guess. It’s a more political record also. We wanted to be really clear and to the point and I remember that we wrote liner notes to each song to explain the lyrics, which seems totally unnecessary today. We toured a whole lot on that album and it feels as if we covered pretty much all of Europe. Since you’re from Russia I recall us playing a show in S:t Petersburg when all of us were sick to the extent that we had to lay down on the floor prior to getting up on stage, because we had no power to stand up. I also remember having to bribe a police officer to get Emil’s driver’s license back amongst many other funny incidents mainly dealing with Russian border police.

From the recording session I remember the tape recorder breaking down (it was an old one that couldn’t be fixed without ordering spare parts that would take a while to get) and we where stranded and couldn’t really proceed with the recording. Eventually we ended up recording the rest of the album in a small studio in a garage owned by this band “Mora Träsk” who are really famous for doing songs for children. They were sweet enough to let us use their studio. It was kind of funny watching Anders scream like crazy inside that garage where all these popular children's songs had been recorded.

My favorite song would be “Deras Behov Har Ingen Gräns” which lyrically is a poem made by the Sami poet Paulus Utsi (the Sami people are the “Indians of Scandinavia” and there’s also a smaller population in north western Russia. It’s a reminder of how people of minority gets treated and the clear pattern of that happening everywhere. The poem contains a powerful message or rather critique of how we as westerners never get satisfied and never get our fill, it’s just never enough. That goes for consumption as well as exploiting land so on so forth. At the end of the song you can hear a Sami man chanting, and usually pretty much all Sami chanting is about Rain Deer, but this one in particual is about revenge.

Four Symptomatic Poems of a World Gone Insane ‐ Black Star Foundation. 2002

This is from the same recording session as “Ignition For Poor Hearts” but were taken out for a split EP with the band Nikad from Croatia. The lyrical theme for these songs came out of the Gothenburg riots during the EU summit in 2001. I think Sweden changed and never became the same after what took place there. It felt like being totally disconnected as if everything you had somehow believed in just fell apart. Quoting the lyrics from “Illegal 2001”: “And they say that we’re illegal. As If their laws have any relevance to us. As if there’s anything left to trust. If we are criminals, then this world deserves us”.

Bonjour Tristesse ‐ Day After. 2005

This was to become our last album. We had been touring quite a lot and we did over 400 shows in a DIY manner. I don’t know how many vans we destroyed and how many breakdowns we had, but it was enough to create the slogan “We don’t ride with chaos ‐ chaos rides with us”. We had quite a long period of being rather inactive prior to completing this record. We also lost some band members before this album and Morten and Thomas of the Danish bands All I See and Obstacles joined and came in with new energy.

Musically we tried to make something different on this record, trying to find a new approach in relation to what we had done before. So the sound is different and so is the atmosphere and energy. Lyrically I think the album deals a lot with finding meaning and not getting stuck in the meaningless. Struggling with not giving up. It’s also about escapism and the different aspects of it. My favorite songs would be the title track “Bonjour Tristesse” and “Carte Blanche”. We kept on touring on this album also but eventually the band broke to pieces and we scattered across Sweden and Denmark pursuing other dreams.

These days Thomas and Morten play together in “Tvivler” who recently put out their “Negativ psykologi #1” 7”. Make sure to check them out! Thanks to Artem for reaching out and doing this small “records in retrospect thing”.

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