Co-vocalists Rebecka Digervall and Sanna Kalla, and guitarist/keyboardist/producer Tomas Bäcklund Thuneström make up The Magnettes. The trio worked alongside American mixer Christian Cummings to produce "ugly Youth," an album which highlights the band's rebellious spirit and unfiltered views, combined with sugary sweet, infectious beats.

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The Magnettes: Humble beginnings

Rebecka and Sanna met when they were both six years old in the small town of Pajala in Sweden, which has a population of just 2,000 people. By age 14, Rebecka had written a number of songs for them as a duo and in 2012 they began performing across Europe and Russia. They have since played several festivals overseas.

Tomas got to know the pair in 2009 and sometimes worked with them as an audio engineer or a stand-in musician. He then started writing with Rebecka about three or four years ago and eventually joined the group full time.

The Magnettes, photo by Frida Bäcklund Thuneström
The Magnettes, photo by Frida Bäcklund Thuneström

'Ugly Youth': An assured debut

Discussing the title of the record, Rebecka says: "It’s our first album and it deals a lot with growing up, finding out who you are and what matters to you. We had a lot of long talks about what we wanted to express and get into the album, and the title came from one of those talks.

"We were just kind of bored with pop culture overflowing of lifestyle porn and glossy perfection - 'Entourage' and stuff like that - and just thought, 'Why can’t ugly be something good?' It’s definitely more interesting than pretty, normal, perfect, etc.

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Also, we kept thinking of this idea of a school where the freaks and weirdos were cool kids, jocks and cheerleaders - and had that in our minds for the lyrics, the clothes and the pictures."

The Magnettes: From kitchen demos to a full-length album

Rebecka adds: "We wrote the first songs that made it to the album in March 2015. We had driven to Nashville after playing SXSW and wrote four of the songs in two days. We ended up scrapping everything we’d written before that.

Then we went home and started recording the kitchen demos that ultimately ended up on the album.

"Most of it was actually done on a laptop in the kitchen. We got the finished master a couple of months ago, so from start to finish it took a little under two years."

Defining The Magnettes sound

How would the members of the hard-touring band define its sound? "21st century f**k-pop," replies Sanna, "because it’s sexy as hell and we swear a lot. It’s basically a kind of raw and weird electronic disco-pop.

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Musically we love acts like Talking Heads, Le Tigre and Robyn."

Sanna continues: “'Killers in a Ghost Town' was a pretty important song for the process of this album. It was one of the first ones we wrote that actually made it to the album - we sort of found our voice on that one. We’re also hoping people will notice the last track: 'Parking Lot'."

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