Following the release of debut single ‘Northern Lights’ in 2012, Stockholm-based trio Kate Boy have gone from strength to strength. Three more singles have followed – including this month’s ‘Open Fire’ – with each continuing the impressively distinct Kylie meets The Knife sound that caused so much fuss two years ago. With their long-awaited debut album set for release early next year, and a Bristol date included on their forthcoming tour, we spoke to Kate and Markus from the band about everything from their creative process to why exactly so much excellent pop music comes out of Sweden.
Where does the name Kate Boy come from?
Kate: Initially it came from when I first met the boys and they were called Rocketboys. That then became Kate Boy because we saw it as the perfect way to represent ourselves. We didn’t feel like a band and we didn’t feel like a solo artist, we felt like there was almost this extra member with Kate Boy in the way that it could almost mean anything – it could be a boy or a girl or a band, and that was something we really liked. We like playing with that sort of androgynous mix of male and female, and the name was perfect for that.
How would you describe your music to people who don’t know you?
Marcus: I would probably describe us as an electronic band. We’re very inspired by 80s electronic pop and the way music was made back then, and so we’re interested in seeing how that works in the present day and what we can do now with it now.
You’ve just released your new single ‘Open Fire’ – how’s the reaction been?
M: So far it’s been really, really good. We’ve only just put it out, we haven’t even released the video yet, but we’ve already had a lot of nice feedback and comments. We actually haven’t even had to promote it that much, it’s just sort of been rippling by its self. The video’s coming soon as well which is exciting as it’s also going to be really good.
Would you say the singles you’ve released so far represent your forthcoming album as a whole?
M: Well with the album we’ve been taking our sound in all sorts of directions, and the singles so far represent the more pop aspect of our music. We’ve been looking at the more alternative side to us, and I’d say with a whole album we really need that because otherwise it wouldn’t be enough. With the singles you only have 3-4 minutes to communicate something across whereas with an entire album you get a lot more time to look at other directions and have a little bit more of everything.
And it’s been 2 years since you released your first single ‘Northern Lights’ – how important was it for you to take your time with releasing the album?
M: Well we never would have wanted to put something out that we weren’t completely happy with. It’s mostly taken that long because we haven’t had much time in the recording studio because last year was all about touring for us – and because we were travelling around so much there obviously wasn’t much time to work on new material. In one way I guess that was unfortunate, but at the same time because we’d done so many shows when we did eventually go back to the studio we found that we had so much energy and inspiration to make new music. We’ve taken our time but it’s definitely been worth it.
You’ve produced all your own songs so far – how important do you consider the ‘do it yourself’ approach to be?
M: Really important, especially as we’d also consider the visual aspect of things to be just as important as the music. It’s the best way for our exact, perfect vision of our work to be executed, and bringing someone else in might distort that as they might have completely different ideas.
Which artists would you say have been your biggest influences?
M: Primarily I’d say Peter Gabriel, and also Kate Bush. We don’t necessarily want to sound exactly like them, but we’re definitely inspired by how creative they’ve been as artists and how unique their music is.
As a Swedish based band, do you think there’s any particular reason Sweden produce so much excellent pop music?
M: You know this is actually something we’re asked surprisingly often. I’m not really sure but I guess it comes down to the fact that it’s quite a small community in terms of the music business in Sweden, so everyone tends to know each other, which makes it easier for people to collaborate and be influenced by other artists that around them.
You’re playing The Fleece in Bristol next month, have you played here before or is this your first time?
M: We haven’t played before, so it’s a new city for us and we’re excited to see it and play for some new people.
By Aled Einion