Formed in Malmö, Sweden by Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, Death and Vanilla utilise vintage musical equipment such as vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar and moog, to emulate the sounds of 60s/70s soundtracks, library music, German Krautrock, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psych. They revel in the warmth of older analogue instruments to create a more organic sound, each loose wire and off-kilter noise adding to the rich atmosphere.
After a handful of successful releases including a debut EP in 2010, their self-titled LP in 2012 – which sold out on pre-order – and a beautifully designed 7” single, the experimental pop duo were invited to compose a live soundtrack for the classic horror film, ‘Vampyr’ (1932), for the Lund Fantastisk Film festival in Lund.
In 2015, newly signed to Fire, the band returned with a new, full length album ‘To Where The Wild Things Are’. Named after the Maurice Sendak children’s book, the album is comprised of pop music with a wild, dreamy and experimental edge, celebrating imagination and the ability to travel to stranger recesses of the mind.
Next came the ‘California Owls’ 12″ coloured EP. Opulent and timeless, ‘California Owls’ is a reverb soaked spectral-pop song drenched in 60s-psych while the dark and swirling melodies of ‘Follow The Light’ has a ‘Walk Away Renee pace’ (Guardian).
Through 2018, the group were working on another album, creating loops and stitching together melodies, then combining them into songs. They worked in their rehearsal space again, then moved home to record vocals. This time they used a live drummer, Måns Wikenmo, and recorded his parts at Tambourine Studio in Malmö. The resulting album, 2019’s ‘Are You a Dreamer?’, was quieter and darker than previous efforts, though it still relied on the same mix of influences and sounds.
“Their music variously recalls the eerie, haunted ambience of Angelo Badalamenti/Julee Cruise’s Twin Peaks soundtrack, Stereolab/Broadcast’s experimental vision of 50s lounge muzak/exotica and French 60s pop, or the narcotic country-noir of Mazzy Star.” The Guardian