Rebecca & Fiona
Spunky outfits and platform shoes aside, Rebecca & Fiona are known for winning over dance floors with their bubbly energy and eclectic sound. The Swedish duo released their first single in 2010, their debut album in 2011, and played over 100 shows in 2012. They’ve been notably growing from there, and we were thrilled to have the chance to sit down and chat for a bit while the girls were in Boston. Read the interview to find out what it was like starting as female DJs in Sweden, how the attention on them has changed over time, and where they get style inspiration.
Describe your sound with three words.
►Fiona: Sexy, cool, baby.
►Rebecca: 90s, rave, punk.
Who gave you your first chance playing out?
►Fiona: Our friend who is now the biggest promoter in Sweden. I worked with him and Rebecca worked with him; we were organizing parties as club promoters in 2008. He told us we should DJ, showed us the mixer, gave us like a 15-minute crash course, and then we played his show. We have a big gang of friends, so they all came and filled the bar. Even though we sucked, we had an amazing response with the crowed. We were like, “Wow, we’re really good,” which we weren’t.
There was an LA Times article about female DJs breaking out in the world. A quote from you guys was about there being a prejudice toward female DJs. Do you think that’s changed in the past year?
►Fiona: When we started DJ’ing, the biggest DJ we were compared to was Niki Belucci. You never hear her name anymore, but she was a top list DJ. As a female, you always get compared to other females, but the only thing they’re comparing is your gender.
►Rebecca: In America, we don’t get treated as badly as we did in Sweden at the beginning. When we started off [in Sweden], people were like, “yeah, they’re party DJs,” because we didn’t care about the actual technique of DJ’ing; we just had fun with it. When we started to get better, they were like, “you don’t produce, you don’t do anything,” so when we started making music, they didn’t believe we made it ourselves because they thought we were too much of party girls. It’s been such a long time since that and we don’t get the same kind of prejudice anymore. Now there are so many girl [DJs] in Sweden.
There are a lot of female DJs in Sweden?
►Rebecca: Yeah, half the DJs you see at a bar or club in Sweden are girls. We really took a stand and made it possible. There was a reality show made about us becoming DJs and making music, and after that, so many other girls and female duos popped up.
►Fiona: We’re hoping for the same development in America as well. There’s no reason why not.
Where do you get your style inspiration?
►Fiona: We tour with no checked bags. We have a tiny carry-on bag with like three weeks’ worth of outfits. It’s pretty touch. We have a guy in Sweden who works with us on videos and builds our scenes. He goes to vintage stores and looks for old, cheap clothes. It’s also in our own interest to go to Goodwill and vintage stores. We’re not interested in new fashion; we’re interested in creating styles we like.
►Rebecca: We don’t know anything about fashion fashion, like the newest designers.
►Fiona: We’re not at that level. It’s like combining the old styles we like with some newer things.
At what point in time did you realize this would be your career?
►Rebecca: We just decided.
►Fiona: The first time we did it, it was the most fun thing we had ever done so we wanted to make it happen.
When you were staring, there was probably a lot of focus on the fact you were female DJs. Did that distract you as artists? How did you get past that?
►Fiona: It did, but we made our own bubble. About a year after we started living off DJ’ing, we met our boyfriends who were also DJs so we kind of made our own bubble with them.
►Rebecca: We were surrounded by so many producers, musicians, and DJs so we didn’t do anything else besides learn and dig deeper into what a producer’s life was like. All our focus was to do whatever to make it happen on our own. We didn’t want to jump on the first train to success with somebody writing or producing for us. That’s just such an easy way and it makes you a product of something that’s not your own work. The creative process is the fun process for us. It took a couple of years and we’re still getting better, but it’s getting more fun and we can work with other people now.
What’s the craziest thing a male fan has done to get your attention?
►Fiona: We’ve had a couple of proposals.
►Rebecca: Not too serious…
►Fiona: Someone bought rings…
►Rebecca: But they were really tacky rings.
►Fiona: We’ve seen a tattoo, too.
►Rebecca: Girls are so much creepier toward guys, though.
►Fiona: Girls creep into [guys’] dressing rooms. We don’t get that. Guys ask for a picture and it’s all fine.
This is your first time in Boston, and of course you’ve had many other first times in different places. Have you ever played a place for the first time where nobody was feeling your music?
►Rebecca: That can sometimes happen with some people. The energy of the audience can make a show the best thing ever, but if you see three people who are not interested, it can change your mood.
►Fiona: But we always get so into it. We get emotional about it and feel really bad if we don’t give everything we have.
►Rebecca: Even though not everyone may understand the music and our performance, there are always the people who love it and may even be inspired to go make their own music. You’re making some people happy every time.