I’m so excited to be speaking to the beautiful Jennifer Åkerman, half of one of my favourite new bands, Bloke & Bird. Best friends since 2010, Jennifer and Lars (or Lorenzo!) put their creative heads together, and the result? A seriously cool sound, inspired by their travel, cultural and personal life experiences.
If you love Indie-pop in all its various forms, you’ll love Bloke & Bird. Taking huge influence from the Californian Indie scene, the duo offer a simple sound but its well and truly enough, driven by vocals, guitar and percussion. Jennifer’s vocals scream sexy rock ‘n’ roll, a perfect contrast to Lars’s multi-instrumental, mellow but rich accompaniment.
Releasing track by track of their debut EP is a genius way of getting their music out there in a personal way, offering listeners the chance to take their time in discovering the Bloke & Bird concept. What I love about the EP so far, is that each track really does have its own identity. I love the chilled vibes of ‘Bon Voyage‘. you can really hear the Californian, easy breezy lifestyle influence behind the track. ‘Animal Style‘ and ‘No Fucking Game‘ bring more depth to the EP, but you can still feel their simplicity throughout, with elements of rock and pop, tearing electric guitar, solid bass lines, catchy choruses.
What I love most about Bloke & Bird though, is that their project was born out of friendship. In their live videos, you can see the chemistry between Jennifer and Lars – its genuine, wholesome and at the end of it all, these guys are just two best friends having a good time doing what they love. And it works. Bring on the rest of that EP. And a UK tour, thanks guys.
Jennifer and I caught up:
Hey Jennifer, welcome to Meander!
Hey! Thank you for having me!
So tell us a little bit about yourself and Lars. Jennifer, you were born in Sweden, Lars was was born in Mexico. How did your paths cross?!
Well, yes Lars was born in Mexico but moved to Sweden when he was just a couple months old. So, Lars is actually his Swedish name, his name at birth was Lorenzo and that’s what I call him! Our paths didn’t cross until much later 🙂
Aha, I see! So, when was Bloke & Bird born?
We met in LA I think… 2010? I was singing in my first band called Bella Tech, and Lorenzo came and saw one of our shows at the Viper Room. Or was it House of Blues? One or the other 😉
Anyway, we started writing music together and instantly had a connection but it wasn’t until maybe 2013 we decided to become a duo.
And boy am I glad you did! The music you’ve released so far, I love. The tracks seem to carry the essence of what you’re all about, like your duo name. It does what it says on the tin. You are what we hear. Mellow but catchy. Would you say that’s pretty accurate?
Thank you! Yes, totally and that’s what we want to hear from people! We have a strong identity and we want that to be heard through our music.
You’ve both had pretty colourful cultural experiences. Jennifer you’ve split your time between LA, NYC and London with your modelling and music career, Lorenzo lived in Sweden for many years and immersed himself in the Swedish music scene. Have your experiences within travel, culture and meeting new people inspired your lyrics and sound?
For sure. I think we mainly get our inspiration from traveling, I definitely do. I need life experience to write lyrics. Musically we get a lot of inspo from California and the US. Even if we would be in Sweden, we would write songs with titles like “New York City” or “Brooklyn Kid”.
What music/artists have specifically inspired you throughout your years in the music industry?
I think it’s a lot of rock (specially guitar riffs) mixed with the California indie band scene and Swedish pop.
Tell us about your debut EP, what can we expect?
Since this is our debut release, we decided to release the songs individually as singles. We wanted to give people the time to discover and get to know us. One thing we’ve definitely learnt is to be patient, I wish we could share all of our music with the world right away, but we just have to take our time with it. But I promise you, they’ll be a lot more to come and you won’t get disappointed 🙂 There’ll still be fun and catchy tunes with some rock n roll!
Don’t take too long, I’m so excited! Though I completely see where you’re coming from, its great a listening to slowly get introduced to your style and versatility as a duo. How is it to perform live as a duo, do you feel exposed, or do you feel really comfortable up on stage? Do you get nervous before shows?
I think the best thing about being a duo is that you become so tight and comfortable with each other. Especially for us as we write the music together. And if one of us fucks up during a song, we know that we have each other’s backs so nobody would even know that we’d slip up! Knowing that calms the nerves 🙂
Who should we be listening to at moment on the Meander playlist?
We love the band Kaleo, they are a great band from Iceland!
Sweet. We want a good night out with music, beer and lights in California. We want to be shown a damn cool time. Where are you taking us?
Venice! Board walk. The Doors cover band, beer and sunshine. My favourite thing!
We’re game! Tell us something about yourselves that not many people know…
Oh there is a lot..! We’ve spent a lot of time together.. Living under the same roof, traveling, studios etc. We have exactly the same humor. We’ve had a lot of good laughs.
What has been your top musical highlights so far in both your careers?
Just finally being able to release music, showing the world who we are and getting awesome feedback from it. That’s all we ever wanted! We’ve also been lucky to feature some of our music in commercial for big companies like Nordstroms. That was fun!
Awesome! If you could perform with any act in the world, who would you pick and why?
Ah good question! I think we both would love to tour with a bands like Black Keys or The Kills. They’re cool duos 🙂
Love Black Keys! What’s coming up for you guys this Summer? More live shows? I hope you have plans to hop across the pond to the UK? We could do with a little Californian sunshine this summer through your music!
Yes that would be amazing! At the moment we’re still in the middle of release the EP but will announce shows on social media during the summer. @blokeandbird