ALEX PÄIVÄT REPORTS: Umeås Bitchcraft are aiming for the stars

// maj 23rd, 2016 // ALEX PÄIVÄT REPORTS

Photos: Lucas Stålklinga, Alex Päivät, Collage: Sabina

A friend once told me that there were three Swedish bands that everyone should listen to. The bands he listed were Totalitär, Anti-Cimex and Witchcraft. Well, if he had replaced Witchcraft with Bitchcraft I had been prepared to agree with him.

It is time for the guys to go to the back of the room. Umeås new self descirbed anti-patriarchy punkstars Bitchcraft have their sights set on smashing patriarchy and the psychiatric care system. The band has just completed their first gig in Stockholm when Sofia (guitar), Fanny (singer) and Jorun (drummer) sits down with me to talk.

– There have been a false consciousness in the hardcore scene on gender equality and feminism. Umeå has always had a good scene, but it has always just been the same guys who played in different bands. Now I feel that it is a feminist wave going on. Non-men prioritize each other and each other’s bands a lot more. And it is noticeable that there are more women and transgender people taking place, says Sofia.

– Yeah, I agree. We needed the feeling of unity between non-men that we have now. Now it feels like non-men encourage each other much more and just like Sofia said we prioritize each other in a different way, says Jorun.

It was during a drunken night in the shabby pub Lotta’s Krog in Umeå just about over two years ago that the idea for the band was born. That new bands start during a bender is not really an oddity in the punkscene. But that it later actually becomes something of all the drunk talk is however rarer.

– Me, our bassit Gerda and Sofia have played in many different bands for several years. But I’ve only played in one band that consist only of women and transgender people, and I really wanted to play in a punk band without men, says Jorun.

– Gerda had played a little bass before but Fanny has not been in a band at all before we started. And it is like 10 years ago that I played the guitar, says Sofia.

How do you think Bitchcraft sounds?

– I think that you can hear our references though we may not sound very much like them. You can hears that we like d-beat, L7 and Girlschool. We are trying to find a middle ground. But there is a lot of d-beat druming because that is whats most fun to play on drums, says Jorun.

Recently, the band stepped into the studio for two days with Umeå hardcore profile Biff Bergström. A Hawaii shirt wearing bruiser who have played in more Umeå punkbands than one can count on two hands. Along with Biff the band recorded the seven songs that would become their first demo.

– It was really uncomfortable for me because I’ve never been in a studio before. I asked everyone to go out when I would sing so that I could be alone with Biff, says Fanny.

– But it went very easy and fast for you, you did almost everything in one or two takes, says Jorun.

– Yeah, I felt that I didn’t have the energy to put any fucking pressure on myself, and just ran with it instead, says Fanny.

How have the reactions been to the demo?

– I played it for my mom and she said it was ”groovey tunes”, says Sofia.

– Potin, who used to sing in Auktion, said it was the first time in several years that he heard a punk band from Umeå that sounded good, says Jorun.

What is the lyrics about?

– Mental illness, says Fanny.

– Yeah, and hatred for men, adds Jorun.

How does it work when you write lyrics?

– We have experimented a little with folding-lyrics. When one writes a line and then fold the paper before sending it to the next person who have to write without seeing what the other one has written, says Jorun.

– It’s a fun way to write. We often have a lot of fun and laugh a lot. But it often also hits the right spot lyrically for some reason, says Fanny.

– Yes, it feels very unpretentious. It is a simple way to just get it done, says Sofia.

What are your future plans?

– We take it day by day. No one in the band is in a position where it fits to do alot of planing. We all have an understanding of the other’s position in life, mentalhealth and strength. It’s a very understanding environment with this band. But tomorrow we are going to play in Gothenburg, says Jorun.

– Now we have taken the step to play in Stockholm so now we are aiming for the stars, says Fanny.

Alex Päivät
March 2016

Listen to Bitchcraft here:

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