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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Be specific: Peter Bjorn and John on new album “Gimme Some” and the enduring power of “Young Folks”


Peter Bjorn and John. (Photo by Johan Bergmark) (Johan Bergmark)
Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John got famous courtesy of an inescapable 2006 pop hit "Young Folks" (even KanyeWest loved it, unfortunately) and have been running from/embracing it ever since.

Post-"Young Folks," they've been all over the place: glockenspiel-powered instrumentals (2008's "Seaside Rock"), gloomy avant-electro (2009's "Living Thing") and garage punk-meets-pop (2011's "Gimme Some," which marks the first time the group has worked with an outside producer).

On the phone from Stockholm (and at the 9:30 Club Friday night), the group's bassist/singer Bjorn Yttling gave Click Track the rundown on the band's new disc, their new label, and their ever-evolving sound.

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"Gimme Some" marked the first time you worked with an outside producer. How did it go?

It went well. It was interesting, a good learning experience for everyone. We also got to see a new studio.

Did it change how you related to each other, to have another person in the room?

Definitely. It was good, because you really have to behave. [Laughs.] It's like when you have someone over for dinner with your family, you think more about how you behave and what you say to each other.

A lot of the album's reviews suggest that you started out making a punk album but got sidelined by your pop instincts. Fair to say?

Yeah. I would say we [were influenced by] garage rock, [bands like] the Sonics…[Also by] ’60s and ’70s stuff, and ’90s stuff like Guided by Voices.

Do you think having a hit like "Young Folks" is both a blessing and curse, because now people always want to hear the same thing from you?

I can't really say it's a curse. The amount of [fans] went up. It's hard to say if it would have been better if less people had wanted to hear that song, and there's still people that like other songs. It's a bonus.

Does it make you want to make all your songs dramatically different from each other?

No. [Laughs.] I think we had all this stuff in us from before. The first album, there's a lot of power pop, garage rock things, but there's soul stuff, and strings. I think what we did this time was we took away the ballads and kept the rock stuff, so I really just see that we're trying to focus on one side more than we did before. Before we maybe had a couple sides.

Do you do the writing in the studio or do you come in with everything pretty much done?

We do the writing of the songs separately and then we come in and [we work on them together], it's like a board meeting or something. Then we rehearse the songs, and they change, or not.

Do you guys hang out when you're off the road?

We do, actually. We've been setting up a record label with friends in Sweden. It's Peter, Bjorn and John and Mike Snow and other guys that we know. We hang out a lot in the studio.

By Allison Stewart  |  12:00 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Categories:  Be specific | Tags:  Peter Bjorn and John

 
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