Arguably one of the most influential bands of 90s, we were extremely fortunate to catch up for a brief chat with Refused guitarist Jon Brannstrom.
Could you please state your name, position in Refused and favourite movie in the Indiana
Sure, my name’s Jon F Brännström. In the live setting I played guitar and in the studio I also
worked with various electronics. To be honest I’ve never liked Indiana Jones. Always thought
he was a chauvinistic piece of shit.
It’s been a very long time between drinks, what have you been up to music wise since the
split of Refused in 99’?
Well, right after Refused I was involved in a loosely connected art collective called TEXT.
We made an album and lots of shows, focusing mainly on improvisational themes. In the late
90’s, early 00’s I was quite active as a jungle/drum’n’bass DJ and also produced beats for the
Swedish rapper Phonetik. In more recent history I’ve mostly been writin and producing. Some
film scores, some records and so on.
It seemed to be quite a heated disbandment. Do you maintain contact with the other members
from the band after so much time has passed?
It was tense for some time, but that blew over quite soon. We don’t hang out on a daily or
weekly basis, but I love those guys and I’m always happy to get together with them.
There has been a lot of mystery coupled with an equal amount of excitement in regards to
Refused in the last 3 months. Could you please explain any developments that have been
occurring in the Refused camp?
Well, here has been lots of rumors about a reunion and we have been getting offers to
perform live and so on. My position is that it’s not gonna happen. I suppose it could be fun
but I doubt that we could pull it off without crushing some expectations. The only thing we’ve
been working with is making the reissue of TSOPTC happen.
The Shape of Punk to Come has recently been re-issued here a few days ago. When you
were writing this album did u ever think it would still be such a well received album even 10
years on? I mean, I saw that even Crazy Town covered The New Noise haha
Even though the title is prophetic, I never thought much about how it was going to received
or whether it would stand the test of time. I only wanted to write and produce to the best of
my abilities, mainly to impress David and Kristofer. I think I pulled that of and that was all
that mattered. Of course, some of the attention that we’ve been getting in recent years have
been flattering whilst some of it have been quite disturbing.
Continuing on from the above question, what time of music were you drawing influence from
at the time of writing this album and what kind of mind set were you in when it came down to
recorded the tracks?
We were quite open-minded about being influenced in the writing process. Actually there
were no filters at all and we were also very open to the idea of stealing riffs and making
references to other music. Some of the artist we borrowed from would be Wagner, Afghan
A lot of bands seem very touchy about re releasing CD and special edition versions of their
previous work. What was your initial take when Epitaph approached you to re release
They wanted to put bonus tracks on the record, an idea that we strongly opposed. That record,
as well as any good album, isn’t only a collection of songs. We worked quite diligently to
arrange it as an album with a beginning and an end, hence any extra material on the disc
would fuck that up. As long as the album itself wasn’t messed with we were ok with it though
and added material on other discs doesn’t interfere with the album as such, in my opinion.
Hopefully it even adds something to it.
Since the bands inception in 1991 to our current date, you must have seen a great deal of
changes occur in the music scene. Do u think heavy/alternative music is in a good place at
the moment with bands being made and broken over night via myspace?
Whether punk rock is in a good place or not, I cannot to say. There are tons of crappy bands
out there and some great ones as well. As always, I suppose. I do think that every
development that makes music more accessible and that bypasses record labels, marketing
divisions and so on, is a good thing. It’s a democratization process where the smaller artists
are the winners and the big ones loose out. So, I like that.
Are there any upcoming Swedish bands you have recently seen that we should keep an eye
My favorite Swedish band is probably the Knife. They’re not really up and coming, but I’m
not sure their legacy have reached Australia. I also really like Frida Hyvönen, Death Breath
and Jenny Wilson.
Can u please organise a reunion tour and get over to Australia already? Please?
I’m kinda bummed that we never got to make a "tour down under", but it’s too late. Too late.
Worst experience on the road?
Being on road was always a pain. Playing shows was fun at times, but I rather wanted to hang
out in the studio. Worst experience must have been our last week as a band. We broke up in
southeast USA, but couldn’t afford to drive back to the airport in NY, so we had to play a
bunch of shows on our way back to get money for food and gas. The tension was quite
Favourite heavy release of the last decade?
Diamanda Galás – Guilty Guilty Guilty
What do u have planned for the rest of 2010?
Lots of mountainbiking, roadbiking and research work during the summer. Back to medical
school in August. Completing recording an album with a friend.
Thanks for your time, any final words or greater insights into life you would like to share?
Greater insight? I wish.