We here at Baeble are shameless poptimists. The greatest song of the 20th century wasn't a rock song. It was a pop song ("God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys for any heathens out there who didn't already realize how great that song that was). The problem is when pop begins to sound indistinguishable from its peers. But British pop-rockers Passport to Stockholm
don't have that problem. Their particular brand of chamber-pop hearkens back to a day when pop melodies didn't have to sacrifice complexity for appeal and when pop lyricism could still be heartfelt and genuinely impactful.
We had the chance to chat with Passport to Stockholm about their newest single, "Chemistry." With its sweeping strings, emotive vocals, and elegiac atmosphere, "Chemistry" fits perfectly into the pantheon of passionate and sincere British pop/folk/rock which has dominated the charts for the last five years. And the rest of the band's forthcoming EP, All At Once
(due out 8/28), ups the pop ante without sacrificing the authenticity that makes "Chemistry" so immediately endearing.
Is there something in Stockholm in particular that you all needed that passport for?
Passport to Stockholm: Over the years we've hung out with some truly amazing Swedish people - musicians, artists, civilians - although not every Swede we have encountered was from Stockholm - it represents a way in for us, a way to connect with those people that inspired us. Stockholm has become an ideal for us, so much so that we are yet to make our maiden voyage. But when we do, it will be a special moment for the band.
The use of strings on the new EP reminds me a lot of 90s alternative pop acts like The Verve but with a bit more of a rock side. Were 90s alt-pop/alt-rocks influences on you all?
No, not really (but "Bittersweet Symphony" is a tune!). Barny played in orchestras when he was at school and had always been a fan of the cello. After we started the band as an acoustic duo (Tom playing acoustic guitar through a loop station, Barny singing), we decided that the cello would make a worthy addition to our setup. I suppose we were also inspired by what was going on around us in the London music scene at the time - Mumford and Sons, Noah and The Whale, Matthew and The Atlas and Ben Howard were coming through and bringing with them a plethora of acoustic instruments.
"Chemistry" has an element of somberness to it. Were you setting out to write an elegiac tune with this track?
We wrote this song with our good friend and lyricist James Lee about a relationship he had with his childhood sweetheart. Without disclosing every detail of this song - in life, sometimes you are fortunate enough to meet that someone who reinvents what love is. And the love you have for that person is like none other you have experienced before - it pulls the rug up from under your feet and you are on your arse - but in a good way. Sadly though, even if you are lucky enough to find that someone, life has that ability to turn up and take away your fairytale ending. As a band we are all very connected to this song. We lived the story line, all the way to the final scene.
Your EP, All At Once, is out at the end of this month. Is there anything you want to say to readers who are really intrigued by this particular single but who might not know what to expect from the whole EP?
I suppose we feel that this EP is our introduction to the world. We've been developing as a band for 2 years and in this time of evolution, there's been very little of our music for the world to consume. This EP provides a map of our creative journey. It's been a long time coming - we can't wait for this to drop. And the next chapter has been written; we've just finished writing our next EP, it will be out in November.