The Swedish sisters make a folky take for the ‘Wild’ soundtrack
First Aid Kit Covers R.E.M
Wild is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and a screenplay by Nick Hornby, based on the memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail written by Cheryl Strayed. The film stars Reese Witherspoon and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 2014. It is scheduled to be released on December 5, 2014 in North America.
In spring 2007 the sisters of First Aid Kit started to upload their songs to the social networking site MySpace. They also sent their song Tangerine to the Swedish radio. It immediately went on air and was listed as one of the best songs of the summer 2007, which led to requests for live performances and even some offers from record companies. Meanwhile, their younger brother attended the same kindergarten as the daughter of Karin Dreijer Andersson, half of Swedish electronic duo The Knife. Their mother asked Dreijer to check out her daughters’ songs on MySpace. After doing so, Dreijer said that the duo had to be saved from bad deals with the industry, and soon the girls were signed to Rabid Records, a label co-owned by The Knife with conditions that allowed the duo to have full control over their music and album art. They also started to perform live, but as Klara, who was then 14, was still at school, they could play only during weekends. April 2008 saw the release of the debut EPDrunken Trees in Sweden. The album was a re-recorded collection of songs from their MySpace site called originally “Cross Oceans”. Their first appearance in Swedish TV was also that month.
The duo was already quite well known in Sweden when they, in August 2008, uploaded a cover version of the Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes to YouTube. Robin Pecknold, frontman and lead guitarist for Fleet Foxes, noticed it and posted a link to the song on his band’s webpage, causing a surge of popularity in the video. It lead to First Aid Kit becoming internationally known, and them signing with Wichita Records at the end of 2008. Wichita re-released the Drunken Trees as an enhanced EP with the Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, along with some videos, on February 23, 2009. First Aid Kit’s first show outside Scandinavia was on November 21, 2008 at Crossing Border Festival. Fleet Foxes also performed, and the duo joined them to sing Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.
Due to international touring, Johanna quit high school in the autumn 2008 and Klara never started it. Their father, who had been a teacher of history and religion, took leave and accompanied them on tour, also helping with soundchecks. The duo released their debut album, The Big Black & The Blue, in 2010; the release was followed by an extensive tour (around 100 shows) in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe, including Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.
In November 19, 2009 they managed to get backstage when Monsters of Folk was performing in Stockholm and gave a copy of their first record to Conor Oberst. Nothing was heard of it until after playing a concert in Nashville on October 11, 2010, the duo was approached by Jack White, who requested they record a single for his Third Man Recordslabel. In February 2011 the duo collaborated with Bright Eyes during their performance of “Lua“.
In January 2012, the band released their second album, The Lion’s Roar, produced by Mike Mogis. The album was critically acclaimed upon release and debuted at number one in Sweden and number 35 in the UK. In support of the album, the band performed the song “Emmylou” on Conan April 2012. In August of that same year, the band performed at the Lollapalooza festival. They also performed at Bestival and the Berlin Festival in September before returning to the United States to play Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2012.
First Aid Kit have performed twice at the Polar Music Prize. In 2011, they performed the song “Dancing Barefoot” for winner Patti Smith, and in 2012 they performed “America” for winner Paul Simon. Their song “The Lion’s Roar” was featured in episode 2 of series 4 of Misfits. In the Hearts of Men was featured in episode 21 of season 8 of Bones.
In January 2013 the band toured in Europe with Conor Oberst. The duo was singing backing vocals during the set of Oberst and he was singing with the girls in some songs of their set.
In February 2013 First Aid KIt was awarded the Nordic Music Prize for “Best Nordic 2012 Album”. They were also awarded four Swedish Grammis awards for 2012 “Artist of the Year”, “Songwriter of the Year”, “Best Pop of the Year” and “Album of the Year”.
In June 2013 they performed at Glastonbury festival in the Pyramid stage. In October the band performed Emmylou on The Late Show with David Letterman. This was their second appearance on the show, as they had backed Lykke Li there in November 2011. The same month, the sisters opened for Rodriguez at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Altogether in 2013 they performed about 30 concerts and appeared at 10 different festivals.
Conor Oberst said in a 2014 interview that he is finishing work on a solo record, with First Aid Kit singing harmonies throughout the LP. The album, titled Upside Down Mountain, was released on 20 May 2014. The duo sings on six tracks of the record.
Following the announcement of their third studio album Stay Gold, that was released on 10 June 2014 through Columbia Records, the band released their first new single “My Silver Lining” on 31 March. On May 6 another song, “Cedar Lane”, was released. Both were released only as digital files accompanied with videos in YouTube.
First Aid Kit’s eighth US and Canada tour, of which some of the concerts were already sold out in the beginning of March, started in May 2014.
During summer 2014 they toured having several concerts and festivals in Europe, Japan and Australia. On August 9 when they and Conor Oberst were both at Haldern PopFestival in Germany, the duo was also singing backing vocals on five songs of the Conor Oberst’s set.
On July 10 Billboard listed “My Silver Lining” as one of the ten best songs of 2014 (so far) in their Mid-Year Music 2014 list.
At the end of August the duo received a gold record in Sweden for the Stay Gold album.
During autumn First Aid Kit had a tour in Europe, performing for example in iTunes Festival on September 21 and in the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on September 24, that latter of which was sold out already in mid August. In October 7 they were in the BBC’s 6 Music Live show in Maida Vale Studios.
At the end of October it was announced that First Aid Kit’s cover of the R.E.M.‘s “Walk Unafraid” will be in the soundtrack of the Wild movie. Moreover, their song “Frozen Lake” is in the Swedish film Min Så Kallade Pappa.
First Aid Kit will tour again in the USA in October and November at such venues as New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on October 24, The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on October 29, and The Wiltern in Los Angeles November 12. They will be supported by Jo Rose on their European tour, and by Samantha Crain on their US tour. The year ends with several concerts in Norway and Finland in December.
2015 starts with an eleven concert UK tour in January and continues in February with 12 concerts in Sweden. In March they return to Australia.