Tuesday, December 6, 2011

FOTP Exclusive Interview with The Sound Of Arrows

Recently my collaborator Luis at OhMyRock.net, Flop Of The Pops' uber-trendy Brazilian sister site, had the opportunity to interview the lovely Swedish duo The Sound Of Arrows, born Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm (amazing name right?). Their lush-pop debut album Voyage came out last month on Geffen records and the guys have been riding a wave of success with recent remix credits including Alphabeat, Lady Gaga, Natalia Kills and Nicole Scherzinger

Their own music is heavenly, fantastic, wonderful; brilliant and polished, an air of the ethereal runs through "Voyage". There's a strong 80s vibe but conversely the music is more futuristic than dated. It is an album, a real album, which benefits immensely from being heard and comprehended as such - the LP is devoid of the killer/filler divide that defines most records nowadays.

Without further ado, check out their answers below:

Hello Oskar, hello Stefan, how are you?

We’re very well thank you. Sitting in a pub in London answering these questions while having a pint.

You've just released your first album: what are the expectations?

The expectations are quite modest at the moment, there was a time when they were over the moon but we’ve calmed down quite a bit since the heydays of being a hot act singed to a major label. Now we’re hoping we’ve done a good enough of an album so that it’ll find it’s audience on the back of it’s quality.

We first got to know you from "DANGER", and since then, almost 3 years have passed. How long did it actually take to come up with the debut?

It’s been a crazy three years – we’ve come a long way since the ’Danger’ days. It’s been a real roller coaster, with very high highs and very low lows. But in the end it’s all worth it. We’re so pleased with how the album turned out and we truly feel we managed to achieve what we set out to create. We've fully realized the vision. Creativity is difficult when there’s a lot of people involved. Basically, in the end, we just had to say that "it’s this way, or the highway". Neither me nor Oskar are good with compromises..

What was the most challenging thing about making the first album?

Writing songs that we thought fit well together and worked as a whole like an album. That, and tuning the darn analoge synths that kept going out of tune..

You guys have produced the most part of your album, and songs already known like "Into The Clouds", "Magic" and even "Nova" have appeared in new forms in Voyage. Are you the kind of producers that always come back to a track even though it's already finished?

Like I said above we’re total perfectionsists and of the belief that tracks aren’t finished they are released. Having said that we actually reached a point where we looked at each other (after 'There Is Still Hope' was written) and just thought – this could be an album! And after that we had to act fast before we found stuff we could improve.

Your last video, "Magic", was a huge success in Youtube. What can you tell us about the video for "Wonders"? Will it be a follow-up to "Magic"?

The video is out now and it’s safe to say it isn’t a follow up to Magic, but more yet another piece of the TSOA universe puzzle.

Any plans for the next single after "Wonders"?

We haven’t decided yet – any suggestions?

Of the new songs, "Longest Ever Dream" is one of our favourites, especially because of the female vocal. Who is she, how did you come up with this idea?

I’m glad you like the track. It’s a swedish girl Sarah, that calls herself Action Biker, whose voice I’ve always loved. And to us she was such a perfect fit to our sound and album. There is actually three versions of this song, number two is a bonus on the 2nd disc of the physical release of our album. The third will be featured on an upcoming Neon  Gold release.

"Voyage" sounds like a big fantasy blockbuster from the 80's and your videos also have the same visual appeal. Did you take inspiration from any movies, especially for the videos or even for the "widescreen pop" you guys make?

We love that decade of grand films created with real FX, strong colors and no sense of playing it cool. Our dream would be to create a film and it’s soundtrack. One day, we hope to realize this dream. Hollywood – take notice!

Speaking of inspirations, we also can hear traces of New Order and other 80's bands while listening to Voyage. Was it a coincidence or are you big fans of the band?

We get a lot of comparisons to New Order and Pet Shop Boys but to us they’ve never been a big influence. We really like both bands but neither of us, apart from a NO best of, own any of their albums. The one 80s act that we can subscribe to is OMD, their album 'Dazzle Ships' is a mutual favorite of ours and a true gem. It’s such a weird album with so many interesting sounds. Our real influences are soundscape-y things like Vangelis, Enya and Boards of Canada. With a little bit of modern pop, MGMT, Cut Copy etc thrown in.

How do you plan to recreate the mystical feeling of the album in your live shows?

We always have a lot of visual elements when we perform and spend a lot of our live budget on video projections etc.

We love your remixes, especially the unexpected ones, like "Alejandro" (Lady Gaga) and "Right There" (Nicole Scherzinger). Can you tell us what is your favourite remix of yours?

We’re happy you’ve been enjoying our remixes! Our favorite one is also an unexpected one, it’s our take on Natalia KillsZombie’. We just think the sound of that remix is really cool and it’s by far our favorite.

Can you tell us what is the next "unexpected" remix we can expect? (!)

No man, that’s all in the future.

I've read that you are big fans of the new Britney Spears album! What do you think about the current pop scene and who do you think best represents it today?

The Femme Fatale album is just great because it really plays to Britneys strengths, ie her weakness. It let’s Britney be a muse to the music and not the other way around. While it’s super poppy it manages to be sonically interesting and playful. ’How I roll’ and ’Til The End of the World’ is pretty amazing.

Now that your debut is done, have you ever though about producing for other artists? Like… Madonna? haha

Of course we have – we have some things lined up that we can’t wait to show the world. The future is looking bright!

What are you currently listening to? Can we guess the last M83 album? Haha

We haven’t gotten the M83 album yet although we’re intending to. Our favorite act of the moment is the insanely brilliant duo Niki and the Dove. They are destined for big things!

What is your favourite album of the year - besides Voyage!

Noah and the Whales' Last Night On Earth. It’s got two or three duds but the peaks are so high it more than makes up for the lows!

Any plans to come to Brazil yet?

Not yet but we’re hoping to amend that in the next year. We need some sunshine!

Any last words or any message to your Brazilian listeners?

Spread the word and make us popular over there so we can come to play in your beautiful country.

Thank you for the interview, it was a big pleasure! We look forward to your next releases!

Our please man. Your friends, Stefan and Oskar.

Check out The Sound Of Arrows on Facebook and Twitter @Thesoundofarrows. Their stunning debut LP "Voyage" is available for download on all good online retail, make sure you get it!

Check out the music videos for my personal favourite "Magic" and latest single "Wonders" below:

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