First Aid Kit — a.k.a. Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg – first reached American ears with a YouTube video they uploaded in 2008. The viral hit — the two of them sitting in the woods, singing a stunning acoustic cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” — caught the attention of Jack White, who put out their next single, and Conor Oberst, with whom they would collaborate and tour. Their third LP, out this week, is their first on a major label. It’s called “Stay Gold.” On their way to this weekend’s Bonnaroo music festival, they dropped by the studio to spin us a party playlist.
Johanna Söderberg: Hello I’m Johanna.
Klara Söderberg: And I’m Klara and we’re First Aid Kit. We have dinner parties all the time. Especially on Fridays because in Sweden there’s this thing, “Friday Cozy Time.”
Johanna Söderberg: Fredagskväll.
Klara Söderberg: And it’s when you gather with your family and you usually watch TV…
Johanna Söderberg: And eat unhealthy things…
Klara Söderberg: …Especially tacos. We’re obsessed with tacos, but like Swedish Tex-Mex. which is… pretty interesting.
So this is our dinner party sound track.
Phosphorescent, “A Song for Zula”
Johanna Söderberg: Our first pick is “Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent. Good opening song; It’s like a warm welcoming feeling.
Klara Söderberg: And I think we’ve never played it to anyone that they have not liked it.
Johanna Söderberg: I think everyone loves this song.
Klara Söderberg: The first lyric of this song is, “Some say love is a burning thing” — like in “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, so it kind of has that Johnny Cash kind of feel to it.
Klara Söderberg: Phosphorescent is this guy Matthew Houck. I really love that he sounds kinds of fragile…
Johanna Söderberg: Kind of raspy. Broken…
Klara Söderberg: Yeah, it sounds like he’s been through some hard stuff, and you feel for him.
Johanna Söderberg: Poor guy!
Klara Söderberg: I mean, I don’t know — it’s just a beautiful song and the strings are amazing.
Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”
Klara Söderberg: Our second song is a song by Johnny Cash, and it’s called “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
Johanna Söderberg: We chose it because we are board-game-crazy people.
Klara Söderberg: We love playing board games — we always play board games.
Johanna Söderberg: If we have a dinner party, it’s board games. Our favorite board game is called “Ticket to Ride,” which is like a board game where you…
Klara Söderberg: …travel across America, and you build trains. So it’s fun to listen to this song in the background and just be like “Yeah, I am travelling everywhere!”
Johanna Söderberg: We’ve tried to sing it — it’s so hard.
Klara Söderberg: It’s a tongue twister for sure.
Johnny Cash really inspires us in our music — I mean, we did write a song about Johnny Cash on our last record, “Emmy Lou.” He just has this darkness about him.
Johanna Söderberg: You hear him and you’re like… “Yeah; I know what you mean.”
Dory Previn, “Lady with the Braid”
Klara Söderberg: When everyone would be leaving, we would play this song, which is called “Lady with a Braid” by Dory Previn.
This is from the 70’s, this record. She was married to André Previn — he’s a composer. He then left her for Mia Farrow. And this song is about a woman who is asking this man, who I think she’s just met, “Can you stay the night?”
Johanna Söderberg: Very sad song. It’s really beautiful. We’d play it, and hopefully people would listen to the song and they wouldn’t want to leave.
Klara Söderberg: The lyrics are very fitting for the occasion.
First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining”
Klara Söderberg: So it’s the end of the evening… and we’re in our pajamas… and we realize we really want to listen to our own music!
Klara Söderberg: No — I don’t think this would actually happen. Maybe…
Johanna Söderberg: Maybe some of our friends would come and play a prank on us and play this song.