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Swedish Trance-Rappers Team Rockit Dig Pokemon and Nordic Folklore

A very different kind of "dancing on your own."

Throwing Pokemon cards at strippers is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Swedish music scene but Nordic art-rap trio Team Rockit presents a different kind of "dancing on your own."

The group debuted as a duo in 2011 with their album 1988, onSincerely Yours. Now a trio, they blend trap, euphoric trance and centuries-old Nordic folklore into a vortex that is more dangerous than a level 70 Polywhirl. We hung out with Gregorian, Ikaros, and Merely (yes, Merely) in Stockholm to learn more about the Machamp in all of us. And also about destiny and the meaning of life and stuff.

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Thump: How did Team Rockit form?
Gregorian: It was kind of a coincidence. Way back, I had a fanzine called Domino where I wrote about music because I thought I couldn't make music of my own. The first person I reached out to was Ikaros because he was making music at the time for a Swedish label called Force Majeure. He had moved to Gothenburg, where I was living at the time. We met up, and the rest is history.

Ikaros: We had heard Merely's music by coincidence on Bandcamp. Gregorian and I had been talking about it. We had been booked at a club in Stockholm called Revenue. We met Merely there and she joined the band shortly thereafter.

Was this after your first album, 1988?
I: Ja.

Merely: It was after "Aura" that we realized—

G: —that maybe we should be in the same band, permanently. The first time I met Ikaros, I knew that I wanted to create with this person. And when I met Merely, I felt the same thing. These are the only two people that I've felt that about. I got my way and now we're still here, together. When I first met Ikaros, my friends were like, "Who is this guy, he's weird," and I thought yes, yes, he's just like me. And when I met Merely, she had this weird vibe and I felt that she was the same in another way.

Kindred Spirits…
G: In a way you could say it was destiny or biology.

Do you believe in destiny?
G: Yes and no, because I think you can shape your own future. In history we put different names for the same thing. Like god or destiny or whatever. Whatever god or destiny is, that thing has made us come together. But on the other hand, when you meet someone or something's happened, it's not just coincidence. It's like—

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Apophenia? Like seeing patterns in the random or meaningless?
G: Ja, there are structures in nature where everything that fits together is pushed together. I think the same structure works socially for people. But it's not as clear for us to see, because we're living in it. Plants and animals—the things that they do best are pushed together and make the ecosystem work. I think the same thing goes for people.

I: Maybe plants just think about just the desire to live. Maybe they don't know about destiny.

Is your new single, "Gaia," referencing the Gaia Theory then?
I: I don't know what that is.

It's a theory that the whole earth is alive.
I: Oh yes, definitely.

G: I surely believe that the Earth is something we have to pay respect to.

How did you come in contact with your current label, Sincerely Yours?
G: I did some small things for them but we weren't close. I knew Air France.

Oh, so you knew Joel Karlsson?
G: Ja, I helped him out with some artwork and other projects.

So you have an art school background?
I: I do. I'm a bonafide graphic designer. I went to high school for design and studied arts and crafts in college. I'm the only one in this room with a degree. Unless—

Nah, I dropped out of architecture school.
I: Then I'm the Bachelor.

G: I knew Joel. We had a lot of friends in common in Gothenburg. When I was 18, I had this club in my hometown outside of Gothenburg and I booked The Tough Alliance. I was a DJ and we had this crazy night together. We e-mailed back and forth. When Eric Berglund from The Tough Alliance realized that Ikaros and I were Team Rockit, it blew his mind.

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The use of mythology is prevalent in your names, titles, and lyrics. What's up with that?
G: We've always had this notion of the past being very inspiring to us, historically speaking. Religion and mythology is a very effective way to describe modern feelings. It's more effective than describing it in a modern way. All three of us have a big interest in it.

Do you see yourselves as…
I: Vikings. Warriors of the Norh.

But the bushido imagery in your music video and album…
I: Yes, the bushido and the knives and swords. Everytime we reference the warrior or weapons, they are weapons in a metaphorical sense. Cutting through the layers of reality.

G: It's like the notion of being the one, the chosen, to stand up against things. That's why the concept of the warrior or the samurai is very appealing to us. Being on the edge and expressing your feelings—bearing them—makes you very vulnerable.

Is that why you're called Team Rockit?
I: That was definitely a big influence. The Pokemon stuff we continually indulge in. I look at my Pokemon cards everyday. It's not a phase, it's not a gimmick. They were an inspiration. We had this video that we couldn't use because the light wasn't so great. We had stacks of Pokemon cards that we were throwing at strippers.

G: Actually there were no strippers, it was just me. Eric Berglund's got the only copy.

What's next for Team Rockit?
I: After this weekend, all three of us are moving to a house that a friend has bought in the Swedish countryside. It's an old school and we're supposed to live there.

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M: Maybe for a month or so.

G: And finalize our album.

I: We've everything almost sort of finished but we have to lay the finishing touches and drinks lots of coffee and cider.

G: The album is going to be called Anima.

What's your favorite Pokemon?
I: Gangar.

G: Abra.

M: Chikorita.