Interview with The Dahmers guitarist Christoffer Karlsson By Kayla Greet
From Kristianstad, Sweden, The Dahmers are a four-piece power-pop band who mainly write songs about horror and things that go bump in the night. They have been around since 2011 and have released several full-length records as well as some EPs. Though all the band’s members are native to Sweden, they write their songs primarily in English.
Guitarist Christoffer Karlsson says, “Most bands sings in English, and most of the bands we listen to do, so we find it quite naturally.” He adds that it is easier to reach a wider audience this way, and notes, “Besides, it would probably sound kind of ridiculous to sing those kinds of lyrics we have in Swedish.”
The group booked their first gig before they decided on a name, and The Dahmers was one of the first suggestions that everyone liked, so it just stuck. “It’s more that we have a fascination with horror and the mysterious dark side of the human mind—you know, things that kind of gives you the creeps,” Karlsson explains.
But don’t let the horror punk angle fool you, as musically, they’re more akin to Jay Reatard than the Misfits—who they claim as one of their main inspirations. “But if we tried to imitate and sound exactly like any already existing band, it would feel rather pointless,” Karlsson claims. He continues, “It would be incredibly boring to limit yourself just to satisfy people’s expectations. We don’t like that kind of boundaries—rock ‘n’ roll is a wild animal which needs to be free.”
Coupling lyrics about monsters with a spooky garage punk sound and ‘80s horror movie poster-inspired cover art, The Dahmers have their pastiche nailed down. Aside from their latest record, In the Dead of Night—released back in April via Lövely Records—drummer Karl-Oskar Hansson is responsible for all the art on the band’s albums and merchandise. “He is a great artist and, of course, as you can guess, a big fan of old-school horror,” Karlsson shares. “We are lucky to have him in the band.”
A creepy element that especially stands out on their most recent record is the band’s deft use of Theremin. “Well, the Theremin is just perfect when you want that spooky vibe, so it fits very well in our music,” Karlsson reflects. “We really like to experiment, just enough to keep things interesting.” In fact, their first record includes accordion on one song, and they also tinker around with organs, pianos, and instruments of that ilk.
While this multitude of different instruments stretches across the gamut of their music, it doesn’t affect their live shows much at all. Karlsson remarks, “We don’t necessary feel that it has to sound exactly the same on the record as when we play live. On a live show, you have the whole visual experience as well; on a record, you are totally dependent on how it sounds to keep the listener’s attention.” In the Dead of Night does exactly that.
Since their latest full-length was released, the band have played gigs in Sweden, Germany, and England and have more in the works for this fall. At the moment, there are no plans to venture out to the U.S., though Karlsson hints at the possibility. “We’ll see what comes up for next year,” he teases. “Maybe we’ll see each other then, who knows?”
For now, Karlsson says, “We’ve been promoting the last record for a while now and are definitely building up an appetite for getting back in the studio.” He concludes by saying, “We have a bunch of songs lying and waiting, just wanting to be released and spread like a disease upon the world.”
Just like a good jump scare in a slasher movie, you can’t let your guard down around The Dahmers. Pick up a copy of In the Dead of Night and keep an eye on their Bandcamp and Facebook pages for their upcoming plans.