At this year’s FLOW FESTIVAL HELSINKI we met Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder, the heads of Swedish dreampop group KORALLREVEN. After a great show at the festival we chilled backstage and talked about Samoa, escapism, dreamy music, the band’s influences and a lot more. Enjoy

Photo by Mandy Wagner / Hokus Pokus

What KORALLREVEN are inspired by

First we wanted to know how Daniel and Marcus would describe the music they are doing. Their first full length album An Album By Korallreven was inspired by a lot of influences and genres. Most fitting would be to call it dreamy pop music with a laid-back chilling atmosphere. What KORALLREVEN wanted to create is something new. Something that is without any doubt influenced by the dance and pop music of the late 80s and early 90s, but without any thoughts of nostalgia. The idea of KORALLREVEN was born when singer Marcus came back his stay on the Samoan islands during a world trip. He met Daniel – who is also a part of THE RADIO DEPT. and they tried to convert the atmosphere of Samoa and its lifestyle into music. And so they did – with a quite satisfying result. Although Marcus never did any music before KORALLREVEN he knew what the project should be about from the very beginning on: a very unique atmosphere.
Further both told that even though their music is influenced by the sounds of the late 80s and early 90s, they are absolutely not into nostalgia at all. They just like the sounds and use them to build up their very individual soundscapes.

Bringing it on stage

But was it difficult to transfer the bedroom-project on stage and make a live-show out of it? The songs are dreamy and laid-back and not as forward driven than most people like to listen at live shows. In fact this was something not too easy. KORALLREVEN live will only work when the atmosphere is great and when people are ready to dive into soundspheres and prepare themselves to dream away. By now they have not played that many live shows (only about 25) but as we have seen at FLOW FESTIVAL it definitely works out well. This might have been because they brought in some danceable new songs. Maybe also because of their live-guitarist, a second singer and the great visuals. We definitely like it a lot and the completely packed Black Tent liked it too. One thing is for sure: the duo cares a lot about doing a great live-show which builds up a warm atmosphere that makes people dream away.

Escapism vs. coping

Dreaming away is another thing we talked about. How important is escapism in the music and in the understanding of KORALLREVEN, was what we wanted to know. A topic Marcus and Daniel obviously already talked about a lot in the last years. So there are two different kinds of answers. On the one hand music is always a kind of escapism, of diving into a world that is different from the world you use to live in. On the other hand music is definitely not only about escaping, but also about facing things and coping with situations and/or problems. In other words: music is about dreaming away from real life and coping with it. About running away from reality and facing it. Maybe about changing perspectives, finding new strength to face and cope with problems and everyday and not-so-everyday situations? That should describe the core of our conversation pretty well.

hope, passion and the future

And this was the point we dived into another question – what do “hope” and “passion” stand for for KORALLREVEN? “It may sound cheesy, but these are the things that keep us moving on. These are things that surely keep everyone moving on.” Important concepts for these two musicians who definitely live the concept of nothing but hope and passion.
Great guys, great music, great talk! Currently a new album gets written by Daniel and Marcus and as we could experience at their live-show the songs will be more beat-driven and danceable, but still dreamy and with the typical KORALLREVEN sound. Just a bit more four to the floor. So put out your dancing shoes and prepare for some dreamy dances with your eyes closed. As said Daniel is also a part of THE RADIO DEPT. – we hope that he will have enough time for KORALLREVEN tough. But as Marcus told us “they (THE RADIO DEPT.) are really slow”, so we are looking forward to what the future brings for KORALLREVEN – as they do, too.


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dreampop / chillwave
from Sweden


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