The Magnettes know you don’t have to be a Yank to live the American dream in their anthemic new single and video — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“Since we were babies, we’ve lived through our TV set,” says Rebecka Digervall, one-half of the Swedish electro-pop duo with Sanna Kalla. “Growing up in a remote, small arctic town in Sweden, the way out was through American movies, music, sitcoms, and reality shows.”
Adds Kalla: “It taught us what love was and how to ‘live the dream. Like junkies, we swallowed it in chunks: the twist and turns of teenage drama, the cute narratives, and the noble ideals that real life continuously fails to live up to… But American isn’t really about America at all. It’s about finding that rush, having that runaway, ‘ride or die’ feeling in your crappy hometown, and abandoning that last shred of romance for a taste of the real thing.”
They would know from the real thing: Their fusion of electro-pop melodies and riot-grrrl energy — set against a wall-of-sound production style that embraces everything from punk to heartland rock — has earned them bona fides from far and wide. Their 2017 debut album Ugly Youth was dubbed one of the best albums of the year by critics, while the duo — backed by multi-instrumentalist and producer Bäcklund Tuneström — have been acclaimed across radio and media around the world.
Hailing from Pajala, Sweden, a sleepy Arctic Circle town of 2,000 where Digervall and Kalla having first met at age six, The Magnettes weave the remote region’s once-forbidden minority language of Meänkieli, and the area’s traditional folk music, into their infectious and inimitable brand of glittery punk-pop.
“Our manifesto is to ‘say what you want to say, and do it as loud as you want,’ ” Kalla says. “We say, ‘be weird, be ugly, be too much, F as much as you want. We describe ourselves as non-normative, as witches, and as sisters of the ugly youth. We’re reclaiming the word ‘ugly.’ Why does ‘beautiful’ have to be the standard? We have no regrets. We’re saying exactly what we want to say.”
Adds Digervall: “Something happened in Nashville when we went for a songwriting session,” Digervall says. “We were just like, ‘yeah, it’s time to be fearless and write whatever the F we want. So we did!”