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Nonono's Stina Wappling: "Pumpin' Blood" is about taking charge of your own life

Nonono
Nonono
Amir Chamdin

You may not realize that you are familiar with the music of Swedish electro-pop trio Nonono, but there is a strong possibility that you've had their hit single "Pumpin' Blood" stuck in your head -- or at least its hook. So far the song has been used in a Samsung commercial as well as a Sparkling Ice commercial. The whistled hook heard throughout rivals the catchiness of other epic whistlers like Peter Bjorn and John. "Pumpin' Blood is an infectious pop anthem, tinged with just enough gloom and heavily percussion-laden.

Last week Nonono released their debut album We Are Only What We Feel, and are currently on their first American tour with Twenty One Pilots. Gimme Noise caught up with vocalist Stina Wappling as the band heads toward Minneapolis for their performance tomorrow at the Skyway Theater.

Wappling began working in the music industry at a young age after being signed to a publishing contract by Warner Brothers. At the same time, she was in the process of completing a psychology degree. Eventually, disillusioned by the music industry and the pressure to cook up hit songs, Wappling started working as a psychiatric nurse in an institution for patients with mental disorders. It was around this time that she befriended Tobias Jimson and Michel Flygare, two producers who wound up being her bandmates in Nonono.

"Pumpin' Blood" is perhaps the most obvious symbol of the trio's chemistry and a positive affirmation of their ability to work together. "The guys were really happy when they made it, and had a good feeling about it," Wappling says.

The song is symbolic of the changes that were occurring within her personal life as she realized that Nonono was an actualization creative vessel that she had been lusting after. "'Pumpin' Blood' is about a new beginning and a new start, and taking charge of your own life; that you are so much more in charge than you think you are sometimes, and with that realization, feeling happy and free," she says. "The mood that I'm in affects the lyrics, and [when I'm writing] I'm thinking about so many different things related to life and emotions."

Nonono's Stina Wappling: "Pumpin' Blood" is about taking charge of your own life
René & Radka

Wappling insists that she isn't musically inclined, and has trouble even keeping a beat. Instead, she relies on raw emotion to motivate her songwriting process and keep her centered during performances. "I go back to the emotions I felt while writing the song in the first place," she says of her state of mind while on stage. "Writing music is really private to me, like writing a diary." She credits Jimson and Flygare as being masters of electronic music and the brains behind the catchy whistling in the song.

 

The super shiny happiness of "Pumpin' Blood isn't the only mood found on We Are Only What We Feel. "If you listen to the album, there are a lot of happy songs that give you a lot of energy, but there are also more down-tempo, melancholy songs," Wappling says. "You kind of recognize yourself in the emotions of the song." What environment does she envision in her mind while listening to Nonono's music? "I'm out walking, having a really good walk by the ocean...or I could be in the woods or even on a train, watching people and cars go by."

So far, Wappling has enjoyed playing shows in America. She finds audiences here to be a bit more extroverted and high-energy than those in other countries she's performed in, and has reveled in the opportunity to explore the states. "It's been really amazing to be on tour and be in a different state and town every day," she says. "Every place is so different...It's been really nice to experience and take it all in."

Nonono's Stina Wappling: "Pumpin' Blood" is about taking charge of your own life
René & Radka

Wappling promises a thoroughly engaging show this Thursday. "We try to give as much energy as possible and really get into the songs," she says. "I hope that we give out a good vibe." Seems that she's found quite a sense of confidence after such a short amount of time. "In the beginning, it was a lot, and maybe a little draining for me, but now it's a lot better and I don't get as nervous, and it makes me really happy to feel that energy."

"When Pumpin' Blood took off -- and nobody expected it to -- it was a really big change, with so many new things to get used to," Wappling says. "This year has been a lot of fun, but at the same time, such a whirlwind."

Nonono performs this Thursday at the Skyway Theater with Twenty One Pilots and Hunter Hunted. All ages, doors at 6 PM, $22

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