Sunday ACL Fest Interview: First Aid Kit

Swedish sisters take rock songs toward topical matters

The explosive success of dreamy Americana folkers First Aid Kit saw the Swedish sisters navigate a whirlwind of nearly nonstop touring for five years.

Klara and Johanna Söderberg craved some semblance of normalcy, so in 2015 they finally took a break. The explosive success of dreamy Americana folkers First Aid Kit saw the Swedish sisters navigate a whirlwind of nearly nonstop touring for five years – including an early Friday afternoon slot at ACL back in 2012.

"We started touring at 16 and 18, and that was all that we knew, so we needed to just go home and live a 'normal' life," says Klara. "That's part of [making a record], just collecting and experiencing things. That's the writing process."

First Aid Kit's first new music since 2014's Stay Gold came out earlier this year, yielding stand-alone single "You Are the Problem Here." The angry, feminist, overtly political rock & roll cut proved a far cry from First Aid Kit's discography.

"It was born out of a moment: reading about rape cases and just feeling absolutely distraught," Klara explains. "It wasn't planned. We weren't like, 'Let's write a political song.'"

"We've been moving away from the gentleness of the past, and definitely in terms of our live show," adds Johanna.

New single "It's a Shame" also finds First Aid Kit navigating new musical terrain: their most upbeat sound. Hopeful and warm behind buoyant piano and a galloping drum line, the Söderbergs' intertwining vocals spell out crippling self-doubt.

"It's a song written out of desperation and loneliness, to be honest. The fact that it sounds upbeat – that just happens," Klara explains. "We always like doing that. I think it can be really impactful to have a sad lyric with a different sounding song. It hits you in a different way."

First Aid Kit

5:15pm, HomeAway stage

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ACL Fest 2017, First Aid Kit, Stay Gold

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