NONONO: ‘You Have To Sing Something That You Really Feel’

Nordic trio are here to prove there’s NONONO limit to their pristine pop.

NONONO are fast cementing their role as assumed leaders of a Nordic music invasion. It’s no wonder they’ve experienced recent success in their destined-for-festival-fields summer track ‘Pumpin’ Blood’ and the stomping eeriness of ‘Like the Wind’. Speaking from New York however, Stina Wäppling reveals that these things don’t come out of thin air.



“At the same time that I got into school, I also got signed as a songwriter”, Wäppling explains. “I also got to work with different producers, and one pair was Astma & Rocwell. Whenever I was home from England we would write music and just sit together, just because we liked making music. The music was there first, we then just thought we should put all of our energy into one project.”

Having passion doesn’t always translate to contrived, unrelenting opportunism. Aspiring, pipe-dreaming 16 year olds often possess such. But NONONO are about being true to the self and for the Swedish band that means letting instincts take over.

The development of the name NONONO was as much as about loving what they were doing as it was hating some of the stuff that was going on around them. It conjures up the image of a bratty child, mid-tantrum. “It had to do with [Astma & Rocwel] saying ‘no’ to certain music projects so that they could do things that they really wanted to do. It sounds negative but for us it’s a positive.”

A sense of defiance doesn’t crop up in the name alone; you can hear it clearly in their music too. The quality and amount of pop music that’s coming out of Nordic countries seems exponential. Everyone and their cousin knows Icona Pop since they steamrolled through the charts with ‘I Love It’ - and then you’ve MØ, Elliphant, Kate Boy, goodness knows how many others. “We don’t really analyse the music that we do before we do it. It’s not like we go into the music asking ‘is it so right now?’” Stina stresses.

There’s no real reason to doubt this sentiment but there’s a niggling feeling that there’s something contrived by the seemingly sudden surge of music of this region into the traditionally more competitive climate of the UK. “Maybe you inspire and give each other energy. But it’s not really like a big party in Sweden with female pop ladies hanging out.” She continues. “But it’s obviously something that the market wants. Maybe it’s something that hasn’t been there before - so there’s a need for people to hear something new.”

When did pop music get ‘cool’ in such relative terms? Why was it so readily assumed by the notoriously self-aggrandising music crowd - the crowd that persistently and patronisingly tweet ‘this is a good pop track’ or ‘they make good pop music’, followed by a virtual pat on the back. “I think the importance of it is you have to be singing about something that you really feel and mean. I guess with Icona Pop and us, it’s not someone else writing the lyrics. So if you really communicate a true feeling, other people can feel it. Other pop music can be good as well – but it’s about writing about your own experience and your own feelings. I think that’s what makes it a bit more acceptable for the indie crowd.”

What should NONONO sound like to the audience? “It’s hard because our album is very diverse.” She expands, “There’s happy songs like ‘Pumpin’ Blood’ but there’s a lot of darkness too. It goes in a lot of directions. It’s the meeting between something that’s really unpolished and something that is polished.” Unpolished because of Stina’s instinct for tapping into our wayward intuitions and feelings, polished because of the refined production duo that are the skeleton of the project.

With two singles released, their debut album thankfully isn’t far off. “We think we should be done in September and for it to be released at the beginning of October.” At the very least, what should be expected is an album that’s a sonic representation of the ethos of the band: ‘making active choices by doing things you really want to do’. That’s NONONO defined.



Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.