Peter Bjorn and John are a Swedish indie pop/rock band, formed in Stockholm in 1999 and named after the first names of the band's members: Peter Morén (vocals, guitar and harmonica), Björn Yttling (bass guitar, keyboards and vocals) and John Eriksson, known in his solo work as Hortlax Cobra (drums, percussion and vocals). Yttling also worked as producer for the band's first four albums.
They are best known for the 2006 single "Young Folks", which featured Victoria Bergsman, formerly of The Concretes, and was a top 20 hit in the UK Singles Chart, as well as being featured in football video game FIFA 08, the singing game Lips, as the school project in the film Bandslam, as the opening track in the pilot episode of Gossip Girl and the theme tune to British Television adverts for Homebase store and Air New Zealand "Safety Safari" surfing video. It was also named NME's second-best track of 2006, beaten by "Over and Over" by Hot Chip. In Australia it was voted number 16 in the annual Triple J Hottest 100 for 2006.
Morén and Yttling began playing music with each other while in school. They shared an interest in bands such as The Stone Roses and Ride. They are influenced by, but not interested in replicating, classic '60s baroque pop, power pop and new wave. Their first band disbanded after they moved to Stockholm, where they met Eriksson in 1999 to form Peter, Björn and John. Their first gig was an unsuccessful one aboard a boat in Stockholm. Their expectations were not high from the start, as they "just wanted to make good music for [their] own amusement". Lars Skoglund of the band Laakso has filled in for the band on drums and played bongos during some live shows.
First years: 2001–2005
After releasing the Forbidden Chords EP and a pair of singles ("Failing and Passing" and "I Don't Know What I Want Us to Do"), the band released its self-titled first album in 2002 on the tiny Beat That! label. After more shows, more EPs (People They Know, 100m of Hurdles), and another single ("See Through"), the group jumped to the Planekonomi label in 2004 and released the Beats, Traps and Backgrounds EP. It was soon followed by the 2004 album Falling Out, which was picked up for American release by Hidden Adenda in late 2005.
Mainstream success: 2006–present
The band's third album, Writer's Block (2006), followed a year later and became a minor international hit. The video to their song "Young Folks" was animated and directed by Ted Malmros from Shout Out Louds.
After completing various tours in support of Writer's Block, the band focused on other projects before coming together to record and release a largely instrumental album, Seaside Rock, in the autumn of 2008. Living Thing, the band's darker, more experimental fourth full-length album, was released several months later in early 2009. Peter, Bjorn and John played Lollapalooza 2009 in Chicago. In 2011, Peter Bjorn and John returned to their melodic pop roots with the decidedly more accessible Gimme Some. The band also opened up for Depeche Mode during their Tour of the Universe. Gimme Some's second single "Second Chance" is heard prominently in advertising for the American light beer Bud Light and as the theme song for the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls.
The three band members are also founding members of the Swedish artist collective and record label INGRID. The band soon revealed that work had commenced on their seventh album, but were hit by creative setbacks. In April 2015, Peter Bjorn and John released their first new music in four years with one-off single "High Up (Take Me to the Top)" on INGRID Volym 2, a Record Store Day exclusive double-LP of which there are only 500 copies. In July of the same year, the band debuted two new songs on NPR, before officially announcing forthcoming LP Breakin' Point much later on March 11, 2016, along with promotional single "What You Talking About." Rolling Stone said of the single: "The band also unveiled the album's first single "What You Talking About?," an infectious slice of synth-heavy indie pop." The album is set to be released in June 2016. The album's first lead single (bearing the same name as the album), "Breakin' Point" was released on March 24, 2016 following being premiered by Zane Lowe on Apple's Beats 1 Radio as the World Record.
Collaborations and solo work
Peter, Bjorn and John also collaborated with Canadian-born Actor and Hip Hop star Drake on his 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone, on the song "Let's Call It Off." Many rappers like Wale, GZA and 88 Keys collaborated on Re-Living Thing, a remix of Living Thing, released on 8 September 2009 by Mick Boogie.
Morén has released three solo albums. On 8 April 2008 he released a solo album in English, The Last Tycoon on the Wichita Recordings and Quarterstick Records labels. In 2010, he released a solo album in Swedish, I Spåren Av Tåren. Most recently he released the more political Pyramiden, influenced by modern indie, new wave, and the formation of the artistic collective INGRID, of which he is a founding member.
Björn Yttling has previously worked on jazz music and as a member of INGRID has collaborated in bands such as 'Smile' as well as pursuing his solo work as 'Yttling Jazz'. John Eriksson, having previously released three EPs under the name, has continued as a member of INGRID to work under the name Hortlax Cobra releasing experimental electronic music. His first album, 'Night Shift', was released on the collective's record label in 2012. He is currently reported to be working on his second album, '1984'. He is also a member of the INGRID project Starlight Serenaders.
The group collaborated with producer Claptone, providing vocals on the track "Puppet Theatre". The song is the first single on the album Charmer released October 2015.