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New music

Max Martin, Shitkid is your next pop-collab sensation

From lo-fi anti-pop to a cancelled U.S. tour — the duo behind Swedish Shitkid is ready for revenge.

Words: Stefanie Ravelli Photography: Fredrik Andersson Andersson Styling: Robin Douglas Westling

With the new album Detention released in May, Swedish cool school girls Shitkid went back to junior high. What began as a solo project by Åsa Söderqvist in 2015 has become the talk of the town. Since Bandcamp called her ”the strangest artist in Sweden” in 2017, she has become one of Scandinavia’s most talked about new artists, toured the world and hailed by both international and national press for her three EP releases and the debut album Fish. Now, Söderqvist, together with her new musical partner, Lina Molarin Ericsson — who previously played in the band Matriarkatet — are the new Shitkid. Their first album together is eight tracks of sharp pop-punk filled with teenage anxiety — a tribute to the embarrassing skate, punk and emo sounds of their youth and to being a misunderstood teen queen.

In September Shitkid planned to board a plane to USA and go on a major tour together with the grunge and metal 80s legends The Melvins and Redd Kross. But when we meet Shitkid in July, the tour was abruptly cancelled. Just hours before our talk, they got an email from the The Melvins singer Buzz Osborne who said that the two months tour and album collaboration was no more. The dispute started with Melvins publishing a pre-ad teaser who should advertise the two bands up-coming EP release and it was a drawing of a naked female body with a clown face.

Å — High tits, just a perfect female body in a perfect pose.

L — With a clown face... we got this picture sent to us by a friend who had seen it and wondered WTF? We hadn’t seen it before and were shocked. Åsa wrote to Buzz, Buzz Osborne who is the singer in Melvins and has planned this whole tour. He pretended that he didn’t understand what we were talking about.

Å — He thought we exaggerated to the extent that he kicked us out of the tour.

Å — I was SO angry... Why didn’t they asked us before they published the image?

L — I sent a factual explanation, no emotions, just explained how both our bands are seen and perceived, that when a band with two younger women and a band with 50-something old guys who do a collaboration, we become this sexy female body and they become the clown face.

L — We don’t want our band’s name on it. This is not how we want to appear.

Å — We have had enough of sexualization as it is, especially from old guys.

L — This picture, in the long run, justifies the sexualization of us. It doesn’t matter that the artist is a woman, all respect to her, she can draw how many naked female bodies she wants, but this is about something else, about the context.

Å — But The Melvins got angry because we said that they are old pricks.

L — Buzz also sent a short answer to us where he writes that he is disappointed that we feel the way we feel.

Å — HE is disappointed with US...

L — I do not understand this disappointment, because we feel that we should stand up for ourselves?

Å — It is also annoying that they think this image of a naked woman is a provocation but the thing is naked female bodies have adorned album covers, music videos and so on forever. It would have been a thing if we had not seen naked women, then this would have been a great provocation, perhaps even a feminist record. But there are female bodies on all the guys’ covers, and there always has been. It is either a man with a suit at a piano, or a naked woman laying on topp of the piano. Why do you NEED to have a naked woman on a cover, ever?

L — We suggested to redo the picture, that it would be a young, perfect sexy naked body of a man. At first [Buzz] said certainly... but it turned out that it was not at all possible...

Åsa you have said in a previous interview that you have a lot of old rock guys as fans.

Å — Yes and everyone who sees that damn drawing will think of us as objects — it’s so disgusting.

L — The other day, when we played in Norway, there was a man who came up to us and said that we were very good, but above all he thought we were very erotic. I told him we didn’t appreciate him saying so. For him to see the sexualized image makes it okay for him to say that we are erotic.

Å — But we are also relieved, first of all we now know how [The Melvins] and secondly, for the first time since we started working together we can make money instead of putting all our money on touring with a band that wants to silence us.

When did you start working together?

Å — 1.5 years ago.

L — We didn’t know each other that well but had met at parties or festivals before.

Å — I wanted a good bassist. It felt quite right that it would be you. It was just when you had your last gig with the band Matriarkat so it was like I wrote to you and saw the gig — perfect, I knew right then.

Who has influenced you as musicians?

Å — Lydia Lunch, we recently played at Larvik Gitarfestival in Norway and she headlined the next day. Her band came to see us, it was great.

L — I listened a lot to The Ark when I was younger and that was when I decided to become a musician. Although it doesn’t feel like I’m so influenced by that music right now.

The new album Detention is more well-produced and not as low-fi as the last one, Fish. Do you want to become more commercial?

Å — The inspiration for this album was skatepunk and emo, which is American professionally made music. It suited the genre, to make the album more well-produced. But we have a lot of different genres we want to explore. We both like commercial pop for example, and we’ve talked about ’könsrock’ (Swedish for genitalia rock). We will do the demos ourselves but then maybe we want to make the pop record with someone — someone like Max Martin. Call us please Max.

L — Spread the word!

Hair Stylist Jacob Kajrup / Agent Bauer  Make Up Artist Elvira Brandt  Styling Assistant Etchell Dorkenoo  Production Assistant Douglas Jacobsson