PLAYLIST: Peter Bjorn and John Are Three Busy Dudes
The Swedish trio give us the highlights of their between-album work.
Last Friday, Peter Bjorn and John released Breakin Point, their first new record in five years. But it’s assuredly not the first thing you’ve heard from Peter Morén, Björn Yttling, and John Eriksson since 2011’s Gimme Some. Largely operating from within the auspices of their record label/studio/arts collective INGRID, the trio all keep busy, working with everyone from indie rockers Wild Nothing to Swedish jazz legend Merit Hemmingsson to The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde.
The projects the trio are involved in are varied, but they all come back to inform the sound of Breakin Point. So we asked Peter Bjorn and John to put together a playlist of the music they worked on in between PBJ records. You can give it a spin—and read commentary from the guys—below.
Hortlax Cobra — “Light as a Feather”
Hortlax Cobra is my little alter ego/solo project. This track features one of Sweden’s golden voices: Beatrice Eli. I love the sound and the soul of her voice.
Ane Brun — “Black Notebook”
Ane is amazing. Her voice is magical, and I was so glad that I got to play drums and percussion on her latest album. For this track I recorded a bunch of vibraphone and percussion sounds and sent the files to Ane, who, together with the mixer Johannes Berglund, arranged it into this lovely gem.
Wild Nothing — “Reichpop”
Jack Tatum and producer Thom Monahan came to INGRID in Stockholm last year to record the album Life of Pause, and for a week I banged the drums until there were no skins left. On this track I also played marimba with my best friend Pelle, and since we’re both fans of the early works of composer Steve Reich, I think it was a perfect match.
Holiday for Strings — “The Rhythm”
This is a band that I joined a long time ago after getting blown away by one of their hypnotic live gigs. The band consists of a chef, a photographer, a meditation expert, and a magician. This track is taken from INGRID’s awesome second compilation.
Amanda Bergman — “Taxis”
This is a very sweet track from Amanda Bergman’s first solo album under her given name. She’s also the lead singer in the INGRID supergroup Amason and her voice is like a diamond.
Woodlands — “River Running Wild”
Some of my best friends are in this band: Sara Wilson, Markus Holmberg (from Komeda), and Niklas Korsell. Their debut album was one of the first to be released through INGRID.
Ninsun Poli — “Great Leap Forward”
A fantastic Swedish singer! I co-wrote and helped produce this track. And I’m currently working on more material with her for an album.
Merit Hemmingsson — “Skålarna (skänklåt efter Byss-Kalle)”
This grand (and rather old these days) lady is a true Swedish folk-jazz legend who became huge in the seventies when she jazzed and funked up traditional Swedish folk on her Hammond B3. She has enjoyed a resurgence of late and is recording and performing again. I had the great pleasure of playing bass and guitar on her comeback album, which was especially great since I also have a love of and background in Swedish folk—growing up I played violin with my grandpa.
Also playing is one of my absolute favorite Swedish drummers, Lars Skoglund, who usually plays with Lykke Li but has also in the past filled in for John on some tours.
Peter Morén — “Going Places”
I love and need to do my solo stuff. It’s a must! Recently I have focused on writing songs in Swedish and am currently finishing my third mother-tongued album. However, some years back I decided to do English versions of some of my Swedish material and put them out on two digital-only EPs just for the fun of it.
I like my voice on this. I sound like I’m 65!
Personal Trainers — “Show Me Love”
I did this blue-eyed soul/Style Council–vibey nugget as a one-off with Swedish dream-pop artist and friend Azure Blue.
We said we might do another single. And these days I also have a personal trainer! Who would’ve thought!
Astropol — “Make Love Stay”
Astropol is actually a band I started [so that I could] hang out with my old friend Smash. We
toyed around with our songs for years before we found Bebban Stenborg with her beautiful voice. The whole album is woven around different love stories: before, during, and after.
Albin Lee Meldau — “Darling”
This guy is beyond great. I love his lyrics and his guitar playing is awesome. It’s a song we wrote in the basement studio under the INGRID office. There’s more to come from this gentleman.
Chrissie Hynde — “Down The Wrong Way”
Chrissie liked the INGRID studio and the vibe in Stockholm so much that she called her album Stockholm. We wrote this album together and put it out on in 2014. Bonus on this song is that she got Neil Young to play guitar all over it. Sweet.
Primal Scream — “(Feeling Like A) Demon Again”
This is the second album I produced for the Scottish guys, and the first one where we wrote songs together. “Demon” is my favorite and also the very first song we did for the album. It started two minutes after Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes walked into the INGRID studio for the first time, randomly repeating a couple notes on a Farfisa organ.
Smile — “Jean Michel”
We founded INGRID in 2012, and this was the first album we put out. Smile is a duo with me and fellow INGRID member Jocke Åhlund. “Jean Michel” might be the best piece of music I’ve been involved in. Gotta love that mellotron. FL