Self Deception, a Swedish band based in Stockholm, has crafted a sound that blends alternative rock with metalcore. The band has been active since 2005 and consists of members Andreas Clark, Erik Eklund, Ronny Westphal, and Patrik Hallgren.
My worst nightmare could be the one where everyone thinks the world is perfectly fine. Where no one else realizes that we’re in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
During walks, I often ponder about the lives and concerns hidden within the people I pass by. A man repainting the facade of his house, a woman sitting in the grass with her child. Do their lives flow as naturally as the semi-skimmed milk in their morning coffee, or do they also find themselves in moments where they wonder what the f* is going on here?
Sometimes I think I’m alone with having these kinds of thoughts, but of course, I’m not. Self Deception, which is perhaps Sweden’s best rockband merging influences from alternative rock and post-grunge with metalcore, has followed up their release of ‘Fight Fire with Gasoline’ with yet another banger. Just released, ‘The Scandinavian Dream’ exudes just as much frustration and is slightly more provocative.
The Scandinavian Dream is less famous than its cousin – The American Dream. And also somewhat more modest. The Scandinavian dream encapsulates a life in the land of moderation (Sweden), where welfare, happiness, and success are a given for all, under certain conditions. All you need to do to partake in this Kinder Egg of few surprises is to fall in line. An extremely uncomplicated solution, theoretically at least.
During the 1960s and 70s, Sweden pursued individualism. Everyone was supposed to become independent. The country’s population is now in many ways the most individualistic in the whole world. However, individualism shouldn’t be mistaken for having much to do with us as individuals; this independence is more about economic autonomy. Thus, individualism hasn’t given us room to be our unique selves. Instead, it mostly resulted in us becoming more isolated and lonely.
Paradoxically, it might have also made us even more uniform.
Swedes are still just as scared of standing out and embracing something other than ‘a personality built Scandinavian, on Scandinavian dreams‘, to quote the Stockholm-based rock band.
The idea of independent, free individuals led us straight into the paradox of choice. It seems that having too many choices makes us nervous and easily leads to thoughts about ‘who am I?’ becoming overwhelming. Comfort can be found in peeking over the fence and inspecting what car the neighbor has and what shade of color they’re painting their house facades.
Moreover, the information you find can protect your place in line, because after all, you’re not allowed to paint your house whatever color you want. A color that doesn’t blend properly with the neighborhood might, in the worst case, offend your neighbors so much that they try to take legal action to force you to repaint it in something more suitable. (It might be entirely unreasonable for your neighbors to have to live with your house now being orange instead of white, I don’t know. Maybe the neutral path is always the right one. Maybe we’ve collectively lost our minds.)
Too many individual choices create chaos amidst all our Swedish individualism.
Similarly, some want to avoid having to live with the fact that you don’t want to work until you’re 67 years old (and counting) in a job that drains all your energy, leaving neither strength nor time for you to do any of the things you’re earning money to do. Instead, you spend the money on expensive status symbols to fill the void that life left behind. Alternatively, you drew the short straw and thus get stuck in a grueling job with a salary that barely suffices to keep existing. You’re not allowed to complain though, you who are fortunate enough to live the Scandinavian dream. But hey, have you tried credits?
In many ways, the Scandinavian and American dreams are the same thing. We like to put ourselves on a very high horse and claim that we up here on this shit cold northern hemisphere have found the solution to life. When in reality, we follow the same model, just doing it in moderation. However you twist and turn it, you must fall in line because the machine must keep on rolling.
The difference may lie mostly in the fact that in Sweden, we’re willing to pay high taxes to have a functioning welfare system. Which, admittedly, we don’t get, but that’s another story. On the other side of the Atlantic, at least it’s often encouraged to stand out with a strong personality, while the Swede, in traditional manner, shuts up, clenches their fist, and buys a can of house paint in a polite shade of uniquely white.