Despite having to rush out of a broken-down tour bus just minutes before an interview with the Daily Californian, Stina Wappling, lead singer of Swedish electronic/indie trio NONONO, was optimistic about the future — of both the band and the bus.
“We have a bigger, nicer bus in the end,” Wappling laughed. “So we’re happy!”
The band is currently in the middle of a tour across the United States in support of Twenty One Pilots and Hunter Hunted, making its way to the Bay Area on Saturday at the Fox Theater in Oakland.
Unlike many bands whose members grew up together and began making music at a young age, NONONO formed naturally over a relatively short period of time. While studying psychology at a university in Brighton, a city on the coast of Great Britain, Wappling worked as a songwriter for Warner Bros. Records, the band’s current label. About three-and-a-half years ago, Wappling’s publisher introduced her to the Swedish production duo, Astma & Rocwell. The trio began swapping music back and forth until Wappling finished school and returned to Sweden, where the band finally became a cohesive unit.
Wappling said a common goal of having complete ownership of their music played a large role in the unification of the band members. “(Astma & Rocwell) were tired of producing for others, and they really felt like they wanted to do their own producing projects,” she said. “And I felt like I really wanted to sing my own songs. Our goals just merged into one project and we sort of realized … ‘Oh, I think we’re a band now!’ ”
NONONO’s sound may seem familiar to any listener of indie-pop or electronic dance music. But Wappling’s heartfelt, nearly folksy lyrics, painted onto the pulsing, electronic canvas of Astma & Rocwell’s dance-driven beats, serve as a pleasant surprise, stemmed from an unlikely combination.
“The guys are very skilled, and if you compare it to me, they’re a lot more organized,” Wappling said, describing the band’s musical style. “It’s a mix between very emotionally driven on my part, lyrics and melodies. And on their part, a skilled sound that makes it sound good and comprehensible to the ear.”
The emotional value of each track lies in Wappling’s lyrics, especially in the band’s ethereal single, “Pumpin’ Blood,” where Wappling’s fairy-like voice sings inspirational lines over the electro-driven beats, rounding out the song with an addictive whistling hook. The single has brought the band into the American spotlight, having been featured on the soundtrack for the 2014 film “Endless Love” and performed by Lea Michele on a recent episode of Glee.
“We never dreamed of it happening in the U.S. or the different countries where the song has gotten picked up,” Wappling said, still in awe of the song’s worldwide success. “This is our first real U.S. tour, and touring in a big tour bus all together is really, really great.”
And as NONONO finish off its tour in its brand-new bus, it is coasting down the highway to success, full speed ahead.