Vol. 2, Issue #22 November 21st - December 6th, 2007

Peter Bjorn and John
Interview By: Graham Lee Brewer

I wrote a review of Peter Bjorn and John’s album Writer’s Block when it first came out and I said it’s a perfect record for anyone who can appreciate how an album can truly define a period of your life. There is just something about that album which speaks to you and wiggles its way into every memory you make the months following your introduction to it. It’s smart, soft, beautiful, and really damn catchy. And that catchiness isn’t just rampant among music fans; the musicians themselves are susceptible to its infectiousness, artists such as Pete Yorn, who played his own version of the hit “Young Folks” at this year’s Austin City Limits Festival.

“Yeah, we were actually on our stage doing interviews during the time,” frontman Bjorn Yttling said. “We heard it. But he also played an Elvis tune, so I don’t know. It was perfect. Yeah, the whole country of Denmark covers that song. I hear a lot of people there doing it. There’s also a bluegrass version you may have heard. That’s a good one.”
Even though Peter Bjorn and John had no way of knowing how successful Writer’s Block would be, what they did foresee was which song would be the album’s single. “Young Folks” has become an indie rock sensation. The song’s mimic-inducing whistle line, steady rhythm and lovable lyricism has earned it a cozy home in the hearts of most who hear it, as well as a spot on the popular show Grey’s Anatomy.

“Yeah, of course we knew that was the single from the album. But we didn’t know how big it would be. It’s still kind of growing in the UK, Japan and Germany. It’s now even bigger than it was here.”

While the song, and the album it graces, are finding a lot of air time to occupy in Europe and Japan, it’s the notice it has received in America and England that has Bjorn the most excited.

“It’s definitely more fun to be able to play music in the US and UK than in Poland or Iceland. It’s more drastic ground. It’s fun. At first, you kind of ride through London in a black cab with your instrument and you feel like you’re Mick Jagger or something,” Bjorn pauses to laugh, “and also hanging out in New York and LA, that’s been like the capitol of the music business since the 40’s. That’s a pretty big thing, too. You go through towns like Minneapolis and create footsteps and find out where all these bands are from. Everywhere here has a rock and roll culture.”

Bjorn and company will make some footsteps through Oklahoma for the first time as they bring their Swedish pop to Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa on November 25. Another great band you should check out, The Besnard Lakes, will open the show.


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