INTERVIEW: Tella Viv
Tella Viv are a Swedish quartet, who describe their genre as ‘Art Rock’. They are made up of members Carl Hjelm (Vocals), Benjamin Lavén (Guitar), Marcus Lindblom (Bass) and Fredric Lindblom (Drums). Already established on the Swedish indie music scene, they have just released their third EP to date, called ‘Happy Doomsday’ – the result of a year spent in the studio recording new music.
Packed with surf, 50s pastiches and new wave-clinging synthesizers, their songs link the Cold War era’s fear of atom bombs with more profound themes such as attachment issues and separation.
KM: Hello guys! How are you? Congratulations on releasing a brand new-EP!
Carl: Thanks! Currently enjoying our post-release in a boiling hot Stockholm.
KM: We would love to know more about what’s behind ‘Happy Doomsday’. When did you start putting together the songs? How does your writing process work?
Benjamin: We started writing these songs about a year ago. It had been a tumultuous period for the
band. We had some changes in members and at the same time we moved into the studio where we’re currently working from. We were somewhat uncertain of how we were to continue as a band. We were fearing our own doomsday. In the throws of our own anxiousness we started writing frantically just to stay afloat, and as we finally collected our thoughts enough to actually hear what we had been writing we realised this was our Happy Doomsday.
Photo Lars Brønseth
KM: What’s the part you enjoy most about the creative process behind coming up with a new song?
Marcus: I think the best part is the early phase. I enjoy watching an idea turn into something you’d never be able to do yourself.
Benjamin: Sometimes you just throw something out of the top of your head and it just sticks. You can tell from the rest of the room. We always try to get a reaction from each other.
Fredric: I also enjoy the early phase, trying out new ideas.
Carl: Same. We have a process of making a bunch of songs that slowly group together and create a setting.
KM: Leading track ‘No, No, No, No’ was inspired by comic book couple “Valérian and Laureline”. Can you tell us more into depth how this affected the lyrics? Are you guys really into comic books?
Carl: I am. Or was. I read a lot as a kid and still use it as material. When Benjamin first showed the song idea, I wanted to make a melodramatic and pathetic story about a couple stuck in a space vessel. Valérian and Laureline were my closest reference.
KM: What are your main inspirations in the current music scene?
Benjamin: If you mean worldwide i think Parquet Courts is doing some cool stuff. I really like Frankie Cosmos as well, and Kero Kero Bonito. If you are referring to the music scene in Stockholm there is a lot of interchange of ideas and we have a few bands that are almost musical family for us. Acts like Vero, Jelly Crystal and Linn Koch Emmery.
Fredric: Watching our friends play in Stockholm, and lately also seeing my faves Little Dragon and
Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I watch a lot of live performances on YouTube as well.
KM: When was the band founded and how did you guys come together?
Benjamin: We were all kicked out of the same club in the same night. Laying in gutter cursing at the
bouncers in chorus. It was the first time we met but we decided to start a band there and then even though none of us had ever touched a musical instrument before. This was in 2013.
Carl: We have gone through many bands over the years. Tella Viv have been a melting pot for different people with different ambitions. 2017 we became what we are now.
KM: I see that Carl you are a model as well. How do you balance the music and fashion careers? Do they ever overlap and if so in what kind of way?
Carl: Fashion has brought me to many talented creators whom I’ve introduced to the band. Time wise it gives me an open schedule to make music as I work seasonal. Apart from that I think fashion is very keen to use musicality as one of my traits. Though still waiting for the day somebody asks me to sing while walking the catwalk. No, joking actually. That would be very tacky. Still though.
KM: Aside from Carl, do you guys all have other jobs or are you full-time musicians?
Benjamin: The rest of us all work at the cult keyboard company Mellotron.
Photo Lars Brønseth
KM: The Scandinavian music scene is flourishing, with amazing acts being recognised worldwide. What are your thoughts on this? In the light of this – do you believe there are indeed opportunities for artists to grown in your country?
Benjamin: Can’t speak for the other Scandinavian countries but regarding Sweden it feels like everyone loves Swedish music except for Swedes. There are a few people who keep the scene alive but it’s really a battle upstream. That being said there are a lot of great Swedish acts. It’s somewhat of an untapped goldmine.
Marcus: It’s great that a lot of Scandinavian acts are doing well around the world, all of us can benefit from that. I think there are plenty more who will do great in the coming years and I hope the Swedish live scene will grow and give more people the chance to play.
Fredric: There are lots of opportunities for artists in Sweden, and that’s a great thing. I want the live club scene to grow, having great venues is a huge privilege that should be used and not be taken for granted.
KM: Thanks a lot for talking to us today! Where can people find you to stay up-to-date with all
Thank you. Our band Instagram @_tellaviv_ is your magic peephole.