Beauty And The Beat: First Aid Kit Is On A “Salad Tour” Of America. The Sister Duo Talks Health And Beauty Tips From Life On The Road
Put two young sisters on the tour with road-warrior musicians like Jack White, and the potential for Lindsay Lohan-style implosions abound. But for Johanna and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit, the neo-folk act from Stockholm, Sweden, the goal is less about the hard-living rock ‘n’ roll fantasy and more about creating beautiful, honest music. On their first two albums (the second of which came out earlier this year), the band displays their knack for quiet-but-moving tunes, which they sell convincingly with an onstage style that favors perfectly trimmed bangs and loose, flowing maxi dresses. But your average retro-obsessed girl group these Scandinavians are not. In the midst of a cross-country tour that will take them to Coachella next week (those of you not headed to Indio can watch them make their U.S. television debut on Conan on April 16), older sister Johanna spoke with Style.com about taking advice from Lykke Li, steering clear of lipstick, and why even rockers fight over clothes with their sisters.
The band’s laid-back style goes perfectly with your neo-folk sound. Is that intentional?
I think it goes hand in hand. We definitely planned to look the way we sound. We’re obsessed with sixties and seventies music, and it’s a natural thing to get into. We’ve had all kinds of styles, [but when] we discovered this music, we got interested in some of the clothing.
Does wearing a caftan onstage help you get into the right mind-set?
I don’t know—I never thought about that. For us, it’s important that what we wear is comfortable and it feels not too dressed up, that it’s bohemian, everyday stuff. We don’t like when [our outfits are] buttoned up, uptight. To be free is very important.
Be honest: Do you share clothing with your sister?
Yes! We can pack a lot more because we know we can wear it [twice as often]. But it’s also a big problem, because we fight over who gets to wear what. We usually try to buy matching outfits, so that we don’t fight over them. [But] we’re kind of a bit scared of going overboard with the matching-outfits thing—it’s kind of creepy, you know what I mean? So we try to find matching outfits, but not identical. We always discuss it, because we have to look good together. It can be kind of a stressful five minutes before the show if we start fighting. I guess it depends on the mood, if you want to wear something more extreme or basic. We fight about that sometimes, too!
You both have amazing long, hippie hair. Do you secretly use a ton of product to get it to look so natural?
People always ask us what product we use in our hair, [but] we don’t really use anything in particular. We just want to look natural so we don’t do that much. Klara, she never touches it. I don’t know how she manages. [But] she has bangs, so they’re really high-maintenance—she usually has to cut them herself. That’s always a problem.
Are you as hands-off with the rest of your beauty routine as you are with your hair?
Lip gloss we can’t really wear, because our hair always gets stuck in it! But dry shampoo is the number one thing that we always have with us. We’ve heard that Victoria’s Secret has the best one, called So Sexy. Our friend in a band said it’s the best one.
What’s been the best advice you’ve gotten from another musician?
Don’t do drugs! [Laughs.] That was Lykke Li. Or be active and take walks and don’t just sit in your car all the time, or don’t just lie on the bed in the hotel room—get out and see stuff. That was from [singer/songwriter] Bill Callahan. He would wake up an hour before he had to leave the hotel and walk. Taking a walk is a good way to also be a tourist and explore a little bit.
So, have you followed Lykke Li’s advice?
We try to be really healthy. We don’t drink and right now it’s “the salad tour.” In America there’s so much cheese and unhealthy foods so we have to be harsh with ourselves and be like, “I can only eat salad.” We cannot drink soda and Klara is allergic to gluten, so it’s really hard. But it makes all the difference. If we go to a gas station, we try to buy nuts or fruits or water. When you’re on the road and go into a gas station, it’s so easy to fall into the temptation of buying a chocolate snack. You have to be very, very focused and say, “No, I can’t eat that,” and just go for the nuts. They keep you full.
Photo: Neil Krug