Music

Studio Session: First Aid Kit

OPB | April 22, 2012 5 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 12:59 a.m.

You’d be forgiven if you were to think that Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the sisters that make up Swedish duo First Aid Kit, emerged from a mossy forest strumming a guitar, soaring harmonies in tow. There’s a certain organic magic about their music that makes such a myth entirely believable, passed down from forebears like Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan and Karen Dalton. It was their forest-set take on Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” that became a YouTube sensation while introducing them to scores of new fans, after all, and it’s hard to shake such a first impression.

The truth is slightly more mundane and therefore a bit more believable: A teenage girl is introduced by her friends to the music of Bright Eyes, which in turn introduces her to the music of masters like those mentioned above, which in turn inspires her to write her own music, which becomes First Aid Kit when she’s joined by the harmonies and playing of her slightly older sister. That the music ends up exhibiting a rare mysticism and wisdom seemingly beyond the sisters’ years is one extraordinary part of the equation.

The Söderberg sisters join us for performances of songs from their second full-length release, this year’s The Lion’s Roar, a record that features some stunning moments (the title track and “Emmylou” feature two of the most re-listenable choruses you’ll hear all year) and is bolstered by the production of Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, who brought a fuller band sound to the songs while not sacrificing that organic quality that is key to their sound. First Aid Kit also talks about their early listening habits (they’re not above a Christina or Britney track), family life and their retreat to Joshua Tree for the filming of the video for “Emmylou” (on Gram Parsons’ birthday, no less).

Watch and listen to the full opbmusic session

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