The best bands also tend to be best friends. Swedish quartet Tella Viv follow this formula and translate their intuitive bond to their music. Broken down into Carl Hjelm Sandqvist, Benjamin Laven and brothers Fredric and Marcus Lindblom, the band are providing further evidence that something is stirring in the Scandi music scene.
Having formed in 2014, the band waited two years before releasing their debut EP, From Coast 2 Coast – a vibrant burst of blissed-out notes, psych-drones and languid layers. Different in personnel (Fredric and Marcus are relatively new additions), the group are picking up where that initial five-track left off, having refined their sound and filtered it into a new record. Keen to keep momentum, as soon as the new release went to wax the band returned to the studio to lay down fresh tracks.
Hitting their stride, Tella Viv are on a roll. Here, we caught the band between takes to talk about their friendship, their process and their execution.
Elsa Soläng: Hey guys, how’s the summer been?
Fredric Lindblom: Good thanks, we’re releasing our new EP soon, and at the same time we’re about to produce another one.
Elsa: What are your roles when you write music?
Carl Hjelm Sandqvist: I guess we have quite unstated roles, it’s clear that we look after each others’ strengths. We are trying to have fun and make interesting music, with some rules of conduct.
Marcus Lindblom: We write everything together, it’s never one person who has made an entire song by himself.
Elsa: How does that work in terms of writing the lyrics?
Benjamin Laven: It often starts with someone having an idea and then the others continue to build on that idea.
Marcus: Generally rather stupid ideas that we try to make less stupid (laughs).
Benjamin: We have many voice-memos saved, we record every idea that we have and we send them around to each other and try to elaborate on them. But Carl writes the majority of the lyrics.
Elsa: So Carl, what do you tend to write about?
Carl: This new EP is about to that ecstasy-feeling; to wake up and feel something else, something other than joy and anger, something that is larger than yourself. I have always tried to avoid certain thing when I write, certain words. For example, the word “love”, I never like to mention the word “love” in a song. But I actually failed on the new EP, in one of the tracks it is mentioned, but it had to be, I gave up. But I think the word “love” is misused so much.
Do you ever find yourselves in a creative dry spell?
Marcus: There’s always someone in the band who is in some sort of creative slump. We must bear one another a little (laughs). Benjamin: If it feels tough when we are recording or jamming, we take a break, smoke some cigarettes and comfort each other. Fredric: When you push through the tough periods, that’s when you come up with the best ideas.
How does the new EP differ from your first?
Carl: The one that is released now is just in the transition phase from when Adam left the band and when Marcus and Fredric came in. The one that we are recording this week is more uniform in this configuration as we are now. You will probably see that progress pretty clear. It is a little less psych, there are more surf-references, it’s less dreamy and more perhaps more straight forward.
Elsa: Will the new focus on the EP have an influence on your live show?
Benjamin: Yes, for sure, it will be a faster set.
Elsa: What can you expect when you go and see Tella Viv live?
Carl: A good experience!
Benjamin: You may feel a bit run over and up-rooted, not really knowing what has happened.
Elsa: What do you wish for this year?
Carl: To be happy and satisfied with what we create.