Multi-lingual garage rockers Sudakistan are based in Stockholm but most of them hail from South America. The infectious grooves they play and their intense way of performing those live makes the quintet a highly appreciated force to be reckoned with. Guitarist Arvid Sjöö and percussionist Carlos Amigo tells The Forumist about the recording of the debut album “Caballo Negro” and reveal what really happened on the second birthday party of their record label PNKSLM.
Here’s a quite eclectic Mixtape the guys put together for us.
Caballo Negro (black horse in Spanish) is an 11 songs debut album that opens with the title track. Carlos Amigo mentions a song with the same name, made by the King of the Mambo, Pérez Prado, and he says that the Black Horse for him can stand for freedom but also a certain darkness of the soul. The inspiration that made the band name the album what they did came from a visit to Liverpool, where Carlos saw a statue of a black horse outside of his hotel, an image that stayed in his mind until the time was right to decide on an album title. When we meet at Stockholm bar/café Twang (where you can buy guitars and watch live shows as well as have a cup of coffee) Carlos is wearing a brand new t-shirt with the image from the album cover, a man in a horse mask designed by Sergio Barros El Hase, printed on it.
Arvid Sjöö is wearing a Les Big Byrd t-shirt with big golden letters and I learn that a member of the Stockholm kraut rock band, Martin Ehrencrona, helped Sudakistan with recording their first ever singles, some of which were in Swedish and some in English. The Les Big Byrd tradition continued since Jocke Åhlund, singer and guitarist in the charismatic kraut clique and member of the tremendous Teddybears, co-produced “Caballo Negro” with Luke Reilly.
Reilly is the head of garage label PNKSLM (Punk Slime) Recordings, a label that started as a music blog in London but which now is a flowering hit factory in Stockholm. Sudakistan was the first band to be signed and since then several other promising garage gangs has joined, including Holy, Boys and The Castillians, some of Carlos and Arvid’s personal favourites.
This summer PNKSLM threw a birthday party to celebrate their two active years. 29th of May five bands played in a hard-to-find warehouse in the south of Stockholm to an exclusive audience of 200 fortunate ticket buyers. Sudakistan played the final set but barely had time to play a couple of tunes before a fire extinguisher was set loose on the amplifiers by a member of the crowd. According to Arvid the band did not know the person responsible at the time, but they do now. “His name is Fabian and it wasn’t his intention to break anything. He drove us around when we toured Portugal, almost as an apology” he says and assures me that the amplifiers are all right, although still a bit dusty.
The band name comes from a nick name for South Americans, “Sudaka”, and Carlos speaks of Sudakistan in a beautiful way, as an imaginative country where everyone is welcome. Among the five band members, who all met while working as chefs and bartenders at a restaurant owned by Arvid’s parents, there are three languages: English, Spanish and Swedish. Some speak all three and some speak two of them, but their songs are sung in every tongue.
The day after our meeting at Twang is the release party for the black horse, a true punk rock festivity featuring Jocke Åhlund, Luke Reilly and a man in a horse mask on stage with Sudakistan. The crowd is dancing to the Latin rhythms and both Reilly and singer Michell Serrano surf upon their hands, joyous about the anticipated album being set free for the world to hear. All present in the concert venue can feel, just like Carlos described it, that Sudakistan is welcoming everyone to their crazy world, a place that seems truly wonderful.
Words by Filip Lindström