photography by SANDRA MHRBERG



Shivers Down the Spine with Tussilago

Written by Ksenia Rundin

Nowadays many of us choose to avoid social contact and stay at home, amusing ourselves with reading, writing, doing nothing, suffering, pondering or simply listening to a music. And this last component we wanted to bring up, when we came up with the idea of doing interview with the Swedish music band with a beguiling name Tussilago. While preparing the interview, we wonder why we actually want to listen to music and why we don’t. How Listen to a music often results in a pleasant emotional response. Neuroscientists Anne Blood and Robert Zatorre at McGill University in Montreal conducted an intriguing study in 2001, by, with the help of magnetic resonance imaging, measuring cerebral blood flow changes that appeared in response to subject-selected music that elicited the highly pleasurable experience of “shivers-down-the-spine” or “chills.” The study also exposed changes in heart rate, electromyogram, and respiration. The final result showed that listening to pleasurable music activates brain regions called the limbic and paralimbic areas, which are connected to euphoric reward responses, similar to those we experience from sex, good food and addictive drugs.

Already in 1956, the philosopher and composer Leonard Meyer in his book “Emotion and Meaning in Music” surmised that emotion in music is based on what we expect and whether or not our expectations become satisfied. When the audience’s every expectation was met and when no expectations were met, were found to be ultimately unsatisfying. Connecting music theory with and aesthetics to psychology and neuroscience, Leonard Meyer was among the first scholars to explore the relationship between game theory and music composition. He also suggested that the value of a musical work was in direct correlation to how well the complexity of the work engaged the listener. Besides creating their own music, Tussilago’s band members listen to a music a lot, both old pieces and new ones. Now you at least might have a clue why and become curious to test the music theory on yourself. After a two-year-long lull, Tussilago make a comeback with a new album “Sense of Me”, influenced by such names as Tame Impala and Brian Eno. The song with the same title is a co-production with the composer and musician Petter Winnberg from the Swedish band Amason. 

How did it all start with Tussilago?
Samuel and Rickard and Zacharias (Vacation Forever) had a band with two others previously to Tussilago, but when the lead singer left to study medicine abroad, the band became an experiment. After a couple of months our old friend Pierre came back from a year abroad, and when he took the spot as bass player, Tussilago was finally complete. 

Why did you choose to name your band Tussilago?
When we got our first gig we still hadn’t decided a name. Tussilago had come to mind from when Zacharias mom found a cat in a trash bin close to their home in Portugal. We were there at the time and got to take care of it together. It was named Shanti, but Rickard always called it Tussilago. We had a few options for our band name but couldn’t decide. When we had only a few hours until our first live show, we just took Tussilago and stuck with it.

Who is your audience? Has it changed since you started?
We have a pretty mixed audience, or actually maybe not, since most of them probably live at Södermalm in Stockholm. I remember in the beginning, when you could see statistics on Spotify for the first time, we thought it was interesting that there were something like 65 percent women listening. That has changed since, I think it is 60 percent men now for some reason. We have a really wide range of age though!

How have you changed since 2011, when it comes to music, lyrics and the band as such?
A lot and not so much at the same time. We still listen to a lot of the same stuff we did then, but I think we all just like a wider range of music now. The band has gone through some phases over the years but the spirit stays the same. We still jam, goof around and hit our heads over the lyrics.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a band so far?
To open for Dungen. 

How has COVID-19 affected your music and lyrics?
A lot, but probably mostly subconsciously. What feels most different is to have a bigger amount of time at your disposal, normally we have to squeeze sessions and jams into the schedules of our lives but now everything has a slower and smoother pace. Lyric-wise, we will soon see the difference, we have mainly been jamming instrumental songs lately.

What upcoming projects do you have?
We have some live shows that have been cancelled that we hope will be moved to a period later on, and we are working on new material in the studio now. Stay tuned!

Is there any dream project that you would love to do?
To build a raft and take it to New Zeeland! With the band. One that you could live on, and make music. But it would have to be really big if we were to succeed. I don’t know, it would be great though.

Link to one of Tussilago's latest songs Talk Talk:­dl0THedpQJO9AWW9KlEmyA

Pierre wears
leathera jacket ACNE STUDIOS
cardigan OUR LEGACY
trousers BLK DNM
Rickard wears
shirt & trousers ACNE STUDIOS
Samuel wears
smoking jacket BLK DNM
knitted sweater OSCAR JACOBSON

Pierre wears

smoking Jacket & trousers BLK DNM
t-shirt & shoes private

Rickard wears

Leather Jacket BLK DNM
t-shirt & trousers BLK DNM
shoes stylist’s studio

Samuel wears

shirt & shoes stylist’s studio