Interview: The Concept

Welcome to the PUMP Sessions Interview Series. The Concept is our first
international interview, so we’re extra excited to speak with you today. For
starters, please introduce yourselves…

PS: So where are you all from and how did you meet? How did the band come

TC: David is the only one from Stockholm, Magnus Robert and Frans
Povel are from the southwest of Sweden and Filip is from Croatia.
David and Filip started a duo together and five years later(spring
2011), the band became complete and we released our first single in
Sweden, D-d-dance.

Comparisons in my camp have ranged from French rockers, Phoenix, to your
fellow Swedes, The Sounds. So many artists are afraid or annoyed by that, but
I think it’s important to give the unfamiliar a familiar hint as to what they can
expect to hear. What are your thoughts on that? And what bands have you been
compared to in the press?

We have been compared to The Strokes, Phoenix, Daft Punk,  
Two Door Cinema Club to name a few. We’ve been influenced by so many bands 
and it would be stupid to deny it. People love comparing bands and pointing out 
what they’ve heard and seen before. As for The Sounds, who the hell are they?

I feel like the UK and Sweden have consistently brought the hottest foreign rock
n roll to American shores for the last decade. And pop music, as well. Why do
you think that is? And what is so different about Sweden that creates so many
incredible, international acts, as opposed to other European countries?

It’s a combination of many things. We can’t speak for the UK but as
for Sweden, we have a long history of music that has been widely
appreciated abroad. Every business needs someone to lead the way.
During the 90’s Sweden was behind a lot of commercial stuff like
Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and so on. Since then a lot of artists
like Robyn and The Knife have shown the way out of that and built
something more unique. It’s quite remarkable for a country of our
size but a lot has to do with the fact that the Swedish market is small
and we have to seek opportunities elsewhere. In Sweden people
listen to music sung in Swedish and we sing in English so it’s natural
for us to hit it in the US.

The Concept - Gimme Twice

What’s the scene like in Stockholm? I’m sure our American audience is interested
in some of the hottest rock clubs in town. Can you name a few of your favorites?

Stockholm is a disaster for musicians right now. If you see to all
the great acts that come from Sweden, it’s a shame that the scene
is so small. A lot of places charge bands to play at their venues
and that’s a problem for up-coming bands. Lucky for us, it’s not
a problem anymore. But it’s a shame that the clubs make it so
hard for newcomers. Two great places to play at are Debaser
Medborgarplatsen and Hornstull Strand.

Who have you gigged with so far in Sweden? And have you toured around
Europe yet? If yes, with whom?

We’ve only been a band for less than a year so we haven’t had the
chance to tour as a supporting act yet. As individuals we’ve toured
with for example Robyn all over the place.

This probably sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always wondered what Nordic
residents do when they tour Europe. Do you ferry your van across the channel
or rent in Continental Europe?

Usually you fly to Germany and rent a nightliner there, but there are
bridges between Sweden, Denmark and Germany so you wouldn’t
have to ferry your van.

At PUMP Merch, we’ve seen a radical shift in how bands view their brand
and products. Obviously, with the decline of music sales, acts are investing
heavily in t-shirts and all kinds of accessories. What types of items do you have
available for your fans and why? What do you sell at shows and what do you
sell online?

Everything happened so fast for us since Gimme Twice came out in
the US so we haven’t had the time to work on our merch that much
yet. We’re on it! Any suggestions?

Your management team has done a great job of getting your music out
internationally. Clearly, since it found its way to us here at PUMP Sessions.
What has been your publicity secret? Blogs? Magazines? Social Networking?
No doubt, blogs and social networking so far. Blogs are really
powerful these days.

Sweden has been a world capital of file-sharing sites for the last ten years or so.
How has that affected the country’s musicians and what are your thoughts on
subscription sites like Spotify?

File-sharing and Spotify have affected the scene a lot. Indie bands
have gained more power and are no longer as dependent of big
record companies.

We think it’s a positive thing that people can share our music all
over the world for free. More fans for us and more people at our

Before music piracy became an issue, it was frowned upon by most bands to sell
their music to companies for commercial use. But now, a lot of acts have aligned
themselves with corporate brands. Does that sort of thing interest you? And
what are your thoughts on commercializing your music, such as licensing for

It definitely depends on what kind of company it is for us. We’d
rather be associated with a great company for peanuts than a bad
one for millions.

Of course many artists are hurt by the lack of record sales, but for most
forward-thinking progressives in the industry, the internet has opened up more
doors than ever for getting your music out to a larger audience. What are your
thoughts on offering your recorded music free as a marketing tool for concert,
licensing, and merch sales?

We would be glad to do that! The only negative thing with people not
buying records is that the artistic value of a record is lost. However
artists like Bon Iver still manage to put out a great record rather
than a storage place for ten singles.

Speaking of targeting your audience, what is your fan interaction like on
Facebook and Twitter? I think it’s absolutely imperative to establish an intimate
relationship with your fans, but it’s also important to keep an air of mystery.
How do you toe that line and how have you benefitted from social networking?

You really nailed it with this one. It’s every bands problem and so
many traps you could fall into. But we have a secret strategy that
we can’t share. It’s a secret. But we love our fans and they are the
reasons why we’re here.

Who are your biggest musical influences, both current and historically?

Beatles, The Who, Rufus Wainwright, Bon Iver, The Strokes, Daft

What is your recording process like? Who lays down a riff and then how does it
build from there? Is it collaborative?

David the singer writes the foundation of the songs, chords and melody. Then
Filip comes into the process and writes the lyrics together with David. After
that, we show the songs to Magnus Robert and Frans Povel and we arrange
and produce them together. Frans Povel is the technical genius in the band and
he produces the songs together with us. Everybody’s opinions and knowledge is
really important for the band.

Who produced “Gimme Twice” and is there an EP or album coming soon?

We produce and mix everything ourselves. Frans Povel is in the
driving seat and controls the technical process.

I see that you’ve created street teams in countries around Europe to create
regional fanbases. That’s really clever, but is it working? I’m truly fascinated
by new forms of marketing and promotion, so I’m always asking bands what
works and what doesn’t. I feel like there are a million blogs out there telling
bands what to do, but no one ever asking bands what THEY do.

Street teams are not only about marketing. It’s also a chance for us
to get to know our fans and for them to get involved in the creative

Finally, any plans on touring Stateside in the near future? We’d love a show in
NYC. If you need any help booking one, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be happy
to help.

Thanks! It’s a big dream for any Swedish act to tour the US, we’ll
definitely stop by later this year even if we need to ferry our van
over.:) We’ll give you a call about the NYC gig!

Thank you so much for your time. Love the band and can’t wait to hear what
else you come out with. Hopefully this will be the foundation for a musical
assault on the U.S. Best of luck and get over here soon.