by Sara Seddon at The Bucket Playlist
Interview with Pin Stripes: ‘Photographs are like a slice of time, it’s the same with a song’
Lidköping, Sweden-based Americana duo, Pin Stripes, brought out their second album, These Dark Streets, last month and are now working on a new album that is taking them back to their rockier roots.
Pin Stripes comprises Matthias Sundberg (lead vocals, guitars, stomp box) and Niclas Linde (bass, harmonica, guitars, stomp box). They met several years ago playing in rock band, Griffin: ‘It feels like a long time ago!,’ Linde said. ‘We both played in Griffin together as bassist and rhythm guitarist with Mattias laying down the riffs. That’s how we met the first time. The drummer in that band introduced me when they needed a bass player in Griffin.’
Sundberg describes These Dark Streets as being about ‘what is going on in the world but the lyrics are also about stuff we can relate to’. One of the underlying themes on the album is addiction, particularly to drugs and alcohol.
This is particularly true of the eponymous title track: ‘It’s my song about addiction, whether that’s drugs or alcohol,’ Sundberg said. ‘Maybe you’ve been clean for a while and you start to long for the drug again, it takes you to those dark streets. It’s based on my own experiences and those of some of my friends.’ As the song kicks off: ‘I know where this road goes, I know where it ends, I’ve been here before, still I want more.’
‘It’s about the emptiness you feel when you’re addicted’
The track ‘Codeine and Wine’ also explores addiction: ‘It’s about the emptiness you feel when you’re addicted, but also about mental illness,’ Sundberg said. ‘You end up feeling like an empty shell but your mind tells you that the solution is to take more drugs. In this case, codeine and wine. I think it’s the reality for many people and that they can recognize themselves in the lyrics.’
Another track on the album, ‘Life Goes On’, was written by Linde for his mother to mark her upcoming 70th birthday: ‘My brother wanted a song for my mother because she’ll be 70 in May this year. The song is celebrating getting older and saying it’s ok. ‘She’s heard it on our album probably but she doesn’t know the meaning of it. I hope by then that she’ll be able to have a party and that we can sing it to her.’
As the song goes: ‘Life will always go on, though time waits for no-one, all that you ever have done will ripple on through ages to come.’
Other tracks deal with relationships falling apart, such as ‘Ghost of Past’: ‘It’s about a breakup’, Sundberg said. ‘It’s hard to do but sometimes it has to be done. It’s also about broken dreams but usually you come out stronger on the other side. Eventually the relationship becomes a faded memory, a ghost of the past.’
‘This album will be more rock ‘n’ roll’
Later this year, they will release an album that will take them away from Americana to embrace a heavier, rockier sound. ‘We have five songs recorded,’ Linde said. This album will be more rock ‘n’ roll, some of the songs are rocky, with real drum sets! I think it will come out by the end of the year but we’ll probably release two singles first.’
One of the new tracks is ‘Sodium Lights’, which is also about a break-up, according to Sundberg: ‘The title, the streetlights that lights the way through town, is a symbol for the path they should follow to find the way back to each other. It’s a rock ballad, it’s a favourite so far. It turned out pretty good, I think.’
The duo started out in 2016 by playing their favourite American songs, while developing their own sound. Classics from Bob Dylan, Bob Seger and Chuck Berry were mixed in with The Rolling Stones, Elvis and Scott H Biram.
Their debut EP Let Me Be Me was released in 2019 and includes the track, ‘Billy’, a cover of Bob Dylan’s song from the soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. In April last year, they released their first full length album, Everybody Else Is Taken.
Linde is a big fan of Swedish rock band Hot Breath: ‘They’re a classic rock band similar to The Hellacopters but with a female singer,’ he said. Sundberg likes another Swedish rock band called Bonafide. ‘They’re in the school of AC/DC, they’re a great rock band if you like heavy guitar riffs!’ Sundberg is also a fan of bands such as Bon Jovi as well as Bruce Springsteen and Scott H Biram. Linde, for his part, likes for example Lou Reed and Neil Young. ‘I also listened to a lot punk rock and skate punk like No Fun At All and Millencollin when I was younger,’ Linde laughed.
If he could tour with anyone, Linde picks The Doors: ‘I think they’re awesome musicians. Jim Morrison, he was so cool as a front man!’ Sundberg has other ideas: ‘I’ll say Malcolm Young (guitarist from AC/DC), to help him do those riffs! Just imagine, two riff guitars in stereo!’
(Photo from left to right: Mattias and Niclas)
This story first appeared on: https://inthebucketplaylist.com/ on 14 January 2021