Siobhán Kane had a quick chat with Malin Dahlström of Niki & The Dove.
Sub Pop’s Niki & The Dove burst into being around 2010 and since then have released the EP’s The Fox and The Drummer, both of which contain a low-key, but exciting electronic grandiosity, which also goes some way to describing Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlö’s kinship that has an off-kilter depth, and fizzing creativity. Inbetween a busy time of shows, and work on their first full-length record, Siobhán Kane asks Dahlström four little questions.
You started playing music early on, but when did you both meet?
We started to play music when we were eight. We met in Gothenburg and have been friends for a long time. It was a very strong kinship immediately as we always connected to the same music, we always were freaking out to the same songs. It is free to learn instruments as a child in Sweden, which is nice. Actually the admin people at that particular governmental department messed up, it was in the news in Sweden, they lost their job and now that department don’t have any money!
There is a beautiful melancholy that binds all of Scandinavia, a common ground between the diverse countries. Do you think the landscape of Sweden has impacted your music, somehow? You can sense the country within The Fox EP, and the city within The Drummer EP.
The environment you live in really affects you, consciously and unconsciously. The passion in the music, the spark, comes from the person though. On the surface of the music it can be affected by where you live. The Fox EP was written in the northern part of Sweden, with mountains and forest, and the landscape was there in a subconscious way, it provided the elements for The Drummer also in a way. But the song could have taken any direction; we think that for this song the spark was the children’s story Gustaf heard about. Then it started in the archipelago outside Stockholm and the lyrics came in the car ride from there into the city.
In what ways, do you think having a background in theatre/dance productions has impacted on your live performances?
We have not been affected by theatre really … working with theatre affects you in a much more abstract way. It is a way of thinking .. a more free mind. We always loved pop music and wrote pop music before our theatre work .. and then again after our theatre work … what is the chicken and what is the egg? Our live performances depend on the audience. Sometimes there are some gigs when there haven’t been lots of people there but we feel the warmth from the audience, it isn’t how busy it is, just how we connect with them. We rehearse a lot before we go on a tour but we prepare psychologically before too, trying to be calm and building focused energy
Your sound is a really lovely mixture of menace and magic. There is a swirling kind of atmosphere that seems to permeate your work.
Thank you for your nice description, describing our music in such an intriguing way. We have such a broad taste in music; we tend not to listen to music as an inspiration, as that becomes more of a prison than an inspiration. We take influences from other places – non-musical, though we like all kinds of pop, as we are song people, and I find I like the songs and don’t look to the artist, except maybe Prince. We feel that sometimes when the wonder of the world is lost, it is important you find it again.