Janice Prix is Richard Henry (vocals), Viktor Kivi (guitar), MK (bass) and Victor Hillström (drums). The Swedish band established a place for their unique indie-pop in Trollhättan, a town traditionally dominated by metal and punk. We spoke to them following the release of new single ‘Glitch’.
Big, cinematic, alternative pop.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - who are Janice Prix, and what were you doing before making music together?
MK: I’ve studied music in college and worked as a musician. I’ve also toured extensively in a band doing corporate gigs and after skis. It’s not a glamorous world, that I can say.
Richard Henry: Me and Viktor first met in high school. We fought each other during recess till we found out we liked the same bands. We decided to bury the hatchet and Viktor tried teaching me the guitar so that we could play along our favourite tracks. Little did we know that this newfound friendship would lead to writing our own material and later on finding MK and Victor.
It also lead to more and fighting, only this time on the same side. Once we started to put out some demos, the local music scene which was dominated by metal and punk didn’t exactly embrace our difference and attitude with open arms. For example, one day we arrived at the studio to find fake obituaries of each member’s name nailed to the front door.
Hille: Never studied music actually, I went on to study social psychology and doing my masters in sociology, but I’ve played music all my life and I’ve been drumming in different bands before joining the band.
Who did you take inspiration from?
MK: I’ve taken inspiration from everything from avantgarde, improvisational, free jazz to Depeche Mode, to Jamie XX. I listen to almost a new album every day and I try to stay updated and take in new influences. I also get inspired by words or phrases that I hear in a movie for instance. They get stuck in my mind and then I rework them and write a song based on that initial idea.
Richard Henry: Of course there’s a lot of inspiration to take from your musical heroes like Morrissey, The Cure, David Bowie and so on, but I get as much inspiration from books, films and people in my life. I get all these undefined feelings from reading, watching and listening to people that I try to define through songwriting.
Hille: I take inspiration from a lot of different genres of music, from jazz to electronic and noisy synth records. Radiohead have always had a huge impact on my songwriting obviously, but I’m quite eclectic in terms of what I listen to to get inspired. Depending on my general state of mind I sometimes hardly listen to music at all, could be weeks. But then comes periods when I’m digesting everything I can get my hands on with a fresh interest.
Why the name ‘Janice Prix’? What do you stand for?
Richard Henry: We’ll never tell anyone what it means.
How would you describe your musical style?
Richard Henry: Big, cinematic, alternative pop.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would you love to work with?
Richard Henry: I’d love to work with Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, just to get a glimpse of his songwriting process. He’s a genius in my opinion.
MK: I would love to work with Radiohead. They’re an unique group that has their own sound, which is very rare today.
Hille: Speaking of Radiohead, I would love to have Jonny Greenwood do a string arrangement on one of our songs some day. That would be amazing.
Viktor: It would be cool to have Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Stranger Things soundtrack) produce our synthesizer sounds, their attention to detail is staggering.
Your new single is ‘Glitch’. When did Iyou write it and where did you record it?
Richard Henry: It’s a song me Victor started working on years ago. All I remember is that it was summer and that we went to Liseberg, a big amusement park, the same night to celebrate. We had a feeling that the song would be “something special”. Although it took a lot of work with the whole band to get it there.
Hille: It was born out of a simple piano pattern and chord progression that I recorded one day in my apartment, which I sent to Richard and he recorded a vocal melody that I really liked. Must have been during the early stages of writing for this record. It sounded sort of melancholic from day one.
How does ‘Glitch’ build on your style?
MK: The production and sound for ‘Glitch’ was, for me, a mixture of the Radiohead soundscape and some kind of really dark movie influence. I wanted the song to have a cinematic vibe, hence the strings arrangement and the big ending.
During the recording process, we were also really picky about having real musicians playing everything and not using sampled strings for instance. I think that also contributes to the dark cinematic sound of ‘Glitch’.
Richard Henry: It’s a big-sounding song with a dark feel to it, just like most of our songs.
What are your hopes for ‘Glitch’?
Richard Henry: That it will be received as well as our previous single ‘Waking’and hopefully reach even more people that will like what we do.
What are your other plans for 2019, can we catch you on tour?
Richard Henry: There’s a 5-track EP coming out July 25 and we’re currently looking at live dates for fall and winter in Europe.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourselves one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
MK: We worked with Stefan Boman that co-produced our upcoming album together with us. He’s a professional producer and engineer that has worked for years with Swedens biggest band, and our childhood heroes, ‘kent’, so he’s got a lot of experience that we don’t have.
The main thing he taught me is the value of making fast decisions during a creative process, to trust your gut. Going to the album making process we didn’t have that perspective on making music, we really wanted it to take a long time and be absolutely perfect, and now in retrospect I would give myself the advice: “Work fast, hard and trust your first instinct.”
Richard Henry: I’d say “Have patience and keep pushing. It’ll be worth it.”
Hille: Backup, backup and backup. We had maybe five hard drive crashes during the recording process. Both expensive and frustrating.
Listen to ‘Glitch’ on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to the Janice Prix Facebook page.