It’s always a little awkward interviewing a band. They are a unit, the cool creative gang, living the rock’n’roll dream that all teenagers (and those of us who still have the lust for it) dream of, the ones you have come to speak to and listen to, and they call the shots. You on the other hand, are the enemy, and don’t you forget it. It’s even harder when they speak ‘Swedish gibberish’ (their words not mine), a la Caviare Days, as we are bundled in a back room of East London vintage store Beyond Retro for their London Fashion Week Show.
Caviare Days are a Swedish psychedelic rock band. On listening to some of their latest songs, including recent single When The Light Is Breaking, if you had to pick any p word you would be forgiven for using the word pop to describe them more than psychedelic, although the back catalogue is certainly pretty trippy.
What they mean by psychedelic is that it is ‘more a state of mind’ explains Maja Westin, one singer and founder of the band. Sister Lina (sister and founder number two) adds that ‘we don’t really play the songs exactly as they are on the album, but it depends on where we are and who we are with and the setting, we can travel anywhere, can extend and project them.’
This is something that the band definitely agree upon – and neither is it some wanky pretentious pr buff. Crouching down in the corner is long haired and earnest Timmy Grim Fredriksson, drummer, and he explains the importance of this psychedelic state of mind allowing the band to ‘reach the depths of the song, and different possibilities and spaces. We encourage that on stage.’ When they play, layers and lyricisms that are not always evident on their self titled debut album, released on Label 259 on October 7th, become more overt and original as the show unfolds, Lina’s rhythmic percussion and Maja’s dizzying dancing building up to create quite a show in the corner of this clothes store, with lights flickering and the whole performance always teetering on the edge of something crazy.
The Caviare Days began as Lina and Maja, and only later expanded to include drummer Timmy, guitarist Boris Grubesic and Marcus Arborelius on keyboard. One reason for this is that the girls’ vision also expanded. With ideas and creative impulses rattling around in their heads that their technical abilities could not realise they sought like minded and talented individuals who understood musical theory, were educated in musical proficiency, and are technically excellent on their instruments of choice – or ‘the boring stuff’ Timmy undersells it as.
It makes for a different kind of dynamic than that you see in many bands. Not a grubby gang that grew up together, this a collection of individuals with an aim. ‘We’re colleagues, not friends,’ explains Lina. The night before this interview the five of them all hung out chatting and chilling, something she describes as ‘strange.’ A bit like the music, with lots of tangled ideas and pulses all pulling in different directions yet ultimately embedded and interlaced, Caviare Days are five individuals who are on the same page. A colourfully agitated page.
Artistic types are ever keen on metaphors, and Maja says that ‘We’re raising a baby, and we’re trying hard to be good parents. Sometimes we wanna divorce each other, but we stick with it.’
Quiet until now, Marcus, perched on a crate of beer behind me, perks up. ‘The thing about a baby, is you never know how he or she will turn out to be, you just have to keep doing what you think is right.’
What they think is right at the moment is the music. Whilst full of variegated vagaries that spin out in their sound, they have tethered all of these together, and creativity is necessary. For the sisters this started as an interest in fashion, although the two passions now complement each other, and 2012 saw a collaboration with men’s clothing brand GANT and the New York based designer Michael Bastian, to create the soundtrack for their mod as well some modelling and playlist-making for fashion house Monki.
‘We were aiming for more academic careers.’ says Lina ‘That was my goal, but the creative side was like an urge. I needed to do it. Fashion was there because music was almost too close – dad was a musician.’
Now music is very much the forefront. In fact it is a necessity, and Maja hints at days when music has not been there for her as a creative release, and so she has had to find outlets in other, less innocent and artistic, ways.
Timmy again is on board. ‘It’s not that I wanna play cos it’s fun, it’s something that ‘s in there that has to get out. Sometimes you hate it, but most of the time is part of you that brings you a lot of happiness and experiences.’
‘It’s an exorcism.’ sums up Maja.
Based in Stockholm, things have been building up, with a lot of hard work and independent marketing via their label and support network, Label 259. It sounds like a strange place to be, as whilst on one hand they ‘have contacts the band need without the distractions and chances of losing ourselves’ (Maja) it is ‘narrow, hardly a vibrant place to be’ (Lina), and surely vibrancy and inspiration is what is needed for such expansive and hallucinatory sounds. A sticky subject it seems as we sit there, and whilst the guys are all in agreement that every band or artist with ambition needs to go abroad, no one wants to make that commitment, or at least say it on record.
As Hunter & The Bear, the band currently playing, start to wrap up, the time has come for us to do so too, and so I ask what is next and what the future holds. Caviare Days are so full of expanded consciousness they don’t want to limit themselves to such plans and trajectories.
Lina explains ‘If you are too realistic you are not going anywhere, you have to aim high and believe more. Being unrealistic means you can get further. It is hard, and sometimes you feel like giving up, but then something happens and you are like yeah, this is why.
‘We haven’t had a reason to give up in a long time.’ smiles Tommy behind his long blonde hair. Judging on how things are going, one won’t come along soon either.