Since hearing First Aid Kits debut album The Big Black and The Blue we’ve been incredibly impressed with the sibling duo. The album is full of lush harmonies, visit this site moody melodies and lyrical narratives. I was able to catch up with Klara and Johanna before their gig at Rough Trade East. The girls were eating dinner at a curry house on Brick Lane with their father Benkt before the gig and I dropped in afterwards to ask them a few questions.
Andy Devine. How’re you finding England?
Klara. Oh we just got here but we’re already enjoying it. It’s like coming home because we spent so much time here last year when we were on tour.
AD. You have a three month tour coming up. Is that something you ever imagined doing when you first started recording songs?
Klara. I guess, we imagined it, but not so soon. It was definitely in the plan, but we thought it’d be in about five year’s time. It’s happened really fast, but we’ve always wanted to make music.
AD. On the Whichita site it says that you were finishing school while you were recording your debut album. How did you manage to find the time to do both.
Johanna. We recorded it during weekends and holidays and at night when we were finished with homework. It was really stressful.
AD. How long did it take you to finish recording it?
Klara. From November 2008 to the summer 2009. It was because we were at school that we couldn’t do it quickly.
Johanna. Yeah we didn’t have all the songs; they were finished gradually.
Klara. Yeah, along the way.
AD. How do you approach your song writing?
Joanna. Well they all just pop out eventually
AD. You’re both from Sweden but all of your songs are sung in English. Is there any particular reason why?
K. We both went to English school
J. Yeah, for four years
K. So it made sense. We’re also really into American and English culture and almost all the music we listen to is in English so when we make songs that’s the way they come out.
AD. Ok, you’ve probably heard this one quite alot, but, you’re still quite young and your songs show a lot of maturity
K. (smiling) Oh really
K. Oh no no
AD. You show a lot of maturity, especially in the lyrics. Do these come from your own experiences or are they just stories?
K. We are young, and we haven’t experienced that much. We haven’t run away from our husbands after long marriages. We just like the tradition of telling stories in the country/folk scene. I mean if you go way back to The Carter Family and all of those guys and they all tell these sad stories about outlaws and things.
K. Well the Fanfarlo tour was meant to be a double headline
AD. Oh Really?
J. But it didn’t quite work like that, for some reason.
K. I mean they’re six and we’re only two so …
J. Yeah, it’s new and exciting and we’re both a little nervous.
AD. OK, you’ve said that you’re interested in Folk music, but is there anything else which inspires you to write the music that you do?
K. Sure, like films and books we read.
AD. Anything particularly or are you just absorbing it from everywhere?
K. Well I mean some songs have direct songs which we’ve been inspired by. Like, the movie Into The Wild, I was really inspired by it. I wrote a song that’s on our album called ‘Wills of the River’ which I literally wrote while I was watching the movie. I wrote a poem and then we made a song about it. That’s one quite extreme example of how we’re inspired.
AD. What do you think of the British folk scene, and is it similar at all to Sweden’s.
K. We love it, and we’re inspired by it.
J. There’s no such thing in Sweden at all.
J. I mean we’re the only band really doing this. I think.
AD. Do you play much at all in Sweden then?
J. We did at the beginning, we played in Stockholm for a year, or something like that but now we only really play over here.
AD. Do you find that being siblings makes it easier to write songs together.
J & K. Yep
K. Yeah, I mean we haven’t really recorded with anyone else, but definitely. It might just be us, I don’t know if every sibling would be able to but we’re on the same page almost all of the time, and we get along most of the time. I think.
AD. When you met Amelia at Glastonbury you had your parents with you, and obviously your dads along with you this time. How do you find that, does it mean you can’t get up to any classic touring antics?
K. We get a little annoyed I guess
J. But I don’t think it’s because he’s a family member, it’s just being with someone all the time.
K. Yeah, all bands become a family eventually. I mean our dad, it feels a bit weird talking with him sat there.
(Benkt puts his hands up in mock surrender)
K. But he does a lot. He’s our sound technician on the tour as well so we really need him.
J. He’s been doing it too, in the 80’s, he had his own band for a few years. He’s very experienced. So it’s very good for us to talk to him about these things.
(At this point Benkt brings out a copy of Mick Jaggers autobiography and points at it knowingly)
AD. You played on the Climate Camp stage at Glastonbury last year. Is that something that’s quite important to you?
K. Yeah sure
J. We think about it alot. I don’t know if it shows in our songs but it’s important to us. We have this thing in Stockholm now which is called No More Lullabies.
K. There were 24 Swedish artists all playing together.
J. Yeah, we all played 10 minutes each. There’s a film on the website where you can watch it and that was to get awareness to the issue.
K. It was really nice.
J. We love to do those kind of things. We’re not afraid of it and talking about it with people.
AD. OK, finally, what is it you’re most looking forward to doing this year?
K. What we’re doing
J. Yeah, we want to go the US and try to make some new songs.
K. And just enjoy ourselves.
The Big Black and the Blue was releasd on Monday and can be found in all decent record stores.
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