In the constant onslaught of “content” that we’re all under siege every day covering seemingly every facet of life, it’s rare to have something come out that feels completely fresh and venturing out into uncharted territory. From the opening moments of “Blanco” on Sudakistan’s latest LP, Swedish Cobra (out this Friday via PNKSLM), you can feel that it’s a notable exception to the status quo.
Given their last album, Caballo Negro, this shouldn’t be a total shock. The Stockholm, Sweden band has already been experimenting with the fusion of South American and latin rhythms with punk rock volumes, but they hit a profound new stride with Swedish Cobra. The recorded was recorded live in the studio in an attempt to capture the furious energy of their concerts and it’s a choice that paid off. The brash banging of the drums against the fiery, slamming guitar riffs is a completely visceral experience. You can almost feel the sweaty bodies of a crowd surrounding you as songs like “Caminos” breakdown, a moment of tense waiting until the guitars surge into an electric storm once again.
Swedish Cobra is a relentless album. Once you begin, you’re ensnared in a cacophony of noise, rapid-fire vocals, and thrilling new rhythms. It’s hard to put a label on Sudakistan, especially after an album like this, and that’s exactly what makes the band so exciting. But even still, the band aptly captures an intense feeling. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sounds of the earth opening up beneath you, burning at your feet and sending an invigorating current through your body.
Ahead of the album’s release, you can stream the album in full below. KEXP also caught up with the band’s bassist Maikel Gonzalez about the creation of the record, their fusion of sounds, and their natural chemistry as a group in a short Q&A.
It’s been a few years since you’re debut Caballo Negro. When did you start work on Swedish Cobra?
Mid-2016 we kind of decided to start working on a new album and put all the ideas together. It’s not that we decided to make the album and then started writing the songs, some ideas were already out there.
What did you want to do differently this time from that record?
We all wanted to make it sound different than Caballo Negro. Kind of wanted a more rounded sound. With Caballo Negro we put together songs made in 2012 with some made in 2015 to create the album. In Swedish Cobra we wrote all the songs in one year period more or less, so it’s more like a cohesive album in that sense. Recording live was also something we really wanted to do as well and having just one person produce and mix it, which we didn’t have with Caballo Negro.
You’ve built up a reputation for your furious and thrilling live shows over the years. Was that something that was important for you to capture on these recordings? I understand you recorded live together in the studio, but did you do anything in particular during those sessions to keep the energy up?
I think it’s kind of hard to keep the energy up as you said even recording live in a studio. Playing with headphones and knowing that you could fail one note is something we are not used to playing live, or even in rehearsal. In that sense we all worked to be more professional haha.
It’s always been impressive how you’ve been able to blend Latin rhythms with punk and garage aesthetics and tones. It works especially and exceptionally well on this album. What made you want to fuse these styles together? Did you take a different approach at all when working on Swedish Cobra?
Is think that’s just us five as a band. We didn’t decide to be a punk or psych or even a Latin band. We actually don’t know how our songs are going to sound until they are done. I mean we all come from different backgrounds and we are not part of any specific music movement or something like that... It feels a safe territory to mix salsa, punk, metal and psychedelia when we play together… just sayin.
Lyrically, Swedish Cobra finds you more often than not looking inward. What was on your mind as you were working on these songs?
I guess we had more to say now than five years ago. We have been through a lot of things as a band and in our personal lives.
You’re a band that’s know for ambitiously traversing different types of musical territory and your fearless performances. What’s a sound or musical idea that you’d like to try next that you haven’t had a hand at yet? What type of music are you finding yourselves drawn to as of late?
I think that’s something we will figure out making new songs. Haven’t gotten over Swedish Cobra yet, haha.
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