The Sound of Arrows

Electronica act The Sound Of Arrows make the kind of filmic music that has plenty of people knocking at their door. Two Swedes, Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm, make up the band behind Into The Clouds which was of the most downloaded songs in the UK a couple of years ago. You might also have caught M.A.G.I.C. another slice of their lovely, dreamy synth-pop, in a Mitsubishi ad, or heard some of the remixes they’ve done for Lady Gaga or Nicole Sherzinger. Their debut album is Voyage, and they won an award for their beautiful music video for M.A.G.I.C. .

We grabbed the chance for a chat with them shortly before they performed with Visitors and Fear Of Tigers at an experimental mash-up at 93 Feet East in London, and found out all about buying synths online, breaking synths on stage and the importance of finding the perfect sound.

Gävle, Sweden
Geffen, Labrador, Neon Gold, Skies Above

Swirling dream pop

Touring is a great opportunity for them to indulge in their passion for buying synths, and they get into some weird and funny situations, almost like blind dating!

The gigs we’ve been doing so far have been a lot about concentrating on the songs, but people who come to our gigs in the future hopefully will have heard our album we’ll be able to experiment a bit more and do weirder renditions of songs but sometimes with an act you don’t really know, you want a trip down just what they’re about and just good presentation of the songs.

Ah yes, those songs: glorious shimmery, swirling things that seem to come from somewhere else altogether.

That was our aim really, to make a filmic, dreamy pop album that’s just sort of constantly swirling, there’s just movement. It’s not a very compressed album, if you look at the waveform and compare it to other pop albums of today it’s very dynamic, it grows and flows and that’s what we wanted to achieve.

We wanted people, when they listen to our music, to this album at least, to be transported to another world, which sounds a bit pretentious but that was the idea, that was the goal, that was what we set out to do with these kind of filmic scenes and filmic vibes, you want people to look at the booklet and then imagine this world when they listen to it.

Of course, there was an actual film made to accompany M.A.G.I.C, which won Best International Music Video at the Musiclip Festival last year. The video has had 1.5 million views and tells a poignant story.

It features two children waking up in their environment, their normal environment but all their parents and everyone else in the world has gone. And they encounter mystical beings. But it just dawned on me the other day it’s kind of funny that we’ve got four music videos and in our world, and in the music videos, either it’s just us or there’s kids.

Stefan says that roughly 90% of the album involved analog synths, and they hunt down rarities.

We’ve spent almost every dime we’ve ever made on the band, every tour we’ve done we’ve just invested in new synths, so it’s an ever-growing collection.

It includes a Minimoog, a Korg MS-20, a Juno-60 and a Juno-6, an Omnichord, a Roland SH-1000. There’s also an Elektron Sid Station, though that is coming into its own on the newer material.

Their most recent video for Wonders is another visual feast.

To be fair some of our synths like the Juno and a couple of other things, you could probably recreate what we’ve done with them digitally. But there are some synths that are just irreplaceable, like the Yamaha SK20 which is absolutely my favourite. It’s the synth we’ve used the most and that has such a unique sound, there’s something about it, you cannot get that sound with a computer.

The Arrows’ inspirations are a fascinating mix, from rap to Britpop, especially Damon Albarn’s work. Not forgetting some of the synth greats like Vangelis. Stefan covets his monster Yamaha CS-80 synth!

And Stefan has some words of encouragement for anyone starting out in music - sampling is the way to go.

The band joke around about how they are going to approach the next album, but one thing’s for sure, it’ll have a new vibe, and they may produce for other people too.

We’re such big fans of music in general, very big music consumers. You want to be able to do a lot of different kinds of music. And now we’ve done this sort of album and actually I really want to do an R&B type of thing. Not for us but maybe produced for someone else. Because we’ve done four to the floor now, a lot, and it’s a lot of dance beats but I kind of wanna groove a bit more for whatever we do next.