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Death And Vanilla

I regard Death And Vanilla as one of the most interesting and notable bands of the 10's so far... Hailing from Malmö, Sweden, the trio consisting of Marleen NilssonAnders Hansson and Magnus Bodin, have given us three outstanding releases so far, their self-titled debut in 2012, their sophomore effort Vampyr in 2013, and the abdolutely amazing To Where The Wild Thing Are... in 2015. Magically crafted atmospheric vintage dream/psych pop played with vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar, flute and moog... Ethereal and divine melodies, yet often filled with creepy and haunted twists, sung by Marleen's outstanding voice. Last October, we had the chance to see them live in Greece (in Athens and Thessaloniki) and their performance was really great. We eagerly hope for a second coming very soon. That's all from us, here's the interview we had with the Swedish band...   


The Basement: How did you get together? Tell us about how things started for you.
Death And Vanilla started in Malmö, Sweden, some 7 years ago by Anders and Marleen. We didn't have any plans, we just wanted to make some music together. In the first 2 years we wrote like 4 songs so things were moving really slowly. We just got together whenever we had the time. Then we started to get requests to do gigs so we had to form a band. Our third member Magnus came into the band at that point and is still with us.

The Basement: And your name ? How Death and Vanilla smell or taste, can go together ? Whats the coherence behind that ?
One of us had two pet rabbits as a cild, one black and one white, called Death and Vanilla and that's where the name comes from.

The Basement: Common questions to answer but, tell us about what were you listening to, in order to start writing this amalgamation of psych pop, dream pop and cinematic music nowadays.
We listen to all kinds of music you know. We love The Supremes and Throbbing Gristle. Albert Ayler and The Beach Boys. Shabazz Palaces and Earth. Harry Nilsson and Delia Derbyshire.

The Basement: Fire Records hosted your latest wonderful release. We would like to know the process to get to that result. Did you just started collecting songs written before or you wrote new ideas from the beginning ? 
Can't really remember how and when all the songs got started, but most songs or ideas for songs where written after the first album was released and then finished for Where The Wild Things Are. We always have lots of ideas for songs or half finished songs that we for some reason haven't been able to finish. Like for example the song "Arcana", parts of it are maybe 3-4 years old but it wan't until now that we were able to finnish it and include it for "Where the wild...".

The Basement: If someone meets you today for the first time, how would you introduce “To Where The Wild Things Are” to him ?
It's an album filled with good melodies but also very experimental. The music is pop but it's not just a pop album, it goes beyond that. Hopefully it will take the listeners on a trip inside their minds.

The Basement: And what about big outros in your songs ? What is the purpose of this fact ?
Haha! We just go in the direction that a song takes us. We are not just trying to write 3 minute pop songs, we love to experiment and not limit ourselves to one thing or format. 

The Basement: In almost all of your recordings a Tape Echo effect is used. Could we say, it’s just as a persistence ? What is the exact atmosphere that you want as an outcome of this ?
It's not that we sat down and said "let's use alot of echo". We just love the sounds of tape delays and spring reverbs. It's just about using sounds we love that we think add something to our music.

 

 

 

The Basement: What about the cover designing of the albums ? As your debut album, back in 2012, the covers surely contain a psychedelic aesthetic. Who made these ? 
Anders: I've made the covers. It's just something I enjoy doing. We write, record and produce our music ourselves so it was only natural to do the covers as well.

The Basement: Concerning you live shows in Greece, first of all congratulations, they were really touching ones. How did you like the audience in Athens and Thessaloniki ? 
We loved playing in Greece! The shows were good and we met some really nice people there. And ate some really good food. We couldn't be happier!

The Basement: Maybe a drummer will be needed in the near future ? At times i thought this would push up the final sound to the audience. Have you ever thought of this ? Is the absence of a drummer a part of the LoFi style of your music ?
You're right, sometimes it can be difficult be dynamic when you're playing to backing tracks. However, we used to be a five-piece with a drummer and bassplayer, but sometimes the drums were so loud that Marleens voice couldn't be heard at all. Anyway, they left the band so we just continued on as a three-piece. We'll see what happens in the future. 

The Basement: Do you know any other Swedish Bands writing music like yours ? I mean, are 60’s, flutes and reverb loved by people generally in your country or your just are the only one to do ?
No there isn't any scene in Sweden of similar sounding bands. There are a few bands here and abroad that we feel close to though, but who sound very different from us. 

The Basement: You've already recorded a soundtrack in Madrid on the occasion of participating to Cinemascope Festival. It’s for "The Tenant”, a 1976 psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski. Are you going to release that and when ?
Yes we made a 2-hour piece of music for The Tenant. We've edited it down to fit a vinyl LP and it's being mastered right now. It will be released at some point next year but nothing is decided yet.

The Basement: Propose us a film you’ve seen and a record you've listened to in 2015, that we must see or listen to.
We've enjoyed music like Lemartine "Reportage", Earth "Primitive and deadly", Clock DVA "Horology 2", Julian Copes Blue Öster Cult mix, Mort Garson "Plantasia", Ela Orleans "Upper Hell", Eddie Henderson "Realization", various releases from Clay Pipe, Harmonia "Documents 1975", Jon Brooks, Time Attendant and lots of other stuff. We haven't discovered that many new films this year but rewatched alot of old favorites like Fitzcaraldo, The Third Man etc.

The Basement: What are the future plans for the Band concerning writing and recording new material ? 
No shows are planned for early next year. We want to start trying out new ideas that have been living in our heads and hopefully that will lead us the way to new songs. We have a whole bunch of ideas and we're really excited to start working on what will hopefully become a new album.

Thank You Death And Vanilla!

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