Gothenburg, Sweden's C.Aarmé (or "the Swedish militia of punk rock," as the press release says)---which features vocalist Jessie Garon, drummer David Augustsson, guitarist JOHNNY Ola, and a man known only as Kapten on bass---play an uncompromising and wildly fun, tense, and urgent blend of punk/garage rock with a quirkiness to it (some song titles: "I Am a Princess", "O'Neill Oh No", "Tu Puta Mi Casa"). C.Aarmé's original, infectious sound is showcased wonderfully on their self-titled debut LP, which was first released by Burning Heart/Carcrash in Europe in February and was finally made available Stateside in July thanks to the good folks at Epitaph.
JOHNNY Ola was kind enough to answer some questions about the band and the record via e-mail.
SKRATCH: Briefly, can you go over how you guys got together?
JOHNNY: We're old friends. We were at the same place at the right time, you know?
SKRATCH: You must discuss your full-length. It's pretty frantic, chaotic, urgent, and intense. There aren't many (if any!) breaks in the action. What would you say is the overall tone/feel of the record?
JOHNNY: You describe it perfectly! The record should make you sweat. It's all live, [which is] really important to feel us in the music.
SKRATCH: Can you go over some of the subject matter your lyrics tackle?
JOHNNY: Women, hippies, poseurs, old men. That's all in Jessie's head. No one really knows [what it all means].
SKRATCH: What were you trying to achieve with the record? Do you feel you've succeeded?
JOHNNY: To tour the world and meet interesting people. We put up new goals as we go along. We have achieved a lot, but there's much more to come. We're just so damn happy [...]!
SKRATCH: You've released a couple 7"s prior to the LP, which include some of the songs you put on the album, like "Gasmask" and "Tu Puta Mi Casa". Are these re-recorded versions? If so, how do the two versions differ?
JOHNNY: Yes, they are [re-recorded versions]. Our philosophy from the start was to write four songs, record them, try to get them out on a 7", do four new ones, and so on. We did two [7"s], [and] then Burning Heart Records came and took us. We recorded the first four songs about three months [after] we'd started the band, so it's nice to hear the hunger [that we had at the time].
SKRATCH: How do you feel you've progressed since the band's formation?
JOHNNY: We progress every day. If that stops, we stop.
SKRATCH: I can't help but notice that your bio says you're reminiscent of both Black Flag and Bad Brains---but that you've heard neither of the bands. Is that still the case, or have you heard them now? If so, what's your opinion of them? Are these comparisons valid?
JOHNNY: We've heard them now. They're cool, and it feels good to be compared with them. No one listens to them, but anyways.... Oh, sorry. Mr. Jessie Garon listens to Black Flag on special occasions.
SKRATCH: I saw an article where your album was likened to Wire's monumental debut LP, PINK FLAG. Of course you guys want to stand on your own, and, well, you know, sound like C.Aarmé! But that's a pretty cool comparison. Do you see any similarities at all? Do you think Wire---or any other bands, for that matter---have had an impact on your sound or what style you wanted to play?
JOHNNY: That's the best and most interesting article on us. Some people understand us. That's good.
SKRATCH: What, in particular, would you like people to know about the band?
JOHNNY: That we are beautiful.
SKRATCH: Have you any prospective touring plans for the rest of 2004?
JOHNNY: Yes!: Germany/Europe, Scandinavia, and (if our dear record company gives us some tour support) U.S. of A.!
SKRATCH: Is a U.S. tour possibly on the horizon? If so, when do you think that might happen?
JOHNNY: We have people working on it right now. It's all about money. Soooooooooooo fuckin' boring. We want to go so bad!
SKRATCH: What can people expect at a C.Aarmé show?
JOHNNY: Everything and nothing. We love to play live and give our soul and heart to the audience [and to] each other.
SKRATCH: Is there any present-day musical form/genre that gets on your nerves and that you'd like to see die? If so, why?
JOHNNY: No, not any genre, but the world would have been a better place if there only were 500 good bands instead of 50 billion crappy bands and 500 good ones.
SKRATCH: Any words in closing?
JOHNNY: Peace, love, and understanding. Thank you!
By Janelle Jones