Incendiary interview Peter, Bjorn but not John

“I once opened up for Ryan Adams. It was a terrible, horrible experience.”

“I once opened up for Ryan Adams. It was a terrible, horrible experience.”

 Peter, Bjorn and John, who wasn’t there.


IN: You both look kind of happy. Feeling fresh and lively?


Bjorn: Yeah, but you don’t look fresh.


IN: I’m not. I’ve pretty much been on tour myself, although not performing, just lots of travel, hotel beds and late nights. Then I got stuck in Frankfurt. Not pleasant. I just got back last night and then up again to come here to see you guys.


Bjorn: Oh well you do it well, you do it well.


IN: So, the Paradiso tonight. Have you guys played there before?


Both: No, no.


Peter: Well not together.


Bjorn: I’ve been there. I’ve been there before but I’ve never played.


IN: Who did you see?


Bjorn: I think I saw the Strokes actually.


Peter: I once opened up for Ryan Adams. It was a terrible, horrible experience.


IN: Really?


Peter: It can get really talky, in like the big room. Like if people tend to talk it can just be like (makes a kind of static noise)


IN: Oh tell me about it. It’s one of my pet hates. But you’re in the Kleine Zaal tonight, yeah?


Bjorn: Yeah, the small room.


IN: I think that’s a great room.


Bjorn: Oh that’s a good room, yeah.


IN: I prefer it to the main hall in many ways but I think we should maybe talk about your new album. It’s called Writer’s Block.


Peter: Yes it is.


IN: Now I have experienced writer’s block in the past.


Bjorn: You have?


IN: Yes and I’ve never been able to write 12 songs whilst suffering from it so please explain to me what the hell is going on here?


Peter: We don’t have writer’s block. That the thing. It’s like a pun. It’s like a word joke. Because you know the cover? It’s three buildings. It’s a block of houses and the three houses are us and we’re writing songs. It’s the writer’s block. We live in the same block.


Bjorn: In Stockholm.


IN: Well that’s a lot better than people writing a lyric like, “I can’t write anymore. What am I going to do? Na na na na.” Actually it was a lot better answer than I was hoping for as well, so well done.


Now the song, Amsterdam. You say it’s so slow but I was wondering if you really feel that Amsterdam is that slow.


Bjorn: No, Amsterdam is not slow. You misunderstood the lyric.


Peter: The girl goes to Amsterdam and the guy is having a slow time in Sweden waiting for the girl.


IN: Ah well actually I did get that. I just wanted to try and see if you would bad mouth the place a bit. After all, you’ve just waited ten minutes to get a drink so you can see that the customer service round here could do with speeding up a bit.


Bjorn: Yeah that is slow. You could go to the (hotel) desk more rapidly and actually have someone behind the desk every once in a while too.


Peter: You could learn how to queue properly.


IN: Ah you see, every interview, bands are always like, “Oh we love Amsterdam it’s our favourite place.” But now we see what you really feel about the place.


Bjorn: Well you know it’s much worse in Switzerland. So you can take it easy, you’re not on the very bottom.


IN: Ok, I’m sure the Amsterdam Tourist Board will be glad to hear that. Now there seems to be quite a jammy, layered approach to the sound on the album. How do you guys piece the songs together?


Peter: It’s different from song to song. Some songs a guy comes with a song almost fully formed. Normally it’s quite finished. All we have to do is work on the arrangement and how to play it. Other songs we have to change and work on a lot.


Bjorn: Well the thing is that our songs are not that very similar in structure from the beginning. Some songs can have just one chord and some to be like a big guitar song. So sometimes it can be very, in the beginning, when we start working on it, it will change. It’s always different from the start.


IN: So you work quite independently then?


Peter: Yeah, to begin with yeah. With lyrics and melodies.


IN: Well I get that impression because the album is quite varied in tone, not only with the different voices, but that every song feels independent. By that I mean it doesn’t sound like a band who’ve created one song, one sound, and then make eleven versions of it. It goes into some nice different places.


Bjorn: Well that’s good. We like that. Either one of us is not writing one song only. I mean if you got a solo artist with Peter it would be quite disparate as well. Or with John, or with me.


IN: Another thing that I liked about the album is that it made me think of the, sadly broken up now, Beta Band in the way that they’d just throw everything into the mix but it always seemed to be for a reason. It always seemed to work. I got the same impression with Writer’s Block.


Bjorn: Again, thank you very much. Well we like that stuff. We try to do everything to sound like them. (chuckles)


IN: Well there’s the thing because you don’t sound like anybody else. You certainly don’t sound like any of the other Scandinavian bands that have appeared over the past few years.


Peter: That’s good. I mean, we are from Sweden so we are a Swedish band. But perhaps we don’t listen to Swedish music as much as some other bands?


Bjorn: They always try to link bands together now, especially in UK, because a lot of bands are coming over. There it’s a scene.


Peter: And that’s understandable in a way.


Bjorn: And it is a scene actually, in that we all help each other out on records and stuff.


Peter: Yeah but not musically.


Bjorn: Not what comes out, but it’s a theme.


Peter: It’s a theme that you know each other. You know other bands. You help other bands.


Bjorn: Maybe you can hear something from that but it’s not like we sound like Soundtrack Of Our Lives just because we are coming from Sweden. Actaully, I don’t know what group or scene we would be in if we were from the UK? We are not the rave pop or something.



Interview: Damian Leslie