While some people will tell you that east London is over, bands like Sälen seem intent on single-handedly proving them wrong. Paul, Simon and Ellie’s alt-pop hit ‘Diseasy’ came accompanied by 2016’s gloopiest video and a hook so infectious it’s no wonder it went viral. Bad decisions never sounded so good.
Are you named after Sweden’s largest alpine ski resort?
Simon: We threw a dart at a map to come up with a name and it landed there. We wanted something that didn’t mean anything.
Ellie: And it looks pretty.
S: Sometimes you can get stuck into having too much of a deep meaning name, like [witheringly] Bring Me The Horizon or something.
Ellie, is it true that you use the word ‘bint’ in Diseasy because your mum came up with it?
E: Yep. My dad cheated on my mum with this woman and my mum called her ‘bint’, like that was just her name. When we were writing Diseasy my mum just kept saying it, so I was like, I’m gonna call someone a bint.
How long did it take you to get clean after the Diseasy video?
E: Oh god, I went to my friend’s show after that and I turned up in double denim with really slicked back hair and everyone was like, ‘Err, are you alright Ellie?’ It took three days to get the oil out of my hair. It was so gross.
Youtube commenters certainly had some things to say about it.
E: They’re so funny. Everyone’s comparing it to Miley Cyrus’s video which I had never honestly seen before. I do get the comparison but no, we did not copy it. Paul: After a while you’ve got to stop reading comments because you get drawn into them.
E: One girl was just like, “lame.” And I was like HOW IS IT LAME?!
You shot The Drwg video on iPhones – was that an elaborate ruse to expense a load of iPhones?
S: We didn’t get to expense them unfortunately. We only had about £150 to do the music video so we got a vintage BMW – Paul’s heavily into his cars – and had a nice day out. Hopefully we’ll have a snake for our new video.
Are you going to be wearing it, Britney-style?
E: Probably not, apparently it costs more to have an extra person on site in case it starts strangling you. I think it’ll be ne though – I touched a wild fox once.
Why have you spelt ‘drwg’ with a W?
E: At rst we were like, oh it kind of looks like a Welsh word, and it turned out it actually is. It’s ‘bad’ in Welsh.
With songs about disease and drugs, is the Sälen masterplan to corner the medical pop market?
S: That’s not a bad idea. We could make a lot of money in medical supplies.
E: My mum’s a homeopath so I don’t think she’d be very happy about it.
S: And the other day in the studio we were trying to rhyme Xanax with something…
E: It just didn’t work. It’s such an American thing. I tried to say Xany and I was just like no, I can’t pull it off.