Swedish DIY garage-pop band ShitKid are the new Scandi kids on the block and, well, they aren’t shit. The English name of the band is a direct translation for Skitunge, which derives from a boogeyman folk tale passed down by parents so as to warn their kids off from playing in rock bands. Clearly, ShitKid were having none of that. Signed to Stockholm indie label PNKSLM Recordings, the band has released two formidable EPs one LP, and have a new full-length album on the way. Meanwhile, they have garnered the attention of magazines such as i-D, DIY and The Fader.
Our Hugh Bohane chatted with lead singer Åsa Söderqvist and the band’s music video director and fill-in keyboardist, Linda Hedström, as the group prepares to go on tour with The Melvins in October.
Thanks for your time, Åsa! What are you working on right now in terms of your music and can we expect a full-length album at some point?
Åsa Söderqvist: Hey! Yes, Lina Ericson and I are working on a full-length EP. It’s emo hits, hopefully including ten but probably eight songs. It will be named Detention with ShitKid and The Little Normal Child. Lina’s been playing the bass for half a year with us.
ShitKid are supporting The Melvins in October. How did that opportunity come about?
Well, we have been Instagram friends for a while. The Melvins are fans of ShitKid and I had seen them in a documentary once. Anyway, so they asked us and we are super excited! We are playing at Berghain!
There is a lot of worthy music coming out of Sweden at the moment (Rome Is Not A Town, The Tallest Man On Earth and Anna von Hausswolff, etc.). What do you put that down to? Is there something in the water?
Might be the cold winters!
How much does modern electronic music influence any of your own music?
Hmm, I think if I narrowed my musical thinking, I would only make rock music. And I think ShitKid will always be rock in some shape or form. It would be nice to make like electronic pop of course, but I’m not sure.
What are some of the biggest challenges your band faces as an indie-rock group?
Well, we could use a tour manager. I recently left our instruments half way across Sweden on a bus and this has actually happened before. We’ve only managed to be late for sound check like once.
I like how raw and DIY your overall approach to your music/ live performances/music videos are…do you ever feel pressure to compromise your style in any way to meet the industry’s demands?
Firstly, I want what we do to be good and if I like it then it is. I still get mad at people who want to tell me how it should be but that’s just because I’m a Sagittarius. I guess I’d be topless more if I could, especially during this summer!
Vice published a story back in June with a headline “Rock is Dead, Thank God.” What are your thoughts about this author’s opinion?
Damn, that was a long article (laughs). He’s right of course. That’s why ShitKid only makes rock ‘n’ roll music for the good old sex and drugs, before it disappears.
What advice would you give to other young women wanting to start a successful band?
Well, I’m not sure if I have any advice at the moment and we’re not super successful. Regardless, though, I guess whatever they do it should always be fun!
What does the next six months look like for ShitKid?
We are playing at Liseberg (an amusement park in Gothenburg, Sweden) this month and then all through October we will be on tour with The Melvins in France and Germany and so on and then sometime later we will release Detention.
What’s the best thing about touring?
That I happen to have the funniest band members, I guess. At the moment it is just Lina Molarin Ericson and I. Our band members are all Aries or Libras.
Thanks, Åsa! Hi Linda! Could you tell us about your relationship with ShitKid?
Linda Hedström: Åsa and I have been everything from band mates to roommates. At one point we we’re inseparable, now we live in different cities doing different things. We still keep in touch though; collaborate in the likes of music videos or me filling in for someone in the band.
Who are some of your influences when it comes to making music videos?
For me, it’s more about an era. I loved the early 2000s MVs, probably because I grew up at that time. There was this Swedish band called Addis Black Widow, who borrowed a lot from what was happening in the US at the time and who made their own videos, which I thought was really cool. As for someone who is more current, I’d have to say Hiro Murai’s video for Childish Gambino, “Sweatpants ft. Problem.” But that doesn’t really correlate with my own videos. I don’t have that kind of capital. Mine are more DIY and trashy, but I like that style too.
You just directed a new video for Sibille Attar. How did that opportunity come about?
She saw one of my videos for Shitkid called “Tropics.” She contacted Åsa’s manager, so we invited her to come meet us at a gig in Stockholm, she showed up, not realizing I was (at the time) playing in the band. We hung out after, had some beers, and decided we were going to do it.
How would you describe your artistic approach when it comes to directing MVs for ShitKid and others?
At first, if I don’t like the song, I’ll pass. After that I’ll hang out with the artist and shoot the shit and see what they’re all about. It’s not until after that I’ll start to look into what kind of video could be merged between us, and whether it’s a good idea? Some videos, like ShitKid’s “Sugar Town,” the artist was more definite about what they wanted, and I just made it work. And, on the other hand with Sibille Attar’s “I Don’t Have To,” I was given more or less carte blanche and I’ll tend to end up with something really dreamy and idiosyncratic.
What film projects are you currently working on?
As of two days ago, I started attending an art school in Gothenburg. They have a yearly project type–of-ordeal. So my hopes are that by the end of the school year, I’ll have a more refined short motion picture under my belt.
Where do you see the future of music videos going?
In Sweden, like a lot of countries, watching MVs are not as popular as they used to be. There are no real platforms to display the content anymore, with just MTV being as it is and YouTube always suggesting its viewers, “more of the same”… I think we’re heading for a bumpy ride. Artists will most likely do one song per album, which is made for the sole purpose of being a MV. The song and the video will therefore be planned from the beginning together, making it stand out – and to generate as many clicks as possible. But with all this pondering aside, yeah, I have no clue really.