Sweden’s Dungen—makers of sweeping, sometimes searing psych-rock augmented with woodwinds, pianos and prog-funk grooves that ultimately find a midpoint between early Pink Floyd and vintage Scandinavian porn soundtracks—come to town this week behind their sixth studio album, Skit I Allt. We caught up with Dungen main man Gustav Ejstes—who says with a laugh that his English has gotten a bit better over the past year—for a spirited round of “Fill in the Blanks.”
The last time I was in Philadelphia I ... "was sitting in the van and we were waiting for the traffic, there was a traffic jam with a baseball game going on and there was some sort of camping and barbecuing going on in the parking lot of the baseball game.”
My favorite thing about Philadelphia is ... ”that’s the place that Cash Money invented the ‘Transformer scratch.’ He was not actually the first one who put it on wax—that was Jazzy Jeff—but Cash Money did some real stuff before Jeff.”
The biggest misconception Americans have about Sweden is ... "that we are all blond and we wanna fuck all the time.”
People who have never seen us play live before can expect ... "extended versions of the songs.”
The title of our new album Skit I Allt, translated to English, is “Fuck All.” I chose this title because ... "you have to expand your boundaries. In Swedish it’s a saying, it means forget about everything and go all in.”
When I played violin as a child I ... "hated it. I fucking hated it. They had this thing in the city I grew up in that every child who was 8 years old had the opportunity to play violin. So my father, who is a fiddler, he definitely thought that was a good idea. So me and my older brother were stuck with that. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I found it later in my life when I was 20, 21 and had my own way into the violin playing. I’m glad for it now but I hated it back then.”
My most treasured possession is ... "these blue Nike Air Max that I just got. That’s so materialistic!”
The one thing that must be provided for us backstage is ... "a big stack of domestic beer. That’s the easiest way to not get involved with the authorities.”
The strangest thing someone has shouted at me while I was performing was ... “‘Bequeath the jubilee!’ I don’t know what that means. Someone heard a line in a Dungen song in Swedish that he thought was an English line. The song is about my dog, so he didn’t have it exactly right.”
My biggest musical guilty pleasure is ... "it’s not a guilty pleasure, but I have to mention scratching, turntable stuff.”
The best thing about being in this band is ... "I’m playing with the greatest musicians in Sweden.”
The worst thing about being in this band is ... "being the songwriter, because you have to tell them when they’re not doing what you expect them to do.”
I’ve supported myself as a musician by ... "working a cash register at the market, and painting houses.”
The best advice I ever got about making music was ... “my grandpa always said you should play something that people can easily understand. I didn’t really follow that advice.”
Being hand-picked by director Jim Jarmusch to play the ATP festival in New York makes me feel ... “very, very flattered. I’m definitely a huge fan of his work. He’s a great artist and I really appreciate that he wants us to come to the festival.”
The oddest thing a fan has ever asked me is ... “‘will you sign my nipple?’”
The dumbest thing a journalist has ever asked me is ... “what’s the dumbest thing a journalist has ever asked me?”
Tues., Sept. 7
With Wooden Shjips.
1201 Frankford Ave.
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It’s easy being the Pretty Greens