with special guests WHOSAH
Presented by First Avenue
[Please direct all questions regarding ticketing and table reservations to First Avenue’s Box Office (Mon-Fri 11am-6pm) at 612-338-8388.]
It’s been five years since Peter Bjorn And John have wowed the world with their musical talents. During a fruitful period of disappearance, the trio have built their own studio, started a record label, and toiled to perfect a formula for effortless sounding pop music that (spoiler alert!) has taken them a huge amount of effort. Something else happened, too. The rise of Swedes in music scenes around the globe gained huge traction. From Avicii and Swedish House Mafia to Lykke Li and Robyn, the flag for Scandinavian genius flew. But one (or – more accurately – three) names were missing: those of Peter Moren, Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson.
The gang of childhood friends who once bonded over a love of ‘60s baroque pop and Stone Roses famously broke the mould an entire decade ago with one of the catchiest songs to feature whistling ever – “Young Folks.” But as bassist and production whizz Bjorn says, “Young Folks” was not a curse upon a career that is on the verge of entering its seventh era with forthcoming album Breaking Point. “Seven albums seems like an awful lot,” reflects Bjorn. “But we put them out during a long period so it’s OK!”
Breaking Point is about the band’s newfound search for another career high. “We started with some other album title ideas – like Thriller 2. Then we realized we were pushing the envelope so got into the idea of a breaking point. If we broke it once, we can break it twice,” says Bjorn. That’s why the album artwork features a hammer with three heads on it, not just to strike your nightmares, but to send a message out to everyone. “It says – ‘We’re back! We’re smashing it!’ Haha.” In the literal sense, they may be wielding hammers, but how about musically? “Musically, a breaking point is just about working so hard until you know you can’t do any more,” says Bjorn. “It’s about being in that fog when you’re creating where you can’t see. That’s when you find something – the door home, or the door out. You get a chance to turn it around. You have to really put yourself in a big mess to be able to go somewhere new.”
Despite their fears, the collaborating also reasserted their own winning sense of self-confidence. “Well, you realize you know some stuff yourself too!” laughs Bjorn. “That made us cocky.” Peter Bjorn And John intend for these songs to be consumed on the radio, in live shows and – most importantly – on the dance floor. “Like ABBA would though, it’s not like we’re going for the Avicii thing. In a nice pub, you know?” says Bjorn. “We definitely want it to be like Prince’s version of a dance floor song. Everything should be groovy and funky.”
Having been together almost 20 years, Bjorn is still unsure as to what their secret is. “Exercise!” he jokes. “We all have different ideas and those have to live close to each other. That’s what makes it an interesting mould. If you mix two similar ingredients you’re not gonna get a good result. You have to have a little pepper and salt to get a good dish.” Indeed, just like their culinary acronym counterpart – P B & J (peanut butter and jelly) – Peter Bjorn And John are a meld of three disparate and unique elements. Together, they’re both classic and delicious.