PHOTO CREDIT: Lars Brønseth
THE chaps of Tella Viv have been discussing…
their latest E.P., Happy Doomsday. I ask them what inspired the music and the themes that compelled the songs; how the band got together; if there is a story behind their name – they tell me what the music scene is like in Sweden right now.
I was keen to learn what life was like in a band and the sort of music they all draw from; if there are going to be more tracks coming along before the end of the year – the chaps each choose a song to end the interview with.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Benjamin: Great! Busy with gigs and other projects - but a lot of fun.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Carl: Four Swedes without driving licenses, writing Surf songs about going down the highway….
Is there a story behind the name, ‘Tella Viv’? When did you guys get together and start playing?
I made a list with some band name suggestions: ‘Tella Vivs’ was the first one. Ex-member Adam took away the ‘s’ and designed the logo that we still use. Very glad it didn’t become my other suggestion, ‘Oidipals’.
Happy Doomsday is your new E.P. Talk to me about the themes and ideas that you were inspired by when writing the songs.
Benjamin: We wrote these songs in a chaotic, transitional phase for the band. There had been a lot of dramatic changes in our everyday life and in the band. We had lost a member and a lot of the people we used to work with. We are very inspired by New Wave music and the theme of doom and destruction in that genre. Being inspired by the Cold War seemed more applicable than ever - not only due to our own struggle against perishing under our new circumstances but also in relation to the current state of the world.
We chose to embrace the theme and, in that way, we could create something better than ever before.
No, No, No, No seems like a natural standout. Is there a tale behind the track?
Carl: Benjamin wrote most of the music. Lyrics-wise, I picked up French comic Valérian and Laureline but made it a story of a sad space couple going through a split up for eternity.
Fredric: Our dear friend, Robin Eveborn, did a great job producing/editing the vocals, which made the chorus nice and bouncy.
Your music seems to match everything from the 1950s to the 1980s. Do you all have eclectic musical tastes? Are there particular artists you vibe from?
Benjamin: We all listen to lots of different music. We do draw a lot from Surf, in particular, Dick Dale. He really went for something that a lot of people wouldn’t dream of back then. There’s something about music that’s kicking in a new door; where there’s not a lot of established conventions to lean on. They always seem to make more out of less.
We are also very inspired by New Wave and its penchant for the weird. We spoke a lot about Devo when making this E.P. We like to make small references to quite differing styles. If you listen carefully you could probably find little titbits of almost everything…
Fredric: I think we all have different tastes, but we agree on most things, musically. I think it’s nice to have that difference: it makes writing music more fun and unpredictable.
The band is based in Sweden. What is the scene like where you are? Might you play the U.K. this year?
There are a lot of great bands in Sweden but not a lot of great venues. So; it’s quite a struggling scene but I think that makes us more eager to get out of our bubble, which is good.
Fredric: Yeah. A few of our favourite venues in Stockholm have shut down recently. We’d love to tour the U.K. - we are currently working on making that happen.
What is it like being in a band? Are there are downsides in addition to the bad?! Is the collaborative nature of your music a big plus?
Benjamin: I mean, some things take longer and are harder since more people have to be on board and have their voice be heard…but the pros greatly outweigh the cons. None of us could create the music of Tella Viv by ourselves.
Whenever I have an idea, the thing I look forward to the most is seeing how the rest of band is going to react to it and what they are going to come up with to make it better. In the end, I get to do the thing I like the most with the people I like the most. That’s hard to beat…
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
Carl: We just confirmed London on 26th September at The Old Blue Last. Be there, chaps!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Benjamin: For more people to hear our music. As long as they actually listen to it, I’m sure we will stay in touch.
Marcus: Bigger and better live shows
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Fredric: We played a show at Melodybox in Stockholm last year, which was arranged by our friends from the group Vero. That was a really great night. I hope we get to do more of those!
Benjamin: To me, it seems like we keep making better and better memories as we go along. I had so much fun playing our latest gig; even though I had a really bad cold and was on painkillers.
Carl: We got booked to Norway to play three songs for a clothing brand presentation. Then, we dined with the brand owner at a Peruvian restaurant. After that, it felt that playing Rock music sure has some benefits.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Carl: Grace Jones. Champagne and oysters.
Fredric: Little Dragon. Piña Coladas and a sushi buffet.
Benjamin: The Shaggs. Tequila and French fries.
Marcus: The Strokes. Beer and cigarettes.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Carl: Learn the rules to break them...
Fredric: Rehearse a lot. It’s fun and it gives you less time to think about all your problems.
Benjamin: Rock the house…
Marcus: Stay hydrated.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Chats/PHOTO CREDIT: Dougal Gorman
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Benjamin: The Chats.
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Carl: I mostly think of music all the time. I guess it’s a way of escaping things around you.
Fredric: Me too. I unwind by playing or making music. But, when I need to do something else to get away, I prefer skateboarding or video games.
Benjamin: When I’m not making music with the band, I build keyboards and, when I don’t do that, I listen to music. The few times I take a break, I like to watch movies.
Marcus: Not a lot of time away from music but I really don’t mind. I watch bad T.V. shows I’ve already seen while taking a bath (when I need to unwind).
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Carl: Thanks. Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam
Fredric: Graham Nash - Better Days
Benjamin: Suburban Lawns - Janitor. Always
Marcus: Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Necessary Evil
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PHOTO CREDIT: Lars Brønseth