Back in April we introduced you to The Magnettes, Swedish duo Rebecka Digervall and Sanna Kalla. They grew up together in the isolated town of Pajala, a place so remote, it even has its own language. It was there that the pair decided to write and sing about their experiences, blending new wave, pop and a disco sound with their Abba-esque double vocal harmonies.
Since then, we’ve had the chance to catch up with The Magnettes, and ask them something about life, their music, and Pajala.
EP: How would you describe yourselves to anyone who hasn’t heard you before?
M: New wave mixed with electro-pop, or just raw, slightly awkward dance music played by outcasts from Pajala.
EP: Who are your musical heroes/influences?
M: We love Kathleen Hanna and Tina Weymouth. Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and Talking Heads are major influences for us. We’re also big fans of Caesars, Katy Perry and Mattias Alkberg. When we started out we were playing songs by Elvis Costello and Tegan & Sara. At the moment we’re really into Taylor Swift and traditional folk songs from Tornedalen.
EP: What was it like growing up in Northern Sweden and what impact do you feel it had on your music?
M: Our hometown Pajala is really isolated and silent and quite heavily influenced by the Christian Laestadian movement (in which music and dancing is basically considered sinful), so we’ve probably just rebelled against that, somewhat subconsciously, by playing loud and danceable punk/pop and singing about the things you can’t really talk about there.
EP: You are about to release your debut single ‘Sore Feet and Heartbeats’ on 6th of July, can you tell us a bit about that?
M: It was written after a night out on indie clubs in Stockholm, looking to get laid but striking out, so it’s supposed to sound like an empty dance floor, you’re all dressed up but empty on the inside, still buzzing but slightly awkward, knowing that the disappointment is about to kick in. It’s a melancholy disco track on tip-toes, with plastic drum machine sounds, choppy guitars and lots of synth gloss on top of that, sort of like if Costello and Wham would form an excellent indie band together.
EP: What kind music would we find on your iPod? Do you like to listen to the same or different types of music?
M: Rebecka listens to a lot of garage rock, like Bratmobile and Broncho, a lot of Talking Heads, Nick Lowe and 70’s new wave music and a whole lot of Top-40 and modern pop. Ariana Grande, One Direction and so on. Sanna’s got a lot of playlists stacked with major hits from the 90’s and 00’s, movie soundtracks and show tunes.
EP: You’re about to appear as the main subjects in Hans-Erik Therus’s documentary, ‘Pajala State Of Mind’. How did that come about?
M: Swedish TV was making a documentary series about young people in minorities and Hans-Erik was involved in that and reached out to us. We’re Tornedalingar, which is considered a minority in Sweden, so where we were in our lives fit really well into that series. It was shot at a time when Rebecka was moving to Stockholm and had to deal with leaving her home and her roots to pursue her dreams. A lot of stuff happened that year. We released our single ”Who We Are”, which was sort of a new beginning for us as a band, and we played our first show in New York, and it’s all in the movie.
EP: What do you like to do away from the music?
M: Ride snowmobiles and eat tacos.
EP: How do you find working as a duo? Who makes the decisions? Or is it pretty equal?
M: We’ve talked a lot about what we want The Magnettes to be all about, what’s important to us and what we want to look like and sound like and all of that. Then we’re sort of free to explore within that context and let our personalities shape it. Rebecka writes the songs and is heavily involved in the sound and the production. Sanna tends to be more of the show-runner, she handles a lot of the communication, smiles to people and makes them fall in love with us.
EP:If you could work with any other artist, who would you chose?
M: Kathleen Hanna or Baby Spice.
‘Sore Feet And Heartbeats’ by The Magnets is due for release on 6th July.