The violent story behind the new First Aid Kit
The Swedish folkzusjes Johanna (left) and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit.
It all started ten years back with their a capella in a forest sung cover of Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes, that offers a big YouTube hit. School pubermeisjes, when they were, in the meantime, the beautiful singing Swedish folkzussen Johanna (27) and Klara Söderberg (24) of the First Aid Kit well on the way to international stars. Not in the last place thanks to a Renault commercial where their song, My Silver Lining (77 million Spotify streams by now) played a major role. Was released this week their new album Ruins, an album with a story.
“A classic break-up album is pretty dark, and so we felt when we the songs were,” says Klara Söderberg in a room in the Amsterdam Okura Hotel, where she and her sister Johanna on a rainy weekday wintermiddag just with a few rolkoffers arrived. Johanna joins them: “After our previous album, Stay Gold, we were exhausted. We had six years on one piece by occurred. We kept busy: we did five gigs in a row, and then have a few big American talk shows. Because it was all very important. Of course, there was pressure from the label and management, but we demanded it of ourselves. This was all what we so passionately wanted. With every offer for a gig it was: ‘how can we well say no!’ Until it really no longer was, we no longer enjoyed it and we are just very tired and sad. You will notice that it is too much when it’s too late.”
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The sisters decided, despite the fact that everything carrièretechnisch seen smoothly it went, for an indefinite period of time unplug the power cord from the First Aid Kit to pull out. Klara moved for the love to the English Manchester and Johanna remained in Sweden. “But that relationship ended badly,” says Klara. “After two years I came back to Sweden and decided Johanna and I together to Los Angeles. We wanted to move away and continue with First Aid Kit, the plan was to be in L. A. focused on the songs for our new album to work to work. In sunny California, we hoped also of heavy mind. But that was a bit disappointing, I was really sad about my failed relationship and felt very vulnerable. In which atmosphere and mood we wrote most of the songs on Ruins are.”
“When we tell this story, we feel always a little guilty,” says Johanna. “It sounds as spoiled complaining, while we have the best job in the world. But most people have no idea how it is to be an artist and to tour, they see only the glamorous part of the muzikantenbestaan. Only ten percent is glamour, the rest is hard work. On the stage, your own songs, play and make a connection with the audience is fantastic, but unfortunately that is only a very small part of the box.”
The Söderberg sisters have their experiences taught them to do the now much quieter, they say. The love for music, which they in their darkest periods thought that that also was gone, they feel of their heart, in their little toe. “We knew the worst had when the songs suddenly behind each other arose. Then came the realisation that we are ‘it’ had. We could not wait to have to go into the studio and record them. It was an intense time, but we are so incredibly trot on Ruins and can’t wait for him to let everyone hear.”
Ruïns of the First Aid Kit is now available to purchase and stream. On march 7, plays First Aid Kit at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on 30 June at the festival Down The Rabbit Hole in Ewijk, near Nijmegen..
Last year brought the First Aid Kit on International Women’s Day, the song You Are The Problem Here , that is about sexual violence. “That we wrote after the umpteenth message about a verkrachtingszaak had read that the sentence was not proportionate to the seriousness of the crime,” says Johanna. “Sexual violence and inequality between men and women are also in the music industry is a big problem. Also in the music sharing men the sheets.” Klara: “we have never had personal experience, but from friends and colleagues, we hear many bad stories, challenging behaviour and abuse of power. Online have we frequently, comment on how we dress up men who threaten that they will rape.” Johanna: “As a woman you should always be on your guard, always you need to think about how to get home, or someone to trust is, how you should dress. If we once act without make-up and without extensive on our clothes after having been reflected, is that where the end is about. That is then all of a sudden a statement. A man can be just in jeans and t-shirt on stage and that’s cool. I don’t think a lot of men achieve that.” Klara: “I am so pleased that there is now in the public talked about it, because that is the only way that something can change.”