Umeå Hardcore Part I: Birch and Ashes (Johannes Persson/Cult of Luna)

In September 1994, 16 year old Johannes Persson, a vegan, straight edge, member of the hardcore music scene found himself at the center of a socio-political movement at its inflection point. Umeå – located 8 hours drive north from Sweden’s capital Stockholm – had recently seen a number of arsons and direct actions aimed at drawing awareness to animal rights and a national political tide turning right. While these acts made headlines nationally, what put Umeå on the global music map was its burgeoning hardcore scene. Johannes joins us to discuss his involvement in this youth-led movement; the courage and confidence DIY ethos imparted; and how it felt as an aspiring musician to walk the same streets as his idols. The breakdown of his relationship with animal rights groups was not pleasant, and Johannes reflects on the challenges of self-definition he and his generation faced as they parted with the movement.

Thanks for joining us on our first exploration into Umeå Hardcore. We’ve compiled a companion playlist for this series which you can listen to HERE. We encourage you to explore platforms apart from Spotify to find more music from this movement. In Part II, we are joined by Marc Strömberg and dive into his and the subsequent generations’ experience. You’ll be able to find future explorations on this topic in this feed.  Umeå Hardcore Arkiv has an online display of photos, newspaper clippings and posters from the movement, check it out!

Our conversation with Johannes shifted naturally into a wider discussion about Cult of Luna, Red Creek Recordings, his new record label venture (with distribution from Metal Blade and Seasons of Mist), recent collaborations, and his creative process. We cover all this and more in Episode 28.

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