Discovery: Alpaca Sports


Andreas Jonsson doesn’t do ironic. The Gothenburg, Sweden-based musician, who fronts a rotating cast of musicians known as Alpaca Sports, shows up for our meeting in a sweater and big smile. Despite the early hour, and being ahead of his first coffee of the morning, that smile only widens with each question. So magnetic is his charm that when he describes his songs as mini-love letters (with artwork, lyrics, and music all working towards a common theme) it’s impossible not to nod in agreement. Given the nature of his musical output—songs featuring lithe pop hooks and tales of love’s labors both lost and won—it’s a comforting case of the art matching the artist.

We joined Jonsson at a Gothenburg café to get to get to know Alpaca Sports. Along the way, he told us about the softer side of life, inspiring the next generation of Swedish pop stars, and the movies that he can’t live without. He also provided us with the exclusive premiere stream of  “A Million Times (Invisible Twin Remix).” Alpaca Sports’ debut full-length, Sealed With a Kiss, will be released later this year.

AGE: 29


THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: I work in the same neighborhood that I grew up in. I go back to the place where I went to school. I work in a preschool. I feel happy to go to work every day. It’s a privilege. The kids are one to five years old. They’re so full of energy and pure and honest. We play a lot of music together. We have a nice indie pop generation coming up in the eastern part of Gothenburg. Give it 15 years; we’ll take over the world.

FINDING HIS BAND’S SPIRIT ANIMAL: It’s like Mowgli with the wolves. I had the same experience in South America with alpacas. Nah, I was with our original bass player. I think we were drinking wine and thinking about a band name. He had an alpaca sweater. There’s something about the name. I’ve always been fascinated by South America.

FLYING SOUTH: I’ve never been more nervous in my whole life than I was before I played a show in Peru. I was playing solo for the very first time. I thought I was going to die. I was so far away from home! [laughs] From the beginning, when the festival day was being organized, I thought it was going to be an acoustic set in a small venue. But I realized there was something more coming when I was told I was headlining the festival as Alpaca Sports. [laughs] The day before, we went into Machu Picchu. We were sitting having a coffee and I got a text from the organizer, “Do you want to borrow a Peruvian band onstage?” But I ended up performing solo. It was crazy. I was so amazed by it. People knew my songs.

YOU AWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST: Me and [collaborator Carl Jirestedt], we were maybe 15 or 16. Carl’s dad had his guitar, and we’d sit in his house and play. Immediately we started doing our own songs, so we were never doing covers and stuff. We’d look at pictures in magazines, how they did the chords. Carl’s dad, he taught us some chords as well, in the beginning. We had this old Casio. We had a drum machine. We’d just play [imitates a drum machine] and record it on this tape recorder… It was quite many years after, when we started our first proper band. There was sort of a punky feeling to the pop music back then, because we didn’t know how to play. We had high ambitions. It was dangerous. But we had a lot of fun, and we played some shows in Gothenburg. We learned a lot from it.


THIS CHARMING MAN: I can’t even remember when I started loving pop. I think it was when I heard “This Charming Man” by The Smiths for the very first time. Something happened with me at that point. I don’t know what it was. The magic of pop happened… I’m a Johnny Marr fan. He’s what I like most about The Smiths. He’s such an icon. “Hand in Glove,” they match each other really good. I think you can hear a little bit in Alpaca Sports as well. It’s something over our heads while we do the music.

FINDING THAT FEELING: The feeling of Alpaca Sports for me—it’s hard to find the words in Swedish, so in English it’s even harder! It’s an honest feeling. An innocent feeling. That’s how I see the music, in a way. I wanted to keep the pure feelings. I don’t want to complicate it too much. I think “alpaca” says it all. The soft wool. Everything should be like with cuddling with an alpaca.

ON HIS FIRST LOVE: I think I was nine years old. I had a crush on this girl in my class. [laughs] I think I’ll leave the name out. Is it hot in here? Yeah. Every song is basically about that crush.

ON HIS FIRST FULL-LENGTH: We have an album in the making now that’s called Sealed With a Kiss. I got the name from watching an old British movie from the ’60s called Melody. It was called Sealed With a Loving Kiss in England when it was released. It’s about a boy and a girl, about 10 years old. They fall in love. They convince their parents they want to get married right away. That says quite a lot about the name of the album.

KEEPIN’ THAT LOVING FEELING: I like to romanticize things. I end up watching a lot of cheesy romantic movies on my own. I’m an addict.

CINEMA-WORTHY ROMANCE: One movie I’ve always loved and I could see over and over again is Bridges of Madison County. I also like Cinema Paradiso. That’s also a sweet movie. I watch cheesy movies as well. Well, maybe not the super cheesy ones. It’s nice when they have an honest feeling to them. If they make you feel something they can be as cheesy as they want.