Indietracks interview #26: Alpaca Sports

Interview by Antoni Amaya. 

In an attempt to escape the Swedish winter in 2011, Andreas Jonsson and Carl Jirestedt from Gothenburg started writing cute little pop songs to a project called Alpaca Sports. The first two songs ever recorded spread with an enormous speed thanks, and before they knew it the 300 copies of their debut single “Just for Fun” was sold out before the actual release date due to the high amount of pre orders. They’ve since released four infectious pop singles, a mini album in Japan, and played shows in France, Italy, England and Peru!

Hi there Andreas, how are you doing? At the end I’m interviewing you for the Indietracks blog! How do you feel about it? Are you excited about the concert? 

Hi Toni, I’m very well, thank you! I’m very happy to do this interview with you. We had a great time together at Madrid Popfest, it was so much fun to meet you and your friends! Indietracks is a pop dream coming true and we’re very excited about it of course! When I started this project I sent two songs to Amanda as inspiration, the songs were “Let’s get out of this country” by Camera Obscura and “Nothing to be done” by The Pastels. Now we have the privilege to play at the same festival as them and that means a lot to me personally.

We’ve seen you with some different formations for your shows. How many Alpacas will there be on stage this time?

Yes, we’ve had some different formations now during our short time as a band. When we play in Sweden we’re usually seven people on stage, the same people that record the songs in the studio. When we’ve played abroad it’s most of the times been me, Amanda and Carl playing and singing to backing tracks. But at NYC Popfest last month we were lucky to borrow local musicians from great bands like Crystal Stilts and Ladybug Transistor. That line-up turned out fantastic so we thought we’d give it a try at Indietracks as well!

I got in contact with Miguel Navarro from The Felt Tips and he helped us form a band including him, Thom and Kris from The Understudies. I’m a big fan of both bands and have especially been listening a lot to The Felt Tips. I’m sure Miguel’s way of playing the guitar will go perfect with Alpaca Sports songs. We’ll be six Alpacas in total on stage at Indietracks.

Fine, then I would like to ask you about the stories that your songs tell. Some of the songs seem that they have inside a kind of melancholy, a will of some kind lost youth or love, like “Just for fun” or “I’ll never win” but others seem way more optimistic (“As long as I have you”) Are this stories invented or do they have some correspondence with your reality?

Maybe some parts aren’t supposed to be taken literally of course, but I would say that most of the lyrics are about my own or my friends’/family’s lives, dreams, fears etc. Lyrics often come naturally, subconsciously while singing/humming to the chords of the songs. The most important thing is that they mean something important for me personally and that usually means that they have to have some correspondence with my reality in one way or another. Vague answer? Haha.

Do you think that “your sound” has changed since your first songs to your last song released “Telephone”? Do you have a closed idea of what’s the Alpaca Sports is or do you think that some day it could turn in something completely different, like a noise pop band, a funk/soul band, etc? What about a song in Swedish?

I wouldn’t say that the sound has changed. I guess it’s just natural that each songs lives its own life a bit with instruments and effects that make it as good as it can be. I don’t think we have a certain idea of how we want Alpaca Sports to sound like. But I find it very hard to believe that in the future we’ll end up making songs that sound very different from how they sound now. The music I listen to myself doesn’t sound very different from the songs we make and our songs are very much inspired by indiepop from the 80s and 90s. So it all comes naturally.

 Maybe we’ll try to write a song in Swedish after the album is recorded, and use it as a B-side or something. That would be a big challenge though! It will sound cheesy, haha.

Now, let me ask you which are your favorite bands of the moment? Do you listen more to nowadays music or are you more into Brighter, The Smiths and that stuff? What are your thoughts about the indiepop scene? And which shows are you willing to attend this Indietracks?

I guess I’m quite boring when it comes to music I like to listen to. I don’t want to sound pretentious now but for many years I’ve mostly listen to older bands from the 80s-90s. Bands like The Hit Parade, The Housemartins, The Smiths, Orange Juice, The Brilliant Corners, The Go-Betweens etc. I love listening to the same records over and over again. I guess it’s a kind of therapy in a strange way and I find it comforting and rewarding to listen and discover new things in melodies, bass lines etc.

But after starting up Alpaca Sports and playing shows and popfests in different countries, I’ve been very much more up to date with new music and I think the indiepop scene today sounds very healthy and alive. Many of the new bands I really like are also playing at Indietracks this year so I’d like to see as many shows as possible.

One of my favourite new bands are the Parisian band Pale Spectres, I’m very much looking forward to see them play on Saturday. Flowers, When Nalda became Punk and The Secret History are other examples of new bands I like which are playing at the festival.

The Brilliant Corners are without a doubt the band I’m looking forward to see the most. I saw some live videos of their reunion gig in London a couple of weeks back and it sounded lovely. I hope Amelia Fletcher
can join them on stage at Indietracks as well, that would be fun. But the line up of this Indietracks is fantastic and it’s an honour to be a part of it. Camera Obscura, The Pastels, The Wake, Helen Love, the list can go on forever.

A delicate one, perhaps. How do you feel about people saying that Alpaca Sport it’s “twee pop”. Do you think that’s right? Perhaps you don’t care at all. Let us know. Do you feel that you “belong” to the indie pop scene, that the scene doesn’t exist at all, that you don’t belong to it? Is it a positive or negative thing to your eyes the existence and promotion of the scene?

I don’t have any problems with it and I don’t take it too serious when it comes to labelling music. People can call us whatever they want, if anyone asks I say we’re an indiepop band. But all kinds of music scenes and genres feel kind of hard to categorize nowadays and I’m sure there are many different ways to define indiepop depending on whom you’re asking. Some look at it more from the DIY point of view and some puts it more together with the sound of it and so on.

But I definitely think that some kind of indiepop scene exists and we are very proud to be a part of it. As long as it’s a healthy scene where bands, promoters, record labels, fans, blogs etc. works together to help each other out to spread the music I think it’s a great thing and a fantastic community.

After the delicate question comes the random one. If you could take a band you like to play live at Indietracks, which one would you choose? Any band, doesn’t matter if the members are dead or alive, if they’re active or not, etc.

It’s hard not to answer The Smiths here. That would be a dream come true since they were the band that got me into pop music in the first place. If The Smiths was a forbidden answer I would say The Brilliant Corners at this year’s Indietracks, playing the rhythm guitar and singing on “Why do you have to go out with him when you could go out with me”.

What comes next? A classic question that shouldn’t be avoided. After releasing the smooth “Telephone” song, which are your plans for the future of the band? Anything you can reveal?

We are very happy to let you know that we’re premiering our new 7” single “He doesn’t even like you” at Indietracks! Beside the A-side it also includes a remix of the song “I was running”, made by Lisle from Tiny Fireflies, and the artwork is once again made by the wonderful illustrator Ray Kimura. We also have a brand new music video for the A-side, shot in New York during our stay there. Carl Jirestedt (co-writer of Alpaca Sports songs) is the director of this video.

Besides this new single we have some other fun projects going on, one of them is finishing the debut album that will be released this autumn, probably early October. We’re very excited about that! We’ll
also announce some incredible news about future gigs soon. I hope very soon, cause I don’t know how much longer I can keep it a secret!

And that’s all, thanks for your time Andreas, I really appreciate it.

Thank you Toni, see you soon!

Indietracks Compilation 2013 by Alpaca Sports