Death And Vanilla:

Our new album is more

Death And Vanilla than ever


Four years after the release of their 3rd LP "To Where The Wild Thing Are", Death And Vanilla have just given us their new effort, the outstanding "Are You A Dreamer?". The Swedish (Malmo) trio consisting of Marleen Nilsson, Anders HanssonMagnus Bodin have returned darker with a collection of 8 magically crafted songs, 8 eerie dream pop gems that capture your whole being instantaneously. The atmosphere is thick and addictive once again, the magic is real and tangible this time as well. Death And Vanilla prove once more that they are one of the best and most reliable bands of their kind out there...

Three years after their first interview for The Basement (following their first ever performances in Greece), Marleen and Anders are here with us again for a very interesting and illuminating chat, (mainly) regarding their new album.  

 

Are You A Dreamer? (out 10/5/2019)

Music and lyrics by Hansson/Nilsson
Performed and recorded by Death And Vanilla, Malmö, 2018
Death And Vanilla: Marleen Nilsson, Magnus Bodin, Anders Hansson
Drums played by Måns Wikenmo
Drums recorded by Jonas Jönsson at Tambourine Studios, Malmö
Mixed by Måns Wikenmo at Tambourine Studios
Mastered by Jonas Siöström, Dynamic Audio

 

 

The Basement: Hi Death And Vanilla! It’s so nice to have you once again. Congrats on your new album! Happy with the final outcome?

Anders: Thank you! Yes very happy with the album. So happy it’s done and out :) 
 

The Basement: What are your expectations with your new release?

Anders: We just hope that people will like it. We’ve put so much into it, so if someone says they like it it’s unbelievable. You can’t take for granted that anyone will like your music, even if they liked the last album they might be into different things now, so yeah.
 

The Basement: How would you describe “Are You A Dreamer?”

Anders: It’s pure Death And Vanilla. It’s almost more Death And Vanilla than ever, it’s like we went to the heart of what we’ve done before. It’s bigger and better sounding and perhaps a little darker than the last album. I think we’re more confident in ourselves as songwriters and musicians, and I think this album is more confident sounding.

Marleen: I agree on it being pure Death and Vanilla. During the work in progress, I was quite unable to grasp what exactly we were doing but it was very natural. We had some sort of goal to do proper straight-up pop songs for the album. I still don't know if we reached that goal, but I guess they should at least be categorized to pop :) 
 

The Basement: What are the major differences from the previous album “To Where the Wild Things Are?’

Marleen: We've got some new instruments which bring some new sounds into this album. And Måns Wikenmo played the drums on this album and that was a great addition too. We had an idea to bring a more organic drum feel to this album and he did that beautifully. There was probably generally a bigger focus on the songs than the sound for us this time as well. 

Anders: I think the songwriting is better this time and we had more focus on that, whereas before we might have more focus on the sound. It’s a much stronger album in all aspects. 
 

The Basement: How did the title come up? What’s your answer to the title question?

Marleen: The title came to us late in the process of recording. I was out walking and thinking about someone I care for, and why he's been struggling to have a few things falling into place for him.  And suddenly this sentence popped into my mind - well, yes because he is a dreamer! Some people just really are. And I can totally relate to that myself, and especially early in your life when you make a lot of choices for the future. I do think all people have dreams, but if you have a lot of expectations on things and reality doesn't match that you might get stuck once in a while. Being a dreamer however is a good response to many questions in life, so it's a very positive thing for me. I think we should cherish our dreams more. 
 

The Basement: We would like to know details regarding the recording sessions. How long did it take, where, and if there are songs that were born – let’s say – during recordings? Is the recording organic or you follow a specific method?

Anders: we don’t write songs and then record them. Writing and recording is basically the same process for us. We record lots of ideas, riffs, melodies etc and then try to build some songs from that by looping and overdubbing.
For this album things started to fall into place late 2017 - early 2018 when tracks like Vespertine, Wallpaper Pattern and Nothing Is Real were finished. We then booked some studio time and had a drummer play on top of our recordings. It’s the first time we’d tried that and we’re happy we did because it gave the tracks more life and some dynamics. On all our previous recordings we’ve used programmed drums so it was a big change. All the vocals were then recorded at home in our apartment. On our previous albums, we’ve recorded and mixed everything by ourselves. Mixing was usually done on our home stereo, whereas this album was mixed in a real studio by someone who knew what he was doing :)

 
The Basement: We are totally obsessed with “Nothing Is Real”.To us, it is an excellent paradigm of hypnotic melancholy. Would like to share the story behind the song?

Anders: it’s hard to remember cause we were working on alot tracks at the same time, but the main riff and the drumbeat had been around for a while, and then Marleen wrote the chorus parts on the mellotron in like 10 minutes and we recorded them and that was it. When we started working on new songs we felt this was a very strong track and it was obvious that it was going to be on the album. 
 

 

 

The Basement: One more story please. :) “A Flaw In The Iris”…

Anders: A Flaw In The Iris was the last track that was finished for the album. It was based on a recording we did some years back and we did a new arrangement and recorded the synth part at the beginning and some Wurlitzer electric piano and it suddenly it was finished. It’s funny because you can record something and for a long time you can’t finish it and then suddenly magic happens and everything just falls in to place.

Marleen: This was from the beginning one of my favourite tracks, and then we got stuck and almost didn't finish it and then it all fell in place again. So it's funny how a song almost doesn't make it through to the finished album, and then it ends up being the first single.  I'm very happy with the atmosphere that it finally got. 
 

 

 

The Basement: What most inspires your songwriting? Can you cite influences?

Anders: inspiration can come from so many places and a lot of times when you least expect it. We basically press record and starts to play and if something stands out we just continue to work on that. When it comes to musical influences we listen to so much stuff. During the time we wrote and recorded this album we’ve listened a lot to Fun Boy Three, Deux Filles, Brian Eno, Bourbonese Qualk for a few examples.
 

The Basement: How do you think geography influences music? How has Malmo and Sweden influenced Death And Vanilla’s music?

Anders: Where you live and what’s around you and the people you meet on a daily basis is bound to have an effect on you. Most of our musical influences comes from European and American bands though so maybe Sweden and Swedish music doesn't have that influence on us that much.

 
The Basement: Between “Are You A Dreamer” and “To Where the Wild Things Are?”, you stunned us with your music for Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant”. A great revisit! How did the idea come up at first?

Anders: We were invited by the Cinamascore Film festival in Castellon to do a live score. We sent them a few suggestions of possible films we'd like to work with and The Tenant was the only one of those that had Spanish subtitles so it became the natural choice. 

Marleen: And it was a good fit with a psychological subject. The film is over 2 hours which put some pressure on us to fill and keep it all interesting with only the three of us. But the themes and the instruments we had at the time blended right in I think in the end. 
 

The Basement: Will there be more? For which other films would you like to have written the music?

Marleen: I really hope so. I'm constantly thinking we must do a third one some time. And we've also had an invitation for a venue I would love to do it in, so I keep my fingers crossed. There just has not been time to do it yet. And I'm not certain what film I would choose, I'm awaiting for ideas to pop up in my head I think... 

Anders: I’d like to do something similar again, so who knows? I remember that one of the films we suggested for the Cinemascore festival was Shogun Assassin. I think that would be a fun film to score.

 
The Basement: What comes next for the band? We can see a series of live shows until the end of May? Will there be more? Should we expect you sometime in Greece?

Anders: We hope to play in Europe after the summer and we’d love to come to Greece again. Let’s see what happens.

Marleen: We'd love to revisit Greece again, so hopefully it will be possible.
 

The Basement: What are your views on music nowadays? Generally and specifically regarding your genre…

Marleen: I think that there is a lot of interesting bands and albums out there today. I was a bit pessimistic about the ongoing music scene when we started out in the beginning, but today I feel there is very much new good music to explore.  I'm really enjoying it!

Anders: There’s a lot of music coming out, both brand new and older stuff being reissued. It’s hard to keep up with everything but there’s a lot of good music out there.
 


The Basement: What is your ultimate dream as a band?

Marleen: haha, that's a tough one! Honestly, just the other day I was thinking of how many of my young dreams have actually come true in different ways. And I'm so thankful for that. But you make new ones all the time. There is no ultimate one for me, but I do dream of being able to continue with this band for a long time and surprise myself on future albums. And also I dream about a new project for the moment, but that one is still a secret. 

 
The Basement: Death and Vanilla thank you soooo much! Wish you the best!

Death And Vanilla: All the best to you, and thanks for talking to us!

 

UK Tour Dates

24 May: Sea Change Festival, Totnes, UK
26 May: Psych & Noise Fest, Cardiff, UK
29 May: Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK
30 May: Westgate Chapel, Lewes, UK
31 May: Shacklewell Arms, London, UK

 

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