Dirty Loops trio a product of Swedish system

Dirty Loops comprise (from left) vocalist and keyboardist Jonah Nilsson, bassist Henrik Linder and drummer Aron Mellergardh.
Dirty Loops comprise (from left) vocalist and keyboardist Jonah Nilsson, bassist Henrik Linder and drummer Aron Mellergardh.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

It is not the water they drink in Sweden that explains why some of the biggest names in the pop and electronic music world now - including Robyn, Alesso, Swedish House Mafia and Avicii - hail from that country.

Swedish pop-funk trio Dirty Loops, who were in Singapore last Saturday to play at the Formula One Grand Prix concerts at the Padang, say it is due to the country's "culture school" system.

The trio add that they are very much a product of their Nordic homeland's music school system, where it is free for every child to study music.

Bassist Henrik Linder, 29, explains: "You have something called a culture school where you start at nine years old and there's no real pressure. If you don't like it, you can quit. It doesn't force people into something.

"A lot of kids pick up a guitar or a horn or whatever they're into at an early age, and that develops into something. That's the reason why Sweden has so many writers, and so many people are into music."

Dirty Loops, who have been touring as the opening act for Maroon 5, also comprise Jonah Nilsson (vocals/keyboards) and Aron Mellergardh (drums).

Nilsson, 27, reveals that he started on the double bass when he was eight, but quipped: " I never got anywhere because the teacher was never any good."

Linder began playing the piano when he was four years old and switched to the bass when he was in culture school. Mellergardh has been on the drums since he was nine.

It further helped the trio that they come from musical families. Says Mellergardh, 28: "For all of us, music has always been in our environment. All our parents were amateur, semi-professional musicians."

About four years ago, they rose to fame with their popular jazz-funk YouTube covers of pop music hits such as Justin Bieber's Baby, Adele's Rolling In The Deep and Lady Gaga's Just Dance.

Meeting "hitman" David Foster took them to the next level. The Canadian music producer, who has been behind many hits including those by Celine Dion and Chaka Khan, introduced the band as part of his David Foster And Friends tour in Singapore in 2012.

It was Dirty Loops' first show in Asia, and Linder admitted to being "really, really nervous".

Since their covers have brought them initial recognition, their original songs, namely Hit Me from their 2014 album Loopified, have found success in countries such as Japan and South Korea.

Touring with an internationally renowned band such as Maroon 5, which headlined the F1 concerts last Saturday, has inspired the trio.

Linder says: "It's nice to see what they say in between songs, and their body language, because they've done so many arena shows and stuff like that, so it's been like going to school.

"We want to get there at some point as well. It's definitely very inspiring, it makes you want to work harder."

Right now, their focus is to create their own material, according to Nilsson, who adds that their first smash hit is coming.

"There's nothing stopping us, but ourselves."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'Dirty Loops trio a product of Swedish system'. Subscribe