Not only is the Cardigans’ boppy new single “Lovefool”—with its thought-provoking “Love me, love me, say that you love me” chorus—all over the radio, the song is also on two CDs: the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack and the Swedish group’s third album, First Band on the Moon. Guitarist Peter Svensson, bassist Magnus Sveningsson, drummer Bengt Lagerberg, guitarist-keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and lead singer Nina Persson are on a world tour that hits the U.S. in February. Correspondent Anna David tracked down Persson, 23, in Japan.
How did you all hook up?
I knew Magnus from high school, and the band needed a girl. They didn’t have anyone else so I agreed, even though I was basically a novice as a singer. I never expected for us to achieve any success at all.
How did “Lovefool” make its way onto the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack?
Baz Luhrmann, the director, asked us if he could use a Cardigans song. We gave him a slow ballad, but Baz asked for something “jollier.” I like almost all of our other songs better than I like “Lovefool.”
Who writes the songs?
Peter writes most of them, and Magnus and I write some. It’s much easier to write in English because [you can] conceal what you mean and be corny. Swedish is much more direct.
Is it difficult being the only woman in the group?
Luckily we’re very unattracted to each other. I did have a brief relationship when I was about 14 with Lars—but I don’t think that really counts.