FADER 40 Gen F'ers Peter Bjorn and John are rolling through New York and Los Angeles next week, but sadly the shows are already sold out. We hollered at Peter to see if he could work some of that Swedish magic and unsell some tickets, but he wanted to conduct an interview instead. Our policy is the artist always comes first, so we asked him some questions about sandwiches and seahorses, which you can find after the jump.
Comma in the name or no? Why? Did you consciously arrange the names to make
the initials come out the same as one of America's favorite sandwiches?
What's the Swedish equivalent of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches?
It looks better than with the comma, that's the only reason.
I don't like PBJ-sandwiches, though, even though I was aware of their existence.
They're too sweet for my taste. I do like sweet stuff, but more proper desserts, not that
mixed-up thing. Swedish sandwiches are often more salty than sweet, but we do eat a lot of buns
and this time of year we eat a special one called Semla. But I won't tell you about that.
Aside from you and Project Pat, not many musicians make the decision to whistle in
songs, but almost everytime it ends up pretty amazing. What was the thought
process behind whistling the main melody on "Young Folks?"
It was pure concidence, no thought. Bjorn whistled it because he didn't have a keyboard around, just to remember the melody, and we kept it because it sounded good. And he also whistled on a couple of other songs after that.
But I'm tired of whistling by now, so we skip it on the next album.
I prefer guitars.
Besides the three sold out shows,
do you have plans to come back and see the whole country?
Absolutely. In April and May.
Did you know that Los Angeles has the largest Swedish population outside of
Sweden? When you come to town, will you only hang out with Swedes or
are you open to socializing with other nationalities?
No Swedes. I see them everyday at home. I prefer other nationalities.
Can you explain Glögg to me?
A sweet combination of dessert wine and something else soda-ish. I don't know the exact ingredients. You heat it and drink it with added raisins at Christmas. They also have non-alcholic types for kids and sober people. What exactly has that to do with our album??
Are you working on new material?
We always work on new stuff, but we haven't played it together yet, just separately. It feels more fun to begin preparing a new one when we know that people will be interested in hearing it. Hopefully they like it, as well. If not, we won't care, and we'll get to stay home more than this year.
Writer's Block is obviously your breakthrough in the States. Is it any more or less successful in Sweden than your
None of our albums have been very popular in Sweden, including the new one. And with every new album we are getting worse reviews than before. But they will probably praise the next one when they've realized this one was hyped everywhere else. Bitter, me? Nope. I would rather play in Australia, Japan and USA than Sweden. They pay less, as well.
Peter, you live under a bar called The Seahorse. Is that as magical as it
sounds? How big of a drunk are you?
I don't live under it, but our rehearsal space is under it, and I live around the corner.
There is another bar in my house. I'm not as big a drunk as Bjorn, but I drink more than my folks have in a lifetime.
That sounds a lot, but they never drink. Almost. I prefer eating to drinking. I eat a lot.