Swedish formation The Secret French Postcards last year released their fourth full length album “Life Got Claws” on Cold Transmission Music. AS singer and front man Olli Ohlander explains the name of the band was inspired by some old Art Deco style photos he saw on an online auction titled “Secret French Postcards”. These photos were of two brothers whose work and destiny captured his attention. Sound-wise the band deals with good-old Dark-Wave / Post-Punk music which you’ll easily recognize at their newest work. “Life Got Claws”, sounds as a deeply, melancholic work but also a fully accomplished production. I talked about it with Ohli Ohlander.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Can we go back to the origin of The Secret French Postcards. How did this band saw the daylight and what kind of sound did you’ve in mind?
Olli: In 2016 I got the urge to play music again after a break of 10 years. This time I wanted to process my 80s where the sound from Post-Punk, New-Wave and the Goth scene would really be heard and maybe sometimes recognized. When I grew up in the 80s, I was more of a Punk and listened to faster and harder music but at the same time, I heard or saw artists that captivated me. I have always been weak for melodies especially melancholic ones and that is what I try to do in my music.
Q: You last year already released the band’s fourth album “Life Got Claws”. What have been the triggers to start writing this new opus and what did you try to express by the work and its title?
Olli: Hmm… The triggers are to make better songs and hope for some inspiration and little flow. Of course, you can force yourself to write, but it doesn’t work for me and believe me, I’ve tried. Suddenly, they come and then you must be there. The problem for me is that I’m bad at recording techniques, which sometimes ruins my flow/inspiration. After all, I record everything myself except drums and when the technology messes with me, I lose motivation. But this time with “Life Got Claws” I was lucky. I had a lot of different melodies in my head and a lot of crap that happened to me or people I know, a perfect mix for writing songs.
Q: You already mentioned to 80s Dark-Wave/Post-Punk influences but how important are these influences in your process of composing songs?
Olli: As I said before, the 80s have been very important to me. The Secret French Postcards is about processing my 80s and even today I find new artists from that time and new sounds, new effects so the 80s are an eternal source of inspiration.
Q: Music is expression, right? And I’m touched by a deeply, melancholic, mood hanging over the songs. Do you recognize this –or any other, mood and how do you put it into music?
Olli: Oh thanks so much. Yes, that feeling was there from the beginning as a natural part of my songwriting and a natural part of our sound, it’s nothing that I overthought. Lucky I am in the right genre for that haha.
Q: The mood is probably connected to your lyrical themes reflecting a darker side of life but what is it all about and why is it always easier dealing with darker subjects? What does it say about yourself?
Olli: This lyrical thing is hard. Sometimes I have words or themes that I’m working on but sometimes it’s all to hell. I usually write the lyrics after the song is finished, usually in connection with recording vocals, which is a bad combo for me as I would have to learn it more. The feeling of the song affects the lyrics a lot, and sometimes I see it as a session with a therapist. Sometimes it’s good to write off some shit, I think. Sometimes not.
Q: How do you transfer the songs from the studio to the stage? How do you see The Secret French Postcards as live band and what are the further plans for this year?
Olli: Good question! Today we are five people who try to meet and rehearse the songs and make them suitable for live performances. Drums/Fredrik. Guitar/Peter. Bas/Martin. Synths/Hugo and me Olli on vocals. And we hope we get to come out and play our dark pop songs as soon as possible. Those are my plans for the year so far.
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