First Aid Kit (band)

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First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit - Ruisrock 2014-07-06.jpg
First Aid Kit at Ruisrock 2014
Background information
Origin Sweden
Years active 2007–present
  • Johanna Söderberg
  • Klara Söderberg
  • Scott Simpson
  • Melvin Duffy
Johanna (left) and Klara Söderberg in Wiesbaden in 2009

First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo. Their 2008 YouTube video cover of the song "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by Fleet Foxes spread their name rapidly on the Internet.[1] After that they have achieved world wide fame with their harmonious singing and country-influenced songs. In 2015 they are accompanied on tours by drummer Scott Simpson and pedal steel guitarist Melvin 'The Tiger' Duffy.

Early history[edit]

Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg are from Enskede, a suburb of Stockholm. Johanna was born on October 31, 1990 and Klara on January 8, 1993.[2] They both attended the English school of Enskede. Their father is a former member of Swedish rock pop band Lolita Pop and had a home studio. Klara had made her first song "Femton mil i min Barbiebil" when she was six.

In 2005 when Klara was 12 a friend introduced her to the band Bright Eyes. This led her to country music stars such as the Carter family. The same year she got a guitar of her own as a Christmas present. Inspired by the American music, she started to write songs of her own in 2006.[3] Johanna had at that time temporarily been fond of German Techno, but soon they were both singing and composing country-folk together.[4]



First Aid Kit (Frankfurt am Main, February 18, 2012)

In spring 2007 the sisters started to upload their songs to the social networking site MySpace. They also sent demo of their song Tangerine to the Swedish radio.[5] It immediately went on air and was listed as one of the best songs of the summer 2007, which led to requests for live performances and even some offers from record companies. Meanwhile, their younger brother attended the same kindergarten as the daughter of Karin Dreijer Andersson, half of Swedish electronic duo The Knife. Their mother asked Dreijer to check out her daughters' songs on MySpace. After doing so, Dreijer said that the duo had to be saved from bad deals with the industry, and soon the girls were signed to Rabid Records, a label co-owned by The Knife with conditions that allowed the duo to have full control over their music and album art. They also started to perform live, but as Klara, who was then 14, was still at school, they could play only during weekends. April 2008 saw the release of the debut EP Drunken Trees in Sweden. The album was a re-recorded collection of songs from their MySpace site originally called "Cross Oceans". Their first appearance in Swedish TV was also that month.

The duo was already quite well known in Sweden by August 2008, when they uploaded a cover version of "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by Fleet Foxes to YouTube. Robin Pecknold, frontman and lead guitarist for Fleet Foxes, noticed it and posted a link to the song on his band's webpage, causing a surge of popularity in the video. It led to First Aid Kit becoming internationally known, and them signing with Wichita Records at the end of 2008. Wichita re-released Drunken Trees on February 23, 2009 as an enhanced EP with "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" added as a bonus track along with some videos. First Aid Kit's first show outside Scandinavia was on November 21, 2008 at Crossing Border Festival. Fleet Foxes also performed, and the duo joined them to sing "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song".

Due to international touring, Johanna quit high school in the autumn of 2008 and Klara never started it.[6] Their father, who had been a teacher of history and religion, took leave and accompanied them on tour, also helping with soundchecks. The duo released their debut album, The Big Black & The Blue, in 2010; the release was followed by an extensive tour (around 100 shows) in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe, including Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.


On the 19th of November, 2009 they managed to get backstage when Monsters of Folk was performing in Stockholm and gave a copy of their first record to Conor Oberst.[7] Nothing was heard of it until after playing a concert in Nashville on October 11, 2010, the duo was approached by Jack White, who requested they record a single for his Third Man Records label. In February 2011 the duo collaborated with Bright Eyes during their performance of "Lua".

In January 2012, the band released their second album, The Lion's Roar, produced by Mike Mogis. The album was critically acclaimed upon release and debuted at number one in Sweden and number 35 in the UK. In support of the album, the band performed the song "Emmylou" on Conan April 2012. In August of that same year, the band performed at the Lollapalooza festival. They also performed at Bestival and the Berlin Festival in September before returning to the United States to play Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2012.

First Aid Kit have performed twice at the Polar Music Prize. In 2011, they performed the song "Dancing Barefoot" for winner Patti Smith, and in 2012 they performed "America" for winner Paul Simon. Their song "The Lion's Roar" was featured in episode 2 of series 4 of Misfits. In the Hearts of Men was featured in episode 21 of season 8 of Bones.

On November 2012 it was announced that First Aid Kit got "Composer of the year" and "Breakthrough of the Year" prizes from the Swedish Music Publishers Association.[8]

The song Emmylou was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as the #10 "Single of the Year" in 2012.[9]


In January 2013 the band toured in Europe with Conor Oberst. The duo was singing backing vocals during the set of Oberst and he was singing with the girls in some songs of their set.

In February 2013 First Aid Kit was awarded the Nordic Music Prize for "Best Nordic 2012 Album".[10][11] They were also awarded four Swedish Grammis awards for 2012 "Artist of the Year", "Songwriter of the Year", "Best Pop of the Year" and "Album of the Year".[12][13]

In June 2013 they performed at Glastonbury festival in the Pyramid stage. In October the band performed Emmylou on The Late Show with David Letterman.[14] This was their second appearance on the show, as they had backed Lykke Li there in November 2011. The same month, the sisters opened for Rodriguez at Radio City Music Hall in New York.[15]

Altogether in 2013 they performed about 30 concerts and appeared at 10 different festivals.


Conor Oberst said in a 2014 interview that he is finishing work on a solo record, with First Aid Kit singing harmonies throughout the LP.[16] The album, titled Upside Down Mountain, was released on 20 May 2014.[17] The duo sings on six tracks of the record.

Following the announcement of their third studio album Stay Gold, that was released on 10 June 2014 through Columbia Records,[18] the band released their first new single "My Silver Lining" on 31 March.[19] On May 6 another song, "Cedar Lane", was released. Both were released only as digital files accompanied with videos in YouTube.

First Aid Kit's eighth US and Canada tour, of which some of the concerts were already sold out in the beginning of March, started in May 2014.[20]

On June 12 they performed again on The Late Show with David Letterman, this time singing "My Silver Lining".[21]

During summer 2014 they toured having several concerts and festivals in Europe, Japan and Australia. On August 9 when they and Conor Oberst were both at Haldern Pop Festival in Germany, the duo was also singing backing vocals on five songs of the Conor Oberst's set.

On July 10 Billboard listed "My Silver Lining" as one of the ten best songs of 2014 (so far) in their Mid-Year Music 2014 list.[22]

On July 29 Jenny Lewis released her album The Voyager where Johanna and Klara make a contribution to the title track.[23]

In August Hard Knocks featured "My Silver Lining" in episode 3 of the Atlanta Falcons' season.

At the end of August the duo received a gold record in Sweden for the Stay Gold album.

During autumn First Aid Kit had a tour in Europe supported by Jo Rose, performing for example in iTunes Festival on September 21 and in the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on September 24, that latter of which was sold out already in mid August. In October 7 they were in the BBC's 6 Music Live show in Maida Vale Studios.

On September 23 they sung "My Silver Lining" in the Later... with Jools Holland show in the BBC Two channel. "Stay Gold" performed at the same occasion was broadcast on the Later show on September 26.

At the end of October it was announced that First Aid Kit's cover of the R.E.M.'s "Walk Unafraid" will be in the soundtrack of the Wild movie.[24] Moreover, their song "Frozen Lake" is in the Swedish film Min Så Kallade Pappa.[25]

First Aid Kit had a largely sold out tour again in the USA in October and November at such venues as New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on October 24, The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on October 29, and The Wiltern in Los Angeles November 12.[26] They were supported by Samantha Crain.

On November 7 it was announced that First Aid Kit had again got the "Composer of the year" prize from the Swedish Music Publishers Association.[27]

On November 11 First Aid Kit performed "Stay Gold" on Conan

In November 24 American Songwriter listed Stay Gold as tenth in their 2014 top 50 album list.[28] On December 1st Paste Magazine listed it as 9th in their top 50 album list and the song "My Silver Lining" as 19th in their top 50 song list.[29] Rolling Stone magazine listed Master Pretender as 35th in their top 50 songs of 2014 list.[30] BBC Radio 6 Music listed 'Stay Gold' album as 3rd in their 2014 album list.[31]

On November 28 10" vinyl single "America" was released as one of the Black Friday record store day releases.[32]

On December 5 an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was aired where First Aid Kit sung "My Silver Lining". This performance was recorded on November 19 in Los Angeles.

The year ended with several concerts in Norway and Finland in December with Jo Rose as support. Both Helsinki concerts were sold out already in September.

In 2014 First Aid Kit had 74 concerts and performed in 18 Festivals. Klara and Johanna were accompanied on tours by drummer Niclas Lindström and pedal steel guitarist Melvin 'The Tiger' Duffy.


2015 started with an eleven concert UK tour in January ending at Hammersmith Apollo and continued in February with 12 concerts in Sweden. In March they return to Australia.

On January 15 a set of Swedish pop music related postage stamps were released in Sweden, one motif being First Aid Kit.[33]

In January First Aid Kit was nominated for the 2015 Brit Awards in the Best International Group category as one of the five nominees. However, the award went to Foo Fighters in the gala on February 25.[34]

On January 17 First Aid Kit won the "Best group of the year" prize in the Swedish Radio P3 Gold Gala.[35]

On January 30 they performed "Master Pretender" on the BBC One's The Graham Norton Show

On February 25 their album Stay Gold was named the 2014 "Album of the Year" at the Swedish Grammis 2015.[36]

They will have about three month break from touring after Australia tour in March and plan to start writing and composing new songs.[37]

They will perform during summer in several festivals, for example Isle of Wight Festival 11-14th June[38] and the 2015 Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY 17-19th July.[39]

After summer festivals they plan to have no bookings for the rest of the 2015 and, as the duo said in the Radcliffe and Maconie interview, "we'll see what happens".



Year Information Peak position Sales Certification
2010 The Big Black and the Blue
  • Release date: 25 January 2010
  • Record label: Wichita
  • Producer: Benkt Söderberg
2012 The Lion's Roar
  • Release date: 18 January 2012
  • Record label: Wichita
  • Producer: Mike Mogis
1 36 55 30 14 19 41 3 76 65 35
2014 Stay Gold
  • Release date: 10 June 2014
  • Record label: Columbia
  • Producer: Mike Mogis
1 9 80 7 10 44 1 37 23 11


Year Information Peak
2008 Drunken Trees
  • Release date: 9 April 2008
  • Record label: Wichita/Rabid
  • Producer: Benkt Söderberg, First Aid Kit
2014 America EP[45][46]
  • Release date:
    28 November 2014 (vinyl)
    13 January 2015 (digital)
  • Record label:Columbia
  • Producer: Mike Mogis, First Aid Kit


Year Single Peak
NED NOR US Triple A[48]
2009 "You're Not Coming Home Tonight"/"Tangerine" Drunken Trees
"Hard Believer"/"Waltz for Richard" The Big Black and the Blue
2010 "I Met Up with the King"
"Ghost Town" (7")
2011 "Universal Soldier" (7") "Universal Soldier" - Single[49][50]
"The Lion's Roar" 22 The Lion's Roar
2012 "Emmylou" 24 20
2014 "My Silver Lining" 38 76[51] 77 22 Stay Gold
"Cedar Lane"
"America" (10") America EP
2015 "Stay Gold" 26 Stay Gold


  1. ^ "Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Cover)". Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Book of friends, Swedish Radio P3, July 9, 2013". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Interview in Under The Radar, Oct. 18, 2010". Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Interview in Mashable, Oct. 16, 2014". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "First Aid Kit at Wichita website in 2009". Retrieved Sep 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "LADYGUNN TV / First Aid Kit Interview". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  7. ^ "May 14, 2014 First Aid Kit at Jo Whiley BBC Radio2, (at 2:30 of the interview)". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Musikförläggarnas pris - Resultat & bilder 2012". Musikförläggarna. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rolling Stone Music: 50 Best Songs of 2012: First Aid Kit, 'Emmylou'". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Nordic Music Prize". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Søstrene vant nordisk albumpris". Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "First Aid Kit Win 4 Grammis!". Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Grammis 2013". Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  14. ^ "IMDb". Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Radio City Music Hall". Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Rolling Stone Online January 31, 2014: Conor Oberst's New Morning: Bright Eyes Hits Nashville for Solo LP". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Conor Oberst announces new album Upside Down Mountain and tour". February 11, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Columbia Records twitter on March 31, 2014". Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  19. ^ "My Silver Lining Single". Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Sony Press Release February 25, 2014: Swedish Duo First Aid Kit Unveils North American Spring Tour". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Sony Music Canada May 14, 2014: First Aid Kit performing song on Letterman June 12". Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  22. ^ "10 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far): Critics' Picks". Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  23. ^ "First Listen: Jenny Lewis, The Voyager". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Wild soundtrack". iTunes. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ny First Aid Kit-låt i Malmros film (Sept 17, 2014)". Göteborgs-Posten. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Swedish folk duo returns to the U.S. for biggest-ever fall headline tour". Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Musikförläggarnas pris - Resultat & bilder". Musikförläggarna. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  28. ^ "American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2014". American Songwriter. Retrieved November 26, 2014. 
  29. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2014". Paste Magazine. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ "50 Best Songs of 2014". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  31. ^ "6 Music's Albums of the Year - 2014". BBC. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  32. ^ "America - First Aid Kit". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Swedish pop exports on postage stamps". Postnord. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  34. ^ "The BRIT Awards winners 2015". 25 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  35. ^ "Årets grupp: First Aid Kit" (in Swedish). 17 January 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "Swedish Grammis 2015: First Aid Kit and Max Martin win big". MBW. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  37. ^ "First Aid Kit interview at Radcliffe and Maconie, BBC Radio 6 (at 10:35)". 23 January 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ a b c "Country Bites News snippets June 9 - June 15, 2014". Country Routes News Blog. 21 June 2014. 
  41. ^ "First Aid Kit Announce New Album 'Stay Gold' And Stream New Single 'My Silver Lining' [Listen]". Contack Music. 
  42. ^ a b "Veckolista Album" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 17 January 2015. To access, user must enter the search (Sök) parameter "First Aid Kit" and then press "Visa" buttons from the resulting album list 
  43. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". BPI Platinum, Gold and Silver Certified Awards. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 January 2015. To access, user must scroll the page down and enter the search parameter "First Aid Kit" and select "Search by: Artist", with the other two set to "All" 
  44. ^ "Guardian Dec 18, 2014: First Aid Kit: ‘We’re not party people – we play board games’". Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  45. ^ "America EP by First Aid Kit". iTunes. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  46. ^ "First Aid Kit :: America (Vinyl 10-inch EP)". Melody Supreme. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  47. ^ "First Aid Kit discography". 
  48. ^ "First Aid Kit- Chart history". 
  49. ^ "Universal Soldier - Single First Aid Kit". 
  50. ^ "FIRST AID KIT - Universal Soldier (7" Vinyl)". 
  51. ^ "ARIA Report 1263". 

External links[edit]