First Aid Kit Interview
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Klara and Johanna before their gig at the Union Chapel in Islington back in March. They had just released their debut album ‘The Big Black and Blue’ and were 12 dates into their 15 date UK tour, before they jetted off to the US for SXSW.
The gig that followed was amazing, the beautiful venue with incredible acoustics seemed like it had been made for such nights. The girls, with their drummer, played through their album, with a few covers (including a Gram Parsons) and a track or two from their Drunken Tree’s EP, including my favourite FAK track, ‘Tangerine’. But enough of my gushing, here’s the interview.
How have you found UK audiences?
Klara – Horrible, absolutely dreadful, just a bunch of…..no it’s been wonderful, in the places you wouldn’t think you’d have an amazing shows we’ve had amazing shows
Johanna – Like Hull
K – Yeah, we had an amazing show in Hull, it was the most fun, I love Hull. We can only judge by the show
J – The music lovers in Hull are true music lovers
Where else has been good on this tour?
Both – Hull!
K – Scotland has been pretty amazing as well; Glasgow and Edinburgh were really really nice. Pretty much everywhere we went has been really fantastic, been really happy.
K – It was really good, great to have someone to share the experience with, really nice, a lot of fun, and to do collaborations with. With Slow Club we did different songs every night, we did Beyonce, we didn’t do that live though!
On this tour you’ve had support from local bands, who should we be checking out?
K – Two that were really really great, ‘Good Night Lenin’ in Birmingham
J – Had so much fun, forced them to speak Swedish
There seems to be a lot going on in Swedish music at the moment, apart from The Tiny who’re supporting you tonight, what other Swedish bands should we look out for
J – Uh, ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’
K – He supported ‘Bon Iver’ on his US tour, he’s so intense live, you have to see it to believe it
You’re doing a Gram Parson’s and Emmylou Harris song with Jo Rose, how did that come about?
K – We haven’t been able to record anything as we’re here (touring) but going to sing some harmonies on that. He was playing with the Travelling Band when we saw them in Manchester, and I just looked his music up and I listened and I loved it, we started talking about Gram Parsons and decided let’s do that song. I love that you can just through the internet send over, he sends over guitar and vocal and then I put all my vocals and, it’s really nice that you can do that.
You’ve played a HMV Next Big Thing Showcase gig but have on your MySpace that you “aim for the hearts not for the charts”, does the ‘next big thing’ tag bother you?
K- You can’t really take them too seriously cos its not, well it’s, you always just have to do what you want and with music what feels good to you, what comes from your heart, I guess, so for us its lovely that they want to label us as that, it’s a great honour, but at the same time it’s very hard to
j- We try hard to not think about anything like that, just aim for making music that touches people hearts
k – That helps us and it hopefully helps others
How did you find the process of recording your debut album?
J – Quite easy I think. We recorded it when we were at school still and it took about six months or something. We weren’t recording it every day. We weren’t in the studio for six months, it was every now and then, at home, and we did it with our father, and that process really worked for us, cos we get to do everything ourselves. We didn’t really try to over produce it. It wasn’t that tough for us I think. Really went along smoothly.
You’re heading to SXSW, have you been before, and what are you looking forward to over there?
K – Nope, never. The warmth
J – Just being there, being in America, we’ve dreamed about going there all our lives. Kind of silly in a way but we kind of idealise the US and that culture. It’s going to be good no matter what happens.
What are you most looking forward to in 2010?
K – Playing festivals, we’re playing Green Man, really looking forward to it, hope I get to see Joanna Newsom, but yeah, just playing our music.
One final point from me, which I found amazing, if you look at the pictures, and the dresses they were wearing, Klara had bought hers from a vintage shop in Edinburgh, whilst Johanna had found hers a week later, in a vintage shop in Oxford. Opposite ends of the country but the same dress, what are the chances?
MORE ON FIRST AID KIT