Lola A. Åkerström catches up with Stockholm-based duo, Two Trees.
Ethereal storytellers, folk pop, Nordic soul, modern blues, indie, Emo…trying to find a single word to describe Two Trees and their unique style of music seems difficult, if not restrictive.
The Stockholm-based duo brings a refreshing style to songwriting and singing that instantly makes you pause in the moment to reflect; to take in their lyrics which seem to cut directly to the heart. The type of music that stops you in your tracks in anticipation of what the next line would be.
So we reached out to Charlotta and Fride, the talent behind Two Trees to learn more about their songwriting process and to get their thoughts on Stockholm’s indie music scene.
STS: Where did the name “Two Trees” come from? What inspired it?
A tree itself stands many great things such as beauty, life, wisdom and strength. We see the tree as a beautiful symbol and if some of its qualities could rub off on to our music, it would be lovely.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your musical backgrounds? Where you’re from and how long you’ve been singer-songwriters?
Charlotta: I’m from Stockholm and I grew up in a family that has been working a lot with music in different ways. It took a long time for me to find what kind of instrument my heart belonged to but finally after trying cello, saxophone, piano, bass, drums and flute I realized I was most comfortable with singing. When I was 20 years old I started to write my own tunes and three years later I picked up the guitar and started to learn how it works.
I’m now 26 so that wasn’t too long ago.
Fride: I was born in Linköping. I played guitar and wrote a lot of songs when I was a kid but when I was sixteen I started to play saxophone and pretty much stopped singing. Two years ago I lost my interest for jazz music and playing saxophone so I picked the guitar and my creativity became joyful and honest again.
We’ve both been through different schools with music education mostly studying jazz and improvisation and it was on our bachelor degree at The Royal College of Music here in Stockholm we met and started to make music together.
How would you define your musical style? Pop-folk? Emo-folk? Indie-folk?
We often get this question and it’s always difficult to answer. We would like not to define our music at all because you always risk you’ll limit yourself as a writer as well as a listener when you put labels on things. This concerns music as well as people. But of course we realize that other people would consider it as some kind of pop/folk-music. In the end it’s never up to the artist to define their own music, it’s always up to the listener.
Who are some of your musical influences and why?
Charlotta: Right now I don’t listen to music that much. I write the melodies and lyrics in this band and I get my inspiration from other art forms such as dance, photography, art and of course from things I read, things I hear on the radio, from people I meet and their stories.
Fride: I work in a record shop a few days a week and I believe I get to hear a lot of new music everyday. I don’t have so many favorite artist, I just like to listen to a lot of different kind of music that has something that can surprise me.
How has Stockholm’s indie music scene changed over the years? Is it thriving?
Obviously all the scenes are growing right now. There’s a lot more bands and the venues are popping up everywhere and it feels like live music is bigger then ever. Of course Stockholm is small city compared to others so there’s a limited amount of places where you can play. But as a ex-jazz-musician it’s obvious that it’s easier to book a band like Two Trees than a jazz group.
What projects are you guys currently working on?
Charlotta: I work on a poetry project where I’m putting music to my aunt Katarina Frostenson’s poems and I also work in a studio here in Stockholm producing my own music with my own band.
Fride: I have my own solo project that I am recording and producing in my own apartment when I have time. Otherwise I do small jobs here and there, writing music for others. I also do love my part-time job in the record store so I guess that’s a bit of project as well.
Are you active on Spotify and how do you think those types of social technologies are changing the face of Swedish music?
Yes we are active on Spotify. I guess that it’s good for artists such as us because it’s easier to get your music distributed fast and it gives small bands the opportunity to reach out without a label or a big record company behind you. But in the long run it also makes it difficult for artists to be able to finance their music.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming gigs? Albums in the works?
We’ve just released our first EP on Spotify, iTunes, Google play, Wimp, Amazon.com and on Rhapsody and at the same time we’re about to book gigs for the winter which will be in Sweden. Right now we know we will play in Stockholm, Växjö, Norrköping and Linköping but more is coming up.
We’re also in the making of our next release that we hope will be out next year.