Our Culture interview, English version

Thank you very much to klas and Our Culture for your time.

For those who do not know you, could you explain to us what it is and who you are Our Culture?

We are werewolves from Stockholm. We are between the age of 25 and 45. We have kids, dogs and wives. We are mountain men that formed a forest brotherhood. We like to drink and eat. Some of us are fat. We go to football and we go to pubs. We’d like to go to clubs but we don’t… we only end up in handcuffs. With age we are slowly getting more and more comfy… maybe toooo comfy. We collect shit and argue over things like jackets and movies. We are compulsive, passive aggressive and are known for holding a grudge. Still, we like to think of ourselves as a bunch of nice blokes who like hanging out with likeminded lads.

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How are the ‘reminder’ you do , how organised , how people go and what things do ( not seen in the photos) ?

Extreme discipline and a waterproof organisation. Those who wont obey are forced to walk the plank. It’s the only way to keep our unsinkable battleship on its course. No seriously, the core foundation is 4 lads but a family of lads and lassies spread out all over Europe. We are what we are and we do what we do. We always have a dozen ideas and projects in the pipeline but everything we do, we do out of love and compulsive interests. We write what we’d like to read, create stuff that we’d like to wear ourselves and take the photographs we’d like to look at ourselves.

Talk about collaborations you have done with Nemen , 6876 , Casual Connoisseur , Mamnick . What do you look for a brand you choose and work with it?

We don’t really look for anything. It comes natural and mostly out of years of friendship. Such a fucking cliché thing to say… but most of these things come natural because certain minds think alike. We are proud and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with all of the above. We love our friends, and would like to send out a shout out to our friends in Berlin (BG POSSE) too. Our friends in Russia, Gene138 and all those people. Our friend Zoltan from Hungary who has some really cool stuff in the pipeline. Keep your eyes open folks!!!

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Here we have one of the best football leagues and two of the strongest teams in the world, but the casual scene is well below other European countries. Not wanting to miss anyone, Sweden is not known for its football potential, but how is his casual movement?

Football means different things to different people. To some it’s a artform, for others a science, a sense of belonging, a form of relaxation and so on. Technique wise… Swedish football is pretty shit. But we like it – primitive and very back to basics haha. I can enjoy a U21 game more than La Liga etc… all depends on which mood I’m in. The problem is all the transfers and big business. Footballers want to make as much money as possible as fast as possible which of course effects the possibility for a leauge to grow and improve when players disappear on a regular basis. Sweden is a small country in the North so the clubs will never be able to compete with big clubs in southern Europe, France or England.

Don’t know if there is a casual movement anywhere. But I think that the words means different things to different people depending on country, region and city. To some it’s the violence and a identy-kit-uniform with all the obvious and in-your-face-brands. To others its something that took place in the late 70’s and early 80’s and then died. And for others it’s a form of onemanupship that doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with violence but music and football and mates and partying etc.

I think Sweden is a mix of all these things. There are loads of lads that dress well at footy across Sweden and if we should get down and be a bit nerdy I’d say that the Swedish look is a mix of the late 90’s UK stuff mixed up with the late 80’s southern european thing (hoodies, flight jackets, sunglasses) mixed together with french Le Haine Chic haha. Put that in a fucking blender and you’ll get a solid picture.

What is your relation to the world of football and the terraces?
Do you think that violence is a fundamental part of the casual culture or believe that increasingly looks less?

Touchy subject. I love old mod stuff, punk, reggae, ska etc. But its no secret that a lot of so called sub cultures live in the past and is a thing of the past. Not saying that they’re not valid in 2014… but come on, a scooter run down to Brighton in 2014 would be kind of silly. There is no schock value in a mohawk and there is nothing offensive about wearing boots and braces. What’s the point of a “Spirit of 69” message if you were born in 1980?
I believe in live and let live but I think that something important gets lost when the element of danger disappears.

The football thing is different here, it’s in its nature to transform and meet challenges. Whatever happens there will always be a new season, new places to visit and new stories to be told. And even if its not what it used to be… to a point the element of danger will always be there until the day that football fans are forbidden to travel.
Is violence a fundamental part? We don’t want anyone to get serious physically hurt, but with that said… the whole thing will be dead and buried if rivalry and good clean fun disappears all together.

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Is the Swedish league also infected with this so-called modern football, exorbitant ticket prices, name changes teams, stadiums, crazy schedules … ?

Yes and it’s getting worse with every season. Higher prices and more restrictions. Football in Sweden is so shit that it’s the fans that keep it alive. More restrictions and laws against fans will kill the whole thing.

Our partner Don PG is a bit geek of all medieval Scandinavian history. The Vikings, The Edda of Snorri Sturluson, The Havamal, and Norse mythology in general. Unfortunately it has been used and reinterpreted by right – wing groups; Swedish is the proud people of their past adventurer and explorer, or there is suspicion by the fact that the use of this part of the story by the above-named groups?

Thank you for this question. Its the best question we ever got. We are not as a collective super interested in history, but I am. The Viking era has been a touchy subject here for the last 30 years simply because far right groups took our history and symbols and turned them into political tools, which is laughable and very sad. Not just because they took it but also because no one tried to stop them. The far right have a history of stealing anything historically important/”cool” and making it theirs. The Roman Empire, The Persian empire, Norse mythology etc. Pagan, comes from the word Paganus and was a way to describe people and religions that existed outside the Roman Empire (the same empire that gives brown shirts a hard on). Thing is that Asatru has more in common with paganism in Africa and India than it has with European christianity.

I am not against the national state but people talking about the Viking age keep forgetting that Sweden, Denmark and Norway didn’t exist as countries. There were small kingdoms and a sense of belonging but it wasn’t about a ”strong national state”. What Havamal teaches us is moderation and acceptance. Sure there is a lot of talk about honour, war and violence but it also teaches us that we shouldn’t take pride in blood and the past. The norsemen were great warriors and pretty vicious but most of that is just folklore written by christians that did everything they could to paint a dark picture.

Today when there is so much tension between religions in Europe… we should remember things and phenomenons like the Varangian guard. Basil II of Byzantine employed vikings as his personal bodyguards. This new force became known as the Varangian Guard . Over the years, new recruits from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway kept a predominantly Scandinavian cast to the organisation until the late 11th century. In the eleventh century, there were also two other European courts that recruited Scandinavians: Kievan Rus c. 980–1060 and London 1018–1066.

As early as 911, Varangians are mentioned as fighting as mercenaries for the Byzantines. About 700 Varangians served along with Dalmatians as marines in Byzantine naval expeditions against the Emirate of Crete in 902 and a force of 629 returned to Crete under Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 949. A unit of 415 Varangians was involved in the Italian expedition of 936. It is also recorded that there were Varangian contingents among the forces that fought the Arabs in Syria in 955. During this period, the Varangian mercenaries were included in the Great Companions. Trade, new relationships and classic curiosity led the norsemen to different parts of the world. If they had been to protective and chauvinistic they wouldn’t have travelled the world like they did.

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In your motto “Protectors of the North” looks like that you want to claim a bit all that.
You were one of the last to be Christianized European peoples, have you noticed lately a rise of paganismand the old religion Asatru for your lands?.

The Protectors of the North wasn’t something we created as a norse/asatru thing. It’s just our way to honour the men and women here who’s stories were never told because it didn’t seem interesting enough. For me personally its about me honouring my grandad. He was born near the Norwegian border in 1925. Left home at the age of 14 to work in the woods, went to sea a couple of years later and ended up in Baltimore where he stayed in a black neighbourhood. He was a true anti racist and a true protector of the North. He gave everyone a change and treated rich or poor equally. For the fishermen, lumberjacks, factory workers, maidens and soldiers – POTN is us saluting them.

Don’t know if there is a rise of Asatru here. Probably not but maybe. Maybe its like that everywhere… not just here. The whole digital revolution makes us search back in history and seek answers. A lot of historical events, news and science is just a mouse click away… so we start to search for the bigger questions that are a lot more tough to answer. I have friends in Russia that are really interested in the stuff that went on before they became christians. I have a friend in Sicily who’s interested in Italy’s pre-christian days too. Our Culture is not some sort of Asatru worshipping collective hahaha. But we do find these things very interesting. I mean, how can anyone read about Wendish and Polabian tribes or Kalavala and not find it cool as fuck?

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The casual culture is still evolving. In the 80’s order brands and Italian style and sport; in the 90’s the pattern which prevailed was the classic English, and now it seems that the Nordic style takes, Do you think you have, with the people of Casualco, a percentage of”guilt” in all this?.

Maybe but that could change tomorrow. I actually love a lot of Italian and southern european stuff. Some of the old french vintage stuff is the best shit I’ve ever had. It all evolves and changes all the time which is cool. That’s what makes things interesting. A year from now this interview will be totally out of date and us bearded gnomes of Scandinavia and Stockport will be relics of the past haha. CC are our brothers… and they have that “special touch” when it comes to make things interesting and fun. They have created this melting pot of movies, old ads, stories, music, violence, historical porn and futuristic designs… and turned into one big attractive world that I think most guys and some girls want to enter. They do what they do very well… and a lot of people copy what they do.

Our Culture is much more negative, dark and scandinavian. Black and white, broken english… like a dark cloud of cold creativity hahahaha.

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Some of the favourite brands opt for designs based on hard working American clothes, good jeans, shirts in the style of American prisons, Red Wings boots… do you think it will be the American style which will be imposed from now ?

Style and function is timeless. Red Wings make fantastic boots made to last. Denim, great workwear stuff like that should never go out of style. I mean, football lads have worn labels like Carhartt for ages too. I hope that this “thing” will grow out of US labels this year and italian stuff the next. Wear what you like and like what you wear. The price tag isn’t important, the label isn’t important as long as you like it yourself. Way forward is to mix and match I’d say.

What are clothing brands more prominence within the Swedish casual aesthetic?
What Swedish brands do you think that make a difference?

We love Fjäll Räven and old norwegian Norønna stuff. Udis (RIP), old Tenson jackets, Vintage Melka, Karhu from Finland and I think Mikkel Rude in Denmark make really cool shirts. Those are the only brands worth mentioning.

What relationship has Our Culture withthe mountain? What is your favorite place?

I would love to say Jotunheimen in Norway (Home of the Giants) but I would be a liar – Glittertind and Jotunheimen is still on my to-do-list. Our favourite places: The Old City in Stockholm, Bellamansgatan in Södermalm, Akkurat, Oliver Twist, Ölkiosken at Mosebacke, Britons Protection and The Peveril in Manchester, Scarborough Hotel in Leeds, Tørst in NYC, The Cottage pub in Sundbyberg, Stringfellows, Kebnekaise, The pub near Hölö, Broborg (Our Pagan altar – the legend of Grimsa), Old Uppsala and the Kings graves, Genoa – Italy, Råsunda R.I.P, The Dalarö beer resort, The Korova Milkbar, Seattle and Portland forests, The endless forest between Sunne and Mora, The Belfry in Oslo, Grünerlukka I Oslo… and our brother Simons place in Stavanger.

All these places make up the Our Culture Mountain. Join in and climb with us!

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Tell us what you want.

”Fänaden dör, fränder dö, själv dör du likaledes; ett vet jag som aldrig dör: domen som fälls om den döde.”

We salute you friends in the south – NO PASARAN!

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