“Should we hit the merch stand before or after the gig?” is a question countless live music fans have had to face. Swedish brothers, Henrik and Tom Ljungqvist, or Jung as they’re known to fans, are a band that’s taken the wise decision and hooked up with Creator Studio to give their fans merch on demand instead. A smart move that gives fans the chance to buy the merch weeks before the gig and show up wearing it already! We caught up with Jung as they dropped into our photo studio, to shoot their new merch, to talk about marrying music and visuals into one harmonious vision.
Jung was exploring music from an early age, today sharing songwriting duties, with Tom on keyboard and Henrik on the guitar. “It wasn’t until four years ago that we actually started writing songs for a common purpose. And, in one way, our goals are of the highest sort, but the main thing is that we just love to be able to make music for a living. It’s amazing to be able to work with something creative, a dream come true in many ways,” explains Henrik, adorned in Jung’s new merch.
The duo has been described as a band anchored in the traditions of classic melodic songwriting, twisting in elements of folk, dance and R&B. A fact that’s not surprising considering an upbringing that saw Henrik and Tom exposed from an early age to a wide variety of music.
“Our parents gave us the best from the past; Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrisson, the Stones, and the list goes on. Growing up our Dad used to sing ‘I swear by All-4-One in the car. A defining moment for sure,” says Henrik, with a wry glint in his eye.
With such musically strong blood ties, we ask whether their sibling relationship makes the band and the pairing’s songwriting easier. “We can’t comment on other siblings in bands, but we think it’s easier,” Tom remarks. “We have a deep understanding of each other and the same kind of musical preferences and shared background – as Henrik said earlier.”
With three albums under their belt and a host of collaborations, including Let Him Go (released in 2020 with fellow Swede, Clara Mae and streamed around 40 million times on Spotify alone) Jung has a purposeful work ethic that runs beyond music and into the visual aspects of artistry. And the band’s creativity seeps into its music videos, working closely with a blend of creatives to see its tracks visualised.
“We are very involved in creating our visuals, designs and looks, from the idea to the actual making of the layout. Usually, we create our artwork ourselves and sometimes we work closely with designers. For our latest album we got a lot of help from Lisa Borg, who is a creative genius and who’s been involved in our project a lot over the years,” says Henrik, grabbing a sweatshirt for the next shot.
There are clear themes running through the merch that links to the band’s record covers and song titles. Pressing on this, we asked about the ideas behind the merch and where inspiration stems for Jung. The response was instant and heartfelt.
“We have always strived to produce and create things we can stand for, starting from the music and then moving on visually, live performance and of course, merch comes in as an important part of this. We have been testing around a bit through the years and now with this collab with Creator Studios, it finally feels like we have landed in what we have always been striving for, just where we are supposed to be. In terms of inspiration, there’s not really one specific place. It comes from different corners all the time and we are always open to new ideas – everywhere. From other brands we like to art, music, film, paintings…” notes Tom.
Our eagle-eyed shoot team points out a part of the design that’s caught his eye. A swirling painterly ‘moon’ with a central divide covered in glyphs. “It’s like a yin yang, right?” he asks. “You are absolutely spot on there,” laughs Henrik.
“Quite early in the process of creating Jung we wanted to have a sort of symbol that we could work around and the idea of making a yin/yang came up, although we call it our jung/jung symbol. At the start of the process, the line in the middle of the circle was actually our faces’ profiles that we then modulated.”
With time in the studio drawing to a close, the duo still appears fresh and alert – ready for more. Before leaving, we felt obliged to ask what lies ahead for Henrik and Tom?
“The beginning of Jung felt more like a test. Asking ourselves; ‘what can we do? Now it feels like we are truer to us and are asking, ‘what do we like?’ says Tom.
Casting an eye over the merch lining the stylist’s rack one last time, you get the feeling that these two driven creators are only beginning to focus their creative minds towards the sonic, visual and artistic shape of the Jung to come.
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