Interview: Johan Rensfeldt from Movits!

posted February 25, 2010

by Corinne

Johan Rensfeldt from Movits!

How are you?

Kind of tired after the tour but it's starting to feel alright again, it took some time to get the jetlag out of the system, so I would say I/we feel great!

Take us back. How did Movits! come together in the first place?

Well, me (Johan) and Anders are brothers so we met pretty early. Then we hooked up with Joakim a couple of years ago, he played a few gigs with us and before we knew it we had put a record together, even if it took a couple of years.

Everyone seems to be talking about your unique swing-influenced hip hop sound. How'd you put together your distinctive sound?

Prior to Movits! we played some kind of acoustic hip-hop with basically guitar and saxophone and felt like we wanted to step it up a bit and make it more danceable. So at a afterparty on a music festival in Sweden someone played "sing, sing sing" with Benny Goodman and we felt like, why aren't anyone doing this kind of music? So we went back to the studio with our heads full of Gene Krupa drums and had a drummer record some swing style drums. Then we somehow mixed it up with our style of hip-hop, some Swedish folk music and a bit of gypsy style music. It wasn't exactly calculated what it would sound like, we just went by feeling and it ended up quite well.

Tell me about your recent US tour. How was it? Any good tour stories?

Well, great shows pretty much everywhere, 8000 miles of RV driving, a flat tire, broke down power-generators and running out of propane. This ended up in some cold nights in the northern parts of the country but most of all it was a great trip. I guess I haven't really sorted out all stories in my head, but a lot of nice things happened. Cool venues and fun after parties, and obviously a whole lot of time spent in the RV. So if you want to drive through 29 states in 20 days, it's the way to go!

Americans probably best know Swedish music for indie pop...and Abba. How was your music received in the US during your tour?

The audiences has been great. Fantastic energy in every venue, a whole lot of dancing, far beyond our wildest dreams. The language barrier didn't seem to cause much problems either.

What kind of feedback were you getting from fans?

The feedback has been absolutely great, I hope they spoke the truth and not just being nice to us cause we're coming from abroad. Pretty much everyone we been talking to has been speaking about the best show they've seen and I haven't danced like this in years. That's really nice to hear, especially coming overseas. Thank you!

How would you say your sound fits in with the current Swedish music scene?

Well I would say we sound quite odd compared to a lot of other music which is pretty much based around electronic music, but it's all right. It's good to have [our] own sound.

Do you have any influences you think listeners would be surprised by?

Hmm, hard question, making this album I listened a lot to Swedish folk music like Cornelis Vreeswijk, but I guess you probably don't know about him. So, well, I think Gogol Bordello is cool, but I don't know if that's surprising.

Who are some underrated bands that you think we need to check out?

There are many bands. Swedish hip-hop is really good right now with artists not being afraid of experimenting like Maskinen, Timbuktu, Adam Tensta and Zacke. Other than hip-hop I think a artist called Olle Nyman from Sweden is really underrated, check out the song "Heart and Soul." I also like a band we played with in Philadelphia called River City Extension.

What have you been listening to recently?

I started listening to new hip-hop again, some Lil Wayne and B.O.B to mention a few. Apart from that I've been listening to some country and old school reggae.

If you could have written any song what song do you wish you had written and why?

Ooh, hard, pretty often I have that thought, why didn't I do this?, but from the top of the head I would probably say "Like a Rolling Stone" with Dylan. It's just a great song.

Anything you would like to add?

Don't miss our show at South By Southwest!

Thank you!