I shot Swedish indie-pop masters Peter Bjorn and John a few questions in advance of their gig Tuesday at Newport Music Hall, 1722 N. High St. The answers didn't arrive in time to run in the paper, so instead you got Alive's "Great Moments In Whistling" mixtape. Thankfully, singer-guitarist Peter Moren did get around to sending me some responses eventually, so here they are for your intellectual stimulation.
Alive: Whose idea was it to make a full-length video for the new album, and what was the experience like?
Peter Moren: Can't remember exactly, could have been me actually. The experience was kind of stressful and tiring 'cause we only had two days to do it. But it was also fun. "Second Chance" was a bit messy and it was a hell cleaning up after that take. I love the result of the whole thing. Especially Gustaf's (one of the directors) animation to "Down Like Me".
“Gimme Some” is an extremely upbeat album with a pretty classic pop-rock approach. Did you feel like reeling in some of the experiments from “Living Thing”?
I guess. We wanted to do an album that reflects what we do live on stage with our 3 instruments, which have always been a bit more punky and energetic than the albums. It was supposed to be the perfect album to play live. And it is!
You guys have had a lot of songs in commercials. Do you feel like that’s a decent way to measure the quality of a pop song in this day and age, whether somebody tries to buy it for a commercial?
I wouldn't go that far. But it is a kind of substitute radio that gets out to a lot of people. So it's good promotion. And sometimes it pays the bills which record sales really doesn't anymore.
Another measure of success: getting sampled for a rap song. Drake used “Let’s Call It Off” on his breakthrough mixtape, and Mick Boogie released an entire mixtape of rap songs sampling your music. Did you guys have any direct involvement with that stuff, do you listen to much rap music, and what do you think draws rappers to your music?
It's very flattering getting used that way, like you're Curtis or Otis or James when you're just PBJ! I think rappers like our sometimes pretty minimalist grooves and beats that are easy to work around and that swings a lot! I also think they enjoy our lyrics. John is into some hip-hop, I'm more of a classic soul/R'n'b-fan so I usually now rappers samples better than the actual rappers. But we all love groovy music, groove is important in all kinds of music. It's great the way they pick up something from ours songs and build something new around it. We did have involvement in the Mick Boogie project even though we didn't meet everyone in person. I was great fun! I love the work Jazzy Jeff did on "Stay This Way" for example.
Why is the tour called “All You Can Eat Tour”?
Because we enjoy eating. But mostly because we play different venues in some of the cities so you can see the band many nights if you like. And it's our longest US-headline-show so far.