The Magnettes, made up of Sanna Kalla, Rebecka Digervall, and Tomas Bäcklund Thuneström, are self-described Riot Grrrls of the 21st century. We discuss their influences, sound (“Katy Perry meets Kathleen Hanna”), SXSW, and their dream performances.
Cliché: Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
The Magnettes: We are The Magnettes, a 21st Century Fuck-Pop band from the north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle. The band consists of Rebecka Digervall, Sanna Kalla, and Tomas Bäcklund Thuneström, and we’re tired of hearing the same story being told over and over again. We’re tired of lifestyle porn. We want to tell a different story—a story about the punks from Pajala who want to put feministic and honest pop music on the Billboard chart.
What are some of your influences?
We’re very influenced by Riot Grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Heavens to Betsy, but also Spice Girls, Talking Heads, Whitney Houston, and Ariana Grande.
You mention Bikini Kill in your song “Killers in a Ghost Town,” and you describe yourselves as Riot Grrls. What does it mean to you?
We grew up listening to this kind of music and they’ve really been like our older sisters—girls who are loud and fight for what is right without apologizing. They have taught us a lot. So now we want to honor them and make the Top 40 full of loud and feministic pop.
You performed at SXSW last year. What was that experience like?
We’re so thankful that we got the chance to be a part of SXSW 2015. We wanted everything to be perfect before we left Sweden. We wanted people to remember us, so we really just went, “What will stand out?” We talked to our stylist Frida Thuneström about our look and decided on white suits, which was really easy to spot on stage. We did nine gigs in seven days, so we didn’t have time to watch the other bands. DigSin (our record label) saw one of our shows. They liked us and we loved them so we got signed.
We grew up listening to this kind of music and they’ve really been like our older sisters—girls who are loud and fight for what is right without apologizing.
Where is your dream place to perform?
Clubs, bars, festivals—we love them all! We don’t play for super old people anymore. They’ll just ask us to sing in Swedish and songs that they know and we will probably have to say our names like 25 times during the show. Been there, done that! But if everything goes the way we planned it when we were 14, we will be at Madison Square Garden and Coachella soon.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is Katy Perry meets Kathleen Hanna. Loud, noisey pop with sugary hooks and lyrics about a good fuck, running away, being ugly as fuck (and loving it), and the sad girls club.
Are you working on a new project?
We’ll be releasing a lot of new material that we’ve poured our blood, sweat, and tears into, and we’re super excited for you to hear all that gore.
Will it be an EP or an album?
It’s a secret. [Winks]
What else do you have planned for this upcoming year?
We’re doing a lot of shows in Sweden this summer and we’ll be releasing a new single very soon! In the fall, you will hopefully hear a lot of new music and see us everywhere!
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Photographed by Catie Laffoon