Did this evolve into a larger fashion interest?
- In junior high school, the yuppie fashion became popular. It was all about lambswool jumpers in bold black and white patterns by Lyle & Scott and Ivanhoe. In order to build on that style, I asked my mum if I could have a Lacoste polo shirt and a pair of shoes from Lyle & Scott and I remember her saying, “there we go, the label hysteria has started.” It became a big deal, kids suddenly wanted branded fashion – today there’s hardly anything else on offer. But back then people thought the youth had lost their minds over their clothes.
Did you have any style role models during this period?
- Anders Borg was handsome. I had joined the Moderate Youth Association to prevent film censorship, a major debate in the 1980s. Borg, who subsequently became Sweden’s finance minister, had a kind of Clark Kent nerdiness that was really neat. Short wavy hair, glasses and a bow tie.
Without older siblings, I didn’t really have anyone to show me the way. When I started high school and walked into the library, a guy called Gunnar sat there reading Slitz, which in those days was a music magazine. I remember him asking me if I knew about Nick Cave. I said no and Gunnar sighed loudly. Around then I got into synth-pop and started dressing in black and Dr Martens.
That’s not far from your style today. Have you kept to it ever since or is it a result of several phases?
- Several phases. For a while it was all about doing the unexpected. When I was in a band, I got black clothes for all the band members while I dressed in colourful flower power outfits. It was all about making a mark.
In fact, our appearance was more important than our music. Not just the outfits, but the staging and the placement of the instruments, the backdrop, our movements. Headbanging the right way was important, beating the drums in a way that showed we really meant it. I still think it’s incredibly important that the stage looks cool when I go to gigs. I’m very annoyed with Depeche Mode, they look like any ordinary band nowadays. That’s not much fun to watch. They used to look like Kraftwerk with Freddie Mercury singing.