It’s a bright spring day in Stockholm and hometown duo For BDK are just a few days away from releasing their debut album, For Body, Drugs and Kicks. We meet in a quiet corner of the old town where Marcus and Adele are ready to tell us the secrets behind their sensuous lyrics, stylish videos and brave new sound.
By the time this interview has been printed your album will have already been released, how are you feeling
Marcus: I’m excited but also nervous about the reaction, and maybe the reviews.
You’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on the work you’ve done so far though.
Adele: That could be because we’re good, or it could be because we’re not famous enough yet, so people don’t even bother writing negative stuff about us.
Well the single you’ve just released What I Must Find, already sounds like it could be a hit, I’ve been humming it all day. Did you deliberately try and write something catchy?
A: Yeah… that was sort of the idea, but the album’s quite different. The album’s darker and we wanted to challenge the normal structures of a pop song. So there’s not really any pop elements left, perhaps in just one or two songs. It’s more experimental and Marcus is playing a lot of different instruments.
M: It makes things more interesting when we play instruments, and we have to push ourselves because it’s harder to get things really tight.
We wanted to challenge the normal structures of a pop song
It seems like your lyrics are really developing now, how and when do you write them?
A: I’ve started to try and write as if I’m telling a story. It can be quite boring to write a song because it’s so short, so now I’m taking inspiration from dreams and thoughts I have from time to time. But I usually write perhaps a poem or a story and then I take the bits that I like to create a song based on that sentence or the mood or the storyline.
And do you enjoy the writing process?
A: Well I’m not a natural writer; I don’t sit and write all the time, which I should. But when I do write, it’s fun.
Do you enjoy looking inside yourself, or do you reflect more on the world around you?
A: It’s more about other people, but I get some comfort from finding new ways to talk about the things I feel, things that people have already tried to describe a thousand times.
It seems like the themes of your music are club life and our relationship to the world. What I Must Find is about not getting what you need out of a partner, are those the kind of things we can expect from the album?
M: We had a theme before we started to record. Our theme was the different stages of life, but that’s quite a big theme and we got rid of it early on. Haha! Now it’s quite negative. It’s about not finding yourself to be good enough, the anxiety.
A: Yes, the anxiety from within, and about trying to get help from outside but finding out that it’s not really possible.
When you start to read the lyrics it seems like yours is a band people could really associate with, do you find a lot of your fans connect to you through the lyrics?
M: We have a small crowd now who we see at different shows and they seem to be people who struggle to fit in in society, who aren’t accepted for who they are. We want to be inclusive and we want the people who feel left out to join our group.
When you look at the message you put across in your songs, and combine it with the videos you make, and the way you look, and the mood you try to create live, it’s a very artistic process. Is that something you consciously work at?
M: It comes naturally but we spend time on it.
A: Yeah, we try and organise things to create an aura.
M: Our friend Sheila Larsson made our previous two videos, and they were like that.
A: Before the first video we met several times and talked a lot about how we wanted to be portrayed and then she came up with ideas and we altered them together. So it was a really long process but that meant the second video could go much faster. We’re aiming for quite simple but sensual.
Your songs mix darkness and sensuality too.
M: It’s the kind of music we like to listen to as well as what we like to play.
So what have you been listening to?
M: Deep house and grind ‘n’ roll, like Philip Box and Kishti. I really like Massive Attack and I was listening to a lot of trip hop before we made this record and lots of dark music like Burial and some Hans Zimmer, but then 90’s R&B too.
We were fed up of naming all the different genres we like so we just made up our own genre
You can’t deny the 90’s R&B.
You’ve also used a lot of drug references in the past, you described your style as Drugbeat, and your album’s called For Body, Drugs and Kicks. Do you think that’s hurt you in a country like Sweden where even discussing drugs is quite frowned upon?
M: We don’t do that now, when we started we described it as Drugbeat, but it was just a word to describe the sound.
A: We were fed up of naming all the different genres we like so we just made up our own genre. We wanted to make fun of this strong urge people have to categorise everything, but people didn’t know what Drugbeat was anyway and they just continued asking. So we stopped using that word.
And now you’re signed to Warner, how did that happen?
M: Phat Deuce remixed our song Open Ones Eyes and off the back of that Major Lazer put it on their mix tape. I think the label heard that and then looked us up on Soundcloud.
A: And once they found us on Soundcloud, we got an email from them where they were complaining that we didn’t get enough attention.
You owe Fat Deuce a favour.
A: Haha, yeah!
And what’s next for For BDK?
A: The album’s out on Friday May 30, we have a release party on June 2 and then we’re playing Sommarfesten in Malmö on June 7.
Photography by Mathilda Österlund.
Listen to For BDK’S s For Body, Drugs & Kicks below.