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Peter Bjorn and John Interview

Catherine May


With their new album, Gimme Some, released on March 25th, we caught up with Peter from Peter, Bjorn and John to hear about the record, going solo and dreams of harmonising with Paul McCartney.

MTTM: It’s been nearly two years since your last album, have these tracks been a long time in the making?

Peter: Not really, every second year is kind of the usual pace for bands these days I think. We started rehearsing it in January and started recording in March.  And then it’s been on and off ‘til around September when we started mixing. Considering we do a lot of other stuff as well I think it’s a good procedure, but we would like to put out the next album a bit quicker.

MTTM: Peter has written his debut Swedish language album – as a band do you prefer to write songs in Swedish or English?

Peter: PB& J have always sung in English and I think we will continue to do so. But as a writer it was really liberating and inspiring to work in your mother tongue and I’m not ruling out that in the future  I might write a song in Swedish first and then translate it to English, that might make way for some interesting phrases.

MTTM: As you’ve been off doing your own things for a while, was it easy to return to working as a group?

Peter: It’s really good when you do other stuff in between the band stuff ‘cause you actually start missing the way we work together. If we’d only been doing the band we probably would have split up a long time ago.

MTTM: You’ve enlisted Per Sunding to help produce the new album, was this a tough decision for you to make having previously produced albums on your own?

Peter: No, it was an easy decision. We felt after making five albums by ourselves that we needed someone else’s input as well as our own. And Per did a really good job, energizing and inspiring us and throwing in loads of great arrangement ideas, as well as sound-input; he knows guitars! He’s an old idol of ours from the great trio Eggstone, the spiritual godfathers of PB&J.

MTTM: You’re returning to your pop roots with this release but have said you had planned it to be a punk rock album – how did this shift in sound come about?

Peter: We wanted to do an album that reflects how we sound live, that shows that we are actually a good live-band. And then it naturally becomes more punk. We are more punk rock live, it’s more about the energy. And I think we captured that on the record, it’s guitar, bass and drums and vocals and mostly live-takes rather than studio-compositions. But we are a pop band at heart, so if we’re trying to be punk, it becomes power-pop, we can’t escape melodies.

MTTM: Having previously performed alongside the likes of Depeche Mode, is there any artist who you’d love to play with?

Peter: A childhood dream of course is to sing some harmonies with Paul McCartney – however cheesy that might sound. Outdo Costello with some lost Costello-classic on Spectacle. And R.E.M would be fun to open for.  
MTTM: If you had to sum up your new album in three words, what would you say?

Peter: Power, pop and pep.

MTTM: What are you most excited about in 2011?

Peter: Recording another record! Both solo and with the band! And playing guitar ‘til the cows go home!