“We have to take time off from school. They don’t like it too much, but we understand that. In the spring we’re touring Europe because we have a week off,” beams Klara, blonde half of sister act First Aid Kit.
Tying international touring schedules with the demands of school term times may not be at the top of the list of most artists’ priorities, but few are as young as the conscientious Söderberg siblings Klara, fifteen, and Johanna, eighteen. Defying their tender years, the worryingly talented sisters deliver a sound that’s anything but novelty. By adopting the pop-obsessed culture of their homeland - the ever-giving Sweden -and applying it to a sound nurtured from years of listening to folk staples like Dylan and Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit produce the kind of organic, unashamed pop that appeals to anyone with a working pair of ears. Aptly named, the Swedish sisters’ folk pop is not only an effective antidote to a slew of crap music around at the moment, but it’s a heartwarming remedy for the blues too. “Music can be such a comforting thing and we try to pick people up from bad days. We don’t have many happy songs, but I think even our sad songs can make you feel happier.”
The sisters’ mini-album Drunken Trees is a seven-track harmony of guitar, keyboard, auto-harp and vocals. Rejecting personal reflections - “our lives aren’t that interesting we just sit around at home…we don’t go to parties or anything” - the inexperienced double-act instead assume the role of characters, from the washed-up husband of ‘You’re Not Coming Home Tonight’ to the under-appreciated housewife of ‘Tangerine’. It
may sound a little creepy hearing a fifteenyear-old rattle on about the tires of male oppression but, as Johanna insists, even a couple of innocent teens are capable of appreciating such pains. “We can feel the way they feel, it’s not that hard to sympathize with people, to get into their situation. It’s like when we watch movies; we’re always crying out loud!”
Johanna and Klara made their first UK appearance at label Witchita’s Christmas bash last December. Alongside seasoned performers like Slow Club and Sky Larkin, the two looked very much at home. While both maintain a strong sense of self-belief, the nonchalance they exhibit largely stems not from their confidence but from the fact the two have actually given little time to consider their futures. In fact, the wide-eyed duo find it difficult to get their heads around their ascendance; “When we tell our friends stuff, I don’t think they understand how big it is, and I don’t think we do either. It’s overwhelming basically.” This is unsurprising considering one day they’ll be gigging alongside Fleet Foxes, while the next they’ll be in a classroom studying maths.
But it’s a problem First Aid Kit are going to have to overcome, for a bright and starry future awaits Sweden’s new sisters. That is, as soon as school is out.