interview: Stockholm band The Connecting Dots on their sophomore album ‘Treasures in the Valley’

"We like the idea of not only releasing songs that are meant for instant satisfaction. Listening to an album, and giving it time to grow, the fourth song on the B-side might end up being your absolute favourite."
21 November 2022

By Vanessa B

Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, The Connecting Dots is an up-and-coming band that likes to make albums. We recently caught up with the divergent duo behind it all, consisting of singer Helena Sundstrom and guitarist Johan Borg, for some quickfire questions on their second studio album Treasures In The Valley. The pair worked together on various musical projects over the years before fusing their diverse influences to form this more ambitious project in late 2020. With influences ranging from Blondie, Beach House, Chromatics, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Eurythmics and Kate Bush along with other indie and pop from the 70s, 80s, 90s and onwards, they describe themselves as a melody-loving alternative pop/rock band.

Their debut album from last year, entitled Oblivious Beat, was written and recorded in just a few weeks, with the intention of retaining a spontaneous quality and avoiding overthinking. The end result garnered a positive critical response, particularly in the USA, South America, Canada, France, Great Britain and Germany, and soon led to the band signing a deal with London-based company OML, providing music for commercials as well as Netflix and other production companies. The album’s stand-alone single Dream Lover, became a summer hit in 2021. An inability to tour as a result of the pandemic kept the band busy in the studio, which led to this second album, released on vinyl and streaming in September.

Treasures In The Valley is a departure from the first album, with bigger choruses and more diversity in tempos and volumes, featuring electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and synthesizers like the Roland Juno-106. All in all, the album showcases an edgier, rougher aspect of what they can do, while maintaining their signature blend of wistful vocals, philosophical lyrics, refreshing guitar lines, and analogue synths, in a very palatable alt-pop package.

“If we were into clichés we would say that this is closer to how we sound live… But it’s really all about developing and trying to not repeat what is already done.

The Connecting Dots

A few album highlights include: the bittersweet, 80-esque chorus on Invisible Traces, the Spanish flourishes on the guitar ballad Days of Wonder, and the super cool vibe of the rock-heavy crowd-pleaser Move On.

Listen to the album below and read on for our interview with Helena and Johan.

How would you describe your sound to people who haven’t heard it before?

Someone described The Connecting Dots as “atmospheric syntheseizers, hooky guitars, and the singing is a piece of heaven…” Not bad, huh?

What did your writing process look like on this album, and how did it differ for different songs?

Compared to our debut album, which was written and recorded in just a couple of weeks, we put a lot more time into this one. Usually it’s the other way around! That said, most of the songs still came out quite quickly as they often do. The opening track “The Liquor On Your Lips” was an attempt to do something opposite to our previous recordings with its different rhythms and slightly odd chord progression.

What are your thoughts on releasing albums in today’s streaming age? What in particular motivates you to take this route?

We like the idea of not only releasing songs that are meant for instant satisfaction. Listening to an album, and giving it time to grow, the fourth song on the B-side might end up being your absolute favourite. We are also fans of vinyl albums and creating something of value in these times of digital volatility.

What are your favourite albums of all time?

Big Star “Radio City”, The Clash “London Calling”, Cowboy Junkies “The Caution Horses”, Kate Bush “The Kick Inside”, Depeche Mode “Black Celebration”. (Johan)

David Bowie “Hunky Dory”, Patti Smith “Horses”, Nico “Chelsea Girl”, Bright Eyes “Fevers and Mirrors” and the self-titled debut by Martha Wainwright. (Helena)

What kind of films can you imagine your music being part of the soundtrack to?

Maybe something like “Donnie Darko”… A soundtrack that contains some real top tunes!

What song would you say is your best work so far?

“Racing With The Moon” and “Days Of Wonder” from the new album and “Cairo, I’m Leaving You Now” and “No Rules” from the first. (Johan)

I’d say “Days of Wonder” and “So Beau Monde”. (Helena)

Follow The Connecting Dots’ journey via their socials and streaming platforms linked below: