Swedish duo Cape Lion dropped their six-track EP Corinth to the very music-thirsty masses today, and we're already lapping up every single electro-pop drop.
Upon googling their band name, one would find that a Cape Lion is a now extinct subspecies of lion – a very relevant animal these days, in addition to a universal symbol of power. It's a fitting band name for this rare breed, whose sound is a fierce roar heard above a Sahara of sub-par tracks, breaking through the song-saturated static. Maybe it’s because Carl-Johan “Oa” Sevedag and Martin Wiklund pretty much have the ideal partnership. They know when to mutually agree on scrapping a track or, alternatively, skipping a party if they’re in the zone. They’re a dash of M83 and equal parts St. Lucia, a fresh take on electro-indie with undertones of old-school familiarity.
In no particular order, shuffled in fact, the album is still solid; nothing can be flagged as out of place. “Called You Mine” is an anthem with a swaying chorus of synthy harmonies, nailed into our brains with a not annoying repetition of, you guessed it, “called you mine.” “Main Land” beams at us straight from the 80s, and we feel like we’re extras in St. Elmo’s Fire or Molly Ringwald’s IRL BFF cruising around in a Chevy Camaro. “She’s Moving On” has the most killer chorus with a call-and-response, vox to electro-sax tango. At minute 2:31 the track reaches cinematic proportions, and we’re on the edge of our seats wishing there were accompanying visuals. “Oh Girl” gets a little darker, and touches on a theme that’s age-old: the cycle of going back to someone you know is bad for you. But even with the dissonance, I would still dance to this. That’s just how they roll.
So now roll your little cursor over the play button (if you’ve even been able to hold off this long) and get down in your cubicle – or corner office, if you’re the Cape Lion of the working force.
Corinth is out today, and you can stream it on Spotify and purchase it on iTunes.
EARMILK: What's the inspiration for your band name (which also happens to be an extinct subspecies)?
Cape Lion: A couple of songs in, we still changed our name pretty much on a weekly basis. At that point we weren't really sure what to with the music. We were just having fun making songs like “Jennie” and “Brother.” Somehow we stumbled upon the name “Cape Lion” and it just stuck with both of us. Discovering that it was an extinct ginormous lion with black mane just made it feel suited the music even more. So we snatched it real fast.
EM: Tell us a little about how you formed and found each other in this mad, mad world – and why the partnership works.
CL: We were already acquainted when a mutual friend asked us to do some kind of live performance for his birthday party. Not to go into detail, but it involved green man suites and a lot of beer. That's where the official bonding took place. We had both been in a lot of different kinds of bands and constellations but we were always the ones making the actual music and productions. So when we met and started making music we both had the same role songwriters and producers which was a newfound balance that we weren't used to. Basically we trust each other’s judgment. If one of us thinks that the hook we're working on sucks, we usually don't fight too much about it. We scrap it and come up with something that we both think is better.
EM: Who / what influences your sound? What influences did you guys draw upon for this EP? Any thread or theme that weaves itself throughout?
CL: We like to make music that is kind of cinematic while still being “pop songs.” We want you to paint stories in your mind while listening to it. However, we are being influenced by all kinds of music both new and old. The productions are obviously kind of contemporary with a dash of 80s, but the melodies and harmonies are more inspired by bands like The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, etc. We love that stuff.
EM: What is "Called You Mine" about? How did this track specifically come together – and how do you typically song write?
CL: “Called You Mine” is about realising you miss someone you thought you didn't. And while the person walks by you start thinking "what if.” The song came about during a sudden burst of inspiration which led us to skip the party we were supposed to go to and write, record and produce the song in one night. Songwriting for us can be different from day to day. Sometimes you get into the flow and it pretty much writes itself, while other times an early version of a song can be forgotten and then rediscovered and finished later. We always produce and do a rough mix while writing and recording to make it sound as close to a finished track as possible.
EM: Let’s talk about "She's Moving On" – is this inspired by a person/event? Any other interesting tidbits about this track's conception?
CL: The song is about getting out of a destructive relationship. Reaching the point of no return. Without mentioning any names, it's loosely based on a real event.
EM: What tracks resonate with you the most? / do you enjoy performing the most?
Oa: I think I'm most proud of “She's Moving On,” especially the instrumental part which turned out pretty nice. We haven't had the chance to perform it live yet so I'm going to say “Mainland” and our older track “Brother” as my fav live songs.
Martin: The single “Oh Girl” is probably my favourite track on the EP. For live I like “We Got Out In Time” and “Brother” as they both have that big feel to them.
EM: What do you want people to take away from this album?
CL: We want people to have that same feeling as when you just came out from a movie theatre after watching a great film. We want them to try to hold onto the moment as long as they can. And then listen to it again, front to back.
EM: Any upcoming collaborations in the pipeline?
CL: Up until lately we've been focusing on our own stuff but also doing some remixes on the side. It's fun because it lets you play around a in a different way. Now we're looking into collaborating with some other people too. It'd be amazing to work with another duo and do some quartet type stuff!
EM: What's in store for the rest of the summer and year?
CL: We just got another rubber dinghy with a little electric motor, so now we're going out discovering the archipelago of Stockholm.Apart from that we're constantly writing tons of new material for our future album. Doing some more live shows will definitely be on the agenda.
EM: What products can you not live without?
Oa: Snus, iPad and my pillow speaker – it's a relationship saver.
Martin: My Bose Soundlink Mini. I use it everyday.
EM: What are you doing when you're not doing music?
CL: During the few days of summer that we actually get here in Sweden we try to make the most out of it. Going to festivals, boating, having synth jams in the park with friends, but that might also count as making music. During the winter music is all we do. Also, Martin likes to cook.
EM: Define success to you.
CL: We make our living through music so in a way that is a success in itself. However, going around the world playing live shows would be amazing.
EM: Tell us something random/funny/comedically terrible that's happened lately.
CL: A while back during rehearsals for a show we wanted to use our talkbox (you know that “California Love” sounding thing). Somehow Oa accidentally got a blast of really loud noise in his right ear which led to pretty bad tinnitus. Then when we performed the little f***** didn't even work. We haven't used it since, haha.