Despite the success of their infectious first single, “Pumping Blood,” and a debut album slotted for a summer release in the United States, NONONO’s singer Stina Wäppling is already thinking of what to do with her life after her music career runs its course.
Wäppling, a Swede, studied psychology in England and held a job as a therapist, working with youths with mental disabilities at a medical center, before meeting the production duo of production duo of Tobias “Astma” Jimson and Michel Rocwell, and getting swept up in the music.
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“I’ve always done music, and most of the album was done while I was still working at the center,” she said. “This grew into something more intense and bigger than we had planned. And for me, I still think I’m going to be a therapist in the end.”
Wäppling has written songs since she was a child, but didn’t get the itch to sing in public until more recently.
“I didn’t really know that it was possible, and it’s hard to know that someone would want to hear it, because it’s a little like writing your diary or something,” she said. “It took me a while to understand that someone would enjoy the songs that I wrote.”
A publisher introduced Wäppling, who has also worked at an elderly care facility, to Jimson and Rocwell. In 2012 the three connected over being from the same counrty. She let them listen to some of her personal recordings, and the three set up a few, sporadic, recording sessions at their studio.
The producers had worked together for nearly 10 years by that point, primarily on hip hop. But, growing tired of those conventions that the genre entails, they decided to find a vocalist for a new project.
“We were getting a bit tired,” Jimson said. “We like all kinds of music. We wanted to try something else and challenge ourselves a little bit — not get too comfortable in doing hip hop stuff that we had been doing.”
The three weren’t sure what the end result would sound like, but each brought unique influences. For Wäppling, it was Martha Wainwright. Rocwell, meanwhile, is a huge fan of early sounds from The Cure. Jimson prefers early ‘90s rap.
The electropop trio is the newest in the long line of successful electropop music to come from Sweden (in fact, Astma and Rocwell produced one of Sweden’s latest successes as well — Icona Pop).
The band name, though sounding negative and downbeat, is a statement that the three want to do their own thing, even though it means telling others “no.” That’s the philosophy under which the trio operates.
“I don’t think it was deliberate, the indie pop thing,” Rocwell said. “It became what it became.”
Twenty One Pilots, NONONO, Hunter Hunted
The Fox Theater
May 10, 2014