‘Blood on our Hands’ is out now.
And We Should Die Of That Roar are a singularly unique prospect. Led by the Swedish/Bosnian singer/song writer Hardy Hum, they create the most raucous of cacophonies combining proto punk, blues, gipsy, Americana, and Balkan oompah music. Their latest track is called ‘Blood on our Hands’ and is a particularly personal track for Hardy Hum who arrived in Sweden as a refugee over twenty years ago.
We asked him to tell us what inspired the track. As usual, Hardy went into enormous and engaging detail. Check out the video for ‘Blood on our Hands’ above.
This bold tune is bearing witness not only to the pain of the millions afflicted by the horrors of genocide and refuge but also to the responsibility each and every one of us have in not allowing ourselves and each other to remain passive in the face of human suffering. I, myself a refugee from Bosnia anno 93 when I fled to Sweden, feel that I bond at the gut level with these people… hence, this is a song of pain! Of dark! Of despair and loss! Of war! Refuge! Of those who never managed to escape from a life they never wanted! Of those who were forced to flee from a life they loved! And of all those others who never found a home… sweet children on the run… those whose lifeless tiny bodies are washed-up on far away coasts… face down in the sand… their lungs filled with motorboat oil and night cold salty seawater… and drowned dreams about a life that never came…
It’s also about putting an emphasis on the fact that there’s no real rescue in the refuge. Yes, lives are being saved so of course providing asylum to people in need, sharing what we have, is the least that all of us on the wealthy side of the pond can do. However, we must never engage in a game of reciprocity here, demanding gratefulness and respect from refugees for what they… for what we are being given. Being a refugee ain’t no walk in the park! You have one life forever lost! And the other one forever out of reach. And you’re stuck in-between those two. Our lives are torn beyond repair – it’s a chronic condition. And at the same time, we’re not here (in their new homeland, be it Sweden, UK, France, Germany, USA or any other country) on holiday. This is our home. And the only way for us to have a glimpse of dignity in our lives is to be relieved of any kind of social, cultural, and/or emotional debt to our new homeland or its native inhabitants (whatever that might mean). That is when we might consider our new home a home and start building our lives anew in a dignified, proper manner.
Democracy is a privilege! A great one – but it doesn’t come without the responsibility! Our actions, our voices and our votes matter and do make a difference, for better or for worse. And we cannot always dodge the jabs of reality, shoving our heads in the sand chanting ”It wasn’t me” or ”it ain’t my business” when we encounter human suffering. Far too many of us have this tendency to put the blame on some other country or a bad guy… like, y’know, Russians did it, Americans did it, Bin Laden did it, or Breivik did it. But it’s wrong, because our choices in life matter and we can at least try to do our best to counteract these things. Then, and only then, are we allowed to say ”it wasn’t my fault”. Until we try our best – and by our best I mean a hellovalotmore than giving 15 quid to Amnesty International each month or changing your Facebook profile photo into a rainbow flag or a ”Je Suis… whatever” This responsibility means that we need to realize that elections are not a soap opera, they are for real… and remember that democracy is like fire – of great help when held in check but worse than the most vicious dictatorship when untamed and let loose… because then the evil forces are given – by the people – the mandate to act upon their wicked wishes and realize their vicious plans. Beware! Be aware! As a musician I strongly feel that this responsibility must be weaved into my art. This should apply to anyone who cares about his or her art. Let someone else stand for entertaining! We! Must! Reflect! Our! Times!
4. Junior Kimbrough
Well, I always have this sound of slight out of tune hypnotic juke-joint firr thing going on in my head… kind of a soundtrack of my life… and Junior Kimbrough is one of those responsible for it. And that doesn’t surprise me – Kimbrough and other great names in blues carry so much pain in their voice, in each tone they hit on that guitar… as if they carried the weight of all slaves in US history on their shoulders… So whole this tune is built on this kind of repetitive hypnotic thing that Kimbrough would belt out… because it resonated with what I am feeling as a refugee… and I do bond at the gut levels with African-Americans and their history in general with all of the struggle for self determination, Civil rights movement an all that… Sometimes I feel this bond so strong that I kind of sense this urge to make it roar like it hasn’t roared before… to let the whole world know that this is a universal human problem that is not fixed just because we’ve got rid of the slavery. Colonization, oppression, patriarchy and slavery are all still here, it’s just that they’re sneaky, taking on new forms, sneakin’ up from behind… in a fancy suit and shiny shoes… sometimes wearing an orange wig… so I drowned the Kimbrough-style riff in the sea of good ol’ analog classic fuzz… a lot of fuzz… which brings us to the next one…
Yeah – FUZZ!!! I love fuzz! Always have! I buy them fuzz boxes like I’m possessed! I’m an addict! This particular song grew from me noodling around with a Junior Kimbrough style riff and then at some point I just stomped on one of my fuzzes and rocked out and it felt great immediately. What a ride!!! So when we got into the studio I built the main riff on the combination of this heavy baritone guitar tuned as low as B and I gave it a go through one Sun Face style pedal with these warm germanium transistors and it sounded rough and torn but familiar and nice at the same time. And I recorded another one through my renowned Ampeg Scrambler and we panned them somewhat to give him some space and they rip like there’s no tomorrow! I love it. It’s a good thing my sidekick and producer Kenny was there to calm me down whenever I would get too carried away with the fuzz goodness… hahaha, y’know, he’d come in from the control room and say as politely as he can ”You do realize that THAT isn’t even a tone, you’re just making the speaker fart, that’s it!” … hahaha, so I had to back down on gain a bit sometimes… but in the end we got it right and are more than pleased with the results… the whole song – which is also reflected in the video shut by Carl Biörsmark – is dirty, roughed up, torn and glitchy…. Just like you would expect a big ol’ flood of mud n bodies n bones to be like.
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