Updated: 11/05/00

Project Grudge: "A one man industrial techno project from Sweden. Has released debut album on Medea Records entitled Between You And Reality. Performed at Milwaukee Metalfest 2000. An alien force to some, but music many in our society will check into. Questions sent to one Mattias Johansson. Here are results from the interrogations..."

Highwire Daze: How long have you been in Project Grudge and what made you decide to do the band solo?

Mattias: I've been doing this for about 3-4 years now and it just keeps getting more interesting all the time. I chose to go solo to try out all the ideas I had, that other band members would have rejected for sure. This way I get to make the songs that I want to hear myself.

HD: Describe the music of Project Grudge for those who have not heard you yet.

Mattias: It's a mix of electronic music and straightforward rock'n'roll. Some people call it heavy metal, and others call it industrial techno. Either way it's fairly simple music that goes for your spine, not your brain. Of course if you want to use your brain listening to it, that's okay with me!

HD: Where are you based out of, what is the music scene like there, and how does Project Grudge fit into the scene?

Mattias: I live in Malmo, located in the southwest of Sweden right by the ocean. The music scene around here is sadly enough mostly about mainstream pop, and we don't have at all as many radio stations playing cool music as you do in the states. We do have a lot of festivals where you can listen to all kinds of good music, and some clubs that only play certain genres. Project Grudge has a small advantage over some other bands here because the music works in both metal and electronic music clubs.

HD: You recently play out here at the Milwaukee Metalfest. How do you feel the show went and who was your back-up band?

Mattias: I thought the show went great. The guys who backed me up were Justin, Nick and Alex from Too Many Gods, another band on Medea Records. Amazing musicians that gave the show a good live boost. In fact they inspired me to hook up with a drummer and a bass player back home so that future shows with Project Grudge will always have some of that live feel to them.

HD: How did you become connected with Medea Records?

Mattias: I sent out demo CD's to labels I'd be interested in working with. I found most of the labels on the internet and sent CD's all over the world. Medea contacted me almost right away and wanted some more material. I wrote 4 new songs just for them, they liked it and those songs are now on the CD. Medea Records has a genuine interest in music and an honest attitude towards their bands, something that isn't too easy to find in this business.

HD: Where do you get the ideas for some of the lyrics on the CD?

Mattias: I look around what's happening to the world, get pissed off and write it down. Some people have it all, others have absolutely nothing and every day we make choices to keep the world just as twisted as yesterday. As long as I have the right to complain about this I'll keep writing lyrics!

HD: Who are some of your musical influences?

Mattias: Kraftwerk have always been the masters of electronic music, they've influenced me a lot. I also want to pursue the power of a live Frontline Assembly show, the experimental joy in the early Skinny Puppy songs, the strong rhythms in Nitzer Ebb, the great guitar riffs from Black Sabbath, the vocal harmonies and simplicity of the songs coming from 60's music like The Beach Boys and Elvis Presley. I could go on forever talking about this...

HD: How long did it take you to record Between You And Reality and what were the more difficult aspect of doing it all yourself?

Mattias: It took about 8 months and I got the privilege to record and produce everything myself. I wrote the songs and recorded them at the same time in my small computer based studio, a luxury I wouldn't want to live without. The most difficult thing was to keep my own sound all the way through the process and not get too influenced by other recordings. I'm happy with the way the CD turned out, and wouldn't change a thing if I had to do it all over again.

HD: Are there any other Project Grudge CD's available?

Mattias: No. This is the first one, but not the last. I still have a lot of crazy ideas left.

HD: What do you think is the most annoying musical trend today?

Mattias: The fact that a song can't be left alone for two days before someone makes a cover of it sounding exactly the same, that's a kind of recycling I don't understand. Don't even get me started on the slaughter of the Bob Marley songs...

HD: Help us with the current debate we are having here at Highwire Daze - who's better - Britney Spears or Christina Aguilara?

Mattias: I can't help you there, I don't know anything about plastic surgery.

HD: What has been your favorite CD of 2000 and why?

Mattias: Nine Inch Nails The Fragile. Even if it came out in 99 it has lasted me until today. I love the way every song connects into the next, and the way the mood changes several times while listening to it.

HD: Are there any plans for Project Grudge to come out here and play live again?

Mattias: No plans have been made yet but I'd love to go on tour or just play a few shows in USA next year.

HD: Have you ever performed your music acoustically and/or ever wanted to do so?

Mattias: The Project Grudge songs are not really suitable for performing acoustically. I like playing different styles of music though and wouldn't want to throw away my harmonica or acoustic guitar, but it is not Project Grudge.

HD: If there was one thing you'd like someone to remember after hearing your CD, what would it be?

Mattias: Very tricky question. I'd like it if someone remembers that they forgot some of their worries while listening to it.

HD: What are the future plans for Project Grudge?

Mattias: We're shooting a video for "The Blues" any day now, and that will be a lot of fun. I also keep writing new material for a future release and spend a lot of time with the live band. We're going to get out and play more shows in Sweden, that's our primary goal for the moment.

HD: Any messages for people who might be interested in checking out your music?

Mattias: Yes, if you want you can always check out www.projectgrudge.com. You'll find more info there than you ever wanted and it's a pretty cool site with downloadable sound clips and stuff. You can also bear in mind that no other band out there sounds like Project Grudge, yet…


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