As my Swedish pal Marc Strömberg can attest, I'm a big '90s Swedish hardcore nerd. One of the more well-known bands to come out of that scene was undoubtedly Abhinanda. Their vocalist, José Saxlund, along with Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén), co-founded Desperate Fight Records, an important label in that era of hardcore for bands from their part of their world.
Abhinanda's music got wide distrubition in the States via a joint deal between Desperate Fight Records and Victory Records, and I became a fan of the group's debut album, 1994's Senseless. After two more studio albums—Abhinanda (1996) and The Rumble (1999)—the band broke up at the end of the '90s, though they've played some reunion shows years later.
After being out of print for decades, the folks at End Hits Records have partnered with Abhinanda to re-release their complete discography on vinyl. The five-vinyl box will also include a double LP featuring all of the group's demo recordings, EPs, and 7" tracks, along with never-before-seen photos, detailed liner notes, and interviews featuring band members and contemporaries such as the aforementioned Dennis Lyxzen, Sara Almgren (Doughnuts), and Kate Tucker-Reddy (108).
(For the vinyl heads, scroll to the bottom to get all of the pressing details.)
To celebrate the forthcoming release of Complete Discography, I reached out to Abhinanda singer José Saxlund for a quick chat about the project, the band's early days, and his feelings on their musical output.
Tell me how Abhinanda initially came together and how you all knew each other.
Well, I guess everything started more as a joke! None of us could actually play any instruments. We started off playing Bad Religion and Sub Society cover songs. We knew each other from school and the local hardcore scene.
What were some of the influences that you all shared during those early days in the band? Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to sound like or did that happen more organically with time?
I guess we had some different influences, everything from Agnostic Front to NOFX, but in the early days, I believe, we wanted to go somewhere in the path of Outspoken, Strife, and, say, some Integrity?
What was it about Umeå and the kids there that made the hardcore scene so strong?
Probably that we were isolated far up north with just darkness, snow, and cold weather and nothing else to do h[laughs]. I mean, I´m kinda joking but not really. That, combined with a strong will, from some of us.
And the fact that many of the bands from our scene wrote some decent songs from that time period.
How long has this box set been in the works, and how involved were you in the process, behind the scenes, with Oise and the label?
I´m not sure if time really does fly or if the work has gone superfast and smooth. For me. it's like we just started talking about doing the box set and now its ready to go. I wasnt that involved due to lack of time, so I tried to pass on everything forward to [Abhinanda's bassist] Mattias [laughs]. But I had, of course, been following the process, the artwork, etc.
Oise and company have done an amazing job with this. We're all super-psyched about the box!
When you listened to the material again, what ran through your mind with each release? In other words, do you feel that it’s clear to hear the progression of the band with each record, and how newer influenced crept into the songwriting?
Well, I didn't listen to the material again, so I cant really answer this question. But, I believe it's clear to hear some kind of progression when you go through the records in order!
Even though I kind of like the songs on 'Senseless' the best, technically and sound wise, 'The Rumble' is way better. And the self-titled record is somewhere in between those!
Of all the material collected in the box set, what song or release do you think best encapsulates Abhinanda and what the band was about?
I guess, since I´m a big fan Senseless, I really love the songs on that album even if the recordings are quiet sloppy here and there.
The box will be available in the following configurations:
- 50x Clear Vinyl
- 50x Clear Vinyl with Blue Splatter
- 400x Multicolor (Orange, Yellow, Cyan Blue, Aqua Blue, Baby Blue)