Boys (Stockholm) – Interview
We reviewed Stockholm’s finest dream pop band BOYS last year when they released their first couple of tunes on PNKSLM records. Since then we stayed in contact with Nora Karlsson who runs the band and is accompanied on live sets by Amanda Ferm, Anna Rauhala, Hannes Ferm and Lina Högström. We managed to source an interview to promote their latest EP ‘Love On Tour’, recently released by the same label, the patron for many Stockholm groups nowadays. She politely accepted my invitation and here is what Nora had to say….
Heatwave: First of all let me say how much I love your new release ‘Love On Tour’. How have you been finding the feedback on it? I see that on Soundcloud it’s been played 23,000 times. So people must be reacting positively to it.
Nora: Thank you very much. The feedback has been good, people seem to like it and it makes me very happy. I sort of recorded it in a rush so I didn’t really expect the kind of feedback it got.
HW: How do you record your material? Do you do it on your own? Or in a studio?Tape or Digital?
N: I do it by myself, with a little help from my friends. I tend to play all the instruments by myself, I like to play around with it until I find something that I like. Drums is the only instrument that I feel like I’m not yet capable of playing the way I want so my dear friend Hannes has been helping me a lot with that. This EP is fully digital, even though I prefer tape. My first EP ‘Kind Of Hurt’ was recorded both on tape and digital.
HW: If either/or. What is your preference? and why? What are the pros and cons of each and what do you find works with you the most?
N: I don’t know a lot about recording if I’m being honest. But I prefer the sound that tape gives, I think it sounds warmer and more beautiful. I am looking forward to exploring and learning more about tape recording in the future.
HW: When working with other people when you’re recording in the studio, how does a song develop and take shape from the original bare bones of when you wrote it? For example, if you are doing harmonies, did you always have the arrangements in your mind of how everything should sound? Or does someone come a long with a different idea and pitch in?
N: I haven’t recorded in a studio yet but when we practice I usually have a song with me and explain a little bit how I want it to sound and what kind of feeling I want it to have. Sometimes I have the whole song figured out with all the little details but more often than notthat we jam and the others come up with great ideas that I had never thought of. I love my band so much, they understand me and they let me be in charge without thinking i’m a bossy bitch.
HW: ‘All My Friends’ is the one that sticks out for me. I love the lyrics to it. It seems like that song carries a lot of emotion. I can only make my own assumption of songs meaning. It sounds like you’re reaching out to someone who needs help. Does the song bare a personal message. Is it about something that really happened? Or did you just write it by pure coincidence?
N: Thank you! I really want it to be like that, that my songs can mean different things to different people. I wrote this song when I had just moved from my hometown Umeå to Stockholm where I live now. It was a confusing time, I didn’t like it here but at the same time I really didn’t want to go back home. I was out partying a lot in the beginning which made me feel very restless and sad and I guess I felt like I didn’t really know who I was anymore. But when I finally realized that the life I had before would never come back, it was easier to go on and start a new one.
HW: The artwork of is pretty interesting and is very coherent with your other material. Who designs the sleeves and do you have an pre conceptions for what it should look like aesthetically?
N: Its my bassist Amanda Ferm who has done the artwork, together with her boyfriend Andreas Sandberg (Magic Potion). They did it for my last EP as well. It usually starts with me and Amanda sitting and discussing ideas, and then when we come up with something she starts to draw sketches. Then she and Andreas work on it in photoshop. I am so lucky to have them on board, they are true geniuses.
HW: Furthermore, on this particular release, the front cover shows you in an office with a desk that has a cup of coffee, sunglasses, 2 bananas and a banana skin, 2 6 of clubs, an empty moleskin notebook, a succulent, a magazine, a row of books stacked up on the far side, a sketch of two friends eating food on the beach, and a picture of your cat I presume. Are all these elements there for a reason? Do they have a particular significance? and do they have anything to do with the material on the EP in some subliminal way?
N: Some of the stuff on the table has a special meaning to me, like the picture of my cat, the playing cards and the picture of my friends, and some of the stuff are just random things that are normally laying on my desk. Its where I spent a lot of time and also where I recorded a lot of the Extended Play. The songs on this EP are very personal to me so I wanted the cover to be personal too. Because I was pretty confused over where home was to me during the recording, it felt right to have a cover of the place I can truly call home.
HW: Do you plan to release your music physically on an LP anytime soon? And would it be completely new material, mutually exclusive from what you’ve already put out? Or would it be a mix and match?
N: I’m working on my debut album right now. It will mostly be new songs and maybe some old ones too, but rearranged. Hopefully it will be out soon.
HW: How do you write your songs? Do you have a melody first and then find the chord pattern? Or do you come up with a riff first? What way has the best results?
N: Very different from song to song I think. When I think about it I realise that I actually have no idea how I usually do it. It’s like I’m in a zone when I’m writing and then when it’s finished I don’t really remember what happened, you have no clue if it took an hour, or even five hours. That’s a really cool feeling.
HW: Do you plan to tour soon? Say the UK or the continent?
N: Hopefully there is going to be a small UK tour this fall. But right now I’m going to focus on writing and recording and not play as much live.
HW: What music are you listening to at the moment? Has it had an effect on you musically? And has any of this music that you’ve listened to recently inspired you to write songs similar or with the same vibe? Like have you ever thought ‘I’m going to write a song like that’ ?
N: Right now I almost only listen to documentaries about murders and stuff like that. Sometimes listening to really good music makes me less inspired to write, because then I compare myself to others and start to think that I suck. Listening to people talk about murderers is really good for that, I don’t want to be like them, haha.
HW: If not, is it more or less that you write songs because something has effected you personally or effected others personally? Or maybe something that is going on around you at that specific time? Like a sort of self therapy.
N: That is also different from song to song. Some of the songs are very personal and based on real things that have happened to me or someone around me but in some of them I just come up with a story about someone else.
HW: Do you have any particular ambitions for your music? Is it just about having a good time, or would you like to make it into a serious career if given the opportunity? Not for the reason of just being famous obviously, but in order to pick up universal recognition for your art.
N: I want to do it as long as it is fun and makes me happy. Don’t know if that’s a year or 50, we’ll see.
– Tom H Wing
“Love On Tour” EP out now!