Girl Scout are breaking beyond Sweden’s indie rock scene

Girl Scout

Emma Jansson is having a lot of fun. When we talk to Jansson, singer and guitarist for Stockholm’s sensational indie rock band Girl Scout, the band have just played their fourth consecutive gig, supporting Isle of Wight-based indie outfit Coach Party as they tour the UK. It’s a new record for the band, as Jansson tells NME they’ve only played three shows in a row before.

“Touring is way more fun than I thought it would be,” says Jansson over Zoom. She is adjusting to being the face of a new band, after years performing as a jazz singer in Stockholm, something Jansson cheerfully describes as very different to her current role. “If we’re talking about hierarchy in the jazz scene, the singer is always unnecessary, it’s an instrument-focused genre.”

NME is talking to Jansson as Girl Scout prepare to unveil their debut EP, ‘Real Life Human Garbage’. It’s a fantastic listen – a future soundtrack to a summer barbeque that is, sadly, impossible in this freezing February. Describing herself as “quite extroverted”, Jansson describes how singing in an indie rock band is a much better fit. “It’s fun now because I think I can do whatever and see where it takes me,” she says. “I never had that confidence before with jazz.

“I think I’m inspired by performers that seem very spontaneous,” she continues, mentioning The 1975’s Matty Healy as someone she is keen to emulate. “It feels like he does whatever comes to his mind in that second – he doesn’t back down.” It’s a path Jansson herself would like to go down, talking about how much she enjoys interacting with the crowd. “The goal is to be that good of a performer,” she adds.

This spontaneous approach makes sense. Girl Scout formed following the pandemic, as jazz shows in Sweden – and the rest of the world – were put on hold. Jansson and fellow guitarist Viktor Spasov studied jazz together at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and were both working in the local scene when COVID hit. With no gigs to play, the two paired up to try and make some money, playing Burt Bacharach covers at mixer

From here, they started to branch out from their respective comfort zones. “Viktor started working on a solo thing that was like, kind of college rock, and I thought that was really cool,” recalls Jansson. “Then we started writing a bit together, and it started off as kind of like a folky thing. I think we kind of quickly realised like this isn’t what we should be doing. We should have a band.”

Taking inspiration from formative indie rock bands such as The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, they recruited Evelina Arvidsson Eklind (bass, vocals), who had studied with them, and one of Spasov’s schoolmates, Per Lindberg, who had just moved to Stockholm and could play drums. From there, Girl Scout exploded out of lockdown off the back of the band posting clips of their tracks to Instagram. “I posted a link to the band’s Instagram on my own instagram and people were like, ‘Woah’, and then we got interest from management pretty much immediately.”

There’s something very human about both Jansson and Girl Scout. The early videos to tracks ‘All The Time And Everywhere’ and ‘Do You Remember Sally Moore?’ are shot on a low resolution DV camera, the result of “not having a budget and having a camera,” notes Jansson. Whatever the reason, the lo-fi effect is the perfect fit for their chill indie sound, and feels personable. Jansson says the band “like sharing firsthand how things are happening,” and offering a look at who they are as people.

Arguably, Girl Scout are much bigger internationally than in Stockholm – this is perhaps the result of a “conscious decision” by the band to sing in English and appeal to a wider audience. Part of this could also be down to the municipal music schools of Sweden, which teach children below the age of 18 music for free and can even loan them instruments. It’s a big deal: in 2017 they had 220,000 kids enrolled. “We kind of knew that if we wanted to give this a good, honest, shot then being only [active] in Sweden would be a mistake,” adds Jansson. “There’s a small indie scene in Sweden and there’s a lot of good music, but it’s not nearly big enough to be sustainable.”

The band’s debut EP is full of summery tracks that call to mind the euphoric indie pop you might expect from Best Coast. With fellow late ’00s indie rock bands like Be Your Own Pet and MGMT  playing shows this summer, Jansson ends our interview with a confession: “Someone said to us that indie music had been really big lately and we had timed things perfectly, but we didn’t even think about it… we just wrote anything.” While several bands from that time are hitting up festivals and releasing nostalgic albums, Girl Scout look set to create something new. It’s not hard to believe they’ll smash it.

Girl Scout’s debut EP ‘Real Life Human Garbage’ is out now

The post Girl Scout are breaking beyond Sweden’s indie rock scene appeared first on NME.

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