Interview in Sonic Magazine

The latest issue of Swedish music magazine Sonic features an extensive interview with Nina. She talks about the making of Super Extra Gravity, the essence of The Cardigans, the possibility of a second A Camp record and lots more.
Here are some selected Q&A's:

There was a lot of trouble surrounding your latest album "Long Gone Before Daylight". What was it like this time around?
- It went so quickly that you became suspicious. Making the last album was a painful process. We did a lot of toiling in preparation back then, we had the immense labour of patching up our band. This time we didn't have to question that much. And we wanted to make something simpler again. It's almost like we've done a new "Emmerdale" by working with Tore [Johansson] again.

How is that?
- The last album didn't do as well as we feel it should have done. So we came to the conclusion that maybe we don't need to sit and dwell on things as much. "OK, what music is it that has worked best? The one we've made with Tore." Even though we think "Long Gone..." is our masterpiece, a lot of people on our internet forum keep nagging on and on about our early records.

So this time it's all about crass commercial thinking?
- Well, all those fans can't be wrong, right? A couple of years ago we sat down and listened to all of our records, and there really was something special about the first ones. We didn't think that much, we just made weird concoctions over at Tambourine Studios. The last record is fantastic, but a lot of other artists could have made it just as well. Now we've done something that is more us.

What is it then that is Cardigans?
- I love "Long Gone..." because it's so beautiful, but we agreed that The Cardigans are a bit more fun than that. We don't have to be that goody-goody. Back then it was all about "we listen to The Band, they went on for 20 years so we should sound more like that" when that's really not our thing at all.

It's not very often you hear an artist admit that they think in commercial terms.
- I think that more artists would do better by admitting it to themselves. I could never go all Backstreet Boys and pretend we make music "for the fans" when it's really not the case. But at the same time we're not rock-poets. What we do is something else entirely, we are a pop band. It felt so good to admit that; "let's make a pop record".


The Cardigans are now a teenager of a band. Are you as charged and excited today?
- Yes we are. Almost even more so. I haven't been allowing myself to be proud of what we've accomplished, but now we feel extremely satisfied. As far as the "job" part goes everything runs easily now and socially everything's running smoothly.

Why didn't you allow yourself to be proud?
- One explanation is that when everything started happening for us and we found ourselves swamped with work for seven years straight we didn't have time to really think about how awesome it is what we're doing. We even did a couple of records without giving it much thought. Now when you wake up and have 27 German interviews ahead of you it still feels quite OK, because you know you're doing what you love.


Is there ever going to be a follow-up to A Camp?
- That would be a whole lot of fun but it's not going to be on the cards for at least another year and a half when we've finished promoting this record. I would really like to do another one but it's very difficult to do a follow-up to this particular project.

- It took 5 years for me to get the first one out. A Camp is not a commissioned work, I have to take a few years to do it.


Which one of your lyrics are you most proud of?
- A Cardigans song? I'm very pleased with how the last album turned out, but...

You have to pick one song.
- One? That's hard! It's the sum of them that's the thing, all the songs together and the story they tell.

But if you're standing there trying to get into singer/songwriter heaven, what song do you pick out?
- Then I would have to pick - and I'm not belittling anything I've done after it - "I Can Buy You".

- It's just so perfect. I wrote it walking on... what's that bridge between Kungsholmen and Sankt Eriksplan? Anyway, one night I was on my way home from a friend's place and I wrote the lyrics walking over the bridge. How long can it take to cross that bridge - three minutes? It's almost written in real-time that song.


In the beginning you were very meticulous about presenting yourselves as a group. These days it's mostly you and sometimes Peter who do most interviews and media appearances.
- Our strategy in the beginning turned out to be idiotic because no matter what only me and Peter talk during interviews, maybe Magnus will say something every now and then. So we got irritated because the other two guys sat there in silence. Then it's no coincidence that I'm the one sitting here, I like to talk. I feel very happy talking about this project and so does Peter. Each one gets to do what they're good at. This means that Bengt and Lasse get to sit and do the boring telephone interviews with Colombia and so on. [laughter]

The Cardigans broke through instantly. Did it happen too fast?
- Maybe our live act suffers from it. I'm sure there's a point to bands working long and hard before breaking through, to perfect their performance. But then again we've never had the goal of becoming the best live band in the world.

You are one of Sweden's most successful pop-groups internationally. Do you feel like you have something left to achieve?
- Nothing concrete. Or wait: it seems like we're getting to play in Moscow, we haven't done that before. We were about to but then some Chechnyans started bombing and made the city dangerous. It would also be fun to play South America.
- Musicwise I just want to make more records, lots of them, that's the idea behind this whole thing - to be a long-lived band and make a blast every time we release something. Then people are free to receive the music if they want to. The artists that I like myself are allowed to make a couple of crappy records now and then.

To read the entire interview and see some nice photos, pick up the latest issue of Sonic (#24), the one with Franz Ferdinand on the cover.
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