Refused – Across The Ocean


Refused and Sick Of It All are teaming up for one hell of a double bill when they tour Australia in January. Many fans thought that the reunion shows in 2012 would be it but the vibe and energy in the band is really good. Across The Ocean had the privilege of speaking to front man Dennis Lyxen ahead of the tour.

It is great that Refused are coming back for another Australian tour when many thought that the reunion tour in 2012 would be it. Do you have fond memories of that tour?

Yeah, the 2012 reunion shows in Australia were perfect. We were bummed that Soundwave was cancelled because we were meant to be on that but then we felt we couldn’t leave Australia out of the loop, here we come!

With all the ups and downs of being in Refused how is the feeling within the band right now?

It is a good vibe without being boring, we didn’t enjoy it or didn’t think it was worthwhile we wouldn’t do it. That’s the type of people we are, we are artists and have other things we can do with our lives and time. We all feel that this is something we want to do, the vibe is really good.

Do you think that things happen for a reason particularly the reunion tour?

Stuff happens for a reason, that’s the way that it works, we break up because of this and that or other reasons. When you are a young band back in the day it is hard to control things because we were so out of touch with each other emotionally. It has been a very good thing to talk about all these things and be able together to define what we want this band to be and as people what we want to be when we are in this band. I don’t necessarily believe in fate or destiny and so forth, I do think that what we did in 1998 when we broke up and came back in 2012 is have the maturity to perform these songs the way they are supposed to be performed first time round. We couldn’t really pull it off because we were young immature dicks basically!

What were the factors that helped change your mind about continuing on after the reunion tour when many thought that would be it?

We got together with the intention of playing ten shows, that was the first intention of the band and we started practicing, we loved it, had a lot of fun. It ended up being eighty two shows and by the end of that victory lap, well a weird victory lap, we felt this was something that was missing from our lives and something that we still want to be a part of. We all felt that it was quite an easy decision to say we need to write music because even though 2012 was a victory lap I’m not a fan of nostalgia acts who are happy to play that old record over and over again. I want to be in the now and I felt to be in the now we had to create music and be a contemporary band.

Do you wish you knew what you know now?

Yeah, yeah, it is experience. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and there are plenty of things when I look back where I wish I knew that. It is also a part of being human and growing up and living. You get experience and you learn from shit. Too get a second chance maybe you can do it better next time around. There is something quite beautiful about that actually.

What was it like reconnecting with your band mates again in the rehearsal space?

It was awkward as fuck! David and I had been playing together in another band that had come to Australia, David had been playing with Chris and all the other guys. So he was the common guy that guy that everyone relies on. The first practice was awful and awkward and like I haven’t seen you in a few years. After a couple of practices, straight off the bat we knew we had to take it seriously, when we got in to it, it was great. It took a little while for it to become comfortable and relaxing. One of the things we did was talk a lot and asked things such as how do you feel about this, how do you feel about that, should we do interviews, should we do this and should we do that? We sat down and talked about that and everybody was able to speak their mind about what they felt the reunion represented for them was really important.

Was the making of Freedom a cleansing process allowing the band chance to move forwards?

I think more than anything it was a process of control if that makes sense. For a long time Refused had been defined by other people in terms of what we were. Refused was an idea people thought that wasn’t necessarily representative about how we felt about Refused is. Carrying the legacy of The Shape Of Punk To Come is a heavy burden to carry. People had all these ideas and expectations of what we were and I think to write and create Freedom for us was a way of regaining control of what Refused was supposed to be for us. It was a very important thing for us to be like this is what we are and this is what we can be. That was the biggest thing on creating Freedom to take control of our destiny.

Are there plans to keep releasing new music?

The Australian run is the last tour for a while and everyone else has different projects they are working on. I’m working on a project with my other band but that being said we are already writing new material. After Australia we will take a break for a while and get out of each other hair for a little bit then we will reconvene with everyone coming to the idea with new ideas. There will be more music, more records. We want to be a functioning band and for us to function we need to be able to do it at our own pace. I’m sure it will take at least a year before we start recording it but yeah it is going to happen.

One of your other bands International Noise Conspiracy were one of my favs, is that band still active?

No, no! 2009 was the last time we played together, officially never broken up. We are not a very active band at all. Sarah and I have another band and are releasing a record called Invasion which will be out next year. We are all still playing music but one of these days we still may play a show or two, who knows!

Is your football career still on the up?

We are playing indoor soccer, the season is still in full swing. I’m not getting any younger but you do need to stay in shape. I love playing football and it is still happening.

Maybe you should try AFL?

I usually watch whilst in Australia, it is pretty crazy. That’s the one with the huge field with a hundred people running around yeah? It’s not a hundred people but still a shitload of people, it’s pretty mind blowing, pretty violent.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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