A GoPride Interview

Stina Wappling

Nonono: The Finnish band says yes to Chicago at Lollapalooza

Mon. August 11, 2014  by Jerry Nunn

It feels like we have had the most whirlwind year ever. It is unexpected because we never thought it would go outside of Sweden.
Stina Wappling

stina wappling of nonono

photo credit // ren radka
The group Nonono strutted out of Stockholm in a trio with producers (Tobias) Astma & (Michel) Rocwell and singer Stina Wappling.

Their song "Pumpin Blood" took over the charts and landed them a cover version on Fox's Glee TV show selling more than 700,000 copies worldwide.

Stina was in the process of studying psychology when her life changed through music. We caught up with the smart Swedish songstress backstage at Lollapalooza.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) First off, how did the group meet?

SW: (Stina Wappling) I was working as a songwriter for Warner Brothers and these guys are producers. My publisher is actually a friend of Tobias so he paired us up. I think we had a really good first meeting. We really liked each other and started working on stuff. It was very casual for two years because I was still studying psychology.

JN: I read that you were studying.

SW: It was nice. I was done with my studies by the time we met and formed a relationship after working together for two years. By the time we were done they were ready to do their own project and I wanted to sing my own songs. Everything intensified and we decided to do this for real and be a band.

JN: Did you just want to forget the psychology career?

SW: No, I really liked that stuff. I worked in a center for young people with mental disorders and a camp for people with autism and ADHD. I then worked for two years at an elderly home so that was the field of work I have been in and studied so I think that is something I will go back to when music is over if it ever is.

I imagine myself being 40 and being a therapist more than an artist maybe.

JN: Where did the name of the band come from?

SW: It was a simple thing. They started with this project because before they didn't have creative freedom completely and their hearts weren't into it. They felt like they had to say, "no" to that kind of stuff in order to get space to do the thing that they really wanted to do, which is our project. The word no sounds like a negative thing but it also something you need to do to actively choose how we want to live, whether it comes to relationships or work it makes space for something new to do.

JN: How has the success of the song "Pumpin Blood" been for you?

SW: It feels like we have had the most whirlwind year ever. It is unexpected because we never thought it would go outside of Sweden. We have been super surprised and happy.

It is also nice that it has calmed down a bit so we can find some solid ground to take the next step. It has been hectic and go, go, go. We have had no time to think.

JN: It has been used in several commercials.

SW: Yes, a lot of different commercials.

JN: Is that you whistling on the track?

SW: No, it was Rocwell.

JN: What did you think of the song being used on Glee?

SW: It was a really cool. I have watched the series a little bit but I have a lot of friends that watch it a lot. They were so happy.

JN: They set it in a gay club and had them dancing around performing it.

SW: I didn't know that. I knew it was a bar but not a gay club.

JN: Can you talk about the single that came out this year called "Hungry Eyes."

SW: I don't think it came out in the US as a single but we released it in Europe as a single. The songs change meaning a little bit when you are a writer then you look at it in different ways. I think it is about distancing itself from the norms of how you do things. The structure that society puts you in and what is right and wrong. It is about thinking how someone wants to live their life and not getting caught up in what someone thinks you should do.

I get very stressed with social media and all of being constantly connected to something. I like to disconnect and feel a bit more free. I think there is strength to be found in living your life in your own way.

JN: How was playing in Nashville recently?

SW: It was for Pride.

JN: I was raised there and they used to not have a Pride before.

SW: They said that. They are just now building the whole thing. It was very nice. This was our first time in Nashville and we call fell in love with it. First I had San Francisco as my favorite town but now I think Nashville. There was all of that music and the people seemed so happy. There is a lot of well being and good vibes in Nashville. Live music was amazing and everywhere. It was very inspiring.

It was really cool to be at Pride there as well.

JN: You are going on tour with Foster the People after this?

SW: Yes. It is not too long. I think it is just two weeks so we will mostly be in Portland, Denver, and that area. That will be fun and I really like them. Lykke Li is going to come and do a show with us. She is Swedish as well.

JN: What do you think of your fellow Swede Robyn?

SW: I really like her. My music taste is more Lykke Li but I just love how cool Robyn is. She is such a good role model. I feel like she empowers other women to stand up for themselves.

JN: I learned a little Swedish from a recent interview with Neneh Cherry so how do you say Nonono in Swedish?

SW: Nejnejnej so "nay" like a horse. It is not very cool!

JN: Is this the first time you have been to Chicago?

SW: This is our third time. We played at The Riviera Theatre the last time.

JN: When is new music coming out?

SW: We released our album a little while ago but we have already been working on new stuff. We want to do a new single and a little EP to go along with it because we felt inspired over the summer. We finally had time to make more music so I think that is something that we wanted to do.

JN: Hopefully you have time to enjoy Chicago while you are here.

SW: We are leaving tonight for the next show.

JN: Do get get nervous before a show?

SW: I do. For our first show we did a tour in Germany. I just cried. I was in the middle of the guys in the car and I was crying because I was so scared.

JN: But it was fine once you got out there?

SW: Yes. I still get nervous just not the bad kind of nervous. I don't want to cry and puke at the same time anymore!

Say yesyesyes to the group at their website www.nononoofficial.com.

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.