Shortly before going live in Studio 1A the trio of Peter, Bjorn and John send their tour manager out to a local coffee shop. Much can be discerned from what the band orders; drummer John Erikkson is a self-admitted tea-aholic, Bjorn Yttling (bass, vocals) does the rock star bit and orders a beer while lead guitarist Peter Morén sticks with coffee. Before he is out the door a roadie stops the tour manager and asks for a fruity pastry. John later points out that the band is too busy on the road to do anything other than eat. "So we might as well enjoy it," he says. "When we are on tour food is what I think about...other than music and the venue."
John Erikkson: My mother was home with me and my brother for 16 years so we got spoiled having good meals from breakfast to night snack. So I think I'm the most picky of the guys. Bjorn can eat almost anything and Peter kind of likes food.
Mark Collins: What kinds of restaurants do you seek out?
JE: We tend to like really simple home-cooking style. When you feel like it is made with love. I'm not really into super chemistry-like, kitchen wizardry. I like clean foods, very focused -- not a lot of mixed. This is your meat, this is your fish, and this is your potato.
MC: Does the band ever argue about what food to eat?
JE: Not really. The most difficult part is breakfast because you wake up and can't think and have to make hard decisions.
It's also good to have a guide in each city you come to. When you think of American food it is all sandwiches and fries. If you go out on the street that is what you find. So you have to dig a little deeper to find the good stuff.
MC: Where do you get restaurant advice?
JE: Often the tour managers get recommendations. You have to find the right person who has similar taste. Someone you can trust. We have a friend in New York who is Swedish -- Victoria Bergsman, she sang on "Young Folks" -- she is also really into food and we have similar tastes so I ask her and she tells me where to go.
MC: What do you think of food in the U.S.?
JE: The food is amazing. The problem is the music in the restaurants. Super hard to find a place where it is peaceful and quiet. You can have a tasteful menu but if the music is the same as TGIFriday's it is really hard to enjoy the food. All 5 senses matter.
MC: What is on a traditional menu in Sweden?
JE: A lot of the food is from the good old days when people worked all day long with their body and not just at the computer -- they needed big fatty rich food. Tradition is a lot of pork and herring. What is weird is that now its gone full circle and modern chefs try to make traditional Swedish food.
MC: What is something you like to eat when you're not touring?
JE: In my hometown of Piteå they make a thing called palt. It's a giant gnocchi the size of tennis ball filled with pork. You open it up and put butter on it. That's just one of my favorites.
MC: Have you eaten at IKEA?
JE: Once I ate something there. I regretted it. Now I won't go to IKEA ever. It's a new rule of mine. I never want to go there again.
MC: In parts of Sweden they eat reindeer. Have you tried it?
JE: Yeah. It's good. Where I'm from they have this smoked reindeer meat that dries forever then you carve it with your knife. It is super good and thick.
MC: Have you eaten other unconventional animals?
JE: I ate shark while I was in Thailand because I was so afraid of sharks. Every day when I was swimming I was afraid of getting eaten by sharks. So I decide I'm going to eat those motherf**kers. They got me back immediately because shark tastes like pee. So...don't eat shark.
MC: Do you cook?
JE: I'm in another band called Holiday for Strings mainly because three of the other guys are chefs, and when we meet we have big dinners. Sometimes we don't even rehearse because we are too busy eating. They all ask when I am going to cook for them. I keep saying my fridge is broken so I can't cook.
MC: Do you have a specialty dish you are working on?
JE: No. Well, yeah. I have a simple pasta dash I really like, but I've said too much. I can't tell you. It's got to be a surprise.
MC: Do you watch any cooking shows?
JE: Oh yeah. I love food shows. My ex-girlfriend used to be a chef so she couldn't watch those shows. She got anxiety. But now I have a new girlfriend so I can watch cooking shows again. Saw a new episode last night about a Japanese restaurant Gordon Ramsey tried to make function; I even had a dream about it. It's really interesting. Also those shows make you really hungry.
MC: Does the band request special food in the green room?
JE: We keep it simple because we know we are going out to eat somewhere anyway. Recently we were opening for Dépêche Mode, and they have their own catering. It's amazing. I think we all gained a lot of weight.
MC: So if you start gaining weight I'll know what happened.
JE: Yeah! Hey they got a chef!
MC: Is it difficult to eat healthy on the road?
JE: In Stockholm there are a lot of good bakeries, almost like a sourdough epidemic. It is easy to find really good bread. Here it's been hard because we always try to get organic good food in the dressing room but all the bread has sugar or a new name for sugar. That's my only problem with food in the US is a lot of the restaurants overuse sugar.
Sugar is a little bit like adding compression on music. It has this sound or this flavor, but it takes away from other nuances. It takes out a lot of the natural stuff. You get the immediate satisfaction then you get bored. It's the same thing with music.
MC: Does the band ever eat fast food?
JE: No, we try to stay away from that. Of course, midnight pizzas happen because sometimes you have to eat and there is nothing else. Pizza is amazing.
Actually I'm starting up a label with the guys from Miike Snow and we've thought about the name for months. There are a lot of people who have to agree what the label should be called. Our best idea was Pizza Records. And everybody liked that because, forget music, everyone loves pizza. But, of course, there is some Japanese label already called that. So my idea was Chlamydia Pizza Records but somebody said that was a bit nasty.
MC: It's a little edgy.
JE: If everyone could have more pizza the world would be happier.
MC: Do you eat local food?
JE: What is amazing is that I find the best sushi in Texas. That's also a bit scary that these fish have flown all over the world. That's not going to happen forever, it's not sustainable. And that can be hard as a touring band. I get frustrated with all the water bottles and all the waste and feel like you're leaving garbage and trash behind for each these cities. Tough to do.
MC: Are you aware that PB&J is also an acronym for a classic sandwich?
JE: That was mentioned to us. First I thought it was peanuts and butter -- like yellow butter -- and jelly. But then I realized peanut butter is one thing. For our next press photo we should arrange it like a sandwich. Obviously I'm going to be the jelly, but we have to mix Peter and Bjorn together. I don't know, maybe Bjorn could be the bread.