Eken Magazine
Articles

POP CAMPAIGN
SONGS FOR STOCKHOLM

PROFILE


I´ve been following this interesting and pretty unique pop-duo since around 2010 when living back in Manchester. When me and Pop Campaign´s Manager Spencer Carmichael Brown of Carp Recordings Berlin spoke about doing something together the idea of making a soundtrack of Stockholm popped up. After Pop Campaign where back from their successful Korea Tour they jumped right at it. You can listen to their “Songs for Stockholm” below. With a dreamy smooth mystique poppy feel with a deep to it, they have made a sweet easy going pop soundtrack based on their thoughts and feelings of Stockholm. With that in mind I took the opportunity to ask these modern day society engaging fun creative fireballs what and how they were thinking of when producing this exclusive Stockholm Soundtrack for Eken Magazine. If your expecting some Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Icona Pop, Cardigans or even some Jonas Åkerlund productions think again, these are no commercial peeps, but real music & society love-warriors!

POP_BERLIN_ASIA_TOUR_KOREA_2014_EKEN_MAGAZINE_INTERVIEW_STOCKHOLM_SOUNDTRACK

Pop Campaign right in the mix of their Korean Tour 2014

A duo. One boy, one girl. Spawned in Glasgow, exiled in Berlin for a time and now lording it in Londres. Our POPAGANDA: Bright, right and ready for the fight against the pretentious self-importance that plagues the music industry today. – Pop Campaign

When I asked the cool duo what first came to their minds when the possibility of producing a soundtrack on Stockholm came about they immediately started to remember all their experiences, memories and music that they had taken in during their visits to the land of the north. As well as the landscape and the people of Stockholm, it all fell into its place and out came nearly 40 minutes of beautiful and tasteful Stockholm vibes.

I continued to speak them about how they built up the soundtrack, their pre-visits to Stockholm, who their favourite Swedish artist is as well as speaking about their music, a bit of politics, the future and Pop Campaign´s latest album Hame and of course about their most successful tour to date of Korea. The soundtrack starts of with some beautiful vocals by the lovely and wonderful Dusty Springfields with the female voice breathing through the whole soundtrack with the likes of Scarlet Johansson putting her sound to it all. 

Please share your thoughts of your inspiration of the “Songs for Stockholm” soundtrack?
We were really inspired by the natural landscape around Stockholm, the vast amount of water that surrounds you. This, for us, conjures up an etheral, dream like-existence where the vocals and music pull you between reality and fantasy. It is a floaty, barely lucid feeling with sounds drifting through your body as if from a higher plain. It evokes the feeling people wrapped up against the chill of the night and the romantic feelings that encapsulates.

Have you visited Stockholm before?
Yes a few times. One of our good friends from Glasgow lived there for a year as part of his studies. We had been before and we always jump at any opportunity to go back.

Who is your favourite artist from Stockholm?
It’s a cliche but how can you beat ABBA? Not just in terms of band’s from Stockholm but they arguably are the greatest pop act of all time! People think of the obvious singles when referencing them but they are a fantastic albums band which is hard to say of many pop bands. Plus Abba The Movie is an all time fav with us!

When you think of Stockholm what do you think of then?
Beautiful people, beautiful landscape, fresh air, serenity and a city that is very at one with nature and it’s surroundings.

Please describe your music to our readers and your vision?
It is one of the most difficult things that you have to do as a band espeically if you aren’t easily slotted in to a typical genre. We like to think of ourselves as Synth Pop but understand to a lot of people that means bands like The Human League. We certainly don’t have any anthemic sing a long tunes like “Don’t you want me baby?” but these artists have had a huge impact on us and our sound. Our vision is to widen people’s perspectives on what can be considered Dance/Electronic music and that this can contain social and political messages rather than being random bleeps and beats thats sole puropse is to be a ‘floor filler’.

Spring gone you released your latest album HAME, talk us through the production and sound of the album? The concept of the album was to make one long piece of music based on Mark’s memories of growing up in Scotland. The idea was to try to put down on record the sounds and sights that are engrained in his being. Musically we wanted it to sound ‘rough and ready’, almost like a DIY mixtape. We were listening to a lot of Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airports’ and Manuel Göttsching’s ‘E2-E4’ which made us think more about the idea of music creating soundscapes and atmospheres rather than the tradtional, expected ‘song’ format and it inspired us to follow their lead.


POP_CAMPAIGN_HAME_Cassette_Eken_Magazine_Interview

Your recently back form a tour in Japan, tell us about that and any differences experiences compared to Europe to your sound and performances?
We were in Korea at the start of August for two and a half weeks and it was our first time in Asia. To say it was mind blowing (in a good way) would be an understatement. We factored in enough time to make it a nice wee holiday and it is fair to say it was the best we’ve been on. In terms of the shows the audience was much better than we’ve had in Europe. They were receptive and responsive to the music. They were genuinely appreicative that we had come to do shows in their country. The other bands were likewise very supportive and a real pleasure to share the dates with. When starting a band that plays shows you think it will be a great way to meet like minded people but so many times the other band is only interested in their show/sound/ego and can’t be bothered to speak to you let alone stick around for other peoples performances. It was the complete opposite in Korea. We met some truly lovely other bands and had more than one wild night out after the shows with the other performers.

Checking out your Facebook page it seems you have a strong national feel and support for your community, are you active within the society scene?
A woman who features a lot in our bands music and ethos (no, they are not pointing out The Iron Lady, Margret Thatcher – PAE) once said “There is no such thing as society”. We hate this attitude as much as we hate her and as a band we do everything we can to prove this statement wrong. We actively engage in socio-political thinking and debate and refuse to allow our music to shy away from what is happening. We grew up listening to bands like The Clash, The Specials, The Manic Street Preachers and through their songs we became informed of political issues that have shaped our thinking and adult lives. If by using a soundbite in one of our songs inspires someone in this country or another to learn more and engage with politics then we have a more lasting impact than the 4 minutes of the actual song. We try and promote this in everything that we do, from our Facebook page to our videos and performances. Getting to know us you will realise that we both wear our hearts on our sleeves and it is therefore very hard for us to shut up about something if we believe in it whether that goes with or against the populous. We love the positive effects of music and the way it brings people together and we love the idea of using this to positive social effects, such as regularly playing fundraisers for a squat in Berlin that the local government wished to tear down.

Whats your plans for the rest of 2014?
We’ve travelled a lot this year both with the band and for work/pleasure and haven’t had much time to work on new ideas since the album came out in February. We are hoping to play some shows closer to home before the years out but other than that we are probably hibernating (as a band) and working on some new ideas for our next record.

POP CAMPAIGN: FACEBOOK

POP CAMPAIGN: TUMBLR

POP CAMPAIGN: SOUNDCLOUD

POP CAMPAIGN: iTUNES


BY PETER A ELDON