Many a teen has shunned dad’s ’70s folk-rock for harder stuff.
It was just the opposite in the Söderberg house.
Benkt Söderberg was a post-punk rocker in the ’80s Swedish new wave band Lolita Pop. But his kids Johanna and Klara took cues from Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, the Louvin Brothers, and Leonard Cohen.
Since becoming First Aid Kit a decade ago, the sisters from Stockholm have become full-blown Americana/indie folk stars. Dressed as is their wont in peasant tops, flared jeans, or prairie dresses, with long hair framing their faces, they evoke a breezy ’70s Laurel Canyon vibe.
Their version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” from a 2015 appearance on David Letterman’s “Late Show” could have aired decades earlier; when they sing “I’ve come to look for America,” it feels utterly genuine. Even the black-and-white cover of their fourth and latest album, “Ruins,” echoes Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bookends.”
“We love that ’60s, ’70s retro look. I don’t know why, but we’re all about the ’70s. We’re nerdy about it,” said Johanna Söderberg, 27, who, in a phone interview, speaks with so slight an accent she could be from Minnesota.
We caught up with the elder Söderberg as First Aid Kit readies to bring their breathy harmonies to Boston’s House of Blues Wednesday.
Q. I think it surprises a lot of people when they learn you’re Swedish. Your sound is so American.
A. Growing up in Sweden, there’s lots of American culture — we don’t dub our movies and TV. So from watching “The Simpsons” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” is how we got started [speaking English]. And then we went to an international English school in Stockholm.
Q. What did you grow up listening to?
A. We listened to pop music, then we discovered Bright Eyes’ “I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning,” and through that, we discovered Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Everly Brothers, the Louvin Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel. That’s what inspired us. It’s special coming to America because we feel our music is such an homage to your traditions. You can feel our passion for it.
Q. Why did you two want to start a band?
A. It started when Klara got a guitar at age 12. She started playing after she heard Bright Eyes. She was drawn to that country/folk genre and [then] started writing her own songs. I joined her after a while. We did our first live show in 2007 at a local library — it was just kind of a cute show for a friend — but after that we decided we should have a band.
We didn’t think anyone would listen. We put up a song on MySpace, and gradually our fanbase grew. Then we posted a Fleet Foxes’ cover [“Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”] to YouTube that became viral, that got us international attention. We never went back to high school; we kept touring. Things just went so well, and it keeps growing.
‘It’s special coming to America because we feel our music is such an homage to your traditions. You can feel our passion for it.’
Q. Why First Aid Kit?
A. The name was Klara’s idea. She wanted a name that described what music can be. It’s a healing thing. You listen to music and if you feel sad, it makes you feel less lonely.
Q. There’s a popular YouTube video of you two singing “Emmylou” to Emmylou Harris.
A. That was very surreal. We wrote a song with her name in the title, and didn’t really imagine we’d ever be singing it to her in the flesh. It was kind of strange, like, “Um, hey here’s a song about you.”
Q. Have you had any other surreal moments?
A. So many. Routinely, we have to pinch ourselves and say we can’t believe we’re doing this. Touring all over the world, getting to play in beautiful venues all over the US. [Singing for] Patti Smith. Getting to work with Bright Eyes. We did a single with Jack White.
Q. Who writes the songs?
A. Klara usually starts the songs, and the initial ideas, and we sort of work together to finish them. She collects ideas, poems, on her phone, and that’s what we build the songs with.
Q. Tell us about your latest album.
A. It took longer to make — we had a four-year break in between records to live normal lives for a while, and that influenced the record. Our lyrics are more personal; it’s more of a breakup record. The sound, we wanted to achieve something that sounded more like we do live — more raw and intense.
Q. Do you feel like you inspire young girls to get into music, which might be seen as a male-dominated industry?
A. That’s one of the most beautiful things about what we do. It’s inspiring for girls to see women on stage, writing their own songs. We see girls covering us on YouTube, or saying they picked up a guitar, or started singing with their sister, because of us. You have to stand your ground and support each other — that’s why Klara and I can do this. We have each other and we’re strong together. Women can dare to be creative. Dare to be on stage.
FIRST AID KIT
At the House of Blues, Boston, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35, www.houseofblues.com/bostonInterview has been edited and condensed. Lauren Daley can be reached at email@example.com.