“Signed Sealed And Delivered”-Envelopes Interview

“Party” By Envelopes

Swedish group Envelopes make a thrillingly raucous, off kilter noise. Part Pixies part Hives, part Talking Heads they take inspiration from their influences and put their own “stamp” on their sound. Their pop/punk guitars and shimmering keyboard riffs will have you pogoing with delight , whilst Henrik Orrlings vocals may well recall David Byrne at his most barkingly mad (which was of course when he was at his best.)

There’s very little chance of you listening to the Envelopes and remaining “stationery” , they really are a “first class” band . Whichever way you look at it, Envelopes have it licked! ( Note I resisted all temptation to make any puns regarding envelopes, office supplies or the postal service. I’m rather proud of my considerable restraint !) Henrick popped into VP Towers for a chat and some lingenberry juice….

VP: How did you all meet what’s the story ?

Henrik: They are all my friends from the begining. It was I that brought them together. None of them knew each other, but this band gradually aggregated and when it was time to have a drummer or a bass player I asked some old friends who I thought would be good. Filip and I share best friends.Audrey and I met at a party. At first if was a holiday project. Then it became more serious as a record company got involved.

VP: Talk us through what you have released thus far and what future plans you have in terms of touring, single and album releases etc

Henrik: We have released one album , “Demon” , some 7 inches from that one, one seperate single, “Freejazz”, and more 7 inches from what is gonna be the next album. That album is called “Here Comes The Wind” and its out in January. We don’t make too many plans ‘cos they just keep changing all the time. We might tour if the weather is fine. We will try to be more and more hi fi as the years pass.

VP: Who would you describe as your major musical influences?

Henrik: Pixies, Talking Heads, Belle and Sebastian, Bob Hund .

VP:What is it about Sweden that seems to enable you to consistently produce such great singers/bands?

Henrik: The same that enables us to produce excellent poker players??

VP: The Internet ? good bad or ugly?

Henrik: I couldn’t live without it, so what do you do ??..?

VP: Tell us about any bands within the current scene you admire

Henrik: Well, i think Late of the Pier is a really interesting band. Very funny song structures and a lot of ideas. I have always been a fan of the Smiths as well.

VP: In your opinions what are the five greatest albums ever ?

Henrik: Today I’ll say:
“Songs Of Love And Hate”: Leonard Cohen
“Chutes Too Narrow”: the Shins
“Low” : David Bowie
“Bob Hund”: Bund Hund
“Fear Of Music”: Talking Heads

VP: What’s the best and indeed the worst movie you have ever sat through?

Henrik: Best : The American Friend : Wim Wenders
Worst: Mortal Combat 3: By ????

VP: When you’re not Envelopes what do you do ?

Henrik: I’m moving to Berlin, Fredrik is working at the docks, Audrey is dubbing movies and computer games, Filip is looking for a job and Uffe is a carpenter.

VP: Sum up life in The Envelopes in five words beginning with “R”

Henrik; You should pick another letter!!!
Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Video
“Life On The Beach” By Envelopes

Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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“Hardcore Uproar” The You/Me Interview

“To Live” By You/Me

You/Me are a downbeat two piece girl boy electronic from Eskilstuna, Sweden. They first came to the attention of the VPME in spring via the influential Swedish music blog Swedes Please. The combination of Anna Berglund’s seductive vocals and Ander Nyberg’s synth wizardry creates a sombre and epic soundscape resulting in an incredibly intimate experience for the listener.
Influential Scandinavian music website It’s A Trap described them as being the surprise hit of the Emmaboda festival and for “record labels to start queuing” in order to sign them. To date the band have put out one self-released EP entitled Flow My Tears.

VP: How did you meet ?

You/Me :We met at school in 2003, we both attended the music program, and played together in another band at first, but then decided to form a band that suited our wishes in music better.

VP : What is the population of Eskilstuna and how has it influenced your music and the people you are today ?

You/Me : Recently we have both moved to Stockholm but Anna grew up in Eskilstuna (90.000 inhabitants) and Anders grew up not very far away in a smaller town.
Anna: Eskilstuna is a pretty shitty town, and as a normal reaction to that, you feel like you want to escape, (like most youths who lives in a shitty town) music became my way out.
Anders: in Eskilstuna, 90% of the local bands played Hardcore and I wanted to make music that is as far away from HC as possible.

VP: The lyrics in your songs are incredibly intimate, which is unusual for synth based music as the genre normally features throwaway or meaningless words. Are the lyrics all influenced by your own personal experience?

Anna: YES. I don’t sit down, thinking about what lyrics to write, the words often comes to me at different places, like the supermarket or when I’m walking to buy cigarettes, so I guess they are taken from my own perspective on life, my experiences and my subconscious. and of course I get inspired bye all kinds of stuff, like samurai-movies or old relationships.

VP: Since playing the Emmaboda festival a number of UK tastemakers have been quick to sing the praises of You/Me. Notably Monster Bobby (of The Pipettes), Ricky Haley (of Liars Club fame and whose Alt Delete label put out the first New Young Pony Club single) and former VPME interviewees Tack!Tack!Tack! (who were instrumental in bringing Those Dancing Days to the wider attention of the Swedish music industry.)
With this in mind can we expect to see you in the UK anytime soon?

Anders: yeah, we have been thinking about it, and recently we have been in contact with Nick Levine (T!T!T!) but we have no Idea what the future holds, so maybe yes maybe no, we’ll see. but hopefully.

VP: I see you are playing Italy later in the month. How did that come about?

Anna: It’s a contact that we made at the Emmaboda Festival this year and we are really exited about it.

VP : “Through Four Kinds” is by far the most upbeat track on the Flow My Tears EP. Its tone is totally different to the rest of the material. Does this hint at a possible future direction for the band?

Anna: “Through Four Kinds” is one of the first songs we made, but I don’t really agree with that its so different from the other ones, when we write our music we don’t plan to make a “uptempo song” or a slow one, it just happens by itself, as the song gets made. but sure there will be songs you can dance to or listen to when you drive around in your car.

VP : Do you have any other releases planned in the near future?

Anders:
Yeah! We are working on some new material, but we are still looking for a label. soon we will have material for an album, and as soon as we find someone who wants to release it, we will.

VP : Sum up yourselves only using five words?

You/me :
minimal, frank ,moving, new, forgiving

Links

On Myspace

You/Me Wallpaper

“Back To the Future” – The Honeydrips Interview

“(Lack Of )Love Will Tear Us Apart “By The Honeydrips

Meanwhile back in Sweden ….a chap called Mikael has certainly pulled the wool over my ears. When I first heard (“Lack Of Love) Will Tear Us Apart” I quite rightly expected that such an expansive, dreamy sound would of course have been produced by a band of at least the same size as, say, the Polyphonic Spree, but I was in for rude awakening . “Lack Of Love “(featuring dreamy vocals from Cat 5‘s Hannah ) is the lead track from The Honeydrips excellent album “Here Comes the Future”. It’s a wistful, thoughtful album that seems to weave it’s way through various genres, 80’s bleep pop, Indie, electro folk, jangle pop, twee, its all there (except maybe Death Metal, but you never know maybe next year eh ? ) . The vocals conjure up the ghosts of Lloyd Cole and Edwyn Collins and possibly a less grumpy or gruff Jim Reid . I met up with The Honeydrips and was aghast to find only one member of the band had bothered to turn up …………….

VP: Just who are the Honeydrips

MC: The Honeydrips is a one man band consisting of me: Mikael Carlsson, Gothenburg, Sweden. (Phew!)

VP: How would you describe your music ?

MC : The idea behind The Honeydrips is for me to explore whatever kind of music I want. So far the music has varied from The Jesus & Mary Chain styled fuzzpop to chansons in Swedish, via techno pop, 80:s-sounding twee and more. The keyword though, spells P-O-P.

VP: Who would you cite as your main musical influences /heroes

MC : Given the answer above, the influences vary a great deal. But I do have a few influences that are more important than others, like Felt and Saint Etienne. They’ve influenced both my music and the attitude behind it, allowing themselves to develop in whatever direction they wish.

VP: Imagine a world without mobile phones or the Internet . Could you cope ?

MC : Well, since I’m 27 years old, I’ve lived more than half my life without these things. So yes, I could cope. Some might even say we were happier without it that with it. I suppose I disagree.

VP: What would you say are the best and also the worst aspects of being a musician in 2007 ?

MC : Ummm… The best part might be that it’s easy to reach out to people, with the Internet and all. And it’s easier to make music on your own nowadays. Before you had to recruit a band and rehearse the songs with them, hire an expensive studio just to be able to record a crappy demo tape. Now you can do it all on your own in your tiny flat. The worst part is timeless: it completely messes up your mind.

VP : You played T!T!T! in July (07) and I believe you used your mobile phone as your sole source of instrumentation ??True or False ? How did the audience react to that!

MC : That’s true. I usually do that, it’s practical. The audience were kind enough not to call or text me during the show. I take it as a token of their appreciation.

VP : You released the rather impressive Album “Here Comes The Future” in March 2007 . Which are your favourite tracks from it ?

MC : My favourite song is the last one, “In some distant future”. For personal reasons. But if i didn’t love all of the songs, I would never had released the album. Too many albums with just a few good tracks have been released in the history of pop music. I waited a long time to do this album, so that it would be perfect all the way, plus work as an album. And that’s another thing, many albums are merely a collection of songs. I wanted my album to work as a whole. This is my gift to future generations for Christ’s sake!

VP : And to finish on a lighthearted, upbeat note , when your time is up, and you sense the reapers icy fingers on your shoulders, as you are about to shuffle off this mortal coil, what would your last five words be ?

MC : Stay away from music making.

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Sincerly Yours (Cd Available)

VIDEO

“I Wouldn’t Know What To Do ” by The Honeydrips

The Honeydrips Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The Swedish Invasion – Tack!Tack!Tack!

Back to the Swedish invasion ! Today we turn our attention to the promoters of Swedish music in the UK . Tack!Tack!Tack! is a club – the filter for Swedish music and bands in London. Run By Nick and Jason they have put on (aside from their own Cardigans) some notable Swedish names such as first appearances in the UK for The Tough Alliance,Marit Bergman, The Honeydrips, and Maia Hirosawa. They also virtually discoverd Those Dancing Days, and with the help of a rather handsome yet modest fellow with a rakish moustache, they helped create a huge buzz for the young ankle biters (TDD’s) who have recently signed to V2 (Sweden).

Nick Levine stopped watching “The Seventh Seal”, eating meatballs with ligenberry sauce and shopping at Ikea to speak to us and tell us what Tack!Tack Tack! is all about ….

VP : T! T! T! – How and why did it start, come along now don’t be shy ?

NL: Two years ago at the John Snow pub in Soho. Me and Jason had met two years previous to that at a David & The Citizens concert which he was putting on.
The aim of T!T!T! has always been to put on export-ready Swedish artists irrespective of genre.

VP: Which bands have you had playing or discovered ?

NL: I think we must have put on around 25 different bands on by now. T!T!T! isn’t really about “discovering” bands as the artists we put on are already very well-known in Sweden. It’s more about cherry picking artists we feel are ready to play in the UK.
Probably the most revered performer we have had down is Marit Bergman. Another favourite has been The Tough Alliance, more for the sure cheek of their live performance. And we love the Cat5 girls. One of them lives in Mile End now. Sounds like she could be the inspiration for a Pulp song circa 94.

VP: What do you think it is about the Swedes that make them so adept at writing pop music , and providing high quality flat pack furniture at a reasonable price?

NL :I think that Swedes are very good at copying other genres, in a way sometimes more superior to the original influences. Also, the Swedish government has all kinds of grants to enable people to learn musical instruments. To boot Swedish music is frequently used to promote their culture overseas.

VP: What have been your musical highlights of the year ?

NL: It was amazing putting on a sold out Shout Out Louds gig at The ICA. We got Andres Lokko to DJ, the best-known music journalist in Sweden. And we had print ads in The Guardian, NME, Time Out and even made the front page of Popjustice. We felt famous for oooh…. 5 minutes ? And of course Kleerup/Robyn’s With Every Heartbeat smashing the UK top 5. We predicted that it be this summer’s big hit in Ibiza before Christmas.

VP: What do you think of the current UK music scene?

NL: As we both live in London I guess our view is London-centric in terms of going out to gigs and stuff. I think the current scene in the UK is alright but it’s a bit rubbish how so much of it is based on hype. But I think we’re going through a pop revival, which is great. Pop is the new indie. All genuine musicians now want to make pop music.

VP: What are your musical tips for what remains of 2007/ the start of 2008?

Ida Maria, Boat Club, Air France, Those Dancing Days, You/Me.

VP: Sven Goran Erikson – Discuss. (ha ha )

NL:The first thought which comes into my head is that back in 2002, whilst residing in Brighton, I was dating a Swedish girl who had to lodge in a family home.. It was during the time of the World Cup, and the father of the house had a tiny Corinthian figure of Sven on top of the TV which he thought would make her feel more at home. It didn’t. She just ridiculed it.

VP: Sum up T!T!Ts ethos in five words

NL: Bit hard that isn’t it ?

Links

Tack !Tack !Tack !

The future of T!T!T! is uncertain , I say NO! It must prevail , message them at myspace . (Purely from a selfish point of view, it must go on, as despite invites I haven’t been able to make it down there as yet )

VIDEO

“Hitten” By Those Dancing Days

Rainbow Warrior – Marit Bergman Interview

“Alone Together” By Marit Bergman

 

To kick off The VPME’s look at the Swedish music scene what better place to start than with one of Sweden’s most talented and engaging singer / songwriters, Marit Bergman.

Liv-Marit Bergman was born 21st May , 1975. She grew up in Rättvik, moved to Stockholm and now lives in New York. She was also a member of 1990s Swedish punk band Candysuck as well as being involved in many other side projects and musical collaborations. However, it is for her solo work that she is best known for in Sweden, receiving critical acclaim and picking up a large and loyal fan base . Her first solo release was in 2002 with the album “3.00 A.M. Serenades” on her own record company Sugartoy Recordings. The record received huge success and was re-released by RCA/BMG in 2003.

Her second album,” Baby Dry Your Eyes”, was released in March 2004 to further critical acclaim, which earned Bergman five Swedish Grammis nominations and two awards – Composer of the Year and Female Artist of the Year. In 2005, a live-DVD, “Live at Rival” was released.

In 2006, Bergman released her third solo album, “I Think It’s A Rainbow” which was again a huge success . Marit’s music is now starting to get the attention it deserves from all over Europe and in the U.S.A. -and not before time !

The VPME had a lively chat with Marit and asked her “What’s it all about?”

VP: You’ve been described as Sweden’s Indie Queen and even the Swedish Alanis Morrissette , but how would you describe your own sound?

Marit ; Interesting! I’ve never heard that Alanis-thing before. I am not naked with a blurred crotch in my videos! I’ve never been to India! I fully understand the actual meaning of the word “ironic”! I’ve never even done a cameo on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”! As you can see, old Al and me don’t have that much in common.
I would describe my music as pop. Emotional pop. But not emo (neither in the 90´s nor 00´s sense.) A lot of feelings. Lyrics are mostly very upfront but as I get older I get more poetic. A lot of songs on my albums have horns and strings.

VP: In the last couple of years you’ve moved to New York, was this purely a music decision, and what do you miss about Sweden ?

Marit : Believe it or not it has absolutely nothing to do with music, really. It’s just that I’ve realised that I don’t have to live in Stockholm. I love NY and I also would like to live in other places. Maybe Spain. We’ll see. I’ve been in Sweden all summer playing the festivals and I guess what I will miss about it is my family and my best friends.

VP: Your third solo album -the excellent “ I Think It’s A Rainbow” was released in 2006, is there any news of any new material on the horizon?

Marit : Thank you dear! I’m writing all the time. You will get to hear these songs very soon, somehow. Can’t tell you much more right now.

VP: What have been you highlights of 2007 thus far?

Marit : As always, pop camp for girls ( that I work with every summer in Sweden) is always ridiculously fun and inspiring. Other than that, I think probably the tour that we did with the Pipettes in Europe in the spring must have been among the best things I’ve done in my life. I felt very popular. What more. Singing with Frida Hyvönen in New York and in an old limestone quarry in Sweden. Playing the Peace and love festival in Sweden. And the Pride fest. Ah. It’s a lot!

VP: What do you think of the current music scene?

Marit : It’s shite! It was better in the old days! No but really, I don’t know, lately I’ve been out of the loop completely. I only listen to Vera Lynn, Alice Coltrane… old stuff. And Amy Winehouse but that’s so retro it doesn’t really count as current does it. I like the Field. ( Swedish techno). And Frida Hyvönen is an absolute genius and I’m really looking forward to the new Jens Lekman album.

VP: What do you think it is in the Swedish psyche that inspires people there to write such great pop songs?

Marit : Our urge to be loved. I don’t know. We grew up with Abba, there’s no escaping it.

VP : And which Swedish bands would you recommend ?
Marit : Jens and Frida And The Field.

VP: You’ve performed in Europe an US this year with the Pipettes And Smoosh do you have any plans to perform in the UK in the near future ?

Marit: “Maybe. Maybe in November. I’m working on it. “
VP: Describe your self in five words?

Marit : I like music a lot, yes.

VP : Tack så mycket, Marit

 

Links
Marit on Myspace

Official site

 

VIDEO

“No Party-(Live, NYC)” By Marit Bergman

 

 

 

The Swedish Invasion !


Seb And Jon From The Cassettes ” We Love Swedish Music This Much!”

 

Sweden, home of Abba, flat pack furniture, Ingmar Bergman, Sven Goran Erickson and rude films. But did you know that behind the USA and the UK, Sweden is the worlds 3rd biggest exporter of pop music? Bands such as The Hives, The Sounds, Caesars, The Wannadies, Those Dancing Days, I’m From Barcelona, Peter Bjorn And John, The Honeydrips, The Knife, Marit Bergman, Hello Saferide, Bille The Vision And The Dancers to name but a few have helped to elevate the profile of Swedish music considerably in recent years. Yes, it certainly does seem that Swedish bands are invading the UK en masse , armed with great pop tunes , talent and plenty of style. Surely this can only be a good thing and help save us from drowning in the morass of manufactured “X Factor” cabaret shite and radio friendly corporate rock (such as the spectacularly average Razorlight).

The “VPME” will be running occasional features on the Swedish music scene over the coming months highlighting the bands, the movers and shakers, the promoters. Furthermore we will seek to utilise our sword of truth to scythe through the gnarly branches of.. erm…… misconception and discover why Swedish music is just so darn good. So for all of you who believed in the stereotype described in the opening sentence of this article, it’s time to be re-educated, open your ears and “stop being so English! ”

Watch this space

 

Links

Tack! Tack! Tack!

Music From Sweden

The Swedish Institute

VIDEO

“Painted By Numbers” By The Sounds