High 5: First Aid Kit

The Söderberg sisters’ shared obsessions.

Collage by Marjainez, using a photo by Neil Krug. Illustrations below by Marjainez.

Collage of Johanna (right) and Klara Söderberg by Marjainez, using a photo by Neil Krug. Illustrations below by Marjainez.

First Aid Kit’s new album, Stay Gold, came out this month, and you know what? Johanna and Klara Söderberg’s voices sound stronger, clearer, and more harmonious than ever. The record is full of big, beautiful tunes that you’re going to want in your headphones any time you feel the need to ramble around this summer. The sisters are touring the world for the next few months, and they told us about some things they’ll be bringing with them.

marxophone1. The Marxophone. johanna: It’s an instrument that’s like a mandolin and a guitar and a zither and a hammered dulcimer all in one. Mike Mogis, the producer of our new record, had one in the studio in Omaha, Nebraska, where we recorded our album, and we just fell in love with it. They don’t make them anymore, so they’re really rare and cool. They’re pretty easy to play, too—you play the melody strings with one hand, and with the other hand you play chords. klara: You can hear it on our song “Master Pretender.” It makes this creepy, weird sound that’s also beautiful and super folk-y.

geoguessr2. GeoGuessr. klara: You go on this website, and it drops you anywhere in the world on Google Street View. Then you have to guess where you are by pinning your location on a world map. You can “walk” around forever and try to find signs and stuff, or you can just guess. We’ve kind of become obsessed with it. johanna: We’ve gotten dropped in Sweden before and knew it right away like, Oh, this is Sweden. johanna and klara : [In unison, in monster voices] THIS IS SWEDEN! johanna: It’s really tricky, because you think you know what the world looks like a little bit, but you’re surprised. I was in Finland once but thought I was in Canada. It’s a very educational game.

nintendo 3ds3. Nintendo 3DS. johanna: Before we bought this, we never really played video games. Just The Sims—gotta love The Sims. On the DS, though, I’ve been playing Super Mario Bros. and the classics. We’re bringing it on tour with us. klara: It’s going to be the new tour distraction. I’m playing this game called Professor Layton, and it’s pretty awesome. There’s this big mystery, and you have to go around and talk to people, and they give you puzzles to solve. I like that it makes me feel a little smart. And it’s beautifully done. It kind of reminds of a Miyazaki film, like Spirited Away.

happiness project4. The Happiness Project. klara: This is a book by Gretchen Rubin that I bought a couple weeks ago. The author is like, I have a great family and a great job, but I’m not really happy. Why am I not happy? What can I do to make myself happier? So she does all this research about what science has found about what makes people happier. And then she says, OK, I’ll try to do this. I’ll try to follow these rules that I’ve found for a year. It’s really inspiring; it makes me think, I should do this, I should remember this. johanna: I notice when you’ve been reading it. You’re super sweet to me and asking me how my day was and hugging me and being all, “How are you? I love you.” And I’m like, “Have you been reading that book again?”

sister bands5. Sister bands. johanna: When we started making music, we never felt like, Oh, we’re sisters, that’s so special. But lately we’ve been listening to other sister duos and trios a lot. Like Kate & Anna McGarrigle—they made a self-titled record in 1975 that we’re obsessed with. And this band the Roches—they’re also sisters and have this song called “Hammond Song” that we love because it has insane harmonies. And there are recent ones, like Haim. We love Haim! And the Staves are great. There are three of them, and they’re from England. klara: We got to sing with the Staves last year, so it was five sisters singing on stage together. We’ve also been listening to the Secret Sisters and Lily & Madeleine. There are so many good sister acts right now. ♦

(As told to Lena.)


  • JillianYvette June 12th, 2014 3:40 PM

    Love these girls so much. I am finally seeing them live tonight at the 9:30 club in DC!

    • beansprout June 12th, 2014 6:50 PM

      oh wow, i just discovered them like 45 seconds ago in this article and they’re playing in my city on this very night! that is a super cool coincidence but also now i really wish i’d known sooner…

  • ellenelle June 12th, 2014 3:41 PM

    ah!! love that first aid kit are getting much-needed attention (even better that it’s from rookie).. cannot wait to see them soon

  • Georgia Bea June 12th, 2014 3:48 PM

    when my faves are the faves of my faves

  • rockwrenroll June 12th, 2014 7:13 PM

    What a lovely band with such great music!!! So great to see them, ugh <333

  • GlitterKitty June 12th, 2014 8:34 PM

    That Geoguesser game is so freaking hard like gosh I could not even get on the right continent most of the time.

  • mimsydeux June 12th, 2014 8:48 PM

    <3 First Aid Kit <3
    They have the voices of angels and this album is another masterpiece. Nothing will ever beat 'Heavy Storm' off their first album for me, though. I'm seeing them for the 3rd time at the Hi-Fi in Melbourne this winter, yippee!! x x

  • izizansari June 12th, 2014 9:42 PM

    Oh man I love them so much.

  • Phoebe June 12th, 2014 10:33 PM

    Omg my mom and I used to obsess over Professor Layton!! It’s so geeky and fun. I love first aid kit and this made me love them even more! Sweden is rockin it right now!!

  • juliemoon June 12th, 2014 10:45 PM

    saw these beauties for the second time in philly the other night, they were so wonderful

  • unicorninapartyhat June 12th, 2014 10:55 PM

    Ahh they sound so coool! And they love Haim!!!!! +++++++ pluses in my book

  • Zoe June 13th, 2014 2:23 AM

    Yessssssssssssss First Aid Kit yesssssssssssssssssssssssss. So much yes.

  • bella_lmh June 13th, 2014 4:09 AM

    I love this soo muchhh ahh First Aid Kit are fab

  • bella_lmh June 13th, 2014 4:09 AM

    I love this soo muchhh ahh First Aid Kit are fab

    (ps I write on a fashion/music/travel blog and would love it if anyone checked it out! :)

  • dandelions June 13th, 2014 11:17 AM

    Their music is in my soul. I ♥ them.

  • Holly June 13th, 2014 1:56 PM

    They’ve got me addicted to GeoGuessr now. I’ve been playing for like the last hour. lol

  • angelamaia June 14th, 2014 2:49 AM

    love first aid kit!!

  • itssabine June 14th, 2014 10:56 AM

    Aaah! I was so excited when I saw this. I’ve been in love with their music for quite some time, so it’s really cool you guys interviewed them!

  • hamburgerkiller June 17th, 2014 5:14 AM

    Love First aid kit♥️
    (& Professor Layton :P)

  • Pattymafu June 17th, 2014 10:52 AM

    I love this band soososooo much!!! But I didn’t know about it’s new álbum! I’m cheking it out right now!! xx

  • wallflower152 July 4th, 2014 2:51 PM

    Just wasted like the last hour playing GeoGuessr. Now I wanna go on a road trip.