San Luis Obispo-based psychedelic indie rock band Swede and Skogen have been making music together since 2018. From increased attendance at live shows to their 3,000+ monthly listeners on Spotify, the group has amassed a strong local following over the past three years.
The group consists of bassist Braden Hotra, drummer Riley Ross, Erik Methot on guitar and vocals, and Cody Lambert on synth. They met during their freshman year at Cal Poly while living in the Yakʔitʸutʸu residence halls together.
“Riley was downstairs on the first floor and had the electric drum kit,” Hotra said. “We just started playing around and jamming.”
While the group formed together naturally, their official name, Swede and Skogen, is the brainchild of Methot.
Methot is from Sweden and grew up playing in bands. However, he said that he had been saving the name Swede and Skogen for a project that finally felt right.
‘“Skogen’ means ‘the woods’ in Swedish and I spent a lot of time there when I was younger,” Methot said. “I’d played in a lot of previous bands and that one [Swede and Skogen] I’ve always kind of had in mind once there was a project that was ready for it. This was the band and music that I was like, ‘yeah I’m gonna use this name.’”
The group records and produces their music out of Methot’s bedroom and have experimented with many new sounds and styles while playing together. Taking inspiration from artists like Ringo Starr, Andy Shauf and Elliott Smith, the group said that they don’t have one specific genre that encapsulates their music, but rather that they work to diversify their sound with each new release.
“I think the sound is kind of always changing,” Methot said. “But as of lately, if people listen to the newest record they’ll hear a lot of dream-pop, indie alternative-esque with a little bit of soft rock.”
In terms of writing, Methot writes the majority of the lyrics and said that there are certain songs that develop quicker than others but it is mainly a process of building layers until the track feels complete.
“It comes pretty naturally [writing songs],” Methot said. “That’s the cool thing about everyone. Braden and Riley are awesome musicians so they’re very quick at just picking out where things go, so a lot of songs come from jamming.”
While the band works together in order to create each track, Methot has been spending a large portion of time working on the production side of the music.
“Producing is what I’ve been mostly focusing on lately,” Methot said. “That’s definitely the most difficult aspect of the process…most of my knowledge comes from past experience all through high school as well as college. Playing with other bands, producing, sitting in with sound engineers and sitting in on studios.”
With live music finally being back in business, the band are ready to continue performing and showcasing their new releases.
“People will listen to it and they love it,” Hotra said. “They learn the words, they come out and see us at shows…and it’s just super cool to see everyone into our new music.”
The group said they have plans to play shows around San Luis Obispo throughout the rest of the year and have a show scheduled for Nov. 13. The location is still to be determined.
For more updates on concert dates and new music releases, Swede and Skogen can be found on Instagram @s.k.o.g.e.n and their music on Spotify.
Emily Brower is a journalism major and content writer for KCPR.org.