You know the drill. A colleague returns from holiday, so you rush to the kitchen, eager to discover what exotic treats they’ve brought back from their travels. Then you realise it’s those small, black, salty Swedish fish, and that’s that. Day ruined.
Such an ordeal can be thanked for the inventively-titled, London-based four-piece Swedish Death Candy, whose inventive blend of dirgey, psychedelic noise is inspired, at least in part, by the tiny, disappointing sweets.
We catch up with frontman Louis to find out more about the band, their new single, and what they have planned for next.
Can you introduce yourselves – who does what, and what are your roles in the band?
“Frank on guitar, Jiwoon’s on bass, Marco is on drums and I’m Louis, I play guitar and sing”
What’s the story behind the name?
“There are a few stories behind the name, but essentially it comes from a reaction to disgusting Swedish liquorice – hence the name of our first EP [Liquorice]”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
“Jiwoon and I have been playing together in bands for years, we started off in hardcore punk kind of bands. We actually switched roles, I used to play bass and he was lead guitar – funny how things turn out. I met the others at Uni. I first met Frank at a Halloween party [where] we were both dressed as dead Elvis. I guess it was meant to be.”
What were your key influences in getting the band together?
“Hard to say really, [as] our tastes are quite eclectic. We actually started off as a heavy “doom” kind of thing, but I guess eventually got bored trying to emulate Sleep and decided to write “songs”. We’re still massively into the heavier, noisier side of things and I think it comes through in our music. There was also quite a lot of punk influence initially – we’re big fans of Black Flag, Fugazi etc. These days it’s a lot more songwriting-oriented; we’re all huge Beatles and Neil Young fans. Sprinkle on a lot of psych and garage rock [with] a bit of noise and shoegaze and you’ve got SDC.”
What’s the story behind the new single Won’t Be Long?
“It’s actually our oldest tune, it was on our first demo. I wrote it way before the band even existed. If I remember rightly, it’s a kind of stoner rock Beach Boys/Sgt. Pepper sort of thing. I’m not sure I really remember who or what the lyrics are about, to be honest [laughs]. I was a teenager! Still think it’s a great tune though.”
What drew you to these themes?
“I guess your first songs are kind of like an exercise in songwriting – it was all about riffs back then. The lyrics are pretty simple, seems I was into – or pissed off with – someone at the time [laughs].”
Is there any other new music to look forward to?
“Yeah! We’ve got three more singles to come before an album at the end of the year. We’re super-excited about the album, a lot of work went into it and we’re very happy with how it sounds. Can’t wait to release it.”
Can you talk us through your recorded history – what else have you released so far?
“So far, “officially” it’s just Won’t Be Long and our EP Liquorice, but if you were one of the 200 people that bought our demo, there’s a much faster/noisier version of Won’t Be Long as well as some tracks we don’t play anymore. It’s deleted though, so the only way you can hear it is if you get hold of one of the CDs.”
What do you hope people will take away from the single, and your music in general?
“I hope people like it. It’s a fuzzy, psychedelic freakout, but the song is still there. That’s our whole vibe at the moment.”
What’s your favourite story or anecdote from recording the single?
“You know what? I have absolutely no recollection of recording it [laughs]. It was part of our album sessions, we had a bit of extra time, so we figured we’d stick it in there. Considering we’d already recorded it once before, I’m pretty sure we banged it out in a couple of takes and that was that. The whole recording process was pretty funny – things get a little weird in the studio, it doesn’t translate well into anecdotes, though. We had a good laugh winding up Marco by reversing and deleting drum parts before playback though. Oh, and Frank’s amp caught fire – that was pretty exciting. ‘Guys my amp is smoking’ …‘Have you turned it off?!’ ‘No, I guess I should…’ RIP amp, amen.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
“Recording the album, I guess. Being in the studio for almost a month is an absolute dream. It was pretty stressful, but most things worth doing tend to be. You really get to see your music come to life. Playing live is a totally different thing because you’re in the moment, you can’t really tell what’s going on, it just feels good, but listening back to a finished recording, you really get to understand and shape your music. Another highlight was touring with Wand from LA, it was our first ever tour and they’re one of our favourite bands.”
You’re heading to some international summer festivals – where are you going and what are you most looking forward to?
“We’re off to Holland next week, for the second time this year, playing Vestrock. We were there for Eurosonic in January, can’t wait to go back. The Dutch are a lot of fun.”
What do you have planned for next?
“Releasing the rest of the singles in a run up to the album. There’s a lot more music coming, [we’re] really looking forward to releasing it. We’re also planning on doing a run of UK dates in September, so stay tuned. Cheers!”