Ease are Niclas Lindgren and Siri Jennefelt (also of Saigon), a synthduo who have just signed to Häxrummet Records and released their debut EP Latest Aches, four songs of raw-nerve, pulsing, old-school synth music. We introduced you to them after the release of their first track ‘Coming Through Me’ back in December, so we thought it was about time to get to know them a little better.
So, let’s start with the basics. Who are you guys and how did you form Ease?
Siri: We went to the same school. Dramatiska Institutet (now Stockholms dramatiska högskola), and we became friends, and then after school we just decided to start a band.
Niclas: We had both been working with music in different areas.
Siri, you’re also in Saigon right?
Siri: Yeah! I’ve been doing the pop music thing for a while.
Niclas: And we’ve both done a lot in electronic music, in different ways. We started talking about how it would be nice to make pretty old-school synth stuff.
Siri: We both had a desire [to make that kind of music]. Hard synth music. We actually had the idea for the band on graduation day, we spoke about it while we were having champagne! “Let’s start a band!”. And then nothing happened for a while. It was more of an idea in the beginning, nothing really concrete.
Niclas: The first time we started to write [for Ease] was about ten months ago. So it’s really new.
Siri: Really fresh! It’s nice to start all over again with something new. I like it.
And so what are some of the influences that fed into the Ease project. As you said, I do hear a lot of that early synth sound, kind of that point where post-punk bands started to move into synths, like New Order and stuff like that. So what kind of stuff influenced it, what kind of stuff were you listening to when Ease was born?
Siri: We had different influences. I was listening to a lot of minimal wave, and when I was DJing I was DJing a lot of that kind of thing, minimal synth stuff from the 80s.
Niclas: This is a good question. I don’t really think there’s any one band, it’s more the sound really. I think it’s more the genre of 80s music. I like a lot of old school synth stuff, stuff like New Order, but then again I also really like that 80s production style, stuff like Roxy Music.
Siri: It’s more of sound that we wanted to do. I think we had the same image in our minds when we started talking, and then it became real.
And so the feeling I get from your music is that it’s music that reaches for your primal emotions, the stuff deep down. Aiming more for feelings rather than thoughts. You have song titles like ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘Numb’, and then you have this really driving, powerful sound as well. Would you say that that’s true, that it’s something that goes for the deeper emotions?
Niclas: It’s nice that you bring out the physical aspect of it. There’s a lot of heart and body in it. The songs are really based on situations, a kind of ‘This is happening right now’ thing. This is happening to my body in this situation.
Siri: It’s really physical [music], and that’s in the lyrics too.
I saw you guys a few weeks ago at your show at Taverno Brillo, and there’s a lot going on. You had an amazing light show, and the songs were a lot looser and wilder than they are on record. Is that something that you were really going for, to make the live show really distinct from the record, make it its own experience?
Siri: I think so, definitely. We want to do something special with our shows. We put a lot of thought into them, into the performance. A lot goes into that. The lights are really important.
Niclas: Yeah, and I think that that is one of the parts that I think is the most fun with this project. Both Siri and I are interested in those things and think them through. That it’s not just going up on stage, looking down at your gear and then going away.
Siri: That can be nice too but this is something else.
Niclas: I think that was always the idea from the beginning, that this should be something else.
Siri: We actually wanted to have dancers. We wanted to have vogue dancers with us, because we know a really good one.
Niclas: That’s the dream, to have a vogue performance at the Ease show. That would be the goal. I’ve been to clubs with vogue performances and it can be super nice. So I guess that could be Ease in a few years.
Siri: A more extended show.
Niclas: Our friend Anton Andersson does the lights. He’s really good, and he’s put in a lot of work with the band.
Moving on to the lyrics, you’ve got lyrics like ‘the night is leaving us’, ‘Dirty hands in the city of light’, and there’s a real urban, streetlight city light to them. So what made that a big source of inspiration to you, what about that vibe or situation draws you in?
Siri: Well, it’s Blade Runner!
Niclas: It’s hard not to sound clichéd, but you write about your life I guess in lyrics, and we both live in the city, and we spend most of our time in this environment. And I guess we get inspiration from those kind of movies, like Blade Runner.
Siri: It’s a romantic picture of the city.
Niclas: It’s that idea of the metropolis, you have some romantic image of it. I think that it might also be the time of year. When we wrote the lyrics for Latest Aches it was the summer, and we were talking a lot about the city in the summer, it’s really hot and you can only go out in the evenings and you get this anxiety. Add some heartbreak to that…
Siri: And you’re gone!
Niclas: Then you have every pop song ever written!
So then to wrap it up, what’s planned for the next few months? Videos, shows, new releases?
Siri: We’re going to the countryside, next week actually. To record a new EP. So we’re doing it really quickly. And then we have a gig in March at Scalateatern with Fritz’s Corner. And then we’re looking at having a gig in Malmö in May, together with another synth band.
Niclas: We don’t have a release date for the recordings next week, and we don’t know how we’re going to release it. We want to be open minded with what we’re doing next.
Siri: But keep your eyes open!
Words: Austin Maloney