Gothenburg alternative duo Pale Honey returned to London on Tuesday night to play a free gig at Old Blue Last in celebration of the release of their second album, Devotion; and they disarmed the crowd with their modest, melodic sounds.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tuva (vocals/guitar) and Nelly (drums) backstage before the show, where (after struggling to find the actual dressing room) we sat down to talk about devoted fans, their favourite tracks from their new record, and highlights from their current European tour…
How are you feeling about tonight’s gig?
Nelly: I think there’s going to be lots of people.
Tuva: Me too, I hope so.
Nelly: We have some friends coming, and some people we’ve emailed with for a very long time who we’ll meet for the very first time – so that’s exciting!
Tuva: And a guy who came to see us in Malmo in Sweden last Friday, who actually lives here in London, but he didn’t know we were playing this gig so he flew all the way out to see us!
That’s true dedication there. You’ve just played shows in Iceland & Sweden. What’s were the highlights from tehse gigs?
N: I liked all the drinks that we got – well – that I took…
‘Got’, ‘took’, ‘stole’ – I mean, what’s the difference?
N: Yeah, it doesn’t matter. ‘Tomato – Tomahto’ (laughs). I’m surprised that so many people came to the shows actually.
T: I think the highlights have been that people are singing along to the songs when we’re playing, and some people even play air drums!
N: Yeah! here was one lady standing in the front row playing air drums and I was like “you go girl! I see you!” (laughs)
That’s a genuine level of fandom! You recently released your second album Devotion. Can you tell us how it differs from your 2015 self-titled debut record?
N: Our debut album had songs on that we wrote when we’d just met, so there’s some really old songs and lyrics on them. We didn’t really have the courage back then to change anything. We didn’t want to change or touch anything.
T: We got signed on that album based on those songs, so we thought we couldn’t change them because this is what fans and our label like, you know?
N: So second time around, we just tried and re-tried things and we had a lot more courage, and we were a bit more spontaneous. I’d be like “Okay, I have an idea, it might be good, it might be bad – but lets try it anyway”.
Do you have a favourite track on the record? If so, why?
T: The fourth song ‘The Heaviest Of Storms’. It was very easy to write the song, it just came out…
N: Because you’re a genius…
T: It just felt so natural, and it’s also very fun to play live.
N: It’s not so good for my right arm when we play live though. I’m so small and fragile, I get tired easily (laughs). Mine is ‘Why Do I Always Feel This Way’. It’s quite an old release, but I remember listening to the demo, and I could barely hear what Tuva was singing. I wasn’t sure if it was in Swedish or English, but I remember hearing it and thinking (sighs). My boyfriend was like “What song is that? Is it a famous song?” and I was like “Shut up! This is work!” (laughs)
I also remember when we were recording it we tried to sing it in a different key, and it changed the whole song. I was like “this is wrong, it sounds like a Disney song!” So we changed it back and I was happy again (laughs).
Great choices, my favourite is ‘Get These Things Out Of My Head’ by the way…
I’ve noticed there’s quite a lot of electronic/indie music coming out of Gothenburg and Sweden in general – Shitkid is my favourite. Would you say Gothenburg in particular is a hub for new music and musicians?
N: I think people are very welcome to play new music live there. Even as kids growing up, they were always like “If you want to play here when you turn 18, you can play at our place”. It’s always been a music city, lots of indie and metal kids.
It’s such a cool name for a city too, it sounds like it’s something out of a comic book. As a female-focused new music blog, we’re always keen to know what new music our favourite artists have been listening to. Any bands/artists you can recommend?
N: We always recommend Shitkid, so it’s good that you’ve already mentioned her. She’s very eccentric. She spilled blood on my drums, destroyed some things, but she was great to see live! Pink Milk are another Swedish band we like. They opened a couple of shows for us. They actually live near me, but I’ve never seen them out. I was like “What do you guys do?” and they were like “We just sit at home”… (laughs)
Hibernating between shows?
T: Kind of like us really…
N: True. I just watch Netflix all day and pretend to be a musician sometimes. (laughs)
Have you seen Stranger Things 2 yet?
T: Not yet..
When the tour’s over, get on it. It’s so good! If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
N: “Minimalistic”, really?
N: There you go: Fun, Minimalistic, Yes! – actually, I would say we are more dynamic than minimalistic… so “Fun, Dynamic, Yes!”
Perfect choices. Finally, what does 2018 hold for Pale Honey?
T: Everything. We really hope for more recording and definitely some more shows here in the UK.
N: We’ve played here too many times to not have a full tour in the UK now!
Huge thanks to Tuva & Nelly for answering my questions. Follow Pale Honey on Facebook for more updates.