INTERVIEW: INVSN's Dennis Lyxzén Reflects on "The Beautiful Stories" and his Desire to Write Meaningful Music
Sweden's INVSN could be classified as post-punk or dystopian pop, but what matters more than a genre or label is the meaning behind the songs. Formed by five friends with the desire to create meaningful, impactful music, INVSN initially began as a side project for those who were already involved in other ventures (take vocalist Dennis Lyxzén, for instance, who already fronts Refused and the now-defunct (International) Noise Conspiracy) but quickly grew into something more, and as time has gone by the band has gradually become their main focus.
This year, the group released their new album, The Beautiful Stories, which finds them more focused and refined than ever. With the desire to write their most creative, ambitious music yet, INVISN focused solely on pushing themselves creatively, rather than worrying about sales or likes.
This month, INVSN are out on the road stateside in support of the new album, and their live performances are something you don't want to miss. Tickets for the upcoming shows can be found HERE. Read what Lyxzén had to say about the band's new album, plans for the future and music as a whole below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Prior to forming INVSN, you’ve all played with other projects or even together in some capacity. What inspired you to start writing music as this group? What made it different than anything else you had done so far?
When me and Anders and Andre started playing together years and years ago it was very much a project and very much a very unpretentious mission. More or less a side project to our other bands.
As time has gone by and we evolved into INVSN it has more or less become our main focus. With the addition of Sara something like 7 years ago and Kicki 5 years ago it turned into a real powerhouse of a band.
Your motivation and ambition always changes but I must say that the band we started out as and the band that we are today are almost two different entities. When the initial idea was just to hang out with good friends and play music that has definitely changed to a way more pretentious approach to art and creativity.
Do you feel that your previous experiences in other bands have shaped you as a musician or even helped to shape INVSN’s sound?
Of course. Everything that you create and everything that you are is carried over into different bands and projects. For an example, when we started writing the last record I came off a Refused writing process so I wanted to create something that was really different from the guitar oriented music that Refused was writing. So, we stripped away a lot of the guitars and decided to focus on rhythm and percussion instead.
Is there anything you’ve learned over the years that you were able to bring into a newer project that you wish you would have known or could have done sooner?
Is everything a valid response?!! Hehe.
There are certain aspects of being young and wild that are really hard to replicate as your grow older, that might be the only things that I miss writing music now. I think everything else is better. The understanding of the language of music and lyrics. My singing. The courage to let me music be unrestrained by genre or expectations. However, there's something fantastic about always learning and trying new things.
One of the most important aspects of art and creativity is failure and being able to recognize it.
Now, INVSN has been around for a while, even before the name and language change. How do you feel you’ve grown as musicians from when you first started writing together to now?
When we started the band we were way more formulaic then we are now. The ideas were much more restrained to an idea of what we were supposed to be then what we really wanted to be. By adding Sara and Kicki we also added another dimension musically that we never really had before.
I also think that when we really started taking the band seriously and not just looking at it like a project we really expanded the idea of what our music could become.
Earlier this year, you released your new album, The Beautiful Stories. What goals did you have in mind for this release?
We just wanted to write some fantastic music that was free from preconceived ideas. We wanted to challenge ourselves and our perception of the band. Apart from that it is always strange to talk about goals. Of course you want as many people as possible to be able to listen to what you create and the ideas that you have but all of that is just bonus. Creativity is creativity for it's own sake. Worrying about sales and likes and such is something completely different.
Were there any stories that you wanted to tell with this album?
Bernie Rhodes, infamous manager to the Clash, once said to them: write about shit that matters to you. It's something that I lived my life by. If someone gives you this platform, say something that matters, to you at least. Music has a tendency to become just petty entertainment for mass-consumption and for us it was never about that. We honed our skills and we found our values and ideas in punk rock and hardcore and ran with it. Music for us has always been about ideas and resistance and rebellion. A chance to express something that politics really can't anymore. I wouldn't say that there are that many "stories" per se on the album. It is more personal reflections and analysis of the world and the way we view it!
"Music for us has always been about ideas and resistance and rebellion."
Now that it has been out for the world to hear for a few months, what are some of your personal favorite things about the album?
I am still very much in love with the record. Give me/us a couple of months and we will start picking it apart and finding things that we could have done better. I am really happy with the way we sing together and how that became a sort of new dimension to our music. Also I think that "Love's Like a Drug" is my favorite song!
This month, you’ll be hitting the road for some North American shows. Is there anything you’re excited to do or see when you’re here? What shows are you the most excited for?
Yes, a couple of things that tickle a bit more than usually. First off, Anders has played in the band since day one and this is the first tour that he is doing with us. That is fantastic and it's going to be tons of fun.
I am also really excited to meet up with all the friends that I've made over all the years of touring over in North America. I am really spoiled when it comes to touring over there but I always have a good time and I'm always looking forward to it. I am pretty stoked about doing Riotfest since both X and New Order are playing the day we are there!
With The Beautiful Stories out now, what’s next for the future of INVSN? Have you looked that far ahead yet?
Well, we just released a new single. A cover of Lana Del Ray's 'Love'. We are already working on new music but I would say that the main focus for the next year is to tour. Get infront of people and show them the band that we are!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for doing the interview and hope that people will take the time to check out the music and come out and support us when we roll through town!!