Need To Know: Marching Band

Need To Know: Marching Band

Hailing from Sweden, Jacob Lind and Erik Sunbring made magic happen with the formation of indie-pop group Marching Band. Now releasing their second full-length album, the band has already headed down the road to soundtrack fame, having been featured on everything from 90210 to How I Met Your Mother. We caught up with Lind to get the scoop on why TV loves Marching Band, gay-friendly Sweden, and getting out of ABBA's shadow.

Out: I heard you spent six months working on the new album. Do you always move so glacially?
Jacob Lind: We kind of started in May last year, starting to write new songs. We were pretty focused actually. We didn't have a date set for when we were going to start recording but we knew that we were going to do it sometime in the autumn, so we were pretty focused.

You guys are from Sweden, but you assembled over here in L.A. How'd that happen?
We met our label at like three years ago in South Africa, actually. We were traveling with a friend of mine's band called Dear Reader. And we were supporting them, and our label guy was touring with another band at that time and he saw us at a festival and he got really excited. So we signed with him.

Then he brought you to L.A.?
Yeah, exactly, like a year after. We signed a record deal with them, two years ago, to do our first record. The next one is done in Sweden, but it's the same label. We just recorded this one back home, just a little more convenient. But L.A. was great two years ago, it was a great time as well.

What do you think it is that's allowed you to break in over in the U.S. and in Sweden?
I think our sound -- I don't know how -- in some way I understand that Americans are drawn to our sound. We want to write pop songs, and we like to make them a bit complex, but at the same time very accessible. We're very honest, we're not looking for 'Oh this is the sound we want,' and then go for that. We more do whatever we feel like. We just go more for what we like than a plan for a special sound or something.

So when you're recording in different places, does it affect the music? Or is your sound always sunny and happy?
No, I definitely think it could. Our songwriting has always been done mostly at home in Sweden in our everyday lives in our apartments or wherever we are writing songs. But then when you go into the studio, there's always elements that you add or take away -- maybe more with sounds and attitude you have when you record the song than with the songwriting in itself because that's usually a bit more finished when you get into the studio. But definitely the sound, I think.

Why is indie pop rock consistently your sound?
The short answer is that's the kind of music we listen to ourselves. We've never really been into, like, heavy metal.

What's on your iPod right now then?
Right now? Hmm. We're pretty bad at getting into new music. We listen mostly to older stuff. What should I say? That's always a hard question for some reason -- I don't know why! I'm like, what did I listen to today? Give me one second. We were listening to the Lemonheads, both me and Erik. They're great, a pretty straightforward band. Let's say that. Do I need to say more than that?

You're good. In the blogosphere, most notably Pitchfork, they've compared you to bands like Belle & Sebastian and the Shins. Do you mind the comparisons?
They're great bands, of course. We don't mind being compared, as long as people don't judge you like you're copying them because I really don't think we are. Those are great bands, but I think we sound like a lot of bands. I think our band can be pretty diverse, but those are definitely bands we've been listening to -- maybe more in our past, not that much in the last couple years. When you first go into music, I think those kinds of bands can affect you even further on when you stop listening for them. They're still in your unconsciousness, but that's OK.

iTunes put you on its front page last year. Did that spark a bigger fan base?
Yeah, I'd say definitely. It was a pretty big deal. You get people writing in comments or blogs or your guestbook or MySpace saying they're hearing about our music in a lot of different places. Definitely a lot of people heard about us through that, as well as other people mentioned they heard it in a TV series. So it was definitely a good thing for us.

On that note, your music has been featured on a crazy amount of shows and movies, like Zombieland, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, My New BFF, My Life as Liz, Greek, etc. How do you feel about your music being so popular for soundtracks?
[Laughs] I like it a lot. We both like it a lot. Especially sometimes when the songs are being used to emphasize something that's happening in a scene, like it's been a couple of times. Like the last time in Scrubs, we were the ending song. The song really fit well with how they finished the story. I think that's really nice to see your music being a part of a bigger story. I don't think that's a problem at all. I don't think we're only soundtrack music at all. I just think we have a really good publishing company.

I have to ask: How do you feel about ABBA?
[Laughs]. I, we, Marching Band, has nothing bad to say about ABBA! Bjorn and Benny are great song writers and they have some amazing songs. Everything they've done is not great, they've done some really shitty things as well [Laughs]. But it's classic, it's forever -- they're going to be like Mozart.

Sweden seems to be very gay friendly. Do you notice a big difference between the way LGBT people are treated there versus America?
Sweden definitely has been very progressive politically. All the political parties, from the left to right, all agree very much on those issues. Compared to any country I've been in the world, from my experiences, the little experience I have is that Sweden is really good for what do you call it, HBT or'?

[Laughs] Yeah. We were actually in LA for the protest against the 8, what it's called?

Proposition 8?
Proposition 8. [Laughs] I don't know how but we ended up walking in one of those rallies for like 10 minutes. We were like, 'Okay, we support this! But 10 minutes is enough.' I don't know, Erik really doesn't believe in the idea of a band trying to say something politically, you know, like Bono. It's kind of silly in some ways. But from a private standpoint, I definitely support that. It was weird. It was weird, the whole thing there. Wasn't it like decided that they were allowed and then they took it back?

Yeah, they legalized it and then Prop 8 took it away.
That was really weird. I didn't understand that. That's really weird. So that's America, I guess? Strange things happen.

Marching Band's new album, Pop Cycles, is available now.

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Tags: Music