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Electric Pop Group
Brothers Erik and Martin Aamot make up the Electric Pop Group from Gothenburg, Sweden. ‘Seconds’, the latest album by this Swedish indie band, is filled with beautiful harmonies and engaging melodies. These songs are precise and appealing, as the band poignantly sings about lost love. ‘Seconds’ is their second album and their first full length release for Matinee Records.
The Electric Pop Group put out their self titled debut album in 2006. Erik Aamot, the principal lyricist, plays guitar and sings. Martin Aamot is heard on guitar, bass, keyboards, tambourine, drum programming and vocals. Playing live, they are joined by Jimmi Thunholm on bass.
On ‘Seconds’, the opening song ‘Not by Another’ draws you right in, as each of the ten compelling tunes on this album continue to hold you there. This is well crafted pop music and is fully engaging.
Adept use of influences from classic 1960s bands to 1990s indie pop can be heard. Theirs is first rate indie music from two brothers that began playing together almost two decades ago. The band’s music is decidedly melodic with soothing vocals and solid instrumentation. The Electric Pop Group is truly a band to watch for.
Martin and Erik Aamot took the time to answer questions posed to them by Pennyblackmusic.
PB: The songs on ‘Seconds’ are lovely. Did you have some overall sonic approach in mind?
MA: Thank you! When we create our music, we are obviously influenced and inspired by music that we love and listen a lot to, but we don't copy sounds and arrangements from our idols. It's more like a subconscious thing. We just play our instruments, using trial and error, until we come up with a sound we like.
We are probably influenced to some extent by everything we ever listened to and liked, 60's pop bands like the Beatles, the Who, the Byrds etc, 80's synth pop bands like Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure, jangle pop bands like the Smiths, the Field Mice, Brighter and early Stone Roses, 90's indie bands like Ride, Stereolab and Spiritualized, Britpop bands like Suede and Blur, and post-punk bands like Joy Division and Interpol.
PB: Is there a particular identity that you draw on from being a Swedish band?
MA: No, not at all. We feel more connected to the international indie pop community than to the Swedish scene. The number of people who are into the same kind of music as we are is very limited. There are not many indie pop fans in Sweden and the situation is much the same in other countries too. But since indie pop fans from all over the world are communicating with each other through the internet, we can find an audience and that's really nice!
PB: Is there a strong music scene in Gothenburg?
MA: Well, there are lots of bands in Gothenburg, but most of them play music we aren't interested in. Still, there are some bands we really like here too! Liechtenstein, Days, Sambassadeur, Broder Daniel and Tillmanns are all from Gothenburg.
PB: What artists and bands do you look to as primary influences?
MA: Brighter, Harper Lee, the Stone Roses, the Smiths, the Field Mice, Another Sunny Day, Razorcuts, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Stereolab and Spiritualized.
PB: How long have the two of you played together as musicians?
MA: The first time we played together in a band was in 1991. The band was called Divine. We played some kind of 80's style pop, inspired by Depeche Mode, Ultravox and early Spandau Ballet.
In 1992 we discovered indie pop music, shoegaze and Britpop, and we formed a new band called Rain. We both played electric guitar and sang. The music we played was heavily influenced by bands like Ride, Lush, Blur and a Swedish band called Popsicle.
After Rain was disbanded in 1993, I played with a band called Aquadays, while Erik concentrated on other things than music.
Ten years later, Aquadays was history, but I was still writing songs and began thinking of forming a new band.
And then in 2005 I asked Erik to join the new band and the Electric Pop Group was born.
PB: A great deal of the lyrics on ‘Seconds’ seem to speak of the issue of lost love. Can you share some thoughts on this topic? Was there a particularly painful break up that inspired this music?
EA: These questions are quite hard to answer, as I see the lyric writing as a somewhat blurry process. That is to say, I do not really decide the lyrics before the music is composed. The process that usually takes place is this:
First I get a melody in my head that I feel can become an idea for a song. Then what I normally do is to sing it on my cell phone´s video function, so that I won’t forget it before I can take out the chords on the guitar.
When the melody starts to come together into a full song, I often get a sense of the "theme" that the song will have. This is often influenced by the harmonies in the song, the chord order and so on. The themes that seem to be in my mind are often about relationships both earlier and present, memories from the past and so on. Some songs are about a specific event or relationship, but more often they express more general feelings and sensations.
Once the theme is decided, I generally stitch together a text that I feel expresses the theme in a good way and works with the music. I try to put much focus on the vocal melody, since I feel that this is maybe the most important part of the song, and also the part that can alter the whole conception of the song and express the theme in different ways.
The lyrics that come out are fairly straightforward and they seem to be the ones fitting our kind of music. Once the lyrics are set, they seem to be an integrated part of the songs and can't really be changed without spoiling the song.
PB: ‘In the Back of My Mind’ features beautiful harmony singing and a melodic vocal arrangement. How did you divine the approach to that particular tune?
MA: The unusual vocal arrangement on this song was conceived thanks to a lucky coincidence! We had a vocal melody which we recorded, and when we edited the recording, rearranging the song, suddenly Erik's voice appeared twice, with one bar separating the takes. It sounded so good, so we decided to keep this arrangement, but with me singing the second part.
Sometimes chance can make a contribution in music!
PB: Did you find the songwriting for this album to be a rewarding process?
MA: Oh, yes, we enjoy making music together very much!
PB: What are the Electric Pop Group’s plans for the near future?
MA: We're playing at the Copenhagen Popfest in April, and maybe we'll play in France and England this summer.
We will also be working on new songs of course!
PB: Thank you.
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Carl Booksetin cats to brothers Erik and Martin Aamot from Gothenburg-based indie pop act the Electric Pop Group about their just released new album, 'Seconds'
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