After releasing their third full-length album and first major label debut, Stay Gold, in June– Swedish Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg (who comprise 70’s-tinged folk-rock group First Aid Kit) spent a whirlwind 2014 headlining world tours, playing for the masses at summer festivals ranging from Texas’s Fun Fun Fun Fest to Japan’s Fuji Rock, and making appearances on shows including Conan O’Brien and Ellen. They sang on Jenny Lewis‘ Voyager, laid down backing vocals on Conor Oberst‘s Upside Down Mountain, and as if that wasn’t enough– beefed up their resume with a contribution to the soundtrack for Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild for which Reese Witherspoon received a best actress Oscar nomination this morning.
The duo–whose cover of R.E.M.’s “Walk Unafraid” sits alongside tracks from Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel, Portishead and Leonard Cohen–were approached by music supervisor Susan Jacobs to work on the soundtrack shortly after watching Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club last year. “Our parents played a lot of R.E.M. growing-up–‘Losing My Religion’ was probably one of the first of the group’s songs we heard,” Klara says. “‘But ‘Walk Unafraid’ and the lyrics ‘I’ll trip, fall, pick myself up and walk unafraid’ resonate with Cheryl’s story in the film,” which is based on Cheryl Strayed‘s best-selling 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail.
In addition to meeting Witherspoon at Wild’s L.A. premiere, R.E.M. lead guitarist Peter Buck hung out with the girls on the set of the song’s official music video shoot in the forests of Portland, Oregon. “It was a pretty surreal,” Johanna says of the experience. “We filmed a take of us singing together out in the freezing cold–it was so kind of him and a super cool experience.”