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Saturday, April 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 35.0° F  Fair
The Paper

TOUR STOP

Peter Bjorn and John survive a hit single
More than 'Young Folks'


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Peter Bjorn and John may still be best known for their charming 2006 single, "Young Folks," but that doesn't bother them. After all, the animated music video for "Young Folks" has earned more than 20 million views on YouTube. And five years later, PB&J remain a favorite of American indie rock fans.

"Musicians always have to start somewhere, and one song is a good place to start," says Yttling, who plays bass for the Swedish rock trio.

Last March, they released their sixth album since forming in 1999. Gimme Some is an uncomplicated blend of guitar, bass and drums that finds the band returning to their power pop roots.

When I spoke with Yttling last week, I asked him about the inspiration for the new album:

Does the upbeat tempo of Gimme Some reflect the mood of the band?

I think it's just that we used to play a lot of power pop, and we hadn't in a while. We wanted to get back to that. We decided to take out a lot of the slower stuff.

As you tour North America, do you find that U.S. audiences react differently to your music than European audiences?

I think people in America really go to the concert because they like the music. It's not so much an image thing like it sometimes is in Sweden.

How has the way you make songs together changed during the past decade?

John has started writing more songs. That's a big difference. That makes us more democratic because the songwriter always has a lot of power. We're also more experienced songwriters now. That's a good thing.

You all became a commercially successful rock band after the Internet changed the record industry. What's your advice to young bands on how to make money making music?

I can't really blame the Internet for not selling our CDs. If it hadn't been for MySpace, we might never have sold a single CD. It's the only business model we ever knew. I think if you make good music, you'll pay your rent and be fine.

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