There’s something about Sweden that produces quirky, slightly darker electronic acts than the rest of the world – think The Knife, Lykke Li, Little Dragon. Electropop sensation Rebecca & Fiona are the latest addition to the list, albeit more commercially accessible. While they play DJ sets on tour, the duo’s debut I Love You, Man is an anomaly in the EDM scene – they recorded a cohesive album, completely sung and produced by themselves, that felt like it has an identity of its own. Last 3 October the girls were invited to play at Livescape’s monthly NSFW night, but before that JUICE got the chance to talk to Rebecca as Fiona had her first tattoo done at Pink Tattoos.
Your debut album’s name is I Love You, Man, the ultimate bromance movie. Is there a female equivalent of bromance going on between you two?
Rebecca (laughs) Pretty much, yeah. I saw the movie but it wasn’t actually in reference to that. We were late out, a day before the release and our record label called us and was like “you have to decide on a name.” And I wrote some stuff down, words I like, and we saw an advertisement or a headline for an article; I Love You, Man. And we were like, “that’s pretty good!” It felt right. It’s like a high five to each other.
Would you say your first big break was when you got your own reality show?
R Just before that we released a first single and we ran some nightclubs in Stockholm, we had our own clubs and stuff. They filmed [the documentary] during that time, so when the documentary came out we’ve already toured around Sweden a lot, and the shows just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger after that. It was pretty cool.
Oh wow, you guys used to run nightclubs?!
R Yeah, we were promoters and we booked a lot of DJs. We had a smaller, we wouldn’t say a private club, but more of a hipster kind of club in Stockholm. We had themes, and we booked a lot of our friends as DJs. Then we started to do it ourselves, because we didn’t think we were that good before.
When did you guys start DJing yourselves?
R Almost 4 years ago? But for a year we didn’t know how to do it. We’d only press play, we were really drunk, just partying…
You guys were really just song selectors…
R Yes, we were selectors (laughs).
Not anymore now! Your ex and current boyfriend are electronic producers, right?
You guys only strictly date producers?
R Yes! (laughs) No, it just ends up like that. It’s easier and we understand each other’s businesses and stuff.
Unlike other EDM DJs, Rebecca & Fiona features vocals by, well, yourselves instead of guest acts. Why the decision to go this route?
R I’ve been singing my whole life, and it was what I did before. I didn’t do any productions or played any instruments. And when we started to learn how to produce, it always kind of came naturally for us to try out singing as well. Also, we want to do everything ourselves. It’s fun to do stuff with other people, and we do like the male voices rather than female voices when we listen to other people’s music. But, it’s so much fun to do your own lyrics and record, the process is very fun. The whole Rebecca & Fiona act is just two friends doing what they like. It’s not multi-produced, like somebody else telling us what to do. It’s only us deciding.
In one interview, you described your group as “Nazi mixers” due to how technical you can get. How important is it for you guys to play a technical set?
R We think that if you’re touring like this, and get really good bookings, you’d have to be a good DJ and put in a lot of effort to learn and prepare yourselves. It’s important to us that people are very good when they play.
How do you balance between being technical and throwing a good party?
R Well we drink a lot, and we like to party, so it comes pretty naturally to us (laughs). But I mean, we’ve been playing for a couple of years, so we can party while doing it.
You guys are fashion icons in Stockholm, but there was also an interview where you said you weren’t really into fashion. How does that dichotomy work?
R We’re not slaves to fashion, we create our own fashion, pretty much. We only buy secondhand clothes, and we borrow from each other. Pretty mellow. Not like we go to fashion shows. We’re more interested in finding and creating our own style. So maybe that’s why we’re some sort of icons, because we go with our own stuff.
Being female DJs, your gender will always be highlighted by media and fans alike. Does it annoy you or do you embrace it?
R Depends on how they use it. Often they use it in a way where it doesn’t matter. They never say “male” DJ. Sometimes we feel weird about it. But it shouldn’t matter, cause the competition isn’t that big for us. We don’t talk about it much because we don’t want it to be a problem. We’d like to think of everyone as equals!
You guys don’t play your own songs when you tour because you do DJ sets. Ever thought of showcasing the album side of Rebecca & Fiona?
R Yeah, we’re gonna do that. We’re working on it right now actually. We’re producing our next album right now. And when we release the next album, we’re gonna have a band, and do that live thing as well. But it’s so much fun for us to DJ, and it’s what we’ve been doing for so long…
Fiona (interrupts) Our manager was like, “are you guys getting tattoos?!” Did you put it on Instagram or something?!
F Oh no! It was supposed to be a secret! (laughs)
You can tell your manager that you’re getting a massive tattoo. On your face.
F I’m writing REBECCA on my face!