This weekend’s rapture, it may please you to know, is being tempered with a surfeit of sugary indie tunes in the form of NYC Popfest, four straight days of all that is “jangly, fuzzy and twee.” Heading Saturday night’s lineup at Santos Party House is Days, a dream-pop band hailing from the coast of Gothenburg, Sweden–a city bursting at the seams with ear candy like The Embassy, the Tough Alliance and Sambassadeur.
Not only is the quartet (Fabian Sahlqvist, John Ludvigsson, Philip Gates & Andréas Uppman Nilsson) atop the bill, it’s their first time playing a show stateside. But in a festival that celebrates the lineage of C86 and Labrador Records, there could hardly exist a more natural choice; their music shimmers with wistfully bright guitar lines and the occasional warm swell of synth. Days had a chance to answer a few of our questions via email after making the transatlantic journey for the weekend’s festivities.
How long have you been together as a band, and where did you all meet?
Some of us have been playing music together since the late ’90s–we met when we were kids and still in school–but Days was formed about five years ago.
It’s a common refrain from music critics over here that the Swedes have an uncanny knack for pop hooks, and your band is certainly no exception. Where do you think the country’s sweet melodies spring from?
When we’re making songs, it’s all about letting the melodies flow before applying a structure to them. As for the other bands, it’s hard to know. We don’t feel like we’re part of a local scene in that way.
Gothenburg in particular seems to be a hotspot for your sun-kissed sound. What’s the scene like there?
We really like a lot of the music originating from Gothenburg, such as Studio, Tough Alliance and El Perro Del Mar. Some people like to think of Gothenburg as a modern-day Madchester, and in some regard that might be true. It’s a gray industrial town where all the musicians share the same shady bars. But that’s pretty much it. The musical influences are completely diverse, which is a relief.
Has there ever been a time when you felt compelled to sing a song in Swedish, or do English lyrics come more naturally? Is the choice to write in English a result of some desire to be more globally accessible?
Yes, English really comes more naturally and it’s great that people from different countries can understand and relate to the lyrics.
You’re playing your first stateside gig in New York this coming Saturday. How nervous are you to play to an American crowd? Has this been a long-term goal?
We’ve never had a plan or strategy as a band when it comes to reaching a wider audience. But going to New York to play is a dream come true. So, of course we’re a bit nervous. We’re always nervous.
I’m a huge fan of the Downhill EP; it’s got this warm mistiness that I identify with what Sarah Records was putting out in the late 80s and early 90s. Would you call those albums a big influence?
We’ve listened to many of the Sarah releases, and they’re truly fantastic, but we have no outspoken influence. When we make music, we make music and above all the enthusiasm over melodies and harmonies is what makes us tick, so to speak. But sure, sometimes we’re like, “Yeah, that Lloyd Cole riff sounds really good.”
Anything you’re excited to do in New York while not on stage?
Just walking around the town, eating at diners and talking to New Yorkers basically.
Days play Santos Party House with Darren Hanlon, Summer Fiction, The Sunny Street, and Chalk & Numbers on Saturday, May 21.