Following up the success behind their recently-released sophomore studio album ‘Mondays’, which arrived to huge acclaim from numerous tastemakers, Swedish dream-pop outfit ViVii now return to deliver the hypnotic new video for their latest single ‘Smackdown’.
Upon its release, ‘Smackdown’ spent four days at the top of the HypeMachine chart, and these new visuals aim to highlight the rich and sweeping aesthetic that caught the ears of so many. Cutting between the band’s distinctive live persona and technicolour textures showcases the bold and vivid direction of their newest effort, and perfectly summarises the otherworldly direction they injected into their latest full-length.
Adding about the video for ‘Smackdown’, the band said, “We had fun making this video in our basement. It almost has the same vibe as our favourite club in Berlin, minus the crowd though… Can’t wait to play it live!”
ViVii’s second studio album ‘Mondays’ features the highly-praised singles ‘Summer Of 99’, ‘Rendezvous’, ‘Fool Alone’, ‘One Day’, and ‘Read Between’, and follows on from their heavily-praised 2019 self-titled debut, a record that went onto be streamed more than 16 million times, with the single ‘Savant’ streamed 4.5 million times on Spotify alone, and earned the trio numerous accolades since then. Their sublime dream-pop took them round the world on tour, from their production base in Uppsala, an hour north of Stockholm, all the way to the California of The Beach Boys.
Even in the long ago distant times of two years ago, ViVii were defying (and denying) the challenging (or simply boring) realities of life. Even in the good old days of 2018, on only their second single, ViVii had one thing in mind: dreaming up a better world through song.
“Think of 1969 and you think of The Beach Boys era,” says Emil, the smiling enthusiasm all over his face as he recalls the pilgrimage the trio took to the beaches and neighbourhoods that birthed Brian Wilson’s teenage symphonies to God. That passion is there, too, in ViVii’s single ‘Rendezvous’, the second taster of the treats to come on the band’s second album.
“We just grew up on that time and sound. All that jingle-jangle music, we all love it so much!” he adds with a laugh. “So it’s an homage to that time. It’s a romantic tribute to a place and a time and a sound that means so much to us.”
‘Rendezvous’ was preceded in August 2020 by the BBC 6 Music-playlisted ‘Summer of 99’. The first fruits of their 2019/20 sessions in Anders’ Uppsala studio, it’s the perfect example of the trio’s sparking, spectral song writing and is another homage – this one to Emil and Caroline’s romance.
“We did the lyrics together,” says Emil, gesturing to his wife. “It’s very personal. For my part, it’s about us growing up. We have such a long history. I’ve been thinking a lot about the lyrics we tend to write, and when I think about teenage rebellion that most kids have, I didn’t really have that. Instead of that I fell in love with Caroline – I fell in love like crazy!” he admits with a laugh. “That was my rebellious time! I was so gone in that. I didn’t see anything. I wasn’t out drinking our partying – in fact, I didn’t start drinking till I was 30!”
With ViVii, that connectivity – emotional, musical, soulful – goes three ways. Alongside Caroline and Emil’s personal partnership, their friendship with Anders goes way back, too.
And it underpins the odd but functional manner in which this self-sufficient trio wrote, recorded and produced their new album: working once a week, on Mondays only, because the rest of the week they each had, well, real jobs: Emil works in a cemetery (“I put people in the ground, in the urns”), Caroline is an economic consultant and Anders is an accountant. “Really serious jobs,” smiles Anders.
Featuring on ViVii’s second album ‘Mondays’ is the achingly youthful romance of ‘Fool Alone’. Bewitching and transporting, it’s both nostalgic and future-facing, pre-Seventies and post-2020. It’s also a fantastic showcase for Caroline and Emil’s harmonies, and for Anders’ mastery of studio acoustics and studio electronics.
“It sounds like something from the Sixties, something very familiar – but also brand new,” says Anders. “And it’s such a simple song. All of our songs usually start that simply, but then in the studio we add all the electronics. But we can still play all our songs unplugged.”
“That,” says Emil, “is the core of our songs: guitar, singing, good harmonies.”
“And we have that teenage vibe because that’s when we got together,” concludes Caroline. “Musically, that source is never-ending for us.”