By Mitchell Jordan
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It’s no secret that Sweden loves pop music.

From ABBA to Ace of Base, the Nordic capital has been responsible for creating some of the catchiest tunes of all time.

Rewind to 1998 where Tania Doko and James Roche, the dynamic duo behind Australian pop band, Bachelor Girl, are dominating the airwaves with ‘Buses and Trains’, a heart-on-sleeve song as catchy as it is witty and ironic. It resonates a lot further than the Land Down Under and sees the group head to Scandinavia.

On tour in Stockholm, Tania turns to her band mate and exclaims: “I think I could live here.”

It’s a fly-away statement that could easily be forgotten if it wasn’t for the fact that almost two decades later that’s exactly what she’s doing, married with a child and quick to point out, “I’m literally no longer a bachelor girl!” even before this writer gets the chance.

Tania recently took some time out to chat with Scandinavia On My Mind about music and making the move from one far-flung part of the world to another.

How does someone from Melbourne, Australia end up living in Sweden?

Bachelor Girl’s debut album, Waiting for the Day, was a big hit over here, so we came over to promote it. Sweden really appreciates a good pop song – pop is not a dirty word over here.

Ten years later, I was on a six-month overseas jaunt with my sister and we came back to Stockholm and I really connected with the writing and music community. The next year, I met my now-husband, Daniel, which sealed the deal!

He’s open to us moving back to Australia one day but right now I’m happy here with our son, Leo. Sweden’s the best country in the world to raise a child.

After Bachelor Girl ended you embarked on a solo career and became a hit within the LGBTIQ community. How do you feel the gay marriage still isn’t legal back in Australia?

I feel embarrassed! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it’s ridiculous. Eventually I think we’re going to get there but I feel for my gay friends who’ve been forced to go overseas to marry.

You and James reunited as Bachelor Girl in 2011. What did it feel like to be playing your old songs again?

It was great because we’d had a seven-year hiatus. There was a time when I needed a break from playing the old stuff, but I’ve had that break and I don’t dismiss those songs. We used to say that ‘Buses and Trains’ was like our passport to the world – it got us to places we wouldn’t have normally visited, like Scandinavia. To come full circle, James and I are now looking to make more material.

So this means Bachelor Girl are going to reunite?

James is coming to Stockholm in May this year. It’s exciting because our worlds will collide in a positive way. Having him here will put us out of our comfort zone and the Swedish producers we’ll work with are world-class.

What direction will Bachelor Girl’s new material go in?

I think we’ll be true to who were and figure out who that is now we’re all grown up in 2017. Back in the nineties I was sort of a powerhouse woman who doesn’t need a man, but now I think I’m a bit more fragile and vulnerable and I’d like to put that into our songs. There’s a lot of stuff we can say now.

 

My Scandinavia … five things Tania loves most about the north:

The Stockholm archipelago

Daniel and I have an old vintage wooden boat and, prior to having Leo, we used to enjoy so many summers going out on it and exploring the archipelago.

Preparing to take a dip.

Preparing to take a dip.

Copenhagen

I probably could have lived here, too! It’s a small city but it’s got a lot of character and is quite grungy, too. Stockholm is like Copenhagen’s posh big sister.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen. (Photo by Kim Wyon, courtesy visitdenmark.com)

The ferry to Helsinki

The food on board is awesome! I like everything from the fish to the desserts – it’s so eclectic. Last year I took Leo, and my mum, who was visiting, on the trip. We put Leo in the disco room and he ran around for two hours. I also love Helsinki; it’s a great, cosmopolitan city.

Sunset in Helsinki

Sunset in Helsinki (Photo by Mitchell Jordan)

Sweden in winter

Ice-skating in winter is one of my favourite things to do, whether it’s in a rink or on the frozen water. Northern Sweden is right up there on my wish list. I’d love to see the northern lights and go skiing.

Tania Doko

Walking on (frozen) water.

Skansen, Stockholm

I’ll never forget my first visit to the open-air museum and zoo. I was chuffed to see all the quaint, old houses and even getting to see a moose up close. I’ll take Leo there this summer to get a better taste of Sweden. Being there warms your heart.

Skansen

Skansen is a step back in time (Image: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se)

About the Author

The boy with the thorn in his side. Still looking for the light that never goes out.

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