Media Roundup No. 2

This second installment of recent quote-collecting from the media is a retrospective of The Cardigans' career and offers their views on past records and success. In other words; lots and lots of great reading for you. Enjoy and keep an eye open for No. 3.
Here follow the quotes:

Nina: Magnus has put together a mix-CD with our old demos that is very interesting. There is nothing on it that sounds like anything we've put on a record since. We had something going that Tore just... "I would love to produce you but this and this and this is crap" was the first thing he said and then he just threw 10 songs out the window and that's how we got our... he put his finger on something that he thought was unique and great about us that we hadn't really thought about. [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

Peter: It's like Nina says. If you listen to all the demos we made before coming to Malmö to record our first single Rise & Shine, then you hear that they're a lot like Rise & Shine. Very poppy and with influences from late 80s British guitar-pop, Smiths and so on. But when we met Tore we got a completely different vibe from... everything! The way he looked, the way the studio looked and the music they were making there was completely different from where we came from. So the thing is that I had a song that I had just written called After All and it had this kind of jazzy vibe that Tore just wen't crazy about and since we were so keen to make a record we decided to follow that path. So you can say that it was kind of an accident, but in a positive way, that our first record has this jazzy sound. It was just that one song happened to be like that and Tore really liked it and we thought that we had to do it like that. [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

Nina: We went into the studio and heard from Tore Johansson that our early exercises in the goth field sounded like Björn Afzelius. I was so damned whiny about it, but he really put his finger on that whole retro thing about us that became our breakthrough. I still hold the first album very dear. It was so wonderfully pretentious, without us having any idea of what pretention was. [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

Peter: I have such a bad memory.
Nina: That record [Emmerdale] was all about; "Let's just make a record."
Peter: It's incredibly kind of naïve. You can really hear that it's made by people that have no clue about what goes on in the world. [Laughter] Well, it is kind of like that. But it a positive way of course. [Musikbyrån, 14 October]

You broke through instantly. How did that affect you?
Magnus: I don't know really. Two and a half years after we had put the band together we were number one in Japan. To all of a sudden sell more records than Madonna and Michael Jackson there and to go there to make sixty interviews in a week, it drives you completely crazy. You can't even begin to grasp how it affects your ego. It's not strange that stars get big egos when people ask you how you are all the time. You need routine to handle it. [Chili #6 2005]

How important was Japan for The Cardigans?
Nina: Well, what can you... Really, really important! Then becoming "that Swedish band that's big in Japan" was something that you had to deal with for a while, but I mean, it really was a big deal. And then I think that the rest of the world discovered us in a way because of it since Japan was such a hard market.
Peter: On the whole to sell a million records anywhere, like we did then, it doesn't even matter where, is something big you know. If you think back it was only during First Band on the Moon that we became... well big, or big in Sweden. And I think it's because here in Sweden they're always very keen to write: "Now they're conquering the U.S.A!" and they only do it once and then it turns out that we only sold 10'000 in the U.S.
Nina: "They flop in the U.S.A!"
Peter: Yeah, but it was kind of like that with us: "Now they're conquering Japan!" and then WE DID! So then they just kept on writing about it and eventually people bought it and thought we were really good! [Nina laughs] So that's kind of the way it happened. [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

About Life.
Peter: The five of us had this kind of idea that just was... gigantic in a way.
Nina: I think that we were thinking kind of "Sgt. Pepper-delusions-of-grandeur"-like. I remember us talking about the kind of album that kind of is a whole little world in itself. [Musikbyrån, 14 October]

Peter: When Lovefool became such a big thing you felt frustrated because Lovefool was only one song on that record. And that record was maybe the most varied record we've ever made. There are songs on there that are more related to the ongoing grunge-wave than easy-listening. Songs like Step On Me that was inspired by Soundgarden. Had it been sung by another singer it would have been more obvious but... So there was a bit of frustration when it [Lovefool] became so big because we didn't get the chance to back it up with another song from the album that could explain what we were about as a band. So we were extremely frustrated to get that stamp of us being "that-Lovefool-band". [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

Nina: We felt we were being dumbed-down and constantly pointed out that we weren't a one-hit-wonder. But the crazyness just kept on spinning. I expecially remember this one time when a girl came up to us and just screamed: "Oh my God! Do you know who you are!?" Isn't that a heavy existential question to bite into? [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

About First Band on the Moon.
Peter: It was around that time we started this thing that you had to react to what you had made before all the time. So this album was supposed to be a bit noisier, maybe a bit more rock. Which... maybe half of it is.
Nina: [to Peter] Noo! [to the others] What! Snus! Who has snus!?
Peter: The thing is that I think this record is pretty damn cool really. [Musikbyrån, 14 October]

Peter: So when we had begun to sell these big amounts of records and had singles like Lovefool you could imagine that we'd think that we'd go down that path but then we went and made Gran Turismo instead. Of course I thought, several times every day during the recording sessions, "this is all gonna go to hell but it's a lot of fun and it feels good and exciting" so it was that feeling that got to rule. [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

About Gran Turismo.
Nina: I remember us talking a lot about this, that it had to sound like that. Back then I'm sure we were really tired of all the retro and softness and always using real instruments and hearing the room. We talked about making this record sound distanced and von oben and cold and hard. [Musikbyrån, 14 October]

Nina: I think it's a good record, but scary. We've never been overly jolly but there has always been a warmth to the songs. But Gran Turismo was completely cold. We were so overworked that you could start crying over getting the wrong order at a restaurant. And at around the same time our American label [Mercury] threatened to drop us if we didn't make a christmas record. We refused. Hanson ended up making it. [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

The next blow was just round the corner. Before the world tour Magnus Sveningsson collapsed and was replaced. When the rest of the band played Royal Albert hall he was back home in Malmö repainting his appartment. He tells us about a "three-headed monster."
Magnus: One: my creative role in the band was becoming smaller and smaller. It was like playing Risk: "Damn, Nina took Malaysia from me, but I'm never letting go of Vietnam." I became a cranky bitch simply put. Two: My girlfriend dumped me. And three: the tax-man of the soul came knocking on my door and wanted to see my books. It was a whole damned mess. [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

Nina: It was kind of like a mutiny. I just pulled it from Magnus' hands. For me it was a practical thing in a way because I was irritated of the fact that it was always me in the front talking about music that I felt Peter had more to do with. I was going crazy about it back then so I simply got the idea that I had to start creating so that I could feel I deserved the place in the front. So it was like a mutiny. I simply said that I was gonna have to write everything I was gonna sing.
Magnus likes to write, he enjoyed writing the lyrics a lot so of course it was crushing for him but there wasn't that much that he could say, I was pretty hard about the whole deal. But... now I think that he feels it's quite nice to be let off. Don't you think so Peter?
Peter: Yes.
Nina: When I'm crying around midnight because I'm not finished then he's pretty happy about not having to do it. [laughs] [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]

About Long Gone Before Daylight.
Peter: On this one it was almost like starting a new band in a way. We wanted things to feel warm and...
Nina: Like we were standing next to the listener and not... hovering over the listener's head like that. [points to the cover of Gran Turismo]
Peter: Yes, exactly. [picks up the album] Not hovering! No! No! Baad! [shakes head] [Musikbyrån, 14 October]

About the choice of producer for Long Gone Before Daylight.
Tore: At the beginning I was still part of it. But at a certain point our interests had been going in different directions. They really took their time because they wanted to develop as a band. But I had no patience whatsoever for these kind of things, I want everything to be done in a hurry. It was a lengthy process so we discovered that working together didn’t work, and they went on with another producer.
Peter: It seemed that we didn’t go into the same direction last time. We wanted this band-live thing, with old-fashioned recording techniques and so on. And Tore, as a producer, had spend years in front of a computer monitor. Suddenly he had to work with a real band. He wasn’t ready for it. [Musikexpress, November 2005 issue]

Magnus: He [Tore Johansson] didn't have the patience or the interest to make that kind of record, so he quit after two months. [The Independent, 21 October]

Magnus: For me our last record [LGBD] was so important because it brought us together again. Vi had a crisis after Gran Turismo and we were completely broken apart emotionally and physically. Long Gone Before Daylight is such a beautiful album with so much feeling put into it. [Chili #6, October 2005]

Magnus: The last record [LGBD] sold more than most Swedish bands sell during an entire life and it was still regarded as a failure. [Svenska Dagbladet, 14 October]

Is it important for you to be successful in terms of sales?
Nina: With every record we release we prepare for world domination. But had we wanted to guarantee sales we would have made christmas records and the like, which we haven't. It's important that our gravestone has something more than sales figures on it when we choose to quit. [Smålandsposten, 18 October]

Magnus: Ever since the mid 90s our Japanese record company has thought that everything our fans want is something in light-blue and Nina in a ice-skating uniform with pink hearts. Maybe they know something I don't but if I have a favourite band I want to hear them develop over a long time. [Svenska Dagbladet, 14 October]

Magnus: There is a fun anecdote where a guy from the record company was going to present our last album [Long Gone Before daylight] in Japan. He was just about to take out the record cover, where we're sitting around eating chicken with candles on the table like some hippie band, when one of the bosses in Tokyo took out the old Life album with Nina on the cover, smiling in a fluffy ice-skating dress. "This is good Cardigan!", he said. The record company guy realized we were screwed. [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

Nina: The Japanese wanted a best-of tour that wouldn't include any of our new songs. Of course it wasn't even on the table but aaah, I really miss Japan. I'm ready to put that ice-skating uniform back on. [Dagens Nyheter, 8 October]

What do you long for the most?
Nina: What I long for? Going to Japan.
Again, so you like it there?
Nina: Yes... and kind of hate it too but it's been so long. We almost got used to going to Japan all the time. Now we haven't been there for 6 years so I really want to go.
When is it time?
Nina: I don't know, that's the thing. They don't really like us anymore.
They do!
Nina: No but it's true! Not enough for us to be able to go there and play. It's really sad. I'm gonna get into my blue ice-skating uniform and see if they buy it again. [laughter]
You might just have to. It was all about the ice-skating thing.
Nina: Yeah I think it was. [TV Huset SVT, 16 October]

Nina Persson still mantains that the record-buying audience was wrong about Long Gone Before Daylight
Nina: Yes, I stand by that. I'm stubborn. It's a luxury we have that we've never been the coolest kids in town but still always kept our little confidence in ourselves. It has to do with us being small-town people from Jönköping. Whatever we've come up with has worked pretty well all the time. We've never flopped bigtime or exploded. But after the last record we realized that things all of a sudden can take a turn for the worse. [Svenska Dagbladet, 14 October]

What will the record company say if you only sell 400'000 copies again?
Nina: Then we're in trouble. The last record was a stepping-stone in their eyes, a passing phase to get credibility. The fact that we're still on the gigantic record-company means that we have some confidence left because so many have been dropped. [Svenska Dagbladet, 14 October]

Do you feel a connection to The Cardigans of the early years?
Magnus: No, it wasn't us. Before Gran Turismo, it was just not us making those records, there's no such... I don't know how to describe it.
Nina: Everything went so fast, we almost made four records in four years. And add an enormous amount of touring on top of that. We would never manage that now. It was just an immense jumble of work. It's only in hindsight that you can really grasp how big it was. [Chili #6, October 2005]

Peter: I think that all of us, and I'm referring to the band plus Tore, we're interested in taking things further and that's how it's always been whether we make beautiful and homogeneous records like Long Gone Before Daylight or plain weird records like Gran Turismo. There has always been an idea about finding new ways and leaving something else behind and when it's like that you do it regardless of the fact that it's the same people.
Nina: I think it's something we have. I don't know it it's something in our five personalities, or six if you count Tore. We're relatively unprestigious all of us. We have no problems saying "fuck, we sucked last night" the day after a gig. We've never been at a point where we've felt that "we're not gonna get any better than this". We can always be different and better... well, maybe not better by different at least. And that's pretty nice. Nobody ever wants to hold on to something so it's just full steam ahead. Upwards and onwards, that's what it's about. [Musikjournalen, SR P3, 13 October]


Once again, thank-you to our very own forum member -berlin- for the press clips from Germany.

No. 3 will collect scattered fun quotes without a real cohesive theme. I bet you still want to read it though so stay alert and you won't miss it.
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