Swedish Post-punks Polyester: “We both really love RuPaul’s Drag Race so that was a constant inspiration”

Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

100% Polyester by Swedish band Polyester is one of the most fun albums we’ve heard so far this year. It’s all over the map musically, but seamlessly brings together post-punk, dance-rock, indie rock with hardcore moments, disco and elements of electronics and pop. We 100% recommend you give it a listen!  Gimmie caught up with Polyester’s Stefan and Hilda. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first discover music? What bands were you obsessed with growing up?

STEFAN: Hi, I’m Stefan. I play guitar, bass, synths and sing background vocals. Watching Elvis and the Beatles on television in the late 60´s was huge for me. I’ve been obsessing over so many bands, but in my formative years I’d say, in short: The Who, The Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix, Bowie, T-Rex, Sparks, ABBA, AC/DC, Stooges, Motörhead, DEVO, Suicide, The Cramps, Ramones, The Damned, Sex Pistols, Generation X and The Gun Club. Then I became an adult and only listened to hip-hop.

HILDA: Hi, I’m Hilda! I really loved indie-pop growing up, so I listened a lot to Swedish indie bands as Broder Daniel and Håkan Hellström.

What’s an album that’s had a big impact on you?

S: Paul´s Boutique by Beastie Boys! It’s so eclectic and fun, not so much fun to producers the Dust Brothers I believe.

H: I don’t listen to albums actually, just good songs.

Who or what inspired you to make your own music? How did you get started? Is Polyester your first band? There’s a connection to Kerosene Kream and Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, right?

H: Polyester started as a project and then we really liked the sound so we just kept making songs for an album!

S: I’ve been in bands writing music since the late 70’s. And yes, Henry Fiats’ Open Sore was one of my bands. 

How did Polyester come together? What influences your sound? Your sound is really eclectic!

S: Hilda recorded in my studio with Kerosene Kream and when I heard her sing her parts in ‘Muzzle Me’ I knew I wanted her to sing on my music, but I was very nervous asking her. 

100% Polyester is one of the coolest albums we’ve heard all year; what’s your favourite thing about the album?

H: Thank you! I really love the artwork, and the whole album! 

S: Thanks a lot! My favourite thing is that I didn’t have to compromise over one single thing on the album.

How long did the writing process take?

S: Hard to say since we recorded it over time when I had Covid-cancellations in the studio. But, the songs usually take me a couple of minutes to write then hours to program the drums and play all the parts, no rehearsals. Enter Hilda and we have a song! Then Daniel de Lange (excellent drummer) is brought in to play some real drums. Sometimes I use both real and programmed drums.

H: Yeah, the writing process went very fast actually! Hmm,

Hilda a.k.a Mona Lisa Stereo, we love your lyrics; what kinds of things were you thinking about when writing this collection of songs? Do you find any reoccurring themes that come up in your words?

H: Thanks!! I would not say that the album is about anything specific. It’s just good songs about things that were fun to write about, haha! It’s not that much thought behind it. It’s just to find a theme that’s fun to write and rhyme on and then it’s more or less done. We both really love RuPaul’s Drag Race so that was a constant inspiration for the lyrics.

We love your vocals; is there anything you do when you’re recording vocals to capture that energy and different emotions in your vocal?

H: Well, thank you!! Haha for me it’s just yelling and screaming as much as possible. 

S: Technically, I use a 1963 AKG C12a and lots of compression (1176).

Your album 100% Polyester was recorded at Stefan’s studio, The Dustward; Stefan what got you interested in recording? What’s the best thing about recording your own music?

S: I’ve been recording on tape machines, Portastudios and such for a long time, so I knew I wanted a studio of my own. Then I got this nice space in Old Town, Stockholm 20 years ago. Best thing, once again, is not having to compromise. It’s a much smoother process when there’s just two egos, I think democracy is great but it seldom works in bands.

What’s one of your fondest memories from recording 100% Polyester?

S: That would be hanging out in the studio with Hilda and Daniel after recording.

H: Yeah, the whole recording was really fun! The making of our two music videos are a good memory as well! The whole thing was fun, fun, fun!

What was the trickiest thing about making the album?

S: Finding a drumbeat to ‘I Would Not Know’, that song is so stupid. But, Daniel nailed it.

H: The trickiest thing for me was to come up with lyrics ideas. I felt like I just wrote the same thing over and over again, but it turned out good!

Do you enjoy writing, recording or playing live the most; what makes it so great?

S: Obviously writing and recording. I love playing live too but I get so nervous sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it. 

H: I really like all of them! But it was so great to be able to record at Dustward Studio so spontaneously!

What’s your favourite track from the album to play? What’s it about? What’s the coolest thing about it?

S: ‘The Has Been’. It started out as a tribute to Hilda´s boyfriend Adam, another excellent drummer, but it took a different turn once the vocals came on. And it ends with the first guitar solo I’ve done in years.

H: – For me it’s Sue me! I mean it’s a catchy song! It’s about being the cream of the crop, the number one grand prix! 

What do you get up to when you’re not making music?

S: I hang out with my wife and our three kids, go to live shows and shoot pool (9-ball)

H: Working, studying and all that.

What’s something that’s exciting you about making music right now?

S: My latest project that I’m doing is with my wife: Shady Lady & the Malefactor. We have released some tracks on digital platforms and Push My Buttons is releasing a 7″ soon, there will definitely be an album out once I get the time to do it. And we have a great live band.  I’ve got music coming out of my every orifice, but now that we’re post-Covid I got a lot of work in the studio again. Bills to pay…

H: Playing with Sticky Baby and Kerosene Kream.

What is next for Polyester?

S: Nothing much since Hilda quit Polyester.

H: Well, since Polyester isn’t active anymore, it’s listening to the album that’s up. 

Polyester’s 100% Polyester album is available via PUSH MY BUTTONS records in Sweden (they also stock our print zine, so if you’re in the that part of the world you can pick one up in store). Follow @thedustward.