With their debut studio album Loopified released last year, Dirty Loops are not just known as the guys who scored big time over a Lady Gaga cover. The Swedish trio of Jonah Nilsson on vocals and keyboards, Henrik Linder on bass and Aron Mellergardh on drums are celebrated for taking pop songs and flipping them inside out with their arrangements (Justin Bieber's Baby, Adele's Rolling in the Deep and Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back). However, the young band aspires to be more than that, and that starts with a focus on the Asian market — as well as taking cues from Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.
According to Linder, at least. Speaking with me over the phone from Taipei last week, the band's in the middle of a massive tour spanning more than nine countries as the supporting act for Maroon 5. Third time's the charm for them, who were in town twice before — supporting David Foster as well as performing at the Singapore International Jazz Festival. Back to play an hour-long set, they'll bring their high octane entertainment to the Grand Prix stage. Looking at their track record of genre-bending sounds, make sure you expect the unexpected.
It's been almost a year since you've released your debut album. What's been the biggest learning curve so far?
Performing live is where I think I've learned the most. We've been the supporting act for Maroon 5 and learned a lot from watching them on stage and playing in front of big crowds. The way Adam Levine talks to the crowd using his body language...it's really inspiring.
Dirty Loops once said that you're all about pushing limits. How do you do this?
We try to outdo ourselves when we're live by arranging songs in different ways than before. Pushing yourself is mostly trying to do new things all the time and not repeating.
What can we expect from your next album?
We're still writing it as we're touring. So we're writing on long plane rides on our computers, and a little bit when we're home. We don't know exactly when it's going to be out, but it should be sometime next year.
How self-critical is Dirty Loops?
Very. We threw away a great number of songs (from the first album) that didn't make it. But we have a good vibe in the band so we can tell each other what we don't like, and nobody gets offended. We're honest to each other without stepping on our toes. I've known Jonah for 20 years, and Aron for 15 — I know all their secrets.
The three of you come from a classical background. What did you listen to when you were growing up?
Basically I listened to what my parents played, a little bit of Euro disco till I was seven or eight. After that I was into pop rock bands such as Simple Plan, and some jazz and fusion music. I've been into a lot of different things. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a musician, so I just kept on going with that.
What's on your playlist recently?
I like Brad Mehldau and his classical stuff. I think he has unique sense of harmony and a great feel to him. I just get happy when I listen to him.
You've done a lot of covers of famous pop songs. What's been your approach to planning which song to cover?
We never really planned much as a band. One of us will hear the song, and see how we can work and play around it. Everything we do has been kind of playful.
What has been the reaction from the musicians you've covered so far?
We had feedback from Avicii when we covered Wake Me Up. Justin Bieber and Adele did not reach out unfortunately [laughs].
If you could have one artist cover your single Hit Me, who would it be?
It would be cool if Brad Mehldau does it. I doubt he would, but it'll be a huge honour.
Dirty Loops will be performing at the Zone 4 Coyote Stage on 19 September from 8 - 9pm. For more details, click here.