|First Aid Kit|
First Aid Kit at Gröna Lund 2017
First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo that consists of the sisters Klara (vocals/guitar) and Johanna Söderberg (vocals/keyboards/Autoharp/bass guitar). When performing live, the duo are accompanied by a drummer, a pedal steel guitarist and recently a keyboard player. In 2008, they became internationally known by their YouTube video cover of the Fleet Foxes's song "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" that gained significant Internet popularity. They have now released three albums, two EPs and a handful of singles. In 2015 they were nominated for a Brit Award as one of the five best international groups.
Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg are from Enskede, in the outskirts of Stockholm. Johanna was born on 31 October 1990 and Klara on 8 January 1993. Their father was a member of the Swedish rock pop band Lolita Pop(3:20-4:03) but he quit before Johanna was born and later became a teacher of history and religion. Their mother is a teacher of cinematography.
From childhood, Klara and Johanna were eager singers by giving concerts using a jump rope as a pretend microphone.(0:40-2:40) Klara's first favorite songs were Judy Garland's songs from The Wizard of Oz and Billie Holiday's version of Gloomy Sunday, that she sang without much understanding of the English lyrics. Klara wrote her first song "Femton mil i min Barbiebil" when she was six. 
In 2005 when Klara was 12, a friend introduced her to the band Bright Eyes. This led her to country music stars such as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Carter family, Louvin Brothers, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. The same year she received a guitar of her own as a Christmas present and quickly learned to play it.
Johanna enjoyed a wide range of music from Britney Spears to German Techno. However, it wasn't until watching the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and listening to the film's soundtrack that she was inspired to sing "Down to the River to Pray" with her sister, Klara. Fascinated by the result they started to sing together first at home and then as street singers, for example in the Stockholm metro and in front of liquor stores.(16:10-17:55)(2:55-4:35) They came up with the name for their band simply by randomly opening a dictionary.
Klara and Johanna also started to write and compose their own country-folk songs inspired by Devendra Banhart and CocoRosie, among others, without much influence from their parents who were more fond of Patti Smith, Velvet Underground and Pixies. Their father confessed later in a Swedish radio program that he was astonished and actually a little jealous of the ease his daughters had in producing top-notch music.(8:20-8:55) The most important advice their father gave to them was to sing so loud that even somebody behind the wall could hear it.
In April 2007 the sisters started to upload their self-made songs to the social networking site MySpace. They also sent a demo of their song "Tangerine" to the Swedish radio. It immediately went on air and was listed as one of the best songs of the summer 2007, which led to requests for live performances and even some offers from record companies. The first official performance as First Aid Kit was at PUNKTmedis library in Stockholm on 6 October. More gigs followed but as Klara, who was then 14, was still at school, they could play only during weekends.
Meanwhile, their younger brother attended the same kindergarten as the daughter of Karin Dreijer Andersson, half of Swedish electronic duo The Knife and also known as Fever Ray. Their mother asked Dreijer to check out her daughters' songs on MySpace. After doing so, and seeing them play live, Dreijer said that the duo had to be saved from bad deals with the industry. It was decided to sign them to Rabid Records, a label co-owned by The Knife with conditions that allowed the duo to have full control over their music and album art.
April 2008 saw the release of the debut EP Drunken Trees in Sweden. The EP was produced by their father and was a re-recorded collection of songs from their MySpace site originally called "Cross Oceans". Their first appearance in Swedish TV was also that month.
The duo was already quite well known in Sweden by August 2008, when they uploaded a cover version of "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by Fleet Foxes to YouTube. Robin Pecknold, frontman and lead guitarist for Fleet Foxes, noticed the duo's message about the video and praised the song on his band's webpage with multiple exclamation marks, causing a surge of popularity of the video.(32:40-34:30) It led to First Aid Kit becoming internationally known, and them signing with Wichita Records at the end of 2008.
Due to international touring, Johanna quit high school in the autumn of 2008 and Klara never started it. Their father took a leave from his job as a teacher and accompanied them on tour, also helping with soundchecks. First Aid Kit's first show outside Scandinavia was on 22 November 2008 at the Crossing Border Festival in Netherlands. Fleet Foxes performed the day before, and when Pecknold spotted the duo standing at the edge of the stage they were unexpectedly asked to join to sing "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song".(34:30-35:10)(6:15-7:35)
Wichita re-released Drunken Trees on 23 February 2009 as an enhanced EP with "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" added as a bonus track along with some videos.
The duo released their first album, The Big Black and the Blue on 1 February 2010. It was again produced by their father. The release was followed by an extensive tour (around 100 shows) in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe, including Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.
Klara and Johanna had managed to meet Conor Oberst after Monsters of Folk's concert on 19 November 2009 in Stockholm and give him a demo of their coming album. Oberst had listened it and decided to see the duo when they were performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival pre-party in Texas on 7 October 2010. In the pre-party concert he was impressed especially by the duo's acoustic performance of Ghost Town and how it had made the audience listen to the song in complete silence. After meeting the duo Oberst called Mike Mogis and asked him to see the duo's performance in ACL festival on October 9. After doing so Mogis was also impressed and offered to produce the duo's next album.(29:20-31:20)
A couple of days later on 11 October 2010, after playing a concert in Nashville, the duo got a telephone call from Jack White, who asked the duo to visit his studio next day. The result was a vinyl single containing cover versions of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" and Mel London's and Tampa Red's "It Hurts Me Too". The single was released on White's Third Man Records label.(35:30-36:55)
First Aid Kit performed first time at the Polar Music Prize gala on 30 August 2011 in Stockholm where they performed the song "Dancing Barefoot" for the winner Patti Smith. She was moved to tears at the intense ending of the song.(4:03-6:40) The official YouTube video of the TV broadcast has been watched about million times.
In January 2012, the band released their second album, The Lion's Roar, produced by Mike Mogis. The album was critically acclaimed upon release and debuted at number one in Sweden and number 35 in the UK. In support of the album, the band performed the song "Emmylou" on Conan April 2012. In August of that same year, the band performed at the Lollapalooza festival. They also performed at Bestival and the Berlin Festival in September before returning to the United States to play Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2012.
In November 2012 it was announced that First Aid Kit got "Composer of the year" and "Breakthrough of the Year" prizes from the Swedish Music Publishers Association.
In February 2013 First Aid Kit was awarded the Nordic Music Prize for Best Nordic 2012 Album. They were also awarded four Swedish Grammis awards for 2012 "Artist of the Year", "Songwriter of the Year", "Best Pop of the Year" and "Album of the Year".
In 2013 they finally made a studio in the cellar of their parents' house. Before that the "Cellar door" mentioned in their albums was actually Johanna's room in the attic. Demos of the Stay Gold album were recorded in the new studio.(53:30)
In June 2013 they performed at Glastonbury festival in the Pyramid stage. In October the band performed "Emmylou" on The Late Show with David Letterman. This was their second appearance on the show, as they had backed Lykke Li there in November 2011. The same month, the sisters opened for Rodriguez at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Conor Oberst said in a 2014 interview that he is finishing work on a solo record, with First Aid Kit singing harmonies throughout the LP. The album, titled Upside Down Mountain, was released on 20 May 2014. The duo sings on six tracks of the record.
Following the announcement of their third studio album Stay Gold, that was released on 10 June 2014 through Columbia Records, the band released their first new single "My Silver Lining" on 31 March. On 6 May another song, "Cedar Lane", was released. Both were released only as digital files accompanied with videos in YouTube.
First Aid Kit's eighth US and Canada tour, of which some of the concerts were already sold out in the beginning of March, started in May 2014.
On 12 June they performed again on The Late Show with David Letterman, this time singing "My Silver Lining".
During summer 2014 they toured having several concerts and festivals in Europe, Japan and Australia. On 9 August, when they and Conor Oberst were both at Haldern Pop Festival in Germany, the duo was also singing backing vocals on five songs of Conor Oberst's set.
On July 10 Billboard listed "My Silver Lining" as one of the ten best songs of 2014 (so far) in their Mid-Year Music 2014 list.
At the end of August the duo received a gold record in Sweden for the Stay Gold album.
During autumn First Aid Kit had a tour in Europe supported by Jo Rose, performing at the iTunes Festival on 21 September and at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 24 September, the latter of which had already sold out in mid-August. On 7 October they were featured on the BBC's 6 Music Live show at Maida Vale Studios.
At the end of October it was announced that First Aid Kit's cover of R.E.M.'s "Walk Unafraid" would be included in the soundtrack of the movie Wild. Moreover, their song "Frozen Lake" is in the Swedish film Min Så Kallade Pappa.
First Aid Kit had a largely sold out tour again in the US in October and November at such venues as New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom on 24 October, The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on 29 October, and The Wiltern in Los Angeles 12 November. They were supported by Samantha Crain.
On November 7 it was announced that First Aid Kit had again got the "Composer of the year" prize from the Swedish Music Publishers Association.
In 24 November, American Songwriter listed Stay Gold as tenth in their 2014 top 50 album list. On 1 December Paste Magazine listed it as 9th in their top 50 album list and the song "My Silver Lining" as 19th in their top 50 song list. Rolling Stone magazine listed Master Pretender as 35th in their top 50 songs of 2014 list. BBC Radio 6 Music listed Stay Gold third in their 2014 album list.
The year ended with several concerts in Norway and Finland in December with Jo Rose as support. Both Helsinki concerts were sold out already in September.
On January 15 a set of Swedish pop music related postage stamps were released in Sweden, one motif being First Aid Kit.
In January First Aid Kit was nominated for the 2015 Brit Awards in the Best International Group category as one of the five nominees. However, the award went to Foo Fighters in the gala on 25 February.
They had about three months break from touring after Australia in order to start writing and composing new songs.(10:35-11:07)
On 7 May First Aid Kit again appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman where they performed Simon and Garfunkel's hit "America" at Dave's request.
First Aid Kit performed during summer in several concerts and festivals in Europe, USA and Canada, for example Isle of Wight Festival on 14 June, the 2015 Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky on 19 July. and Osheaga Festival on 2 August. The last performance was on 15 August at Way Out West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Except for the two Christmas concerts with Seinabo Sey, Amanda Bergman and Maja Francis on December 13 in Stockholm, they had no performances during the autumn of the 2015 as they worked on the new record.(8:30-8:50)
On 3 February 2016, First Aid Kit received special Best Selling Americana Album of 2015 award for their album Stay Gold from Americana Music Association UK.
On 25 February, First Aid Kit was "the surprise musical performance" of the Chanel's VIP invite only I Love Coco Oscar week party at Bar Marmont, Los Angeles. They also performed on 7 April at Rodebjer fashion store opening party in Stockholm, Sweden. Otherwise they concentrated on making their next album.
Related to Bob Dylan's Nobel prize, First Aid Kit performed two covers of his songs on Babel on Swedish television on 16 October. Three days earlier Klara had played one cover song at Aktuellt program of Swedish TV. During the election night, 8-9 November, First Aid Kit sung three cover songs on the live broadcast of Swedish TV channel 5's US presidential election special. They also performed on 14 November Richard Fariña's "A swallow song" at Amason's animal-themed performance at the Dramaten theater in Stockholm.
On 10 February it was published that First Aid Kit sings backing vocals on the Jesper Lindell's "Moving Slow" single and the coming EP. In the interview Johanna said that she is now playing bass guitar as well. The EP was produced by duo's father Benkt Söderberg and Sten Booberg. The A Little Less Blue EP was released on 21 April.
On 10 March, First Aid Kit released a new single, "You Are the Problem Here", for International Woman's Day, calling it an angry song and saying that it was inspired by yet another story of a man getting off easy after raping a woman. Track was produced and mixed by Tucker Martine from Flora Recording & Playback studio. However, it will not be on their coming album.
First Aid Kit had two Leonard Cohen themed concerts on 13 and 14 March with their friends in Dramaten, Stockholm, Sweden. Both concerts were sold out in 15 minutes after the sales started. Two additional shows were on 21 and 22 May. These sold out in eight hours.Swedish television filmed the whole concert on 13 March and it was broadcast on 14 and 15 October by SVT2 and made available in internet for Swedish inhabitants after that.
On 18 March Klara, Johanna and Jesper Lindell were in Swedish TV4's morning program where they sung Lindell's "Moving Slow" and Leonard Cohen cover "Chelsea Hotel #2". In the interview they dealt with Cohen tribute concert, Woman's day single and their coming album, for example that it will be more electric than the previous ones.
On Record Store Day 2017, 22 April, Third Man Records published a book "The Blue Series: The Story Behind the Color" that contains in addition to a story by Johanna and Klara about recording songs in Jack White's studio, a 7" split blue vinyl single having on the other side previously unreleased Gloomy Sunday cover by First Aid Kit. The record store day issue was limited to 500 copies. The regular release with black vinyl single was released on 6 June.
At Håkan Hellström's concerts on 9 and 10 June at Stockholm Olympic Stadium and on 28 and 29 July and at Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, Johanna and Klara joined to sing with him several songs, for example "Du Fria", "13" and "En midsommarnattsdröm". On 25 August, Håkan Hellström published a live recording of "Du Fria" in digital format.
First Aid Kit started again touring in the summer. First concert was on 16 June in Borgholm, Sweden. BBC broadcast their Glastonbury Festival concert on 23 June. Johanna plays now bass guitar. Steve "Stebmo" Moore takes care of the keyboards instead of her and occasionally plays trombone as well. From the coming album Ruins they played "Fireworks" and "It's a Shame".
On 28 September, "It's a Shame", the first single from the upcoming album, was released. The official video for the song was published on 10 October. They also guested on the German late night show Inas Nacht (Ina's Night), which was broadcast on 21 October. On 27 October the second song from the album, "Postcard", was released.
In November, the band had several interviews in the UK and European media including BBC Radio, Channel 4 TV news and the Channel 4 Sunday Brunch TV program. On 1 December, "Fireworks", the third song to be released from Ruins, was released. From the BBC Radio 2 live session on 15 November 2017, two cover songs, "Perfect Places" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" were released as Live From BBC Radio 2 single in digital format on 18 December 2017.
On 12 January the title track from Ruins was released in digital format. On the same day BBC's Graham Norton Show was broadcast where First Aid Kit performed "It's a Shame". At the same time Johanna and Klara were interviewed on the Skavlan TV show where they also performed "Fireworks".
|2010||The Big Black and the Blue
|2012||The Lion's Roar
||To be released|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2009||"You're Not Coming Home Tonight"/"Tangerine"||--||--||--||--||--||--||Drunken Trees|
|"Hard Believer"/"Waltz for Richard"||--||--||--||--||--||--||The Big Black and the Blue|
|2010||"I Met Up with the King"||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|"Ghost Town" (7")||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|2011||"Universal Soldier" (7")||--||--||--||--||--||--||Non-album single|
|"The Lion's Roar"||22||--||--||--||--||--||The Lion's Roar|
|2014||"My Silver Lining"||38||76||19||50||--||22||Stay Gold|
|"America" (10")||--||--||--||--||--||--||America EP|
|2015||"Stay Gold"||--||--||--||--||--||26||Stay Gold|
|2017||"You Are the Problem Here"||--||--||--||--||--||--||Non-album singles|
|"Revolution" (Van William featuring First Aid Kit)||--||--||--||--||--||6|
|"It's a Shame"||--[A]||--||--||--||--||17||Ruins|
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