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Pelle Hellin (left) with the Fungus gang...

Fungus-a-mungus, deewwwwd!!

If punk pop has been sleeping for the lat five years then the alarm clock has most definitely just rung, been picked up in a grubby little punky hand and thrown against a concrete floor before being violently stamped on. Plug your ears, but make sure you can still hear the tunes through the cotton wool because Fungus are to punky pop what Richard and Judy are to morning TV.

Fungus guitarist Pelle Helin chats to Dawn Hoskin about moshing, artwork and some top-secret rumours concerning 'riot grrrl' group L7... .

How did Fungus come to exist as a band?

We are from the same town, on the west-coast of Sweden.

In as few words as possible, how would you describe your style of music?

Basically, rock with a upgoing glint in the eye..!

As a band, have you ever had any initial differences of opinion over what style to branch into?

Always! ...We argue what to have - what would be cliched and what is not. We improvise a lot and we have different goals, creating music.

Do you all bring very different musical influences to the band or are basically on the same wave length?

We all have our roots in completely different styles and tend to bring that to the rehearsal-room which sometimes brings a lot of confusion with it!

Which bands would you see as being influential or inspiring to yourself and Fungus?

Entombed, Bob Hund (Bergman Rock in UK), Pearl Jam, Kiss, Weezer, Pixies, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Frank Zappa, Primus, Iron Maiden, Michael Jackson (The early stuff), Death Metal and grunge Metal.

Your music does seem to have quite an American feel to it - how would you explain that?.

'Cause they have got that "special" humor it is sometimes difficult to catch in England...and we love FAT guitars!!!

Is it correct that you've all moved over here to England to pursue the band's success?

Correct, England and the UK are the only places in Europe where being a "musician" is looked as having a job! There are so many different kinds of music talents here too.

You said that English audience were too static for your liking compared to your home crowds, as you keep touring have you found this to change at all?

Universities are the best places to go to, they are always up for a bit of moshing and Crowd-surfing which I, myself, am very fond of!!

You've finished your first LP and you're hard at work on your second, following your successful mini-album fungusamungus. What direction are they going in and what cane we expect?;

We recorded the first one with Chris Sheldon, last year, and we're now demoing for our 2nd album. Rebel, A Fanclub... and Real Me, They're gonna be on it, yes, They are three very good examples. But there are surprises, which I will not tell ya!

Any problems getting the album put together (did the amount of touring you do put any kind of strain on it)?

No rather the opposite! It enhanced the album mostly. Most of the tunes are first-takes, which with other words means that we rammed the tunes in for 10 days, no more.
It is a LIVE, very ALIVE album.

The artwork that's being used for your singles; who is the artist, and were they a direct suggestion of the band?

Yeah, we chose that artwork ourselves. The artist is Henry Obasi; we're gonna use his work for the album aswell.

You seem to be almost constantly on tour; live music seems to be your strong point. Isn't it all taking a bit of a strain on you...?

Alive is the way to live!
Playing live, we hurt ourselves all the time; that is a part of what we are! We are learning a lot about the songs when we tour, how to play 'em and which ones the crowd likes. Cos' If the crowd doesn't like it, there's no point playing 'em!

What do you enjoy most about touring? worst?

The best thing about touring is when people move to the music. Worst has to be sitting 5 hours i a van, getting out of it and being shouted at by stupid bouncers with too much testosterone pumped into in their small brains.

Do you fulfill the whole rock n roll lifestyle, trashing TV's, rooms and people!???

We don't like messing with other peoples property, but, yes that happens sometimes, when we have had rude hotel-managers and other staff down our throats. Generally, if people are nice to us, we are nice to them.
We are fair!

Can you remember any of what your worst and best gigs with the band?

Worst was supporting Kiss in 97'..., We had 30,000 hardcore Kiss-fans, having a go at us, Wow what an experience! Best was definitely Reading 99'. We haven't got any festival dates confirmed this year yet thought.

You just recently finished a short UK tour with the mighty L7, how was it?

L7?? Who's that? They even had "backing-tracks". They were very boring and narrowminded.
The bass-player was alright though. They couldn't play their instruments, that's what I learnt!

At their London date, L7 raffled off their drummer to a member of the audience; what the outcome was of that?

They went to France the next day...raffle...Did they fool you too??

Would you ever raffle of any member of Fungus? (who and why?)

The only thing we wanna say is, get down to the venue, cause we are worth every little effort you are doing to see us live. I promise that you wont walk away emptyhanded, cause we ROCK so much you'll forget the ROLL!!!!!!!!!

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