Peter, Bjorn and John were at a crossroads in 2013. Having just completed what could have been the foundation for their latest record “Breakin’ Point,” the follow-up to 2011’s “Gimme Some,” the band played the songs back and came to a stunning realization.
“It just wasn’t good enough,” bassist Björn Yttling recounts. “[We thought] if we release this, it’s going to be our worst album. So do we want to make our worst album or our best album?“
Three years and four producers later. the band released their most inspiring and uplifting pop opus since 2006’s “Writer’s Block” which featured their breakout single “Young People.”
amNew York had a chance to sit with Yttling to discuss the making of this record, the challenge of working with multiple producers and the day the band almost called it quits.
Every band says things like “this is the best record we ever made,” but the sound on this album does seem to strive for greatness.
We wanted to make a song-driven album where all the songs could stand individually — big pop songs with old-school choruses and interesting structures song by song, we can’t do more than what we did.
Most bands work with one producer. You worked with four. Did it ever mess up the flow?
Yeah, we would have wanted [Icona Pop’s] Patrik [Berger] on all the songs, but since we took a long time to make it, we couldn’t afford to do it. So we brought in different guys [Paul Epworth, Greg Kurstin and Emile Haynie] and they brought in a different sound and method. They each could bring in something distinct to the songs.
Talk to me about making the video for “Dominos,” with human dominos. Where’d that idea come from?
It was a neighbor of mine that [bandmate John Eriksson] ran into who was a video director and he was just like, “I have an idea.” The song itself, lyrically ... we got the chain reaction idea. And then we wanted it to be about how we affect each other in society, how we’re all in the same boat. How if someone falls on one side of the boat, it will affect the other.
I read that making this album made you guys feel like breaking up.
When we played that record the first time, yeah. I mean, it’s easy to fold. And we don’t have to do this. We could pack our [stuff] up and go home. But instead we were like, “let’s get in this and make something fun.”