RABBII are the Stockholm duo making melancholic electronica cool.
“Revolutions Are Best Before Initial Inception” sounds like a confusing concept, but RABBII make it clear. Taking the Stockholm music scene by storm, RABBII are set on going big. With a sound that is simultaneously electronic and melancholic, and with lyrics that explore personal experiences, vulnerability and the dark side of human nature, RABBII is the musical definition of juxtaposition. Consisting of Johanna Berglund and Felix Persson, who previously worked together in band Le Kid and cite The Cranberries and the Spice Girls (for their sadness and pop respectively) as their most major influences, RABBII are walking advocates for the idea that you can’t see the light without the dark.
With her first singing experience being a performance of pop classic “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, Berglund’s voice is haunting, almost unnaturally-high and ethereal sounding, teaming up perfectly with Persson’s melancholic, haunting electronic production. Their newest track is no different; “New Friends” talks about the pain of the emptiness after loss and the nostalgia of those emotions. Layering lyrics like “you said you would be there” over a heavy beat, RABBII cement themselves as a duo going against the tide and making breath-taking heavy melancholy electronica.
Your band name RABBII is short for “Revolutions Are Best Before Initial Inception” – where did this come from and what does it mean?
A dream is always better as a dream. It can only be perfect as long as it’s unfilled. The second the dream comes something is lost. That’s how we feel, and we wanted the name to represent that.
Sum up your sound in three words?
Tech, dreams and melancholia
You worked together in the band Le Kid – what made you want to form a duo?
It was good while it lasted but we felt a sense of shallowness. We had so much more we wanted to say, we wanted to be ourselves, not dressed up in costumes every day. And our manager stills owes us money so we rather forget that whole thing, actually.
Tell us about your latest single “New Friends”?
It’s a song about having to replace loss even though you know you can’t. Nostalgia knowing you can’t and shouldn’t go back. It felt interesting doing that on a heavy beat instead of doing it as a ballad.
Your lyrics often explore vulnerability and the darkness in human nature – why do you feel it’s good to explore the bad?
Without darkness you don’t see light. It’s not until you hit rock bottom and understand what an ass you are you can start to improve. It’s not really an exploration, it just comes naturally to us I think.
Your videos are cinematic and explore the same kind of ideas as your lyrics – where do you start with creating your videos?
We usually start with panic. Then we just watch movies, read books, scan pinterest for ideas, and talk about them with our in-house art-genius Shora Dehnavi. It’s all about the video making the message in the song stronger. And since we’re still a small band we can’t really do anything expensive so we have to come up with things that don’t cost anything. So panic, pinterest and money problems are the main things.
Johanna – both your parents and deaf and you didn’t really have much exposure to music until your sister bought a piano – what were the first musicians/bands you discovered and have they influenced your sound?
The first pop song I sang in front of people was a karaoke version of No Doubt “Don’t speak” when I was like twelve years old. From that moment it was like a whole new world opening up before me. I listened to a weird mix of Cranberries and like Spice Girls and yeah, the sad from cranberries and the pop from spice girls probably influenced my sound in one way or another.
What’s the Stockholm music scene like, and how does it influence your sound?
The Stockholm music scene is crazy. Every day you meet someone you’ve never heard about who’s completely amazing. That creates so much creativity, and you really feel that you can do truly great work. Maybe we sound stockholmian och scandinavian, but we don’t really think about that.
What’s your writing process like – do you each have a different area to work on, or is everything done equally by both of you?
We do maybe ten songs each month and save like one of them. And every time it’s a different process. Sometimes it starts with a line that one of us can’t get out of our head, and the other one of us has a new beat that just gives you this magical feeling. We have no plan, really.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
In the end we are doing this for ourselves, we need to do music not to explode. So we haven’t really thought about what we want other people to feel. If we really love something we’ve done, then hopefully there’s enough people like us out there feeling like us.
Tell us your future plans – a tour? An album?
We always have tour plans and single plans and something always fucks them up. But the plan is to do some shows this year, release to more singles and then an EP at the start of next year.