Ryan: So how come at the end of your travels you ended up in Sweden? Was it for musical reasons or you fancied a change of pace from the US? And why Stockholm when all of us here in Göteborg know that it is so much better here?
Sarah: I had been living in London for 7 years and was very very very tired of the pace and quality (or lack of quality) of life there. Jacob lived in London with me for my last year there, and after some time there said: “You’ve got to get the hell out of here.” We met some Swedes who invited us to Stockholm for a visit, and after that summer visit we just never left. Such a gorgeous country, Sweden! Our lives are in Stockholm now – after 3 years – and I guess that’s why we’re here and not in Göteborg. I have visited your fine city many a time, as one of my good friends lives there. We are super anxious to play there, as that is the one place in Sweden we incredibly still haven’t played.
R: There is an obvious distinction to many Swedish bands, what aspect of Swedish music do you feel has had an influence, if any on your music?
S: None really. Being raised with American and British musical influences, both Jacob and I feel quite disconnected from the Swedish music scene, especially its more twee-pop tendencies. We sometimes feel quite isolated from the Swedish music scene… we’re not making pretty pop, but we’re not making dark metal either. We pull noise from our amps, but we sing and don’t scream. Hmm…must be an American thing. The one thing that has influenced us is the Swedish drive to create, to be productive, to make good things – which I find all of my friends here are driven to do, much more than the crowd I knew in the UK.
R: How has life changed for you now that you have settled in Sweden? Has the country and the people had an influence on your music?
S: As I said above, I feel very inspired by Swedes’ creative impulses. Overall both of us have found an internal calm through our lives here…Stockholm is such a peaceful, kind place to live – fresh air, proximity to the countryside full of lingonberries and tall trees, generous people, warm apartments, great food. Through this peace and calm, our long-buried demons find their wings in our music.
R: How does it feel to have your music compared to that of Joy Division, PJ Harvey and the guitar playing of Neil Young?
S: Awesome! And much better than being compared to The Cranberries, which has happened once or twice. Seriously, do I sound like an Irish banshee?
R: No, no you don’t, far from it!
R: How was it to work with esteemed producer Richard Swift, and what did he bring to the table in terms of helping you to catch the sound and energy of your live shows?
S: Jacob worked as a tour manager for a San Francisco band called Two Gallants, and they toured with Swift. So they were friends. Saddle Creek recommended that we work with him to record our album, and he was totally up for it. Travelling to Oregon from Stockholm was quite an experience. He set up an environment for us…just a few mics and a few dividers between us, and let us roar. It was a totally creative time, one full of energy and experiment and learning. He sure captured the dirt and grit, but in retrospect we feel he missed some of the cleaner moments that define us, something that Johannes Berglund here in Stockholm was able to help us achieve.
R: What has been the biggest influence on your music between the release of your first EP and your new album?
S: Playing live. We live through the live show – our music makes sense on stage, we feel. We must come to Göteborg so you can see for yourselves!
R: I hope you do, that would be great!
R: Have you any plans to play in Göteborg in the near future? And if yes (and a little self promotion here) I run a website (www.inmykitchenwith.wordpress.com) where bands come and play 2/3 stripped down songs in my kitchen, would you be interested in popping by and playing?
S: There is the possibility that we’ll be playing a show in April in Göteborg – supporting another band – which we really hope happens. In that case, we would be thrilled to play some songs in your kitchen, so long as you bake us some kanelbullar. Just kidding…we’ll do it with or without the bullar!