Original Photo by Mispahn via flickr.com/photos/mispahn/
Artist and Stockholmer Nadine Byrne invites us into the small but radical underground scene of Sweden's capital city
Stockholm is quite small with inhabitants who are very attentive to what´s going on around the world, meaning a lot of people tend to move to larger European cities like Berlin, London, or Paris to fulfil their dreams, leaving Stockholm dry of creative people and initiatives. Even so, Stockholm can be a city where you can experience a lot of great things. Being born and raised in the very centre of Stockholm like I am, it is easy to be blind to what is going on, so this list is as much a reminder for me as it is a guide to you.
Location: Söder Mälarstrand 27
Fylkingen was founded as early as 1933, and has since the 1950s been the foremost (if not the only) forum for new music and intermedia art in Sweden. It was here that the first electroacoustic concerts in Sweden took place in the early 1950s, and it is still a place where you will be likely to see something you´ve never seen before (something that can be both good and bad). There is something happening every week, so you can just drop by to see what´s going on. They also arrange various workshops open to all and have their own recordlabel; Fylkingen Records.
Location: Söder Mälarstrand 61
EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) is the Swedish national centre for electronic music and sound art. They offer courses in anything and everything related to electroacoustic music, and are open to everyone interested. The courses are from beginners level to professional level. After completing a course you get access to the 6 studios which are full of all you need, for example a legendary Buchla modular system. EMS also offers a unique collection of books on electroacoustic music and sound art, forming the EMS library.The library collection includes books and periodicals on electroacoustic music, sound art, text-sound, concrete poetry, computer music and sound synthesis, soundscape and acoustic ecology, contemporary music, audio technology, acoustics etc. There are also loads of CDs and the IDEAMA archives, an international documentation of electroacoustic music covering 1929-1971.
The library is open for research upon request.
EMS also arranges different events like workshops, lectures and concerts often in conjunction with other organisations. For example Fylkingen and EMS are very closely knit.
Masskultur/Ny Musik För Hållbar Utveckling
Ny Musik För Hållbar Utveckling (New Music For a Sustainable Future) started arranging concerts at the youth-section of Stockholms Culture-house in 2008, with the aim to showcase the Swedish underground music-scene. With an almost journalistic approach the concerts were accompanied by fanzines and a documentary which featured interviews with the people who make up the experimental music scene in Sweden (yours truly nervously rambling is in there too). Today the activity of NMFHU is mostly concentrated to their blog nmfhu.wordpress.com (all in swedish though), and in its place a new project has emerged from three of the NMFHU-members; Anja, Martin and Henrik. Under the name Masskultur they arrange concerts with both Swedish and foreign acts, with the venue changing each time. The thoughts are still the same as with NMFHU: to give space to artists, musicians, creative people in general and the audience to meet in the realms of the small but vital DIY-scene of Sweden.
To this day some of the bands booked are: Daniel Higgs, U.S Girls, Ättestupa, Stellar OM Source, Noveller, Skeppet and many more.
To know where and when their next show is become a member by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mother is another ambulating show-organiser (who actually team up with Masskultur now and then) making Stockholm a happier place. Behind Mother is multi-tasking Gavin Maycroft who puts on gigs at least once a week, as well as managing two record-labels, four bands, two artists and who DJs frenetically.
Thanks to Mother, Stockholm have been able to see great bands like Prince Rama, Ducktails, U.S Girls etc; the kinds of artists who always seemed to just miss Stockholm when in northern Europe. As well as providing some of the best small acts from around the world, Mother also gives upcoming Swedish experimental acts their first gig, which makes going to a Mother-event a great way to discover new music.
Venues where you can experience a Mother-event are Landet (LM Ericssons väg 27) where there are also other great clubs, Debaser (Karl Johans Torg 1) a legendary Stockholm Rock hang out, and the hip and posh Riche (Birger Jarlsgatan 4).
Skymning (meaning Dusk) is the name of a music-scene in Stockholm made up by bands like Lux Lumen, Fé, Wonderland Gang, Ectoplasm Girls and Kids of the Woods and a few more.
These bands just happen to be me and my friends! Johan Hinders, who is Fé, noticed the common darkness in his and his friends musical projects and founded Skymning as a common name for them. He also started arranging concerts under this name during which bands of the scene play. If you´re into neo-goth, death-ambient, or darkness with a hint of light then Skymning is for you. Next Skymning is in spring 2011.
Bastard, Hang-ups, Dktus
The past few years a number of small galleries, with a non-profit agenda and connections to sub-cultures like graffiti and DIY have emerged in Stockholm.
They host events as well as exhibitions and a spirit of doing things just for the fun saturates them all.
Bastard Gallery - Östgötagatan 87A
Galleri Hang-Ups - Rutger Fuchsgatan 5
Dktus - Trädgårdsgatan 4
Studio-spaces for artists can be hard to find and expensive. The best thing to do is to find a big empty space and rent it together with a group of people. That way you also get a social network (so very tired of that term though) and can have fun coffee-breaks with your studio-neighbour! And you can arrange parties and exhibitions and distros together!
Some people in Stockholm already did this and lucky for everyone else they also rent out studio-spaces to anyone interested.
Detroit have 25 working spaces and an adjoining small gallery space which have hosted several exhibitions and events (for instance Masskultur has hosted some of their shows here).
Platform have 90 working spaces plus a big space which in the future plan to host exhibitions but in the meantime mostly hosts fun parties!
Detroit - Roslagsgatan 21
Platform - Lövholmsgränd 12
Location: Birger Jarlsgatan 32
Rönnells is a legendary second hand-bookshop, which just recently celebrated 80 years by being open for 80 hours straight with non-stop literature readings, musical performances and film-screenings. Being Sweden's (and possibly Scandinavia's) largest second hand-bookshop, there is a good chance you´ll find what you´re looking for here, whatever it is. It is beautiful as well with all the books and the old patina preserved, it makes you feel almost as in a film whilst browsing trough the thousands of books. Rönnells have their own publishing house which also releases music, most recently a 12" LP where sound artists Dan Fröberg and Joachim Nordwall have made field-recordings in the bookshop as a base for their sound-pieces. Rönnells also regularly host events like readings and releases.
Location: Hornstulls strand 3
Bio Rio is a single auditorium movie-theatre, one of the few in Stockholm remaining from the 1940´s, with the interior uniquely preserved. Bio Rio often hosts various film festivals and cinema clubs, for example Art Kino which showcase video-art from around the world.
They almost exclusively only show quality-film, and live opera! Neighbor to Bio Rio is the café Copacabana which has great sandwiches and nice staff.
This Autumn, the right won the Swedish election again. Perhaps even worse, the Swedish Democrats, a party deriving from the extreme-right, got into the Swedish Parliament for the first time. A big disappointment for a Sweden that is tired of losing to capitalism. It is however, also a catalyst for a new movement of resistance. One of the most creative ways of resistance is that of Psychic Warfare. By performing a Psychic Attack, the minds behind Psychic Warfare hope to bring down what they call The Global Dominion.
Besides performing Psychic Attacks, so far aimed at Swedish Democrats, the Culture-department and most recently towards the Noble prize in economy, the Psychic Warriors also regularly publish The Psychic Warfare Bulletin (available for download at their website) and organize lectures and reading circles mostly concerning the complex issue of the immaterial labour of cultural workers.
Hagaparken, Djurgården, Långholmen
I think one of the best things about Stockholm is its many parks and closeness to nature.
In the middle of town you can find large parks which makes you feel you are far away from everything, and if you hop on a bus and drive for 15 minutes you can be out in the countryside.
Hagaparken, Djurgården and Långholmen are 3 different large greeneries in different parts of town, all beautiful in their own way. Hagaparken makes you feel like your walking right into the 18th century. Djurgården has the beautiful Rosendal Gardens where you can botanize in vegetables and flowers for hours. Långholmen, most centrally located, in summer let´s you swim in the middle of town, surronded by cliffs, with City Hall in the horizon.
Nadine Byrne is an artist born, raised and currently living in Stockholm, Sweden.
Working in several mediums ranging from textile sculptures to sound and film, she often merges them all together creating an entire world of her own. She is interested in the occult and all forms of religiosity, something that influences all her work. Recent works have centered around ritual and the visuals around it, and she is currently in the process of finishing a short film shot on 16mm about a western esoteric cult of her own making.
The Magic State is a project dealing with subjects like transcendence and ritual trough sound and video in a live-setting. In addition Ectoplasm Girls, which sister Tanya Byrne is one half of, functions as a way to trough sound process a common interest and experience of death, dreams and absurd pop-cultural phenomena's.
The Magic State just recently released a 7" on Swedish label iDEAL Recordings, and Ectoplasm Girls is soon to release their first full-lenght LP on the same label.
The sound/video-work of Nadine Byrne have also been featured on Sound Art IV - The Swedish Scene, a DVD showcasing Swedish sound art, and the DVD-collection Back To Human Nature.