Interview w/ Niki & The Dove


Niki & The Dove’s “Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now” is slivers of palm tree shade and mists of coconut milk. It’s dance floor bruising pop, emblematic of spherical ’70s music, while also possessing its own neon identity. The Swedish duo of Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf created an album that spoke to the smoke and mirrors of memories, the deep, unyielding pain of love, and the sociopolitical unease of 2016. With indigo uncertainty and unfeigned sincerity, Niki & The Dove surrender to the strobe lights of harmony and wilted optimism. It’s a tightrope walk that dazzled us wholly and completely. This past year, we couldn’t stop talking about “Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now”. In wanting to interview the band about the album, we asked the duo a series of questions that were swirling around in our head from the time we first hit play.


Rob Patrick: “So Much It Hurts” opens the album with colorful foreshadowing. It’s an incredible table setter for things to come. When Malin sings “what a fool was I to think that we were safe,” those words come together to bring such a beautifully telling, uncompromising, and fearless lyric in the opening verse. What was the strategy when selecting, organizing, and compiling the songs on “Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now”?

Niki & The Dove: Thank you for your kind words! We wanted to get down to basics. Find simplicity. We wanted to make an album where groove and melody could go on forever. We were very picky with what we added. Lyrically we wanted to use eternal themes even challenging our selves to dust off phrases like “you stole my heart away” but try to sing them as fresh as if they were new and undiscovered. Love is always new. A heart break is always a heart break even for the 17890456 time. We also wanted to comment on the state of the world and human relations.


With any great dance song, there is an internal battle between pain and joy. The most exquisitely amazing thing about Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now is that every song on the album understands that very nuance. Emotionally, what was important to you both when crafting the LP?

Again, thank you so much! 🙂 To be true. To tell it straight forward and simple.


The production on the record reclines in the tropically tinged shadows of ’70s and ’80s pop, and yet there is a beautifully contemporary sound to the album. What were some of the things that inspired you to make the record sound the way it does?

We knew we wanted to make this album a long time ago. But when you set your mind on something that your heart already knows, you have to sort of live the vision before you actually can make it. So during the past years we spent a lot of time crouching over vinyl crates. Subconsciously preparing for it, we guess. But again, when you’re in the writing process none of that matters. What happens happens. You are just going with it and we are happy that it turned out this way.


Ode to the Dance Floor” is so textured, exploratory, and full of hope and self-awareness. The lyrics here are so incredibly powerful and yet pained. There’s a sense of the past and future, all rolled up into one resilient delivery. What was the genesis of the song, and what was the process of writing the words?

Thank you so much! The song is an ode to our friends, it’s also an ode to youth and to an era in our lives. It tries to cover that intense feeling of deep joy and happiness together with your loved ones on the dance floor, feeling connected with everything. And at the same time trying to cover the merciless wisdom that none of it is gonna last. The beautiful and desperate feeling of i’m-holding-on!’ to a moment that stuck into the ever ongoing time stream that won’t stop for nothing. And yet, at the same time we are eternally in this together. Time is complex. As the poet Jaques Werup says: “I have experienced you, therefor i can never lose you.” There are some quotes hidden in it, for example from ‘the Tempest’, friends are written into it and stories from the past.


You have used Spotify to share playlists and mixes with your fans. How has that particular streaming platform changed the climate of accessibility for musicians?

Hm, on one hand you have a more direct communication with your listeners but on the other hand it’s a vast sea cause there is so much music out there! if you wanna find new music from smaller bands you still need to dig, you know.


“Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now” is nominated for three Swedish Grammy awards. When you finished recording the album, did you feel as though you had made something that was a perfect amalgamation of your collective talents?

Haha, we were very happy and felt proud when we had our first listen to it.


When discussing “Sunset Tyger” Gustaf described the song as “tricky.” What were the obstacles surrounding that particular track?

Hmm…can’t remember we said that. There were no obstacles really in that sense. Maybe we mentioned ST being tricky in it’s pop concept?


You said in an interview with Nordic Playlist that you recorded “Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now” in several different cities. While making the album, did the rotating landscapes, cultures, and surroundings change the way that you approached the recording process?

Yes when it comes to the compositions of the songs, for sure, but in the recording process also, in a sense. Because meeting Alan Braxe in Toulouse made us really step up regarding hardware. The geographical aspect does definitely affect the song writing.


Finally, thank you so much for releasing this wonderful, emotionally transcendent album in what has become a difficult year for so many.

Thank you so much for your appreciation, and your kind remarks and thoughts about our music. It means a lot to us.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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