L&Q: According to the website, the band are now Wall Street Zombies and you are their Apocalyptic Puppet Master. Sounds good, I love it!
KDA: “Yes, me too! I’m controlling the capitalists from the stage – that would be great, I could press the red button.”
L&Q: Do you still play in almost total darkness?
KDA: “We have double the number of lamps now. But I think it’s important to find that balance, you don’t want to see everything on stage and it’s good to have your own ideas about what’s going on. It’s still a hard thing, with the live performance, what it’s really about. I think we need to start experimenting with it, because we’re not there to show our cool clothes, it’s not a fashion show. I really want to create something, to capture the whole room, to make the music more intense, and that goes for us on stage as well. If it goes well, it’s a fantastic way of experiencing music.”
L&Q: The last time I saw Fever Ray it was in a pitch black airport hangar just outside Rennes. That was quite a way to experience your music.
KDA: “That was our first time playing in France – our only time! We’re playing tomorrow in Paris, and we’ll see how it goes… French people can be really hard to… get. [laughs] We’ll see.”
L&Q: You’ve got a 7-inch out at the moment – a cover?
KDA: “We do three covers live, and one was released now, ‘Mercy Street’, a Peter Gabriel track. We’ve been playing it live for a while now and I wanted to put it out. We hadn’t finished a studio recording of it until a few weeks ago.”
L&Q: What made you decide to release it now?
KDA: “I like the 7-inch format, and I thought it would be nice to have something for this last run.”
L&Q: It’s not nice, this word, ‘last’… What’s next, after the tour?
KDA: “I will be writing music for a play, an adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman film The Hour of the Wolf. Andreas Nilsson is doing the set design, I’m doing the music and it’s a friend of ours directing. It’s exciting, Bergman is one of the top icons in Sweden, and as soon as it was published that we were going to be doing this, I got an email from the Ingmar Bergman Society, saying, ‘If you want to come and work at Ingmar Bergman’s house, on this island, where he had his study and which is now an artist residence, just let us know and you can come here and work for a few weeks on this project.’ It’s so strange, what doors open when you work on these highly cultural things.”
L&Q: Are you going to do it?
KDA: “I told it to the other two and they were like, [in a panicky, excited voice] ‘Yes! We have to go! It’s the only time we will be invited!’ [laughs] It’s very nice, because it isn’t a play already, so we have the freedom to do what we like. We will work with film also, and I said I wanted surround sound, they said, ‘Okay!’ We start on – What day is it today? Wednesday? We start in a week and it will open in March.”
L&Q: And after the play…
KDA: “I’m working with Olof too. We started last spring.”
L&Q: We’ll be hearing more from The Knife, then?
KDA: “Yes, I think so. We’ll see, we have just started with improvisations. We have improvisation sessions, [laughs] hours and hours of recordings, so we’ll see what, if anything, comes out of that.”
L&Q: Will these be Berlin sessions or Stockholm?
KDA: “He will come to Stockholm.”
L&Q: So you’ll get to spend some time with your kids.
KDA: “Yes, this year I haven’t been away much, but last year was horrible. It’s difficult when they start school, you can’t take them with you.”
L&Q: Have you taken them on tour before?
KDA: “My oldest one, she’s been with me for a few shows here and there. A lot of people in the band and crew have kids, and last year we took a few weekends where we brought all the kids, and mothers, fathers, girlfriends, boyfriends, all looking after everybody, it was lots of fun.”
L&Q: Not all staying on the same bus, I assume… (Fever Ray are living out of a bus on this tour, not liking the fuss and bother of hotels)
KDA: “Um… Yes! [laughs] The kids staying in the same bunk as their parents. It was really fun and it’s something I think they will remember forever.”
L&Q: This loneliness you mentioned before, it seems to be an integral part of Swedish culture, the sense of darkness and introspection, which is why Bergman is such an icon, and it’s certainly a big part of your music…
KDA: “Do you think it’s the climate?”
L&Q: Oh, yeah, the cold weather gives you lots of time to think, sometimes very existential thoughts. It’s where Swedes get that dark sense of humour.
KDA: “Yes, It’s very important to be able to laugh at misery, how could you live through it otherwise?”
L&Q: In a way, you’re doing that with these ghoulish parodies on stage, sending up miserable corporate suits.
KDA: “For me they are really scary – so unpredictable, people in suits. And the female character, in the kilt… I have family who are more upper class, who wore kilts and white blouses at Christmas and things like that, and my mother wanted us to fit in when we met with these people, so she made us wear kilts [laughs] and white blouses, and black, shiny shoes. I hated it so much, we had these things on, but we didn’t know how to wear them, couldn’t move, me and my sister, we felt so miserable. I really felt how hard my mother tried to fit in with these people – it was on my father’s side – and she didn’t get there. For me to see her disappointment, it caused so much anxiety. My sister, she never combed her hair, and with this white blouse [laughs] and the kilt, it was so wrong! So these characters on stage, they capture that kind of anxiety, the terrible people. You don’t know anything about someone who’s wearing a suit. And a tie…
L&Q: A slipknot, putting a noose around your neck before going to work.
KDA: “Yes, why would you want to do that? We’ll have to deal with that on the next album.”