Nine years ago, the Stockholm-based sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg released an acoustic cover of the Fleet Foxes' “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” on YouTube. Their video garnered millions of hits, and the girls, then only teenagers, dropped out of high school to pursue music full-time. “We were like, 'Oh my god, this might actually turn into something,'” Johanna, 26, recalled recently of how their folk duo, First Aid Kit, came to life. While the girls have no formal training, they attribute their musical acuity to their musician father, who always had guitars lying around the house, and even signed on as their tour manager for the first couple of years. Their fame has been gradual, and they prefer the pace.
“It didn’t happen overnight, which was actually good with us being so young," said Klara, 24. "We also got to experiment with what we wanted to do."
Their experiments have caught the ears of many fans, including of course Conor Oberst,, with whom they recorded a song and toured in 2011, as well as Jack White, who has produced two of their tracks.
Ten years later, the girls have three albums under their belt and a fourth soon to be expected. Their newest single, “It’s A Shame,” features their signature soulful melodies and poignant, esoteric lyrics for which they’re known. The song was born a year ago, when the girls headed to L.A. for a change of scenery. “I was going thru a break up, and we had gone to the ocean all day. I remember coming home from the beach, feeling terrible, and I started writing that song,” Klara explained. Part self-exegesis, part fiction, the song chronicles a relationship on its way to ruin, embodying confusion and resignation at once.
"Tell me it’s ok / If I ask you to stay / Sometimes the night cuts through me like a knife," is a line that hits particularly hard. “Those lines kind of sums up the song," said Klara. "I think we’ve all kind of been there."
In the Sliding Doors-themed video, Johanna is having a great day while Klara’s is miserable. “We like the idea of us not being together in the video. In all of our videos we’re always together, holding hands. So we were like, ‘How can we both be in the video but not together?’ So we thought of having a split screen.”
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