Last time we spoke to Fredrik they were touring as a six-piece and about to release Na Na Ni. A year and a half later, they’ve returned to the original line-up and have released a highly praised compilation record called Trilogi — the album is composed of three extremely limited EPs. We caught up with Fredrik before they played a house show in Columbia Heights last week and in preview of their show tonight @ Black Cat for Kora Records’ 6th anniversary, where we discussed their latest release, The LK, Sweden and terrible string cheese.
Brightest Young Things: To the unfamiliar, how would you describe your sound?
Fredrik: I think some of our friends said we played shadow folk. I don’t know if that describes it, but it definitely has something to do with darkness. It’s forest music as one might say — dreamy forest music.
BYT: How does Fredrik differ from The LK? Is it different?
Fredrik: Well, I think Fredrik is all about trees. It’s just a different inspiration. We both live is Malmo, but we come from a very rural part of Sweden. A lot of forests and a lot of nature. We just draw from those surroundings. Fredrik is about small places where The LK is more city music.
BYT: Would you still consider Fredrik a side-project of The LK or is it the other way around now?
Fredrik: Fredrik is probably the main project for now and has been for the last year. We don’t have any material planned for The LK. We have some recordings, but it’s not even certain that we’ll release more material. Fredrik is totally the main project that we’re working on.
BYT: I read that your a six-piece online. Is that still the case?
Fredrik: Last year, we were six people. Fredrik has always been us. The six piece was for the last tour. For this release and this tour we figured to But this recording is very intimate and we can recreate these songs very well. It feels more honest as two people. I think we’re getting closer to what we intended this time around.
BYT: I know that you recently released a compilation record in January, could you tell me a little bit about it?
Fredrik: In 2009 we released three EPs on CD that were very limited. It was around the time we got back from the Na Na Ni tour and we started working on that. We had material that we already had recorded and we decided to release three EPs in two month intervals. The first was called Holm, the second was Ava and the third was Ner. They all had different themes and now we wanted to release it as an album, hence the name Trilogi.
BYT: Fredrik is playing a house show tonight (the night of the interview-Feb. 13-ed). Is that something you guys do regulary? Do you prefer them to playing venues?
Fredrik: We have done a few. I always love playing houses. It’s always the best kind of venue. It’s really cool with the shitty soundsystem, get everything in and you have a lot of volume and go for it. It’s always a good way of practicing music. We both come from a DIY and punk background. We always enjoyed playing close to people and in the reality of the music instead of on a big stage. I feel safe in those environments.
BYT: I’m sure the pressure is not there and it’s more loose, fluid and go with the flow.
Fredrik: I think it suits this project as well. I always think that in music and it’s the ideas that count. In these shows those ideas are more present than on a stage with all the stylings and all these things that the band didn’t choose. In this context I think it’s easier to receive it. And I find it a lot more pleasing to play that way as well.
BYT: This question may be a little dated, but how did Fredrik get involved with D.C. label The Kora Records?
Fredrik: I was on holiday with some friends and I thought I would play a few shows. I e-mailed a few people and played a record store in New York — Sound Fix — and DC 9 at a Scandinavian pop night. We were traveling through and I got a few shows and Mike (from The Kora Records) was at the show and that’s how that happened.
BYT: Back in January Fredrik was featured on NPR twice in the same week. Any thoughts?
Fredrik: Well it’s good. I don’t know what to make of it, but it’s interesting.
BYT: D.C. is known for supporting local acts and their community in the local music scene. How involved is the local scene back home?
Fredrik: I think Malmo, where we live, has a very strong music mostly in the area of experimental music. It has commercial music, micro-scences and hip-hop, but the community is in experimental music and that scene is very well developed and has a good network of contacts and exchanging ideas. That’s where we are very inspired and very active in that community.
BYT: I ask this to every band I interview, but what is the worst and best food you’ve had on tour?
Fredrik: We’ve talked about that recently. We had a bad experience in the Czech Republic. The worst was definitely outside of Prague — terrible coffee drinks, crips and spaghetti like string. [Laughs]. The best food is easier. We had a really good breakfast this morning at Sticky Fingers.
BYT: Anything else important we should know?
Fredrik: We’ll be playing more live. We’re touring in Sweden. We’ll be playing more live in the near future. We already talked about following up on this tour and made a lot of contacts. We have a lot of new material — post Trilogi. We could record something mid tour and finish it up later. We might be back. [Laughs].
BONUS: Live Sessions from last time around:
video: Dave Adams & Ryan Wakeman, sound: Rodrigo Salvatierra, editing: Adam Enatsky