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First Aid Kit Talks Songwriting, Bright Eyes and Musical Roots

Swedish duo Klara and Johanna Sodenberg, a.k.a. First Aid Kit, have an abundance of talent and experience to show for themselves at the young ages of seventeen and twenty. Following the release of their EP, Drunken Trees, in 2009 on Wichita Records, First Aid Kit released their first full-length album, The Big Black and the Blue, in January of 2010. Their overwhelming presence and following at CMJ have proven that they have hit the indie scene in the U.S. with their hauntingly enchanted folk rock sound. In addition to their unique vocals that are accompanied by guitar and synthesizer, they are often characterized as possessing a maturity far beyond their years. The two are a delight to watch live and, after speaking with them, it is clear that their sibling/best friend relationship is what makes them so cohesive on stage. 

Of course I have to ask, how did you get the name of your band? 

We picked it out of an English dictionary at random at age 13. It makes sense though, because music can heal you. 

Rumor has it you were first discovered in the US on YouTube in 2007 with your rendition of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. How did this affect you? 

We were already on a label at the time but this made us more well-known in the US. 

Who has influenced you musically? 

Bright Eyes and Jenny Lewis. 

I really enjoyed your first album, “The Big Black and the Blue.” Where did you draw inspiration from for the songs? It seems like a lot of the songs are about struggling relationships and marriages. 

It’s weird, because our parents are actually very happy. We just think about growing up and things not being perfect. 

How did you first get into music and how did your band get started? 

When we were young, we would sing for our parents and their friends. Our family loves music and it’s all we talk about. Our father was a musician in a punk band in the 80’s. Klara started guitar at age 13. 

What’s it like touring as sisters and being together all the time? 

We get along. We fight a little, but we’re really just talking, and five minutes later we are back to being best friends. 

Of all your songs, which means the most to you? 

“Ghost Town” probably. Whatever is newest is always the favorite; that’s what we are most excited about in that moment. 

Do you both write songs? 

One of us starts and the other one finishes. Neither of us have any training in music theory, so we play what we feel. 

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be? 

Bright Eyes. Playing with an orchestra would be cool too. 

What’s next for First Aid Kit? 

We’ll probably go home soon and rest for two months and then we’re not sure.

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About Kate Hollinger

Kate is an avid lover of all things food, drink, and music who is trying to soak up every aspect of life in the big apple after spending over twenty years in a small town. Follow her on some of her foodie and concert going adventures at www.cilantroandspice.com.
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