Humor

INTERVIEW: Viagra Boys’ Sebastian Murphy says he sees humor in life that transcends the band’s music

Viagra Boys’ third studio album titled “Cave World” was released in July 2022 to much anticipation after the positive reviews of their first two albums. The Stockholm-based band made their Coachella debut earlier this year as they embarked on a spring US tour in support of their ‘Welfare Jazz’ album which garnered a lot of attention when it was released. The five-piece band was founded in 2015 and has quickly established itself as an exciting live band fronted by San Francisco Bay Area native Sebastian Murphy (lead vocals) whose stage presence is lively and engaging while Henrik ‘Benke’ Höckert (bass guitar), Tor Sjödén (drums), Oscar Carls (saxophone) and Elias Jungqvist (keyboards) provide sound and rhythm. Known for their dark humor and satire in their songs, the Viagra Boys embody the punk rock spirit that many bands before them set the standard.

PC: Pete Mar

Speaking with B-Sides before their show in San Francisco recently, Murphy noted the influence of growing up in the Bay Area and seeing a wide variety of bands from the Sex Pistols and Le Tigre to country shows as a kid. , noting how Hank Williams III had an important influence on him. “My dad had a really good record collection and I used to loot his records and he had a bunch of Joy Division and stuff,” Murphy said, “he wasn’t as in the country than me but he introduced me to Hank Williams and that’s kind of where it probably started, my country obsessions Murphy’s exposure to city life led him into the party scene at the age of 14, as he described it: “I was an angry kid. I don’t think I ever had any goals more than the one I wanted to screw up. I didn’t like not be in reality it was much easier to do drugs just to try to escape I just ran or was much more then With the troubles and challenges he faced in growing up in trouble with the law in his youth, Murphy had to avoid the three-strike rule and moved to Sweden, where he had family there (his mother being from Sweden) and had spent many summers there. Murphy shared: “I kind of romanticized Europe and this image in my head of me moving there, becoming a poet, sitting in Paris smoking cigarettes. I had this image of Europe and it ended up being a very cold place but it’s my home now.

PC: Pete Mar

Blending these influences from Murphy’s youth, bassist Höckert is the mastermind behind the band’s sound. Their vision of keeping their sound simple and beat-based is what appealed to audiences around the world. Murphy noted, “We almost wanted to do what electronic music tries to accomplish but with rock and where something is like very repetitive but the slightest change in how something is done. This makes it not seem repetitive. I’m really inspired by a lot of Devo and even Motörhead and that driving sound. It’s a mixture of all kinds of inspirations, it’s not just punk. We are very inspired by techno and hip-hop. These sounds are at the center of “Cave World”, which is a commentary and observations on the divisions that prevail in society and politics. The topic was not something Murphy intended to write about, but it was so prominent, especially in Sweden, that he couldn’t not write about it. There are simple lyrics filled with the point of view of “idiots” on the Internet, from comments about gun lovers in “Troglodyte” to conspiracy theorists in “Creepy Crawlers”. During a break before the San Francisco show, Murphy explained how the desire for monoculture that has been bubbling over the past few years in the United States has spread internationally, “We were in Japantown and it’s like if it was cool that america is good at celebrating other cultures when in sweden it feels like the only thing they can talk about is how they can bring those cultures out there .It’s a very sad place the state of the world today.There are a lot of horrible things going on that are more and more accepted and allowed to happen.The way people talk and the racist bullshit that people people get away with are amazing.

PC: Pete Mar

After the ups and downs of his life, Murphy is grateful to be where he is with a strong music career, a stable personal life, and a view where he doesn’t take life so seriously. “I try to see the humor in everything, it’s very important. I learned that life is precious and should not be thrown away. I have a very good life.