When Swedish band INVSN released a self-titled album last year, many assumed it was the group’s debut. But as it turns out, INVSN dates back some 15 years.
In 1999, Dennis Lyxzén—formerly of Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy—started The Lost Patrol Band as a solo project that sometimes collaborated with and featured other musicians. Eventually that involved into less of a solo project and more of a band, and resulted in four releases between 1999 and 2006. After an issue with naming rights, The Lost Patrol Band became Invasionen, and released two albums in Swedish, before changing to INVSN in 2013 and putting out a third record.
As Lyxzén sees it, the change from The Lost Patrol Band to Invasionen was a clean break from the group, but since then, the dividing lines have been a bit murkier.
“From [Invasionen] on out, it’s been more of a gradual growth process,” he shared.
Even though it was an organic transition into INVSN, Lyxzén shared that it was somewhat inevitable that things would develop into something new, a change that is largely due to his nature as someone who is constantly changing and experimenting with new sounds.
“You’re a restless soul,” he said, referring to himself. “You always wanna try stuff and you want to move forward. And that’s what we’re doing. As we stopped being The Lost Patrol Band and changed and became INVSN, at first, like, the big change was that we changed our name and started singing in Swedish. [But it] affected the color of the music. And it took us in the direction that we became what we are now.”
In addition to Lyxzén, the band also includes bassist Sara Almgren, guitarist/keyboardist Anders Stenberg, drummer Andre Sandström, guitarist Kajsa Bergsten, keyboardist Christina Karlsson, and guitarist/keyboardist Richard Österman.
“We have a pretty new lineup since the last record,” Lyxzén shared. “We have two people playing with us live [who are] not on the record, and I’m very excited to start writing with them, because they’re both songwriters. I think the next record’s going to be even more collaborative and more collective.”
However, he shared that the songwriting process is already quite collaborative—nothing like the solo project he started off with.
“We all write together,” Lyxzén said. “Actually, our drummer Andre [Sandström], he writes the bulk of the music. He has this weird sort of melodic genius madness to him.”
Often, Sandström will write drum beats and simple melodies and send them to Lyxzén, who will rearrange things a bit and bring them in to practice for the others to add too. And of course, Lyxzén will also write the lyrics.
And though the newest album is in English, and INVSN is being branded as an English-singing band, Lyxzén explained that Swedish lyrics affect him more.
“They’re both their own thing,” he began. “Swedish might be a bit more comfortable. No, English is actually more comfortable because I’m more used to singing in English. Because that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. It’s like the rock and roll language, it’s like the…outward kind of explosiveness of what…rock music is. So that’s actually kind of more comfortable. But then singing in Swedish feels a bit closer to my thoughts. ‘Cause I write in Swedish and then there’s no filter. Because even though my English is decent, I still have to kind of think about the translations and the different meanings.”
The meaning of a song has always been important to Lyxzén, who is far left in his political ideology, and he has always used music as a means of expressing those beliefs, regardless of whether or not it’s effective.
“My take is that music as a mass collective movement has kind of lost that power. ‘Cause there are no bands that big and there are no movements that are that big. We’re too much of individuals. So I think music in that sense has lost the power it had…but music as a tool for making people think is still a pretty powerful tool,” Lyxzén said. “I’m not a politician. I’m way too crazy to be a politician, and my ideas are too insane. I’m a good entertainer and a good musician, so I’m using the tools that I have.”
Though he has convictions, Lyxzén did note that it becomes more difficult for people to stick to them as they age. Not only do people take on more responsibilities, but there is also the pressure to conform to living a certain kind of life.
“When you’re a young kid, revolution, rebellion, like being anti, is kind of expected from you. And as you grow older, the sort of crushing pressure of everything to become more of a normal person, it’s really hard to fight back,” he said. “The most challenging thing is always trying to stay on course, ’cause it’s a world where there [are] so many…rewards and easy fixes, and people wanna tell you how to do your thing and people wanna tell you how to live your life. And there’s been a lot of that. And you’ve kind of gotta stay clear from that and follow your own instincts and what you want to do, and I think that’s the hardest part of being a musician.”
That being said, Lyxzén is 42, straightedge, vegan, and a full-time touring musician, so it would seem that he’s resisted that pressure to conform quite well.
“I get to go tour with my friends, like my best friends, and I get to play songs in front of people,” he said. “I’m still in love with the idea of music.”
INVSN plays tonight at Privatclub in Berlin. The show begins at 19.00.