Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Solander

SolanderSwedish duo Solander (Fredrik Karlsson and Anja Linna) present their forthcoming third album Monochromatic Memories, due for worldwide release on February 4th (via A Tenderversion Recording). Although a record about loss and remorse, Solander have managed to capture hope and warmth with their endearing folk-pop, as shown in the LP’s lead single All Opportunities. To learn more about Monochromatic Memories and the band, I spoke with Solander about their new single The Woods Are Gone, hailing from Sweden, how their sound has evolved, and their name…

AMBY: Hello Solander, cheers for speaking with AMBY. Please introduce yourselves to our readers!

Solander: Hi AMBY! Glad to be speaking to you. We usually describe us as an indie/folk/pop band, and most people would say we play sad songs. But for us music is what brings happiness to our lives. We like to mix the sweet and sour. We live in Malmö in the very south of Sweden, but also spend a lot of time in a small cabin in Södermanland close to Stockholm. The songs are written by us, Fredrik Karlsson and Anja Linna, but they come to life together with the super talented musicians Albin Johansson and Adam Hjertström, live and in the studio.

AMBY: What’s the band been up to lately?

Solander: In 2013 we mostly focussed on writing and recording our new album, and squeezed in some sweet shows in between. We did a few shows with one of our favorite bands Woods in the spring, played the Reeperbahn Festival in September and did a Scandinavian tour with the amazing Junip in November. We’ve been very lucky to do so many shows together with our favorite bands!

AMBY: Your third album Monochromatic Memories comes out early February of this year. What’s can fans expect to hear from the forthcoming record?

Solander: They will hear ten songs made up of old memories, some sorrow, travels, touring, happy adventures, a Tomas Tranströmer poem and everyday reflections. The songs are collected in a cold winter suit, with a warm acoustic inside.

AMBY: What’s the significance behind the title Monochromatic Memories?

Solander: Monochromatic Memories is the title of one of the album’s songs. This song is about remembering someone who is dear to you, how you visually try to remember that person but that eventually your memories will resemble fading photographs. Like the old square photographs in your family’s photo album that has lost most of its color, and is therefore monochromatic.

AMBY: How do you feel your sound has evolved since the release of your debut album Since We Are Pigeons?

Solander: We have continued to build on to our key elements, such as Fredrik’s voice, the guitar, the cello and the dynamic drumming. But we have also added new moods and sounds, especially since Albin Johansson and Adam Hjertström joined. And through our producer Christian Gabel who is very much into analogue vintage synthesizers. Working with the latest album, we wanted Christian to distort and ”disturb” what we do, to bring in the unexpected. We think that each song is more ”full of itself” now, more confident.

AMBY: What’s the story behind your new single The Woods Are Gone?

Solander: We tried to write a story split in two sides. One: you travel to a place that doesn’t look like it used to, it has gone through a fateful change. We thought a lot about Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse 5. Returning to a devastated place, like it is an infinite night on earth, a post-apocalyptic reality. A dark story inspired by everything that is going wrong on this earth right now. Two: The midnight train can also be understood as a metaphor for a dream, then this place is an inner place that used to flourish but now is abandoned. Someone has disappeared and with that person everything else is gone.

AMBY: Does hailing from Sweden have an influence on your sound? And if so, how?

Solander: Living in a blueberry probably makes you blue. So yes, it probably influences our sound as well. We often hear that our music sounds Scandinavian, but we haven´t really figured out what this is. We need some help to sort this out.

AMBY: Which other artists from Sweden should we keep our eyes on?

Solander: Yast is a Malmö-based band playing sunny pop music that you don’t want to miss. Alice Boman is a rising star with a stunning voice. Big fox is another Malmö artist that Fredrik had the pleasure to work with. Our drummer Adam has a lovely side project called Adam Evald and our keyboardist Albin just released a collection of organ and synth songs on Psychic Malmö.

AMBY: Where did the name Solander come from, and what other names had you considered for the band?

Solander: Solander was a botanist traveling around the world studying plants and flowers. Starting out the band in Gothenburg, the group of people we were playing with then could all agree on liking flowers, as a common factor for the band. Actually, as boring as it might sound, we don’t remember any other names… Maybe our subconscious is censoring us.

AMBY: Which 2014 release are you most looking forward to?

Solander: Seem to be many exciting releases this year, but Damien Jurado is one of the favorites.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Solander that nobody knows yet?

Solander: Our first drummer is playing Coachella this year!

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Thank you Solander, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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