Scandinavian Indie Presents: A day with
Fidgetby Erik Söderström (email@example.com) before a gig at Herrgår'n, Linköping, Sweden, 28-Mar-96. Fidget are: Nina Natri (24) (vocals) Louise Weibull (21) (guitar) Daniel Claesson (21) (guitar) Fredrik Andersson (24) (keyboard) Pontus Willquist (23) (bass) Johan Forsman (23) (drums) (c) 1996 Scandinavian Indie
We decided to meet at Stora Torget in Linköping, by something that I'd call a smaller version of the Stureplan-Svampen (a large concrete fungus-like statue) at 13:00. Daniel, Nina and a friend of theirs, Ulf, were coming to town early by train from Stockholm. The rest of the band would follow five hours later from Gothenburg in their tour van. 13:30 and there they were, carrying more equipment and bags than seemed possible.
- That's no fungus!
Nina, wearing Pulp-Jarvis-like yellow sunglasses, that Daniel teases her about the rest of the day, is the first to speak.
- We've asked absolutely everyone, and no one knows about this thing!
- We saw a covered fountain on this other square, where we've been waiting, says Daniel, who wears a black jeans-jacket with an Oasis logo on it.
- Yeah, I got it from Sony after I did an interview with Oasis at the Roskilde Festival last year.
- Someone offered him 250 Pounds for it, Nina says. But he didn't sell it!
- Never! Daniel declares.
- That fountain looked a lot more like a fungus than this.. thing! says Nina.
Maybe I should have mentioned that it's pretty small, and more like a waiting place for busses.
Fidget, a six-piece from Gothenburg fronted and formed by the illustrious Nina Natri, started two years ago. Then, it was just Nina and Louise, but soon they had pulled together what would become Fidget of today. They call their music "unruly", "bonkers-pop" after an expression in the Melody Maker review, but still "indie". Their working methods are that Nina writes the lyrics, separate from the music and Louise comes up with the base-ideas. Then they arrange everything together.
Well seated in a nearby cafe, all of us with a large cup of coffee in front of us except Nina, who explains that she really do not need another cup of coffee today, and is satisfied with a soft drink.
- Yes, she starts, but back then, Daniel played the drums and I also played keyboards. We made two 4-channel porta demos playing like that. And it was the worst of those that got reviewed in Melody Maker (October 6th, 1995). The Green demo. Demo of the Week. Which made Go! Discs call me up, and all I thought was that someone was pulling my leg.
- But I went down to Bengans (a record store in Gothenburg) and checked the magazine, and there it was! Daniel continues. How it felt? Amazing. Strange, but amazing.
- And that's when we got fire in our pants, Nina laughs. Right after our very first gig, in Varberg at "Club Pop" at the end of September, only two weeks after Daniel switched from drums to guitar. Yeah, it was only last summer that we found a new drummer, Johan.
- And you kicked me from the band! Daniel interrupts.
- No! Well, only for a couple of minutes. Then we decided that we wanted you on guitar, which you're a lot better at anyway, Nina continues, so you were never really kicked from the band!
- Anyway, Daniel interrupts, in January this year Fredrik joined, and Nina was told to stop playing keyboards.
- He sure made that clear. Oh, it was clear that he was a lot better than me anyway.
Varberg seems to be the band's favourite town. Their first gig, as opening act for Silverbullet, another band from Gothenburg (only with a lot more "scandals" on their record), took place in Varberg (where the police came and picked up the singer in Silverbullet, after only four songs, because he was naked and acted like he was on drugs. Though tests showed later that the only "drug" he was guilty of taking was... coffee). According to Ulf, Fidget stunned the audience. Including himself. Their next upcoming gig, on friday April 5th, is in Varberg. Their two newer 24-channel demos, are recorded at Musikmaffian in Varberg with Magnus Bergentz behind the wheel. They would have played in Varberg with Honey Is Cool on November 17th last year, but a blizzard put a stop to that. Ulf plays in a band, Surreal, from Varberg. A bootleg video (made by Ulf) from a gig in Varberg, December 29th last year, exists.
- But it's not for sale, Ulf laughs. It's pretty much a disaster. Most of it only shows the backs of the audience.
If that is not enough to classify Varberg as Fidget's favourite town, I don't know what is.
- We've (Surreal) played with them too, Ulf continues. But after about four songs, someone climbed up on the drums, and fell down on our drummer Tony Karlsson! Seems like bands should be worried about playing with Fidget, don't you think?
The recording of their first 24-channel demo, that came out in October last year, swallowed 6.000 SKr from their wallets, which was pretty much for a struggling band. That was also the reason why their second demo was not released until late March this year. Though this time, it was paid by MCA whom they have a publishing contract with. Daniel:
- It was two weeks ago. The recording took 27 hours, and everything was ready over a weekend. But because MCA paid for it, they probably don't want it to be sold as a demo.
- No, now it's more of a promotion thing, says Nina. They want us to be signed to a label as much as we do, because they make money on the publishing side, when the label we're going to be signed to makes money on sales.
- And MCA, as a label, don't want to sign us, because then they are in a bad negotiation position, Daniel continues. They can't really start discussing with themselves about contracts and profits, can they? Anyway, we were kind of worried though, when we had recorded the new demo, and Ulf said it wasn't good.
- I didn't say that!
- No? What did you say then, Daniel asks him.
- I said "it rocks", okay? "It rocks!" Ulf replies with a smile.
- Oh, I must have misunderstood you then, Daniel says sarcastically.
There are four songs on the new demo: 'Semi-naked', 'Stop Losing', 'Hoovering Away' and 'Teddy' - two older songs and two somewhat newer. The song Teddy appeared on their first demo ever, the one that got reviewed in Melody Maker, but on the new demo, it is a new recording.
When their latest demo was sent out, even the vice president of the whole group of Warner companies called and expressed his interest. On April 12th, they plan to play at "Hannas Källare" or "K" in Stockholm together with Ocean Colour Scene, a UK band that were among the top indie bands at the end of the 80's, but have been away for a while, and are now having a small comeback. Apparently, about eight record labels will be present. Two from the UK.
- It's a bit nerve-wrecking when you think about it, says Daniel. But we feel it's going to be a great gig. They have all said that they like what we do, so they know what they'll get. After that, negotiations with the labels will start. It was kind of bizarre that the Warner vice president called though. Fun, but bizarre.
On the question to what kind of label they are looking for, Daniel replies:
- One that covers the UK. One that can handle the market there. That's what's most interesting I guess.
So what do these people do when they are not stars in a band then, one might ask? Well, all of them are studying at the moment. Pontus - industrial economy, Daniel - journalist academy, Louise - philosophy
- And ethnology-something, says Nina. She'll be crossed because I don't remember, but really, I don't.
Fredrik - journalist academy, Nina - rocket scientist and psychology and Johan - philosophy and litterature.
- Do not discuss philosophy with Johan! Nina warns. He's written a lot of articles and things in magazines and papers that no one dares to question, because it's just not questionable.
Clearly, journalist education can be handy for a band. Interviews and articles will be made sooner or later. For Fidget, the time is sooner. They have been interviewed on Z-TV, they have made a restaurant report (two whole pages) for newspaper Göteborgs Posten (which didn't get a lot of distribution due to a blizzard, which also happened to the evening paper Expressen the same day, where Fidget also appeared).
- Maybe that was a sign, Nina ponders. Kind of typical though.
They have also made a tv-zapping report for evening paper Göteborgs Tidning. The band has appeared in evening paper Expressen's friday edition "Fredag" on Linda Norrman-Skugge's page. They have received a live review (their first) in Hallands Nyheter after a gig in Falkenberg together with Honey Is Cool, that was positive. Their last demo became "Demo of the Month" in Göteborgs Posten's friday edition "Avenyn" and they are "Demo of the Issue" in the June issue of swedish pop-magazine Sound Affects.
- We bought Östgöta Correspondenten (a local newspaper) in Norrköping on our way here today, and was surprised to see an article about us in the entertainment section! The phone-interview was just the other day! And we'll be listed in Linda Norrman-Skugge's "Best right now" column in Expressen tomorrow. But some people, especially in our home town Gothenburg, think that we have received too much coverage already, Nina sighs.
Nina's voice has been compared to Björk's several times, in several articles. Their music has been compared to Sugarcubes several times. What do they think about that then?
- I don't even like Sugarcubes, Daniel complains. Some journalist started comparing us to them, and then the rest followed. Nina has a very special voice, and that's where the similarities ends.
The question then, is what or who influences them and their music?
- Alphaville. We love Alphaville, Nina says. It's great that they are back again, and that they have returned to their origins!
- We listen to different things, so it's pretty hard to name something for the band as a whole, Daniel fills in. But for me, britpop. Definitely.
- Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Smashing Pumpkins and britpop, adds Nina.
Okay then, a question about swedish bands that they like then?
- That's easy, says Daniel. Bob Hund, Kent (did you know that they have sold 30.000 copies of their new album in one week?), Popsicle.
- Silver Bullet, Nina adds. Surreal, Souls, Soundtrack of Our Lives, Broder Daniel, Teddybears..
- You haven't even heard them! Daniel laughs. It's their looks! Well, Page...
- You should talk! You only say Page because of her! Nina recoils. Bear Quartet! We have to mention Bear Quartet! That's Louise's favourite band. Hmm.. Prodigy, Whale and Salt.
- Speaker, S.P.O.C.K., Olle Ljungström, the first A Shrine album, Brainpool.. Johan likes Tom Waits.
- And swedish dance music. Like... I can't think of any! Nina says, with a worried look on her face.
- Leila K? Daniel suggests.
- Yes! I went to parallel class with her and Jennifer Brown! Nina says smiling.
They played in Helsinki, Finland on March 22nd in the basement of "Tavastia", together with a finnish band called Parsley Inn, but were sad that they had to cancel their two other dates in Finland for economic reasons.
This summer, you will be able to see Fidget at the Emmaboda Festival and at Maja's Beach Festival in Varberg. They hope that they will play at the Hultsfred Festival, Mera Hitlåtar and Lollipop, but nothing is decided yet.
- Did you know that the Stone Roses have split-up?
The interview is over and we're on our way out to the rainy streets of downtown Linköping. Tonight was their 9th gig, which they played together with Mindjive, who accidentally survived without problems with the police or people falling on top of their drummer.
Scandinavian Indie Fidget interview / article 28-Mar-96