whilst the rest of us bemoaned away our teens sat at the back of the bicycle shed, battling acne and alienation, First Aid Kit siblings, klara and johanna söderberg are touring the world, making music beyond their years. at the ripe old age of 16 and 19 respectively, they sing songs of domesticity and existential hardship, and for a lesser band it would reek of precocious pomp, yet their weary woodsy vocals carry conviction. the siblings began composing songs in 2007, but it was their youtube cover of fleet foxes' ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ that brought them to the attention of the knife, who went on to release their first ep ‘drunken trees’. their debut album ‘the big black and thebBlue’ was released this year on wichita records. as their myspace reads, ‘we aim for the hearts, not the charts’ but they will mostly likely penetrate both.
what does your music mean to you?
music is our therapy. we make music because we’re passionate about it, but also out of necessity. it's a way to deal with life, to release our troubles - you know the 'catharsis effect'. it brings us much ease. we’ve always been inspired by musicians who manage to move us with their songs. good music takes you places. being a musician is the dream.
working in a world of crazy, what has surprised you recently?
it might be when we saw devendra banhart at a swedish festival called peace & love a couple of months back. we were so surprised when we met him and he said “it’s an honor to meet you. i love your music. it’s fucking rad”. he is one of our biggest inspirations. hearing those words from him was very surreal and motivating as well.
are you enjoying your new found fame?
we’re trying our best to focus on the music and the creative aspects of what we do. we never try analyse how successful/unsuccessful we are and why that is. there is just no point. all it will create is pressure when writing the next album. we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. when one girl got really near klara she got all fanatical and cried “oh my god! she touched me!!!”. that was a bit shocking. these kinds of situations don’t occur that often, maybe our fans are very sane? we do have some very devoted fans though. one is a girl called Rafaela and she several fan-sites about us on the net (livejournal, youtube and tumblr). it's very flattering to see someone put effort into creating a fan site.
what little dreams do you hold in your heart?
writing countless amazing songs and recording them. then having a concert at the end of the day where we perform them for about 500 people, with a huge band and a gospel choir in a forest. also we find tons of money, the cure for diabetes and a way to stop climate change. we’d love to collaborate with the carter family or towns van zandt, but we all know that won’t be happening any time soon. maybe in the future scientists will find a way to bring them back from the dead and we’ll do something. you never know…
what has been your greatest challenge as a band?
being in a band with your sister is a challenge, for sure. but we make it work, somehow!
for readers who are not so familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
strong vocals. harmonies - plenty of them. an acoustic guitar, some keyboards and occasionally a bit of drumming. emotional and atmospheric. storytelling.
how does one become as wise as First Aid Kit?
don’t worry too much, grow your hair long, eat good food and take care of the planet. oh and buy our album!
and finally, what is your one great hope and fear for the future?
our hope for the future is that we can keep this up until we get old. it might be naïve saying this, as one would think we eventually will get tired of doing this, especially doing it together as sisters. however, right now, it doesn’t feel like that will ever happen. we’ll gladly sing our songs at 70, with long grey hair and wrinkles. a big fear for us is to lose the ability to write good songs that we can enjoy.
[interview by aine herlihy]
[interview by aine herlihy]
[photo by cici olsson]