Thanks so much to Frida for the interview! I wrote some time ago about Inside Riot on the blog and was lucky to get in touch with Frida after that. I had been a fan for a long time, not only a fan of Inside Riot but also a fan of her other bands like Rough Bunnies or The Flame. So it was quite an honour to be in touch with Frida! Luckily she was happy to answer all my questions and here I’m crossing fingers she’ll like to do an interview about Rough Bunnies and The Flame sometime soon!
++ Hi Frida, thanks so much for getting in touch and being up for this interview. I’ve been a fan for long of your bands so this means a lot! Definitely the band that I know less about is Inside Riot, your first band, so let’s talk about that. When and where did the band start?
Hi there Roque. Inside riot has existed in different versions as long as we have been able to play instruments good enough. Anna and I played music together as children. We used to play guitar, and violin in the basement of my parents’ house. Anders (Anna’s brother) And Anna used to play with Anders friends Mattias and Martin and when I was Old enough I joined them.
++ Originally was it you and Anna only? When did Anders, Mattias and Martin join the band and how did you know them?
No, or yes. Originally, as we grew up together, we also naturally played together. But only in our basement. I was the last one to join the band which we later named inside riot.
++ So before Inside Riot you weren’t in any bands, right? But what are your first musical memories? What instruments do you play and what do you think inspired you to make music?
No, not any bands with actual names. My brothers and I also played music in our basement though. We can all play just a little bit Of everything but none of us is an expert in any instrument. We wrote songs because we wanted to impress guys we liked. Then it became more like writing a diary, together.
++ And had the other members being in other bands before or after Inside Riot?
Martin, the drummer, he was in a really good grunge band before he joined.
++ Who came up with the name of the band, Inside Riot, and what’s the story behind it?
The name is from one of the first songs I wrote. We needed a band name and the song was crap but the title was ok, so we used it for the band instead.
++ It’s said that Inside Riot used to record in Berlin and that you were in Malmö. Whereabouts are you these days? And what are your favourite things about these two cities?
We all decided to live in the same apartment in Berlin for half a year in 2002, to be able to play gigs and record. We are back in Sweden now, inhabiting the cities. Most of us live in Malmö.
++ And what do you remember about the recording sessions in Berlin? How was the creative process for Inside Riot?
Anna and I wrote songs and presented them to the band. It was always the same process. No drumming on the yellow metallic stuff, no funky guitar rhythms but otherwise the band was (almost) free to do anything.
++ Your releases came out on CDR mostly and during those early 2000s there were many bands releasing CDRs. How helpful was this format to spread your music and why do you think no one is releasing CDRs anymore being a cheap format for fans and labels?
We released CDRs due to its availability and that downloading mp3-songs was pretty slow at that time. Not that many people have CD players anymore. Now its easier to put all the songs into a homepage for free downloading, which is just as good.
++ There’s little information about your first releases, “The First Record (Eskimo)” and “Hi, What’s Your Name?” on the web. Was wondering if you could give me some background info about them? Like what year they were released? What songs were on it? If they were put out by any label?
I don’t remember exactly when those albums were recorded. Alan McGee promised to release an album on Poptones, but then they had an economical crisis and we never really sent the recordings to any other label.
++ I’m mostly familiar with the later releases, the posthumous releases, on Bedroom Records, like “1999-2002” and “Berlin Recordings + Mini EP” and they are brilliant. But I’m wondering, aside from all these releases, are there still any unreleased Inside Riot songs?
No, we released all of the good songs and also the crappy songs we rehearsed. There are of course songs that we did not rehearse and some of these songs were released by rough bunnies and some of the songs are forgotten.
++ And what made you release the compilation “1999-2002” a couple of years after the band had already split?
We met Jonas from bedroom records when we were playing as rough bunnies and we told him to also release the inside riot songs. He was very flexible when it came to our wishes.
++ I have so many favourite songs by Inside Riot, but maybe “World of Love” is my fave. If you don’t mind, what’s the story behind this song?
That song is about my first love, Guldtackan, and also about the first heartbreak.
++ And what would be your favourite song and why?
My personal favourite is ‘more lost than alive’ on berlin recordings, only because of the dreamy parts in the song.
++ How did it work releasing with Bedroom Records?
It worked fine, but in the end it would have been better to release everything by ourselves. They couldn’t produce as many cd-rs as we needed.
++ There is this mystery about five songs that are listed on the CDR “RB for Beginners”. It is said five songs that are listed don’t appear on the CDR, “How Did He Know I Had a Dick?”, “Riding in Cars”, “ESK-83”, “Human Industry”, “Teenage Obsession” and “I Say Goodbye”, what happened?
Haha, I drew the CD-r cover before I checked how many songs that actually fitted on the CD-r. I just left them out when I realised that I had to remove some songs.
++ Inside Riot (and Rough Bunnies) were covered by The Fine Arts Showcase. What do you think of these versions?
I think they are perfect Gustaf-versions. He had heard all the songs with only song and acoustic guitar as we used to live together, so the arrangements are his ideas of the correct sound.
++ Why were no other releases by Inside Riot at the time? Was there any interest by any labels?
We talked to both Fred and Calvin after playing gigs at the same clubs. They could release old stuff but we wanted to release new songs, so rough bunnies released a new record on Ypsilanti with Fred.
++ You told me that you mostly played in basements and only occasionally in clubs, I assume in Germany and Sweden? What are the gigs you remember the most and why? Any anecdotes you could share?
My favourite is when we played for maybe 150 13year olds and EVERYBODY left the room to do other activities. That was in Malmö.
++ Did you get any attention from press, radio, fanzines or blogs at the time?
Yes, pretty much. The reviewers and people playing in other bands used to love us but we never had a fan base of real people.
++ And when and why did the band split? What did the Inside Riot members do after?
Anna and I wanted to do our own thing. We were much too bossy for the others to cope with. They got serious and started to study. Anna learned belly dancing and we started rough bunnies and the flame.
++ Looking back, for you, what was the biggest highlight of being in Inside Riot?
It is so nice to play music together once a week. The song writing is the best part, tightly followed by the time in the rehearsal cave.
++ I know there’s much more to talk, like you were in bands like Rough Bunnies or The Flame and would love to do interviews about them too if you like, but let’s start wrapping this interview. Was wondering if you are still making music today?
No, but my kiddo is. She has super interesting lyrics.
++ What other hobbies do you have?
We like to hike in the forrest and walk long distances.
++ And what about Malmö, I was there many years ago and I had a good time. What are your favourite places to hang out? What are the sights not to miss and what are some traditional dishes one has to try?
There is a good place to eat Somalian food at Persborg. And the falafel in Malmö is good. And for activities…it’s nice to fly kites by the beach in the summer. And you should always explore Malmö by bike.
++ Thanks a lot Frida, it has been a pleasure. Anything else you’d like to add?
Not really, you had a ton of questions,haha! Thank you Roque.
Inside Riot – World of Love