Rebecca & Fiona not afraid to speak mind on politics


Rock musicians like to make political statements. You’ve got Bruce Springsteen on the left, and Ted Nugent on the right. But no one in electronic dance music mixes politics with music.

Well, almost no one. Let me introduce you to the fun socialists Rebecca & Fiona, a talented dance-music duo from Sweden.

They have been rising up the EDM ranks with singles such as “Jane Doe” and their collaboration with Kaskade, “Turn It Down.”

They also perform at Marquee nightclub in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, returning today and Monday for DJ gigs.

Rebecca & Fiona were featured in a 2010 documentary series in Sweden, when it was noted that they mix “socialism with the superficiality.”

The duo’s Rebecca Scheja says even in Sweden, musical politics is uncommon.

“So people are like, ‘What are you talking about? Are you socialistic? Or communist?!’ ” she says and laughs.

No, they’re not communists. They’re socialists. In Sweden. What does that mean to us here in America?

“It’s weird to explain politics in Sweden,” Scheja says, “but the right-wing party has taken over. They’re looking to America. They’re selling out. They’re privatizing.”

Because of that privatization, she asserts, people aren’t paying as much in taxes, which leads to fewer social services, which leads to a lot of needy people being left out in the cold.

“They can’t get help. They don’t have any social security or anything.

“For us, it’s important that you pay taxes and that you care about the people around you.”

That’s a pretty basic concept, she thinks.

“Everything our parents built up to make Sweden the safest country for everybody — whether you’re rich or poor — they’re selling that out, and everything is falling apart. It’s pretty sad.”

Scheja understands many music fans don’t necessarily want to hear about politics. But in Sweden, governance is too troubled to ignore, she says.

“A lot of things are (messed up) right now, and it’s important to talk about it and not pretend that nothing is going on just to please an audience,” she says.

When Rebecca & Fiona tour in America, they notice people don’t talk about politics. Scheja thinks people are afraid of the conversation.

“But for us, we always try to bring it up. If you can get people to think about it, you can make a change.”

She stresses that Rebecca & Fiona are not running or promoting a political party.

“We just bring the discussion to the table.”

The duo has also started making elaborate music videos with social undertones.

The cinematic video for their newest song, “Taken Over,” chronicles the tragic story of young women working as escorts, or sidling up to wealthy men, to pretend they are in the right crowd.

That video, directed by Laerke Herthoni, is a commentary echo of a situation that happened in Sweden long ago, she says.

“In the ’60s, there was a lot of stuff like that going on in Sweden — a lot of young girls breaking out of their families, not to work as escorts, but to hang out with older men to get money and jewelry.

“A lot of politicians hung out with those young girls in the ’60s,” she says.

So far, such Rebecca & Fiona statements in videos and in songs have been slight or hidden messages, she says.

“But this album we’re creating now will have more stories behind the videos. I wouldn’t say more politics, but we’re going to talk more about how we feel.”

That second Rebecca & Fiona album appears headed for a summer release, after they put out another single this spring. (You can keep up with them on Twitter @RebeccaFiona.)

But for those of you who think socialists oppose capital enterprises, you’re wrong, and Rebecca & Fiona are a perfect example of working socialists.

For one thing, they started their own money making nightclub in Sweden, and they happily earn more money as DJs than they did during their salad days.

For another, they play the Vegas Strip (pure capitalism) at club Marquee (a very profitable private enterprise).

“We love Vegas. And we love Marquee,” Scheja says.

They just think societies should pay for social programs to help less fortunate people who may be, say, starving to death.

It’s little wonder then that Rebecca & Fiona, who were so broke when they started as DJs that they slept in the same little bed, think it’s not a bad idea to keep people-in-need alive.

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@ reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.