Wonderfully rich in their productions and full of promise comes the South London-based pairing fika. Taking their name from the Swedish act of stopping, slowing down and taking a break, the verb fits their chilled beats perfectly. Friends as well as co-writers, we can see that fika are going to keep on giving - and their new single "High" on Absent Mind is a great place to get to know their sound.
Take a listen to their Current Vibes playlist, specially curated for us below.
You’ve just released “High” through Absent Mind – we’re big fans! Can you tell us what the track is all about?
Plain and simple, it’s a love song. The lyrics are normally one of the last elements we apply to our songwriting, and the music always helps to inform them. In this case, the track felt quite uplifting and ethereal, so we wrote the lyrics to reflect that. The feeling of being so in love with another person that you’re cut off from everything else. Nothing else matters, just the two of you in “that moment.”
What were some of the most enjoyable parts of making it? What did you gain from the process, and what helps you to keep developing as an act?
The song began with the Rhodes you hear at the start and Al laid down the main guitar riff almost immediately after hearing it. The song was pretty much written that day; they’re the best and most fun to work on. Over the last year or so, we’ve got a lot better at writing together and because we’re improving we can write songs faster and maintain that excitement of a new tune from start to finish. It’s the songs you dwell on that end up finding their way to the bin.
Who or what influences you musically? Do you find you get inspired by lots of different genres and styles?
We both grew up listening to a wide range of great artists - MJ, Stevie Wonder, Prince and James Brown to name just a few. Although we love all styles of music when they're done well, we tend to gravitate towards the jazz/soul/pop/r&b end of the spectrum. There's a real movement at the moment of artists blending the best bits of all these styles so we definitely take inspiration from people like Anderson. Paak, Jordan Rakei, Tom Misch and Bruno Major who show the same influences as us! We’re heavy into our songwriting too and want to bring back elements of the days of jazz standards and crafted storytelling through a song but merged with hip-hop & R&B grooves. There are a lot of people making “cool sounds” at the moment and not enough people writing good old fashioned songs - in our opinion, anyway. What’s great is just how much good music there is out there at the moment and hopefully we can become a part of that!
When did you first start working together? How do your styles complement each other?
We’ve been good mates since we met at music academy in 2008, but didn’t start working together until summer 2017. We just love the same things in music, so we tend to know when we’re onto something good and when we’re not. We occasionally disagree but if there’s a fundamental difference of opinion, then it’s simply not fika.
Would you consider yourself perfectionists?
Sam, no and Al, 100% - unequivocally, yes. But that’s why we work well together. Without Al, fika would be a continuous stream of garbage and without Sam you’d probably get one beautiful song a decade. We push and pull each other in the right direction and it balances well.
How do you want your music to make people feel?
Well, we named ourselves after a Swedish concept to take a break and have a coffee and we chose that because we want to write music that fits that vibe. Anything that can help you to relax, switch off and take some time out of your day to chill and recharge. Whether that’s reflective melancholy or elated euphoria, we want to write music that makes you feel something.
Music is essentially expression and if we can create something that evokes a particular feeling because of something we’ve written, awesome.
What is on the horizon for fika in 2019? Any major goals you want to achieve?
We’ve got a handful of songs finished that we’re going to release as a series of singles early 2019 and at least another 10-20 songs in the locker that we're working on. Then the plan is to take fika live, which is something we’re seriously excited about. We cannot wait to bring our songs to life in a live setting with a full band - hopefully we’ll make this a reality next summer! Major goals… to share our music with as many like-minded people around the world as possible. Right now we’re just focusing on writing good music and since moving in together, the process has become much more efficient. The plan is to keep writing, keep improving and the rest (we hope) will come.