By Jacob Fox
As young teenagers idolizing artists such as Connor Oberst and Robin Pecknold, sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit picked up their instruments and started making their own music. Daughters of former Sweedish rocker Benkt Svensson, the two had easy access to an in-home studio to launch early recordings and playlists.
Early success in Sweden was limited to weekend gigs and a well-received EP, “Drunken Trees.” Their breakthrough came after uploading a YouTube video of themselves performing “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” a cover off of the Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album.
After catching international attention, First Aid Kit signed with a larger Record company, refined their early EP, and played alongside the Fleet Foxes for their first international performance.
Releasing albums “The Black & the Blue” and “The Lions Roar,” the indie folk duo were climbing the charts and touring the world, alongside the very artists that served as their inspiration. Recently, background vocals by the sisters were featured throughout Connor Oberst’s record “Upside Down Mountain.” Immediately following, they released “My Silver Lining,” the single that introduced their newest LP “Stay Gold.”
“Stay Gold” presents “a more dynamic arrangement with lots of outside artists and layered sounds which make the album more living,” explained the sisters during an interview with WSN, over the phone.
The high spirits of songs such as “My Silver Lining” and “Master Pretender” are accompanied by messages of pain and nostalgia, giving the music a “bitter-sweet” quality. The entirety of the album reflects an obsession with time, and fear of the change it brings. These themes manifest in the title “Stay Gold,” which illustrates “how sweet life is, but how you can’t hold on to anything,” as proclaimed by Johanna.
First Aid Kit finds themselves coming back to tour the United States with hopes that their fans have had time to digest their new record and are eager to see their new music, live. Their New York show, which they secretly still find intimidating, will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Oct. 24.
The group is bringing along a full string quartet to back their well-crafted harmonies and enhanced visuals to invigorate the performance and told WSN they are even considering premiering new, unpublished material separate from “Stay Gold.”
New material, however, does not point to imminent follow-up album. Leading the lives of progressive young rock stars, Johanna and Klara’s touring schedule have left them little time to do much else, let alone produce a collection of new music. With a long list of coming shows around the world, First Aid Kit truly lives up to their lyrical declaration: “I’d rather be moving than staying static.”
Jacob Fox is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org