Refused released The Shape of Punk to come in 1998 and never quite made it further than that. The group were dead, specifically "fuckin' dead," and when Refused reunited to do some shows nobody really thought much of new material. Then some rumors started swirling about the group making a new album and boom! Here we are. Freedom is out Jun. 30. and there's a killer new track floating around.
So what the hell changed? Refused were fuckin' dead! According to an interview frontman Dennis Lyxzén gave with Rolling Stone, the group hadn't even considered a new album initially.
No. Well. . . for the last two years, since it has been happening, yes. But before that, a definite no. When we got back together in 2012 I was very confident that that was gonna be it. "We're gonna do 10 shows," you know? But then we wound up doing 82, and somewhere down the line we ended up talking about creating new music together. But before that it was pretty unthinkable that this would ever happen. But I think that was partly a matter of history, and sort of the legacy of what Refused was. A lot of people think, "Oh, those guys, their last record was The Shape of Punk to Come, they can never fuck with that." So it's very unexpected to people that we decided to actually fuck with that.
He also touches on how the new stuff came about, which is interesting because apparently the material wasn't Refused material at all!
Before the reunion I had no desire whatsoever to revisit Refused music at all. I was done. And the reunion was just going to be this one-off kind of thing. But what happened was, Kris [guitarist Kristofer Steen] and David [drummer David Sandström] and Magnus [bassist Magnus Flagge], they actually had a band – I think they started playing together in 2010 – and they were doing this weird instrumental avant-garde metal music. And while we were doing the reunion thing, Kris once asked me, "Do you want to sing on one of these songs we're writing?" And I said, "Yeah, I can do that." And then Kris and David started talking about, "Maybe these songs we're writing could be Refused songs. . . " So at some point they asked me if I would be into the idea of creating new Refused music. And my initial reaction was, "I'm not sure this is a good idea." Then they showed me some music and I said, "Yes, this isa good idea!"
Finally, he touches on working with Martin Shellback, who has written songs for bands like Maroon 5 and artists like Taylor Swift. It's a ridiculously strange combination to think Shellback is, or has people, pumping out heavy punk jams… but the dude is clearly talented.
But I have to say, we met Shellback at some weird thing and we started talking, and he's this guy who used to play in hardcore and metal bands. He learned how to play drums by listening to Refused. And he's not on the record because he produced Taylor Swift records – he's on the record because "Elektra" was a seven-minute-long, super-weird song, and David played him the demo and then he took that demo and made it into a three-and-a-half-minute song. He sent that to us and we listened to it, and Kris, the mastermind of the riffing, called me up and said, "Yeah, that's a better version than ours." We'd been working on the song for two years, and Shellback made a better version. So we said, "That's fantastic, let's let him produce the song." But I don't really care about things like who he's worked with, or how many Number One records he's made.
So Shellback saved "Elektra." Nice! I'm hoping the group releases the alternate version of the song, the "super weird" version.
Check out these other new songs Refused has been playing live too. They're great!