The Swedish singer has performed with many bands during his career including the influential Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, which both has strong messages about the power of music. He stays true to that thought with his new band INVSN, who recently released their English language debut last month. Here Dennis talks about the new album, the Refused reunion, and staying true to yourself.
You guys have actually released a number of albums under a different name overseas. The self-title release is your first album in the US. Were you guys nervous about how you would be received in the States?
Dennis Lyxzén: No, not really. I've released way too many records to get nervous about it. Of course you want people to get into it and hopefully get excited about the music, but all in all in this juncture in life I am only really concerned with proving s*** to myself!
What kind of differences are there between your previously released albums and this new one?
DL: This one is in English!!! Ha-ha. I think that's up to the listener to judge that. As an artist you always want to think that you made huge steps forward in every aspect.
When listening to the album you can hear a lot of inspiration and sounds from the 80's alt rock scene, in the same vein of Bauhaus and Joy Division. Was this your intention or did it just come about naturally?
DL: Yeah, it did. We are all fans of post-punk and new wave and such but we also listen to a lot of different contemporary music. All the different references just came together in a natural way. However, I do think that we are a bit partial to a certain sort of sound that hints at the 80's a bit. If you know your musical history you trace some of it in the music.
For this new album, who were some of your influences?
DL: No one special really. We always try to keep an open mind and let pretty much anything influence you. If you wanna be an artist for real you can't really limit yourself or your mind to anything. I never been interested in just trying to stick with one style or one idea. Bring them all in and see what works and what sticks.
What sort of themes are found on the album?
DL: The usual themes of existential ponderings and alienation and such. I [always] thought that if you had the chance to say something then say something that matters. The world is a f***ed up place and most people just go along with it. Music for me has always been an artform based on the idea of resistance and rebellion. Music could and should be a tool for liberation!
You recently released the video for "Down in the Shadows." How did the filming for that go?
DL: Pretty good. We shot the video in the middle of the forest outside an abandon house. A fast process even though we had to sing it in 2 languages.
You have been in several bands including punk band Refused. Where did the idea of forming INVSN come from?
DL: Me and Anders and Andre have been playing together for years in various bands. A couple of years ago when The (international) Noise Conspiracy went on a hiatus we decided to give INVSN a proper go. At first we were called Invasionen, which is Swedish for the Invasion, but when we got signed to Razor And Tie we figured that we needed a name that worked better outside of Sweden.
You guys will be heading out on tour in a few weeks. Is there a particular song from the new album you're excited to play live?
DL: The entire record. It is always a strange process when you work on something for an intense period of time and then you just have to wait for months and nothing happens. It is such a relief to get out and actually feel that the songs exist beyond the practice space or the studio!
Is there a significant difference between playing live with INVSN and playing live with a band like Refused?
DL: Yeah, there is of course a very different energy. Every song has its own movement and its own flow and when you start playing new songs live it takes a while to tap into that. The energy or INVSN is more restrained but at the same time very powerful and explosive while with a band like Refused it is way more primal and direct. All of this effects the way you move and carry yourself on stage.
What was it like reuniting with Refused last year for Coachella and the other festival performances?
DL: It was fine! Festivals are not really that representative of how you perform as an artist but the response we got and the entire year was way beyond anything we ever expected!
Do you think Refused will reunite again in the future for more performances or for new music or do you feel like that chapter of your life is closed?
DL: Well, I love to move forward and I love to always try new things and challenge myself. Then again as proven last year nothing is ever completely closed, so who knows?
INVSN will be heading out on tour this fall to support the new record. They'll be in Chicago October 17th at the Metro opening for Minus the Bear. Tickets are on sale now. INVSN's debut album is available now. To grab your copy of the stellar debut and to find out where they'll be next, visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.