With the recent success of Swedish artists – Lykke Li, Those Dancing Days and of course, First Aid Kit, to name but a few – Sweden isn’t just the home of beautiful people these days, it is the home of beautiful music too.
We’ve been listening to one such band responsible for some of this beautiful music a lot recently. Not Without Grace, a trio from Gothenburg, make the kind of rock-pop epics that would make U2 jealous.
We caught up with guitarist Alexander Herlogsson for a quick chat.
Tell us how you guys formed.
Me and Chris (Franzén – lead guitar) have been playing together since we were 16 and made a lot of instrumental songs in school.
When we got a gig at a local radio station here in Gothenburg in 2007, we asked Linnea, who is my sister, to sing and it turned out to be great.
At the start we were just doing covers on our YouTube channel but we got a lot of views so we decided to do our own songs and start the band.
How would you describe your sound without using any other bands as a reference?
Well, we all have very different influences and I think that is what makes our sound special.
We have both ambient and post-rock influences as well as folk and rock too. We play some kind of alternative-ambient-folk-pop, I think!
Who writes your songs? Is it something you all have a hand in or is it just one of you?
We all have a hand in the songwriting process and in most cases one of us has an idea which we work through together and create a song out of it.
It can sometimes take us a long, long time to write songs because all of us have very different ideas about how we should sound – but in the end it always turns out great!
Swedish bands are doing really well at the moment (First Aid Kit and Those Dancing Days, for example). Which Swedish bands do you listen to the most?
Yeah, it’s amazing that such a small country can develop so many great bands and artists.
We listen to a lot of local bands from Gothenburg, such as The Animation and Animasola who sometimes can sound pretty similiar to us.
Besides them I personally listen a lot to Håkan Hellström who is very big here in Sweden.
Why do you sing in English instead of Swedish?
I think it’s because you can reach a bigger audience in English than in Swedish.
The vocabulary is much bigger in English too, so it’s easier to write good lyrics.
Have you ever written any songs in Swedish?
Yes and no, haha!
We have never written any songs in Swedish with the band, but me and Chris wrote our first song in Swedish – It was called ‘Tomrum’ which means ’emptiness’!
I understand you’re working on some new material. How is that going?
It’s going okay. Linnea is living in London for the moment, so we’re trying to work as hard as possible whenever she is home.
She should be moving back in a couple of months, so we will finish up our songs then.
So can we expect to hear what you’ve been working on fairly soon, then?
Yeah, hopefully we will release a couple of new songs this fall.
Now then, you played to about 10,000 people last year at a Twilight promotion event in Stokholm, right? How was that?
Yeah, that was amazing!
We have never played such a big gig before, and it was as great as we thought it would be.
The audience were fantastic and gave us a gig we will always remember.
You can watch one of the songs here.
Were you more nervous before that show than you usually are for a regular show?
Of course! All of us were very nervous and I thought I was going to vomit 5 minutes before the show, haha!
But when we got up on stage and started playing, it all went away.
What can people expect when they come to see you play live?
They can expect to see a great show and great music. We try to record songs very similar to how we sound live, so people will hear the same sound as the on CD.
I think many people can relate to our music, and Linnea is fantastic on stage, so you wont be disappointed.
I understand you’re pretty big Coldplay fans, right? What is your favourite song? – Please don’t choose ‘Every Tear Drop Is A Waterfall’ or we can’t be friends anymore.
Yes we are. Me and Chris went to see them here in Gothenburg a month ago and they were great.
I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t play ‘Life in Technicolor ii’ which is my favourite.
If you could choose any band to go on a tour with, who would it be?
Well if you asked Chris he would say Paramore. I think Linnea would probably choose Laura Marling and I have to say Led Zeppelin, but since they aren’t touring anymore, I say Mumford & Sons.
If you were to do a song with a famous rap star, who would you pick?
Jay-Z of course – Everything he touches turns to gold!
Finally then, this is the part where you get to say whatever you want. Anything at all – go for it!
Well we want to thank all of our fans who have been following us since we started out on YouTube, and also welcome any new ones!
We really do appreciate all the support we have had through the years, and hopefully you will see a lot of us in the future.
Also many thanks to you for giving us the opportunity to feature on this blog.
Not Without Grace – Cut Me Loose