TEDDYBEARS: Haba Haba Zut Zut?

The genre-bending Swedes, The Teddybears, bring their hybrid blend of music and their new album, “Devil’s Music”, to the States. But what’s Haba Haba Zut Zut?

Words: Kathy Iandoli
Images: Tomas Nordmark

Mi press trigga mi nuh press people button/Nuh bodda chat come face mi wit somethin’/

Like how mi have twenty two inna mi somethin’/Ten haffi use so mi get di next dozen, fool

That level of aggressive “cobrastyle” lyrics has consistently come from a band called The Teddybears. The legendary, post-modern Punk collective has been crafting genre-bending sounds for nearly two decades. The Swedish trio had early beginnings in Hardcore, specifically Grindcore. Their debut album You Are Teddybears posed the paradox of gritty music with a fluffy album/band name. Throughout their tenure in music, The Teddybears have consistently reinvented the wheel for themselves and the sounds they create. On their fifth studio album Devil’s Music, they boast collaborations with the likes of Eve, B.o.B., Cee Lo Green, the B-52s and longtime friend/collaborator Robyn.

While touring the States, lead singer Patrik Arve took his bear mask off to talk reinventing genres, Anti-Vinylism, and how the present landscape of Electro-Pop isn’t quite their forte…but rocking is.

What would you consider to be the biggest difference in your American audience over other audiences around the world from touring?

It’s hard to tell. We’re wearing bucketlike bear masks almost hermetic-sealed while touring; can’t see nothing, can’t hear nothing. The only thing we can sense is the smell [of] our own breath, the breath of death. I guess the Americans behave like they should.

How do you see your music’s changed from when you first started recording close to 20 years ago?

We are doing music that is a blend of what we are currently listening to. It’s just an unnatural evolution that reflects the content of our personal vinyl crates. In this harsh era of Anti-Vinylism that we live in today, it’s getting harder and harder to put new content in the crates. Eventually we might end up digging throughout our own crates and reinvent hardcore punk, but I’m not Nostradamus…time will tell.

Devil’s Music was originally supposed to drop in 2010. Did you decide to push it for collabs with B.o.B., Cee-Lo, etc?

No, it was uncontrollable powers that were out of our reach.

How did replacing Desmond Foster with B.o.B. on “Get Mama a House” come about?

We went to ATL to record with some musical talents such as B.o.B, Cee Lo Green, Kardinal Offishall among others and B.o.B insisted upon doing his version of “Mama” and we ended up with a dope version of that song.

You’ve worked with Robyn for a while. What did you think of her version of “Cobrastyle”?

The epic Robyn version represents the feminine side of an otherwise manly trio, as the lyrics are all about women’s liberation.

Are you happy with the direction Electronic music is going in? It’s becoming more present in Pop than it’s ever been before.

No, I’m not very fond of modern Pop Music. Pop to me is The Beatles. I love Electronic music, but not the Pop side of it.

You started out Hardcore, and have managed to keep that going in your music all this time. Do you consciously keep that going or is that a natural influence that keeps coming out?

It comes naturally. It’s useless to try to put out the flames of Punk Rock burning deep inside. It will shine through anyway.

Who are some rappers you’d like to collaborate with?

Rakim, ODB (R.I.P.), Lil’ B, Eminem, Damon Albarn, Dizzee Rascal, Chuck D, Busta

If you could invent a new genre, what would you call it?

Haba haba zut zut!

Images by Tomas Nordmark.

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