What are your names?
Therese Karlsson & Tim Spelman
Can you tell us the story behind the name ‘Tiny Fighter’?
When I was first writing for this project I had an image of a microscopic little warrior, like a tiny little toy soldier. Not in any sense of domination or aggression, but rather as a protector, a tiny fighter. I’ve always been fond of a good underdog metaphor for some reason. Perhaps because I am no good at boasting! Guess I prefer understatement to shouting, something more introverted perhaps. And to me the name sounded good. It stuck.
How would you categorize your genre of music?
I’m the worse person to ask! Pathologically lacking in objectivity I’d argue! If pushed, I’d say 90s driving songs. Or that slightly ominous-though-building-to-epic wig-outs you typically find at around the three-quarter mark of any good sci-fi film. I appreciate that these aren’t necessarily the types of genres that lend themselves to an easy, drop-down menu. In my defense, I did warn you I wasn’t any good at this!
Give us a little bio about you as a duo and as individuals.
I met Therese soon after relocating to Stockholm from Melbourne. I had a whole swag of songs but needed a singer and after a very poor attempt at posting a wanted ad in Swedish (despite not speaking the language at all) Therese contacted me and I knew instantly that she was the one. Staggered she was not already in a band – can sing, can play, can write, can perform. I was just extremely fortunate I guess.
Are you a signed to a label?
No. We’ve just pushing all this around by our good selves at present. But that’s entirely to be expected when starting out. From a record label’s perspective, it would seem prudent that a band demonstrate some longevity and real sustainable artistry – and that takes time. Of course, we are always interested in working with people who know a lot more about the industry then ourselves!
Can you tell us about your new single “New Century”?
It’s basically a driving song in form and a lament for chances loss in content. Which doesn’t sound like they should go together! I guess even bittersweet lyrical themes can be toe-tapping. I mean country music has created an industry out of this right? That probably explains the pedal steel in the song. I hadn’t thought of that!
What was the writing and recording process like for this song?
Really easy. Surprisingly easy. Suspiciously easy. Normally the entire composition and recording process is such a goddamn awful protracted mess that I’m constantly amazed we end up with any product. But that’s different here. I think the difference is Therese. She is a natural songwriter with great clarity when it comes to both structuring a composition and executing it in the recording space.
If you had to describe the song in two words…
Can we expect a EP or album anytime soon?
Plan is to test the water with a couple of singles first and see what people think. And depending upon the reception we are looking first at a proper release later in the year – whether a long-player or EP we’re not sure.
If so can you tease us with any information on it?
There is already a teaser up on Soundcloud. That’s all we’ll say!
Are you planning on touring in 2018?
If so, where will you be heading?
Europe first – starting with Sweden and our neighbors (Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany). Aiming to cross the equator later in the year back to Australia/New Zealand. And then hopefully US.
What made you get into music?
To be honest, it was soundtracks more than anything else. Film soundtracks. In absence of the traditional access routes such as a cooler elder sibling’s record collection I was largely left to my own devices when it came to discovering music. And that came primarily through film and television, at least initially. I distinctly remember hearing Maurice Jarre’s Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack for the first time, or the supercool opening credits of Ulysses 31, a really underrated French-Japanese animation series. I mean, Greek gods in space! Genius! Anyway, I was taking all my early musical cues from visual media. I think this probably explains why we invest so much effort in to our music videos. Pairing sound and image seems a perfectly natural thing to do I guess!
Who are your influences?
That’s tough. If I was honest with myself and separated out which artists were a direct influence on our sound rather than just bands I really like I would have to say Ingrid Michaelson, Metric, Laleh, the Breeders and of course The Cure.
Where do you draw inspiration to write?
Nowhere specific. It just comes unbidden, often at unusual times. I don’t think many musicians have been able to access inspiration on tap, save a handful of undisputed geniuses. Think I prefer the mechanics of inspiration to remain a little bit of mystery. After all, that’s half the fun!
Where do you see the band in 5 years?
Still making music and cool videos and playing live. And hopefully other people are still interested in us!
When you’re not doing music, what are some of your hobbies?
Since relocating to Stockholm I’d have to say pretending to ski/skate. Coming from a hot country originally, snow and ice have always held a particular exoticism for me. Now that I’m surrounded by the stuff it would be criminal not to learn. Problem is the local Swedish kids are just such naturals on the snow so I’m constantly being put in my place by three-year old’s whipping by me on the slopes. Really puts one in his place!
What would your dream venue to perform at be?
The Forum – a beautiful old state theatre from the 1920s in central Melbourne. Acoustics are amazing, and statues scattered throughout the main auditorium are like some Florentine walled garden. But the best feature is the dark cerulean ceiling pierced by thousands of tiny little lights. It really looks like stars first appearing at twilight, giving the impression you are watching the concert outside – but the best climate-controlled outdoor gig you could imagine! Really special.
If you could collaborate with one UK-based artist or band who/what would it be?
Natasha Khan from Bat for Lashes. Listen to ‘Horse and I’ off the ‘Fur & Gold’ record and you will know why. Has there ever been a better lead song on a debut album?
If you could collaborate with one US artists or band who/what would it be?
Grouper. No argument. She creates perhaps the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. Here understatement, her restraint in composition – these things are actually really difficult to do in practice. Doing less sounds like it should be easier than doing more but it’s not. Just think how difficult it is to write a simple pop song. The economy required is brutal. Grouper could easily be lumped in with any number of other ambient/noise artists. But the difference is she composes with this pop-song economy. And it is never, ever sounds forced. No idea how she does it. So good it almost makes one want to give up trying!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t chase trends! Play the music you enjoy, the music that comes most naturally to you. Because it will always be obvious to anyone else when the emotion is forced or unnatural. And if just one other person enjoys what you create then that is a bonus.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
I’d just recycle the best advice given to me (above) and claim it as our own! There’s nothing like a little bit of trans-generational appropriation of wisdom.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“You’re on in 5 minutes!” – because there is no arguing with time!
When you’re at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Batteries, batteries, batteries, batteries & batteries. Why do they never run out at rehearsal?
Where can new fans find you online?