A Danish four-piece based out of Copenhagen, when Kindsight teamed up with Stockholm-label Rama Lama Records they became the label’s first signees from outside of Swedish soil. In recognition of this, Kindsight have quickly set out on a course of international relations, by naming their recently released debut album, Swedish Punk. The record takes its name from an off the cuff comment by producer Adam Lilienfeldt that it was a good summary of what the band’s music sounds like.
Continuing the trans-Scandinavian exploration, the band originally formed when front-woman Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen and guitarist Søren Svensson bonded over a shared love of Icelandic wonders The Sugarcubes. The band’s four-piece lineup was subsequently completed by bass player Anders Prip and drummer Johannes Jacobsen, and despite their relatively tender years have already garnered a burgeoning reputation as one of Denmark’s finest live acts.
Swedish Punk is exactly what a band’s first record should be, it has that feel of a great TV pilot, a series of photographs of the events that led our heroes here. It’s full of coming-of-age charms, classically indie songs of love and heartache, fused with a sense of ebullient youth. The band describe the first song they ever wrote, and album stand-out, Don’t You Grow Up, as a song written when they, “thought to be a sunny teenage rock band, you had to write songs about teenagers in the sun”, and it hits with the earnest emotions of a particularly great episode of The O.C., all never-ending summer evenings, sizzling with young-love and brilliant guitar playing. It’s a trick they repeat on the bombastic recent single, Sun Is Always In My Eyes, propelled by a fabulous bass-line and slashes of shimmer, shoegazey guitars, Nina’s vocal is jaw-dropping throughout, like the middle ground of Alvvays’ Molly Rankin and The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler, as she recalls carefree teen days as they put it, “stealing money from your mother and feigning to run away from home. Being blessed and unable to see because you’ve got too much sun in your eyes”. It also includes the brilliantly nostalgic but you’re not quite sure why lyric, “Mary Tyler Moore had a certain spunk in all she wore. A daydream of a ruse, for buying my first pair of real bad shoes”.
While the sun-dappled dream-pop appears throughout the record, Kindsight know you can have too much of a good thing, and throughout the record show they’re unafraid to experiment as well. For every moment of light, there’s a moment of shade, take the beautifully stripped back Laughing Wood, with its fluttering lead guitar and gradually swelling strings it wouldn’t sound of place on a Fionn Reagan record, while Terminal Daze 2 has an 80’s undertone reminiscent of the playful side of The Cure.
While it’s a record where the stand-out moments seem different on almost every listen, I couldn’t fail but highlight the wonderful Party Time. It’s perhaps the track that best straddles the upbeat/downbeat divide, as the rapid-fire guitars give way to Nina’s urgent vocals, the words reflecting a racing mind, “my body is a carnival, I’m embarrassed to be in it at all, but oh wow your friend is from Montreal”, it might never reach a conclusion but with one-liners as good as, “‘Cause how can a picture of a field be sad, without a crying rural looking lad”, I can’t hold it against them.
Released last week, Swedish Punk is a remarkable debut, a collection eclectic enough to show off the full range of the band’s sound, yet equally, one that hangs together into a beautiful whole, despite detours into other worlds, it never fails to sound like Kindsight – and when they sound this good, praise doesn’t get much higher than that. Recently the band took some time out to answer my questions discussing Swedish Punk, swapping the garage for the recording studio and why they, “just want to write great songs”.
FTR: For those who don’t know, who are Kindsight?
Kindsight is an Indie rock quartet from Denmark consisting of 4 friends. Kindsight creates music that draws in the alternative rock of the 80’s and 90’s and combines it with that type of vibrant pop that Scandinavia is so well known for. Overall Kindsight creates a sound that comes out distorted and melodic at the same time. Most of the songs could be the soundtrack for a coming-of-age movie and carries both optimism and nostalgia.
FTR: Your debut album, Swedish Punk, is out this month, what can you tell me about the recording process?
We did our last preparation for the recordings in an unopened venue, basically a garage, with no heat, in the middle of the winter. The contrast was very huge when we first entered the studio. Mostly because we weren’t freezing anymore, but also because it was our first time in a real studio. The big question is whether we were too comfortable in the studio?
FTR: It’s obviously an interesting title for a Danish band, where did the name Swedish Punk come from?
Our producer Adam coined the phrase during the recording of the album as a joke on what kind of music we write.
We realised that he might have ended up describing our process quite accurately by mistake. Meaning that when we assemble our Ikea furniture, we don’t follow the manual. Or that we can urinate in public, but definitely not in front of other people. We ended up liking the whole ‘Swedish Punk’-thing so much it became the name of the album. We guess that the thing tying all the songs together is the ethos of Swedish punk, rather than any overarching narrative.
FTR: Did you approach writing an album differently from writing a single? Were these songs written with making an album in mind?
This album is basically a collection of the best songs we have ever written since we started up as a band. ‘Don’t you Grow up’ is actually the first song we ever wrote. The only song we wrote specifically for the album was Swedish Punk, which also ended up being the song, melting it all together. Of course, it has been a dream for us to come up with an album, but when we write a new song, there isn’t really a specific reason or approach. We just want to write great songs. But it could be exciting to change this mindset for a possibly second album?
FTR: What are the influences on your songwriting? What were you listening to when you wrote Swedish Punk?
We write most of our songs together in the rehearsal room, so first of all we get influenced by each other, and our different preferences. Our drummer Johannes for instance comes from a background in Jazz music while Søren is all about Pixies and Sonic Youth. But we must say that our preferences become more and more alike. We all love Big Thief, Alvvays and Cocteau Twins.
FTR: Why do you make music?
It’s the best feeling to create something, and to play music with your good friends. And the feeling of presenting something of your own for an audience is even better.
FTR: The album’s coming out of Rama Lama Records, how did that collaboration come about?
We met this nice man called Yoshi. Yoshi is really engaged in the underground rock scene in Copenhagen. He has sometimes booked some Rama Lama bands for shows in Copenhagen, so we contacted them on that background. It ended up being a really good decision. We fit in really well in the Swedish indie rock scene, we meet some really nice people, and Axel and Sixten, the people behind Rama Lama, are the most hard working and kindest men on earth.
FTR: What can people expect from the Kindsight live show? Are you planning on taking this album on tour?
We have been told that we are pretty down to earth on stage, and we definitely do not take ourselves too seriously. But we love to play shows, and we hope that it can be felt from the audience. Our live shows are also definitely more smashed than the recordings.
And YES! We are going to UK to play shows for the first time. We also have a couple of shows in Denmark and Sweden, and we are indeed looking forward to that.
FTR: What are your aspirations for this record, do you see music as a viable career?
It’s a hard question to answer Most of us are dreaming of a life, where music, in some ways, plays a bigger role. And of course we want Kindsight to grow, and to reach as many people as possible. But at the same time, we know how difficult it is. We genuinely play because we love it and because of all the exciting experiences and opportunities it creates for us.
FTR: What’s next for Kindsight?
Write more songs, play more shows, and have fun!