Those Dancing Days are one of Alex Gosman‘s favourite discoveries of 2008; five Swedish girls that have taken indie, girl-group and Northern Soul influences, and have come up with a clutch of truly beautiful, dance-worthy songs.
He caught up with Linnea (vocals), Rebecka (guitar), Lisa (synth), Mimmi (bass) and Cissi (drums) shortly before a recent show in Kingston.
So how are you all? You played the Latitude festival a few weeks ago – how did that go?
R: Very good, thanks! And Latitude was cool…
C: Yes, we played on the same stage as Blondie, and we thought that was very cool! We’re not really used to playing on such big stages, but it went very well, so we were happy.
Lisa: And they had pink sheep there too!
Could you briefly tell us how Those Dancing Days originally formed?
Lisa: Me, Rebecka and Cissi had a band before, but we ended that band and wanted to form a new band. We needed a bass player, and Cissi knew Mimi, and Mimi knew Linnea – because we needed a singer too. So we all hung out together, and soon started playing together as a band.
So who are your favourite bands, and main influences?
C: I think we all have different favourite bands that we are inspired by…
Linnea: But we all like a lot of Swedish bands that have become our friends!
M: Especially a band called the Shout Out Louds, they’re really good. And I think also the Strokes, maybe? We’ve never met them, but we do like their songs.
Rebecka, you recently said that your forthcoming debut album (‘In Our Space Hero Suits’) is inspired by “life and pretty boys” – is that true?
R: Well, it’s more inspired by life, that just happens to include pretty boys! But it’s like, we’re five people, all writing lyrics about different things, so that quote was really just something I said for fun.
Lisa: Yeah, we really just write about whatever’s going around in our heads at the time.
Linnea: That’s how ‘Hitten’ was written, when I was just feeling a bit confused about some things in my life…just the voice of a confused teenager!
Is there any story behind the title?
Lisa: It’s taken from the lyrics of one of the songs on the album…and it’s like, when we’re in our space hero suits – as if we’re trying to save the world – we’re at our best. So when we’re playing music together, that is us at our best – it’s like we’re in our space hero suits. We’re on top of life!
I’ve been teaching English to foreign students for the last six months, and have yet to teach a Swedish (or Scandinavian) student – how come you speak such good English?
M: Because no-one else speaks Swedish, so we have to learn English!
Lisa: Also, English shows on Swedish television have subtitles – they don’t translate the voices into Swedish. And we watch a lot of TV, so we learn a lot from that, and also most of the music we listen to is sung in English.
M: I think Swedish people are quite interested in learning English, to help them communicate. We’ve all accepted that people won’t learn Swedish – we are the only ones!
R: And we start learning English at a very early age, too – at about six or seven.
You’re all from Stockholm – what is it like as a place to grow up, and to play music?
Lisa: It’s a great city, you should visit it sometime! We come from a nice suburb of Stockholm, where they have a youth garden area with rehearsal studios…if you want to start a band, you can just go there and borrow their guitars and drums and whatever you need.
Linnea: And they organise small festivals for kids too, where bands can play. We played our first gig there – and we’d only been together for 2 months at that point!
M: We played about four songs, I think, to our parents and maybe a few other people!
Lisa: But it’s good to start early, to get used to playing live…
C: I think that because we’d played at a lot of small places, it wasn’t too scary to then start playing in front of crowds of people that we didn’t know.
M: Yeah, and there are so many bands in Sweden, so if you are in a band too, then there are lots of people who can help you and inspire you.
Some of you finished school quite recently – was it difficult to balance being at school and playing in a band?
Linnea: Yeah, it was weird…we would play shows at weekends, and we’d have the time of our lives, and then we’d be back at school on Mondays, thinking “What am I doing here?” When you’re having as much fun as we were having, then the boring stuff becomes even more boring!
R: I think I got lazier and lazier towards the end of school…
M: And it was hard getting back to reality when we had to go to school – everyone was like “Don’t think you’re pop stars, you’re still at school!”.
R: Yeah, one of my teachers told me that I had to choose between music and school, which I think was a pretty stupid thing to say!
So what makes you happy and sad?
R: Food makes us happy!
Lisa: When we’ve been travelling for a long time, and we get to a place, and we’re all tired, then it makes us very happy when there’s nice food waiting for us! And we get sad when we have to get up early in the morning, and when we have to fly Ryanair.
R: And I get sad when I see animals in movies…I get tears in my eyes, because they’re cute. All kinds of animals, really…lately, it was a lion!
C: But generally, we get happy and sad just like most people.
Speaking of animals – if TDD were animals, what would you be, and why?
[Unfortunately my dictaphone goes a bit fuzzy at this point, but there was plenty of laughter, and suggestions included a monkey, a cat, a giraffe, a seal, a deer, a butterfly, and a meerkat].
So what are your plans for the near future, after the album is released?
Linnea: I think we’ll already be on tour when the album is released…we’ll play some shows around Sweden, and then we’re gonna go to Japan for the first time! After that, we don’t really know, we haven’t got any firm plans for the new year yet. But we’ll be back in the UK later this year.
‘In Our Space Hero Suits‘ will be released on the 6th October, via Wichita Recordings. Check www.myspace.com/thosedancingdays for more info.