Spunsugar will release their debut album, Drive-Through Chapel this week, a glorious tension between beauty and horror. And have a listen to teaser single Happier Happyless.
The offspring of schoolfriends Cordelia Moreau and Elin Ramstedt, later to be joined by Felix Sjöström, Spunsugar are set to unleash a cracker on the crazy 2020 world in the form of forthcoming long player, Drive-Through Chapel.
It’s been a long time coming, and it’s the album you didn’t know you needed. But you do. It will be out in all the usual places on 2 October.
It’s a magnificent piece of work. Noise, pop, grunge, electronica and metal all in one package. Maybe it sounds like it shouldn’t work. We shrug at your indifference. It does.
They’re Sweden’s hottest export at the moment. We’ll let the band explain why in their own words.
We had a chat with Cordelia and Elin from their base in Malmö
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Cordelia: We are in my office in Malmö, Sweden and drinking lite beer.
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the band. How did you get together, when did you form?
Elin: We two met 10 years ago, we started jamming together, playing music then. And then we started again, playing music, maybe 4 years ago, just the two of us.
Cordelia: We didn’t have a bass player and we didn’t have a drummer. And we didn’t want a bass player or a drummer. But then I met Felix when [Elin and I] were studying to become teachers (both of us dropped out). We started talking about music and he asked about the band, so I sent him a demo we’d done and then he just wanted to come and try playing with us. He had such great energy and we needed his input. He became a true member of the band pretty fast.
P3dro: And there’s the album coming out on 2 October. What was the recording process like for that?
Cordelia: Pretty great.
Elin: Yeah. There were things we’d been working on since we started the band.
Cordelia: We had such a great studio technician [Joakim Lindberg]. He is so good he becomes like a member of the band, so he helped us along. He was a part, not only of the recording process, but also the creative process as well. Which we really welcomed – we liked his ideas, he’s really great. He’s a true genius.
Elin: It’s nice to get input from somewhere. It gives depth. It’s nice to hear someone else’s opinion.
P3dro: Do you think he affected the sound in any way?
Elin: Not the foundations, but details.
Cordelia: The overall presentation of the music in the end, although he didn’t change a lot about the songs.
Elin: It was more like adding stuff.
P3dro: Where do you think you get your influences from? You’re described as a shoegaze band, we’ve seen references to, say, Curve and Swervedriver. Is that the kind of music you listen to?
Elin: Yeah, I think we listen to that kind of music. I really like fast shoegaze.
Cordelia: That’s what I listen to mostly as well. Felix listens to a lot of metal, black metal. He’s not a big shoegaze guy, I don’t think. I listen to a lot of 90s alternative rock, like Garbage, Cranberries, the Hole albums. Over-produced pop / alt rock.
P3dro: Do you think with Felix listening to a lot of metal, that brings some feeling to the sound of your music?
Cordelia: Definitely. I think when we started, when we wrote the first songs, it was poppy, shoegaze, music. But something has definitely shifted. We also listen to heavy music, but Felix is the biggest in bringing that into our project. It was a lot softer before Felix joined.
P3dro: The album is coming out on Adrian Recordings, tell us about the label and how that came about.
Elin: We had our first single ready – “I Shouldn’t Care” – and we were sending it to everyone, but [no one was interested]. But a few months after we released that song, Magnus Bjerkert from Adrian Recordings contacted us and wanted to meet up and talk.
Cordelia: The thing about that label is that I think it would have been hard to find a better deal. Magnus likes to be in the midst of stuff, he likes to be involved with everything that goes on, but without barging in on the creative stuff. He lets us do our thing. We’re not bound to anything that could screw us over in the future, so it was a great [deal]. He’s pretty co-operative.
P3dro: We know this album isn’t even out yet, but do you have anything planned for more music coming out?
Elin: We’re recording a new song for this October.
Cordelia: We’re writing stuff all the time. We write things pretty much every week. Not everything goes into the band, but we’re always writing new music.
Elin: Yeah, we try a lot of stuff out and see if we can do anything [with it].
P3dro: What about gigs? Do you have any planned?
Elin: We’re having an album release party in October in Malmö and then we’re playing a festival in November, in Sweden, of course, because of the current situation. We can’t tour USA at the moment!
P3dro: How have things been, because we’re aware Sweden has handled Covid 19 differently from a lot of other countries.
Cordelia: Er… Yeah, we’ve [ie, Sweden] had a lot of criticism for how we’re handling it. But people are freaked out here as well, but we’re a pretty mellow country overall. We try to keep to the rules, but people have been a bit so-so on following the limits on how many people are allowed in a venue. Things like that.
P3dro: Have gigs been happening? Have people been able to go out and see live music.
Elin: Yeah, we played a gig in April – it was the only gig in Europe that night!
Cordelia: We got some criticism for that on Facebook. I’ve seen a couple of gigs, but we are only allowed 50 people at a time. And people have to be seated.
P3dro: That must affect the atmosphere?
Cordelia: It did a little bit, but people were kind of still excited and they were a lot more vocal and clapping, shouting. Which is kind of odd. In Sweden, you [normally] stand still and we’re not very vocal. But when you have to sit down, then you show appreciation by shouting.
P3dro: You use a drum machine for your recordings. Have you ever felt the need for a live drummer?
Cordelia: No. I think we don’t want to screw with the dynamic of the three of us. And I think it does a lot for our sound that we have that kind of mechanical drum track.
Elin: Yeah, we could have a drummer, but we don’t want one.
P3dro: You’ve talked about musical influences, but we have also seen references to non-musical ones as well.
Cordelia [who is wearing an Exorcist t-shirt]: I’m a big movie fan. I like horror movies. I collect horror movie VHS tapes. I think it has become my kind of language. It’s such a hard, concrete way to describe things. Horror movies are the perfect format to express issues, they are drawn to their outer limits. If you have an issue and you perform it through horror it’s drawn to its max.
It’s a way of getting through things you have inside yourself. I have a lot of movie references in our lyrics, which are like code for something in my life. Horror movies help me understand my life – they”re such an extreme form of art.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.
Cordelia: Right now, I’m listening to The Chicks. I love their country music. And I’m listening to a lot of Dolly Parton tribute albums.
Elin: Static Daydream. It feels like they haven’t had enough attention. They’re a great band.
P3dro: Anything else you want to tell us?
Cordelia: You can pre-order the album. We just hope people will listen to it.
Band images – credit Charlie Wedin