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Swedish pop band visits Montreal

by Sandra Hercegova March 5, 2017
Swedish pop band visits Montreal

The Radio Dept. to perform at Théâtre Fairmount for their North American tour

Travelling all the way from Stockholm to Montreal are Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg, the duo known as The Radio Dept. Théâtre Fairmount will be welcoming the Swedish pop duo on Monday, March 6. They will bring the party to their audience while performing their latest album, Running Out of Love. It’s a politically-charged album that is perfect for grooving to, with its fusion of pop and European electronic dance ballads.

The band has been around for 16 years—Duncanson and Carlberg began making music together back in 2001. “Martin and I, we like pop music and we want it to have a light, experimental touch,” Duncanson said. “We have the same taste when it comes to chords in melodies and arrangements.”The Radio Dept.’s sound has evolved throughout the years. “At first, it was always acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. Now, for the past 10 years, we’ve added drop beats and bass line,” Duncanson said. The band name, The Radio Dept., was originally the name of Duncanson’s previous band. He ended up re-using the name for his current band. “When Martin and I started our band, we did not have any imagination so we stole that band name,” he said.

The Swedish pop duo fuses melancholic dance music with vocals and bass. “We listen to a lot of dance music. Although we are inspired by a lot of instrumentals, we want to focus on making pop music,” Duncanson said. Duncanson writes most of the songs, and Martin plays the guitar and bass. “We live in different cities, [so] I do a lot on my own. I write most songs and then play them for Martin,” Duncanson said. “Martin is better at playing guitar and bass.”

The Radio Dept. explores melancholic lyrics with vibrant pop music. Photo courtesy of Radio Dept.

Running Out of Love opens with their track “Sloboda Narodu,” which means “death to fascism, freedom to the people” in Serbo-Croatian. Duncanson heard about this expression in a Swedish documentary, which is what sparked his inspiration for the song. “The documentary was about a journalist travelling around old Yugoslavia, trying to find people who knew old partisan songs. The journalist came across a girl who sang the sloboda narodu slogan,” he said. “I didn’t know of this slogan before, and wanted to use it.” There have been political issues in Sweden concerning their gun trade for the past seven years, according to Duncanson. The duo wanted to use their musical talents to bring awareness to these issues. Duncanson said their track “Swedish Guns” has been misunderstood by many. “It’s been misinterpreted in the States as being a song about carrying a gun. That is not what it’s about. It’s about the arms industry,” he said.

Radio Dept.’s latest album, Running Out of Love.

According to Business Insider, Sweden exports arms and weapons to different countries around the world. “We have done it for a long time. I don’t know if people know this outside of Sweden, but this is something we are quite ashamed of,” Duncanson said. This issue is reflected in the lyrics of “Swedish Guns,” as Duncan sings, “Cause who can be to blame for Swedish guns? A clue, it’s in the name, a diabolic shame.” The song has a pop-dance rhythm, all while sharing a powerful political message. “We would like to make our money in some other way. It’s not a good feeling to sell weapons to other countries,” Duncanson said.

Running Out of Love has succeeded in fusing upbeat dance music with political lyrics. “We wanted to make our music slightly darker than before, but not too dark because we are optimists and hopeful people,” Duncanson said.The Swedish duo, currently on their North American tour, will be performing in Montreal at Théâtre Fairmount on March 6. Doors open at 7:30 p.m, and the show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 online or $20 at the door.

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