IT has been a joy speaking with Pale Honey.
The Swedish-based twosome, alongside Anders Lagerfors, create stunning and emotive music. They talk about how artists like Josh Homme and Radiohead are influential; what the music scene in Sweden is like and how they came to meet one another. The guys discuss their favourite albums and their new album, Devotion. Get These Things Out of My Head is the current single from it – they talk about its origins and history.
I ask them about tour dates and whether we will see them play the U.K. They reveal how they have evolved (in two years) since their E.P., Fiction, and what themes are explored on their new album; a great new act we should check out – and how their week has shaped up.
Hi, girls. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello there! We’re just great.
One of us is in Art School and the other is studying so, we have been keeping ourselves busy; planning for the album release - and tried the D.J.ing career at a Foo Fighters show in Stockholm.
All good, in other words.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are Pale Honey; a Swedish band with Tuva Lodmark (on guitar and song) and Nelly Daltrey (on drums).
We enjoy beer and making music together.
Can I ask about the name, ‘Pale Honey’? Is there a particular source of inspiration for that choice?
Unfortunately, there is no epic tale of adventures behind the name: we simply decided on it because we thought it sounded good. ‘Honey’ was a particularly beautiful word to begin with but we had to add at least one word more – and, after some thinking, we decided on ‘Pale’.
Smash them together and you’ve got ‘Pale Honey’.
The album, Devotion, is out on 13th October. What can you tell us about the themes and ideas expressed on the album? What was it like recording and creating the music for it?
Besides being released on a dangerous date: the album sums up about two years of work that we started with after the release of our debut album.
It has been written between tour dates; at home and in the studio - and we’ve been very open about the songs and have been sure to give them and ourselves time to grow during this period. The overall theme is interaction, relationships between people or the relationship to yourself. However, we are open with interpretation and if a song reminds you of something entirely else than what we sing about - then that is correct too.
We were sure to give each other time to reflect and encouraged each other to try out whatever was on our minds – and, so, it was a very recreational album to record; especially since some things that are in the final mixes are taken straight from the demos.
It seems, looking at track-names like Why Do I Always Feel This Way? there are regrets and anxieties. Was it a particularly tough and transitioning time for the both of you – in terms of relationship and self-doubt?
It is a continuous process to get to know yourself and how you relate yourself to others.
In some way, yes, it was a tough time but it was tough back when we recorded the first album as well. It all comes in waves and by creating music we can put the feelings into context. It can be frustrating wanting to write ‘the perfect song, but in the end, we’re proud of what we put out.
This time around we really worked on supporting each other and as all songs are connected to us, personally. We worked on bringing forth what we really wanted to express. Even though some songs might seem to have a very set theme; we’ve worked with being open to interpretation and how we as a band could relate differently to certain situations or themes. The lyrics are all taken from our own lives, thoughts and feelings – and, if that is not a tough thing to do, then why even bother.
It’s all about expression and exploration.
What was it like working with Anders Lagerfors on the album? What did he bring to the record?
Anders has been working with us since we recorded Fiction E.P. a few years ago. Back then, he was the cool, sound technician ready to take on work as a producer – and, after some time, he decided to join us for a tour in a combi-car filled with three others and full backline… and we’ve been kind of stuck together since. Live, he rocks the guitar and sampler; filling out the roles that neither of us other two can physically do - while playing our own instruments. In the studio, he’s back to being the producer and has great ideas that we weave together into the songs.
It is a very open collaboration where we just dig into ideas and record whatever comes up.
Get These Things Out of My Head is out. Can you explain a bit about the song and where that originates from?
It is - and we are very happy about it!
The song started as a dark demo with a tonewheel organ just rolling out the melody and the pumping drums and, from there, we kept building on it. Tuva does the song melodies and, with this particular song building into something energetic but menacing, we decided to go all in for the desperation. The lyrics ended up being about O.C.D. and the frustration surrounding the state - not being in control or unable to break free from something, swapped from another; calmer demo song.
It has been two years since your eponymous debut. Do you think you have become more discerning and precise since the debut? What are the main differences one will hear on Devotion?
We do think so!
Some of the songs on our debut album we wrote as part of learning our instruments. Being on tour really made us shape up and practice by doing. For Devotion, the only older song is Golden - which was a candidate for the first album but didn’t really come together until the second album. We’ve put a lot of work into the songs of Devotion and left some candidates out - as we wanted the songs to fit together as well as they could. While not necessarily calling it discerning, we’ve simply moved on from the first album and the experiences and created a new one. Some would call it a more ‘mature’ album and we’re definitely not disagreeing - since the debut has songs collected from when we were teenagers and stressed with finishing the album.
Devotion is more well-thought-out and personal in the way that we let everything take its time and tried; rewrote and rearranged things until they sounded as we wanted. The lyrics are a real upgrade from the debut - where we didn’t have the courage to change whatever came into our minds when recording the demos.
That is something that, hopefully, people will notice the most.
Tuva and Nelly. How did you both, and Pale Honey, come together? What was it about one another that led to the formation of a duo?
We met at the start of the eighth-grade of high-school and played different instruments together as we got to know each other. It expanded to playing outside of school too and, after trying to play with others who had ideas too different from our own, we decided to get a fresh start by being just the two of us. That is probably where the duo feeling comes from but we consider ourselves to be a band - no matter how many or few we would create music with.
The roles are fluid when writing, recording and everything else that involves us. But, live, you will see us mostly playing our respective instruments.
Gothenburg is your base. It seems there is a lot of great music coming out of Sweden. Why do you think that is and is there a big scene where you are based?
Ah, the wonders of the socialistic Sweden.
We’ve wondered about this before and we would like to start off by saying that we are very lucky to have the time and opportunity to create and explore. For us, it was about finding each other and crossing paths with passionate people that kept encouraging us to make music. If more people are excited about music, it becomes contagious. Forget about the asshole musicians who brag about themselves and bring down others: the ones that support each other are the ones that are worth remembering and that have a blast together. In the end, we think, or at least hope, that music for us Swedes is all about having fun or having some way of expressing yourself.
We’ve got it pretty good here and, so, most of the Swedes could find the time to create and play music without it having a negative effect on their lives.
Who are the musicians you both grew up on – and inspired you to get into music? Do you both share similar music tastes?
When we met in high-school, we kind of flirted with each other showing each other cool bands we enjoyed listening to. Nelly showed Tuva Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. Tuva introduced Radiohead and Jimi Hendrix (yeah, Nelly was the cooler one). So, Josh Homme has always been a great inspiration - whatever he has done has been perfect.
Nowadays, we have pretty similar music taste but we both are drawn in different directions - and that makes our creative process fun and enriching! Everyone gets a veto when we are out on tour and blasting music in the car.
What tour dates are coming up? Any plans with regards coming to the U.K.?
Yeah, we’ll do London (The Old Blue Last) the 7th November. We’re looking so much forward to that - the best burger we’ve had on tour was in England as well, and so, we really are the lucky ones to have been booked. The previous gigs we did in London have been fantastic and, as the 7th is the only date we have set in the U.K. so far for the tour, there are no excuses for showing up! Even our cowbell will be there.
The tour dates so far are the ones below, and more are currently being added and awaiting to be announced:
05/10 Linköping, SE @ John Doe; 27/10 Aalborg, DK @ 1000 Fryd; 28/10 Copenhagen, DK @Ideal Bar; 02/11 Reykjavik, IS @ Iceland Airwaves; 03/11 Malmö, SE @ Plan B; 04/11 Jönköping, SE @ Hush Hush Club; 07/11 London, U.K. @The Old Blue Last; 11/11 Tollered, SE @ Smedjan; 15/11 Uppsala, SE @ Katalin; 16/11 Bollnäs, SE @ Bollnäs Konserthus; 17/11 Gothenburg, SE @Pustervik; 24/11 Oslo, NO @ Ingensteds;29/11 Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
IN THIS PHOTO: ShitKid/PHOTO CREDIT: Arvid Sjöö
Who are new acts you would recommend we check out?
One day, we’ll find all the cool kids before everyone else does but, until then, we are enjoying ShitKid.
We have to let out the not-so-secret fact that we are still exploring already well-established bands ourselves - so keeping up with the unpolished gems is hard.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would it be and why?
Tuva: In Rainbows by Radiohead
Because that’s the best album that’s ever been written.
Nelly: In Rainbows is a masterpiece - but I’ll go with Kashmir’s E.A.R
I listened to it a lot at a certain point in my life.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Keep having fun; get to know others and be kind.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
What a nice opportunity! Nelly thinks the world needs more cowbell - so let’s go for Do You Wanna Rock by Danko Jones
For Tuva; the song is Drone by Chastity Belt!
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