SAN DIEGO — A few years ago Dennis Lyxzén, singer for the (International) Noise Conspiracy, received the e-mail most musicians dream about.
"Rick Rubin saw us on our first U.S. tour, and he liked it, and then he sent me an e-mail literally saying, 'Hi, this is Rick Rubin, can I do your next record?' " Lyxzén recalled. "I didn't even ask the other guys in the band. I was like, 'Yes, you can!' "
Lyxzén is a longtime Rubin admirer — "Slayer's Reign in Blood is one of the few metal records that I still listen to on a weekly basis," he said — which made the experience of collaborating with the veteran producer all the more overwhelming (see "Rick Rubin's 'To Do' List: Audioslave, Peppers, System, Cash").
"It was crazy because we're this little punk band from the north of Sweden, and we come in and he's just finishing up the Slipknot record and he's just about to start a new Weezer record, and I'm like, 'What am I doing here?' " Lyxzén said. "But it was a great experience, and I hope we get to do it again soon."
The (International) Noise Conspiracy actually recorded the album 18 months ago but ran into record label problems in the U.S. upon completion. Rubin intervened again, signing the band to his American Recordings. The album, titled Armed Love, is now due October 4 in the States.
"We started this band almost seven years ago. We come from working-class backgrounds, political backgrounds, and we want to talk about politics in a way that's inspiring and sexy and entertaining actually," Lyxzén said, expanding on the album title. "A lot of bands that talk about politics, they [have a] bleak, dysphoric vision of the future, and we want to kind of switch that around. I read a quote from Che Guevara saying, 'Every true revolution is driven by love.' And I think it's a great thing, 'cause it's easy to hate stuff and it's easy to be angry and upset; it's harder to know why you're fighting, what you're fighting for. So that's why we liked it, 'cause also, we're all revolutionaries. We're not some kind of hippie reformists that believe, 'Let's all hug and things will happen.' We believe that we need to radically change the economical culture of political structures that we live under ... so Armed Love."
The follow-up to 2001's A New Morning, Changing Weather (see "(International) Noise Conspiracy On Tour And Handing Out Homework") is as political as anything T(I)NC have put to tape, but in the wake of September 11, it's also quite emotional.
"When we wrote the last record, the whole anti-globalization movement was happening," Lyxzén said. "There was protests everywhere, we traveled the world, we played protests and you could kind of feel like something was happening and revolution was in the air. Then 9/11 happened, and it was like a huge backlash on all the political movements that we were a part of. It's hard to wake up one morning and be like, 'Yeah, the revolution didn't happen.' Like, what to do now? And that inspired a lot of the new record, kind of finding the strength to carry on, and this is what we need to do."
The first single from Armed Love has yet to be decided, and won't be by the band. "I leave that to people that are not in the band because anytime anyone in the band wants to choose the single, they get self-conscious and they're like, 'I wrote that part, so I think that song should be a single,' " Lyxzén said.
Once the song is selected, however, T(I)NC will get involved in the video-making process.
"All the videos we have done have been our ideas, our concepts," Lyxzén said. "We're a very conscious band of the way we present ourselves onstage and the artwork for the record and everything like that. So every time we do videos, it's the same thing. We sit down with the director and have him make our vision come true."
T(I)NC are currently scheduling a U.S. tour to promote Armed Love. "The fall, the spring, whenever people want us to come, we'll come," Lyxzén said.