20 Questions

Taken by Trees

by Evan Sawdey

16 October 2012

It was a tranquil cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" that helped her break through, but her island-inspired dreampop is a sound all its own. Victoria Bergsman sits down with PopMatters to discuss animals, Harry Rabbit, and teach us some Swedish as well.
cover art

Taken by Trees

Other Worlds

(Secretly Canadian)
US: 2 Oct 2012

Review [8.Oct.2012]

Victoria Bergsman has had a pretty fantastic career. In fact, she’s had two of them.

First, she’s well known for being the voice of Swedish indie-rock group the Concretes, who formed in 1995 and have been recording ever since. A great deal of the group’s recognition coming from the albums recorded with Bergsman before her departure from the band in 2006. Since then, she’s been putting out albums under the moniker Taken by Trees, and a well-timed cover of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, which was used extensively in TV ads and movie trailers, helped slowly push Bergsman into the mainstream.

Now, with Other Worlds, her latest, she recontextualizes island music into her own world. By using instruments you’d normally find on Hawaiian albums and adapting them to create a dreamlike quality that only amplifies her well-honed pop chops, the whole thing sounding like precious few records out there today. To help celebrate the release of Other Worlds, Bergsman has sat down with PopMatters to discuss how mind-blowing animals are, why she finds a counterpoint in Harry Rabbit Angstrom, and proceeds to teach us some interesting Swedish turns of phrase . . .

+ + +

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Sorry, I just can’t remember.

2. The fictional character most like you?

Harry Rabbit Angstrom (Rabbit, Run) ‘cause he takes punches and keeps going.

3. The greatest album, ever?

Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars.

5. Your ideal brain food?

Animals: they just constantly blow my mind.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Are we talking about my new album here? If so, because I followed a vision fully and completed it.

7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?

As someone who tried to constantly push myself creatively.

8.  Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?


9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

The Binomial Nomenclature by Carl Linnaeus.

10. Your hidden talents . . . ?

“Koka soppa på en spik”, a Swedish phrase that means “making a soup out of a nail”, which translates to be able to make a meal out of minimal ingredients.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

Well, it wasn’t a proper advice in that sense, more a look. The look my cat who recently passed away gave me whenever I stressed out about something—the look saying “Take it easy, everything will be just fine.”

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

A one-way ticket to LA.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?

My baby’s arms.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Charles Darwin and Benjamin Franklin.

15. Time travel: where, when, and why?

Two months from now, when I will be laying on a Mexican beach newly wedded.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?

Deep breaths, sex, good food, wine, and baths.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?

Same as above.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

Spooning my baby on a beach with a perfect temperature of 82 Fahrenheit hanging in the air.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?


20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

Mostly stuff like this leading up to my album release.

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