Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf form the duo Niki & The Dove, an acclaimed band with great respect for music that is noticeable in their exclusive mix tape for The Forumist. Originally the tape was meant to consist only of ballads, but it ended up as something completely different.
Songwriters/Producers Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf are responsible for the hit retro gem “Play it on my radio” that struck the world this year. The reception of the track has been tremendous, among other achievements it landed at number one on the Swedish Student Radio list, right ahead of Florence + The Machine, who are signed to the duo’s previous label, Moshi Moshi (Niki & The Dove are now on TEN/Polydor).
Besides releasing mesmerizing pop tunes, Malin and Gustaf do the occasional DJ set with music such as that in their mix tape. “We wanted to do an all ballad tape, because it is not very usual. We started out with a song by Diana Ross but after that we lost the concept” Gustaf says before expressing a liking when I mention a ballad club, only for slow dancing, which used to be in Stockholm. “If you only are going to listen to one track off the tape” Malin says “it should be the last one, it’s great for slow dancing.” Mentioned track is “Can We Touch” by Human Body (produced by funk man Roger Troutman), a soulful ballad that could melt any heart.
The night prior to my rendezvous with Niki & The Dove I went to see a jazz concert featuring electro virtuoso Andreas Kleerup, one of the duo’s collaborators. Malin and Gustaf worked with Kleerup on his album “As If We Never Won” (2014) and they remember the making of the song “Rock U” with joy. “We recorded in the middle of the night and when we came home in the morning, he had already sent us a mix” Gustaf recalls, impressed by Kleerup’s productivity.
An interest shared by both members of Niki & The Dove is collecting and enjoying vinyl records. One often mentioned perk that comes with the analogue format is of course the sound quality, but Gustaf and Malin seem more into the honouring of the music they hold so dear. They speak with warmth about when a vinyl store opened up in their building, something that made them buy more music and allowed them to listen to it more intensely. “I rediscovered the listening” Malin says affectionately “and the love [for music] was revived, stronger than ever”. That love is highly visible when meeting Niki & The Dove and audible when hearing them. Their pop pearls are available right now, on vinyl and (“hopefully soon”, according to Gustaf) on cassette tape as well.
Words by Filip Lindström