Makthaverskan's music is a blend of giddy chaos and beauty, with lead singer Maja Milner key to the high-wire balancing act. On new album III, due on October 20 via Run For Cover, the Swedish jangle-punks switch their attention and focus on the increasingly tumultuous world in which we're living. "Eden" is a highlight of the record and proof of the band's shift from writing confessional songs about personal affairs to tackling the raging shit-heap of society as it burns in front of us all. "Humanity equals misery," Milner sings in her cut-glass voice on the song, which is premiering below. "There's nothing here to see. Is this what we want, or is it all we know?" It's the kind of song that makes you want to celebrate as the world is ending.
The band is based in Gothenburg where, on a wet day in September, Milner and guitarist Hugo Randulv explained to The FADER via Skype how important it is to bury their dark subject matter inside shimmering guitar-pop songs. Since releasing II in 2013, guitarist Gustav Data Andersson has left the band to go solo ("There's no story to tell," they say. "It's like a break-up where you stay best friends.") Meanwhile, Milner moved back to the Swedish capital from Berlin, having also spent some time living in New Jersey.
In a breezy half-hour conversation, Milner and Randulv discussed how the newly honed four-piece focused on their third full-length, the frustration they feel with the world in 2017, and how they have spent the past four years since last putting out an album. Read the Q+A and listen to "Eden" exclusively below.
What is "Eden" about?
MAJA MILNER: It's about earth in 2017 and the point we're at with humanity and society in general. It's a song about the national shame of being a human. I've been thinking this was for a couple of years now and it's taken over my brain so it was obvious to make a song about it. Initially I thought the song would be angry but it ended up sounding pretty beautiful, almost in contrast to the world it's written about.
Was there a specific event that triggered the creation of the song?
MILNER: Not exactly, it's just everything. I want to move out to the countryside and get away. I don't know if things are worse now [than in history] but we have so much more knowledge of what is happening. I love my friends and my life but I don't want to live like this because it makes me depressed.
Hugo, you write the music to accompany Maja's lyrics. How did you tackle "Eden"?
HUGO RANDULV: The moment we started writing the song the melody fitted well with the lyrics. It felt very natural. It's a very Makthaverskan thing to have music that doesn't necessarily reflect what's in the lyrics.
MILNER: I can't write happy lyrics. I don't know why, it's just not my thing. I can write beautiful lyrics though and I love contrast.
The new album is your first in four years. What have you been doing in that time?
RANDULV: It felt like a short time and also a long time to be away. We released the album in Sweden first and then the rest of the world. We did a lot of touring, too. That takes up a lot of time.
MILNER: I moved back to Sweden two years ago [from Berlin] so I've been able to focus on Makthaverskan properly since then.
Are the themes of anger and despair at the world something that run through the record?
MILNER: There's a sense of frustration that runs through the album but some of that is focused inwards, my feelings and my mistakes. Initially I said that I didn't want a song about a boy on this record but then three or four turned out to be love songs. I don't think about boys at the moment and I wanted to write something real so it was important to me to be honest about that. I don't overthink lyrics though. I see my voice as an instrument first, and the words come after that.
There's a lot of hope running through III as well as the darker themes, isn't there?
MILNER: Yeah. I'm not going to let it affect my life, but I'm still sad about it. I'm not going to let the world beat me down, I'll just create my own world and escape there instead.