Light Vibes is a fresh new project from Sweden that has been almost a decade in the making. Erik Klinga and Mathias Zachrisson have been playing music together since they were fifteen years old, and first conceived this particular dream-pop partnership way back in 2009. Only now – having spent much of the past decade preoccupied with their roles in Sandviken outfit Simian Ghost – have they finally released their debut full-length, the follow-up to their Following EP last spring.
“We started to experiment as a two-piece, especially with electronics, and it felt like a more intimate way of working straight away,” says Zachrisson of the instinctive way in which him and Klinga create their music, both working with synths and electronics to create a sound that’s both organic and synthetic.
“Past/Present as the debut album’s title comes from us thinking a lot about how the past affects the present, for better and for worse,” say the duo. “The whole album sounds happy on the surface, but has a deep melancholy beneath it – that’s exactly what we aim for as a band.” The Light Vibes sound is complemented by Zachrisson’s voice, which floats hazily over the tracks – including previous singles ‘Summer’s Night’, ‘Love Wins’ and ‘A Piece Of My Heart’ – from start to finish, finding himself thematically inspired by everything from personal loss to the shifting nature of Swedish society.
FMS catches up with the band to discover more about the process of their music production behind the scenes, and of the making of their debut album, Past/Present, with our exclusive and refreshing Q&A from Mars.
Q&A FROM MARS:
01- Which colours do you associate visually with the recording and listening of this album?
“Visually we associate the album with a darker bluish color/ some kind of navy-blue. The artist Moa Gustafsson Söndergaard has portrayed our album so beautifully in all our visual material. Both in press material, art work and for live visuals. And the material is constantly moving within this spectrum of dark bluish, and there’s a perfect match both to the thematic lyrically and musically. To me there’s something with this dark bluish colour that is undefined. It can at the same time be both warm and cold.”
02- Which Records/Remix/es were on your playlist on repeat, before, during and after the mastering of Past/Present?
“There’s a lot of albums that have followed us over the years and during the recording of Past/Present. I remember we listened a lot to Suicide‘s first album from 1977. Their minimalistic but high-energy kraut-electronica inspired us and to have at least half the flair of Alan Vega’s vocals in the future would be a dream. Broadcast‘s Tender Buttons for their inspiring, extraordinary song writing/production and Trish Keenan‘s poetic lyrics and beautiful way of using her voice. Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We’re Floating In Space was also a huge inspiration of incorporating organic instruments with synthetic elements, and to tweak the organic voices to sound almost unnatural. I also remember Panda Bear released his PBMGR during our time writing in the studio. Noah Lennox and Pete Kember in a collaboration was almost too good to be true. Of course, this album became a breaking influence for us at the production point.”
03- How much do fashion and trends influence your stage-persona overall and your music style?
“I guess we’re into the idea of treating the live-situation with gratitude and respect. At the moment that reflects upon us wearing suits or certain clothing in order to make a unity as a duo/representation of our music. At the moment we’re into the looks of ‘60s bands but also conceptual clothing from modern artists. It doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it feels thought through. From time to time we wore all white to represent a clean easel and not to conflict with the music you’re experiencing while we’re performing live, it also works well with visuals.”
04- Do you feel that you’ve managed to create your own unique style for your music project?
“It’s always our goal to create music that feels new and unique to ourselves. I guess we wouldn’t feel satisfied before reaching to that level in one way or another in the creative process. So hopefully our music can evoke that feeling in some people out there as well.”
05- What’s the main reason/message behind creating Light Vibes?
“To create music that expands the idea of pop music. At least to ourselves. Everyone has their own interpretation and experiences around pop music and for music in general, so we can only reach for the joy in the feeling of expanding those limits within ourselves. The moments sharing that experience together in the studio is worth writing till we’re too old to stand.”
06- Habits: Please describe to us, your daily routine to the studio, and some key-situations, or fun situations that are reminding you of the ’process’?
”At the time of writing Past/Present we both lived in Stockholm. We hadn’t enough money to afford a studio so we kept recording in our apartments. Luckily, Erik lived in an art collective at the time, whose residents could enable us to record drums for a couple of hours at a certain time on certain days of the week. So we had two stations of writing, depending on which instruments we needed to record. Constantly dreaming of a day in the future where we hopefully will be able to afford a studio where we could keep our instruments together. But I’m thankful living in this modern technological era we’re you can achieve great results without a fancy studio. The most important thing is to keep yourself inspired and motivated. Nowadays we’re sharing a studio but I’ll kind of miss the work behind Past/Present as well; me and Erik sharing a bottle of wine in my apartment tracking vocals.”
07- Who was/were your idol/s when you were a teenager that made you decide to start singing, playing music and to conquer the world?
Zachrisson: “I had a crappy taste of music when I was a teenager. To me it started early, getting a drum kit as a three-year old, playing air guitar, mimicking my idols in front of tons of concerts recorded on our VHS-player. My idols at that time were Tommy Nilsson, Nordman and KISS etc. I guess Paul Stanley was my biggest idol at the time; inspired me to write songs. In that early age they were written in fake English. I remember my first song was called ’Moon Excellence’. What does that even mean?”
08- Do you have a favourite country where you’ve played or would you really want to play next?
”There’s always a special experience and feeling to the first gig of a new project. I remember every second of our premiere gig, and release party of our Following EP at Landet in Stockholm. It’s a small venue we both love and I remember we were both nervous in a month before this gig, mostly because it was our first one with this new material. There were such a great crowd with friends and family at this intimate venue. We’re not very picky when it comes to where our gigs will be, but of course we’re super looking forward to play SXSW in Austin this year. Such a crazy, huge festival where the whole city are transforming into a giant venue.”
Past/Present is out now via Fading Trails Recordings.