Skandinavia Never Smelled More Like Wild Raspberry Seeds
Fredrik’s debut album, Na Na Ni, is caked with sugary melancholy as thick as frost on the windowpanes in a Stockholm winter, pastoral but with enough sonic squiggles and detours to keep the album on the front of your cerebellum. You can really feel the Swedish countryside; this just seems to be what Skandinavia sounds like, and it sounds awfully good. Boy band balladeers Max Martin, Rami Yacoub and Kristian Lundin notwithstanding.
P. McEver wanted to know for certain so she asked 2/5 of the quintet, Fredrik (voice, acoustic guitar) and Lindefelt (banjo, accordion, voice, sounds, visuals), some probing questions about painting with sound, how their music is impacted by environment, and what the band smells like (pretty bad since they were on tour at the time of this interview, but let’s assume she meant it in a metaphorical sense). The band responds with wild raspberry seeds and steam engine submarines. Serious. See for yourself… — S D Green for Ink 19
How was your U.S. tour?
We generally had the most amazing time and shook hands with some of the weirdest and greatest people we’ve ever met.
Were there any defining moments that stood out for the band as particularly awesome? Has there been a favorite location so far?
Although we only stayed for a few hours, and didn’t try the crab cakes (all of us are vegetarians), Baltimore seemed like a fantastic place. After a perfectly terrible snow storm we ended up in a tiny place called Schenevus [New York] and had sunshine, proper food, and a giant, Native American head for breakfast. That was grand.
Fredrik’s (the band’s) music is very synesthetic: the musical arrangements cannot only be heard, but also seen and felt. The words tell a story, but the music paints a picture. Is that something you strive for on every track?
Reality and imagination, sound and image, inside and outside, all these separations are something we are pretty bad at making. As long as there’s any kind of flow or momentum that makes a change, it’s probably a good idea. We also try to let people have as much say about the details of everything as we do. It has been stated before, but it seems a lot more decent.
How does the group construct a song like “Morr”? Are there long hours of improvisation until the Eureka! moment or is there careful planning involved?
The Fredrik music comes [in]to be[ing] in a very playful and associative way. It’s like painting a park of things you’ve been dreaming about and then take a long walk with your friends, imaginary friends, and a pair of binoculars. “Look, a tree house made of glued walnuts.” We always try to be as inclusive as possible and then narrow everything down until it becomes this beautiful ghost, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a grin on its face.
Na Na Ni has an outdoor vibe to it, like riding a train through the countryside of a lush land. How does the environment around you affect your songwriting and performance?
[In addition to] people we meet and stories we hear, places also inspire us a lot. Often, we think of music as a transport between two places; sometimes places in our heads, sometimes places in our heads that look like real places, and sometimes real places. So far we have not found a way to actually travel by music, but we hope to shortly. Also, all the members of Fredrik come from a rural background, and although we live in the city now there’s probably a strong attachment to our childhood environs. Not nostalgia, but definitely the inspiring sense of being lost.
If Fredrik the band had a smell or a taste, what would it smell/taste like?
Hmmmm. Fredrik definitely has an earthy taste, with a hint of dark honey, fermented peanuts, and the weirdly refreshing taste of wild raspberry seeds.
Where is Fredrik headed? Where would you like to be?
Downwards, in a steam engine submarine at 120 metres under the sea between Portsmouth and Labrador. The next Fredrik EP will be called AVA and is about water.