Interview: 5 minutes with Villa Rivercat

Consisting of musicians and friends Hanna Fideli Fritzell (lead vocals, guitar), William Lindberg (bass guitar, vocals), Ida Säfström (vocals, violin, harmonica), Jonathan Vester (lead guitar) & Karl Geisler (drums, percussion), Villa Rivercat are an indie-folk band formed in the deep forests of Dalarna, Sweden during the beginning of 2015.

Mainly drawing influence from American-Canadian 60’s country-rock legends The Band and Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Villa Rivercat also list modern artists such as Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty as influences on their own musical direction and sound. The band continues to perform and showcase their mesmerizing brand of indie-folk around Sweden and beyond. Villa Rivercat are currently preparing to release their debut full-length album to be released in December 2017.

We spoke with Villa Rivercat about their future, recording and keeping friends close:

(Be sure to stream Villa Rivercat’s latest single ‘More’ below, or via Spotify)

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Why not? It´s an institution.

We grew up in it and with it. It´s a way for us to be able to hang out with our friends and loved ones. It´s about communication between ourselves and the audience. Playing live; it´s about the bolt of energy, the recordings are about refining our sound and being really nerdy about it.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It´s kind of a hen and egg situation, at least it´s a parallel process. The soundscape evolves as the idea of the song gets crystallized. But there is always a small detail that gets the ideas goin. A melody or a rhythm that sticks in your head. We have some trouble separating ourselves and our current mood from the way the songs turn out live. It´s just a mix of our separate musical influences.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Yes, a soon to be live session with our good friends in the folk-rock band RÅNDA.

What’s on your current playlist?

Fruit Bats, Wilco, George Harrison, Dungen, Daniel Norgren, Les Big Byrd, Vetiver, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Father John Misty, Pond, Daft Punk, Sylvan Esso, The Black Angels. Our playlist is a never ending story.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

We think and hope that our energy on stage will spread into the audience. The best shows we’ve seen are the ones where it looks as though the band is really enjoying themselves and we really are. So we hope that shines through. Sometimes the audience give us free beer and want to hang out after the shows which is always great.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Presets and rock n´roll.
We´re a sort of acoustic band. We have some synthesizers and play around with guitar pedals but generally we like to play music that would sound just as good with two acoustic guitars as with the full band. We think that the songs are strong in themselves so we just try to serve them right.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Niklas (our producer) shows up with a cup of coffee and wakes us up since we’re sometimes a bit hung over. So we really have him to thank for us ever getting outta´ bed at all. We recorded most of our stuff in ‘The Little Yellow’. Hanna’s fathers house by the river up in Dalarna, Sweden. And we spend the mornings sleeping in, getting up around noon, then just kinda slowly pouring ourselves down the stairs into the studio. After a couple of beers we´re usually in a good mood and ready to lay down some pretty recordings. We usually recorded during the evenings and late nights. The darkness has a way of sweeping everything in a nicer hue.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Every time we see a really great live act.

For me (Hanna) I think it was the first time a saw the musical Hair from 1979. I was about nine years old and was just over run by the arrangements and the environments. I think that it partly shaped my way of singing into some kind of a dramatic tone. I immediately sew fringes onto my jeans and learned the songs to every detail.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Setlist and beers

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Our pals in RÅNDA and the darling blues-singer Vilma Flood. And our other dreamy friends in Dream Lake.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Traveling back home, listening to friends and their stories, could be anything really, a good mood in the rehearsal space, a really shitty movie, a nice nighttime walk!  Harmonizing also always cheers us up! 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Hall of Fame reverb with some nice fuzz and flanger, that’s all we really need.

Any side projects you’re working on?

No, this is all we do.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

It feels as though we learn something every time we have a recording or live-session, about each other and our ways. Perhaps we´ve gotten a bit more structured since we first met, but that would be a small bit.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year is very exciting for us! We are releasing our first album ever! This have been a goal of ours for so long and it’s great to finally get it out there so people can hear us wherever they want!

For more information follow Villa Rivercat on Facebook