Q&A with Marcus Joons of Korallreven

photo courtesy of Korallreven

Swedish dreamy-electronic-pop duo Korallreven, aka Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder (of The Radio Dept) have announced their first US shows ever, with select East and West coast dates supporting their debut album, An Album By Korallreven, available now on Acéphale.

We Love DC’s Alexia Kauffman got the chance to ask singer Marcus Joons a few questions.

Alexia Kauffman: What music inspired you when you were growing up?

Marcus Joons: I remember getting touched real early by Velvet Underground, I must have been like eleven or twelve when I first came across their heroin romantic pop songs. Maybe too early. Apart from that I think that I, free from my mind, got the biggest kicks from Screamadelica, Spiritualized, everything by The Beach Boys and Daft Punk’s Homework. All of this has inspired me more to live and breathe than to make music though.

Alexia: How did you first start playing music?

Marcus: Daniel has played since he was a little kid but I started out singing with Korallreven. “Loved-Up” and “The Truest Faith” were the first songs I’ve ever written.

Alexia: What is the songwriting and recording process like for you two?

Marcus: Sometimes I come up with an idea and sometimes Daniel. If I come up with an idea I usually sing my melody to him and then he lays down some chords to it. I usually have a vocal idea with some lyrics and then Daniel composes the track from there while I write the lyrics. Then we finish it all together and wonder where all this magic came from. It’s so surreal.

Alexia: Was translating this music into a live show challenging?

Marcus: It was. I have never ever been on stage before and we never ever had a thought that we should take this to venues around the world. We just dreamt up an album – and then all this happened. Since we decided to do it live we tried and tried to do it real special. Sometimes, when everything has been more than perfect, we have been falling into trance during shows. Truly hoping that this will happen in the US.

Alexia: I see you collaborated with Julianna Barwick for the song “Sa Sa Samoa“- it’s a beautiful track. How did that come together?

Marcus: Thank you. I had a real dark summer that summer of 2010 and the only thing that I could listen to to get rid of my black feelings was Julianna’s vocal loops. It really calmed my fucked up thoughts. Then I went to see her live at a small place in Brooklyn and talked a bit with her afterwards. She seemed super lovely so I sent her a demo with Sa Sa Samoa and asked if she wanted to sing on it and she said yeah. Easy.

Alexia: Are you looking forward to anything in particular on your US tour?

Marcus: First of all it’s gonna be so fun just to play at all these fantastic venues, it feels kinda surreal, and to meet all the lovely people that will go to the shows and who help us exist. Then, since I lived a year in New York it almost feels like a second home and LA is one of the weirdest and funniest places to be depending on how you feel when you’re there. And it’s gonna be interesting, I think, to see if Austin is this sort of a Sodom and Gomorra circus that I heard it is.

Alexia: Are there any artists out there right now that you’d really like to collaborate with?

Marcus: Stina Nordenstam. Or Liz Fraser (of Cocteau Twins). Truly hope that it could happen one day.

Alexia: Who are you listening to now? Any favorite bands/songs/albums from the past year?

Marcus: We have started to write new songs so I’m sorry but I haven’t had that much time to listen to new stuff. The new Burial release is pretty good, especially the track Loner. Apart from that I have mostly listened to soca music. Kinda hate genres but soca music must be one of the most overlooked music genre in the so called Western world. When I was in Saint Martin, a tiny French/Dutch island in the Caribbean, last summer a girl called Destra garcia was on the radio all the time. Such ecstatic and such beautiful melodies at the same time.

See Korallreven in their first DC appearance, live on Monday, March 5th at Black Cat, as part of their first US tour!


w/Young Magic, Stout Cortez

Monday, March 5

Black Cat /8pm/$15

Alexia Kauffman

Alexia was born and raised in Arlington, VA. She has been a cellist since age four, and a lover of rock & roll soon after. The first tape she owned was “Make It Big” by Wham, and the first tape she bought was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and she still loves both. She was a member of local synth-rock outfit Soft Complex for several years, and has recorded with bands including Engine Down and Two if By Sea. By day she works for a non-profit distributing royalties to musicians and labels. She currently plays cello, lap-steel guitar and tambourine in the DC post-folk/Americana band The Torches.

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