The close-knit band hails from Jonkoping, Sweden, once known for its thriving matchstick industry. They lived together in an apartment while they recorded the demo tape that lead to their debut album, Emmerdale.
Nina, the primary lyricist for the band's latter two albums, told Songfacts about one of her major idols: "I'm a huge Neil Young fan and I'm actually inspired by his lyric writing, because he can be so very sort of subtle and vague, and still he really hits you where you feel like he's talking to you and about you. I think that's great, and I think that's a great element in writing for music."
Not everyone gets the Cardigans' sense of humor, as the group learned after touring with the English Rock band Blur. "I think we pissed them off," Nina laughingly told The Independent. "I know what went wrong: someone tried to make a joke, like saying, 'we sell more records than you in Japan, maybe we can be the main act in Japan.' And then somebody said in an interview that they ought to be grateful to have us on tour. Their manager called our manager and said, 'what the f*** are they up to?' Actually, it was an absolutely great thing for us to do, tour with them. We were very grateful. Sorry Blur!"
Then teenaged Nina Persson had barely sung a note before she was coaxed into becoming the lead voice of The Cardigans. Magnus Svenningson remembers her audition for the band: "It was quite funny actually. We had these auditions for a singer in my apartment. One of the other guys knew Nina, and brought her over. She had never sung before, but had been convinced that she could do it if she tried. So, she came over and we had to leave the room because she couldn't sing with anyone else in the same room with her. I went into the kitchen to make some coffee, and cocked my head to one side and listened. It took only about 30 seconds and I knew she was the one. I grabbed the coffee and went into the other room. 'That's it. You're the one', then I told her to sit down and have some coffee."
Nina has her fair share of creepy fans who like to throw their underwear - adorned with their phone numbers - onstage. When asked if she would ever connect with any of these guys, she says: "Are you kidding? I'm not digging through someone's dirty underwear and then call them! What kind of freak writes their number on a pair of dirty underwear and throws them onstage?"
Peter has a tattoo of KISS guitarist Ace Frehley on his arm.
Magnus sought help for his anxiety after panic attacks drove him to collapse before the world tour for Gran Turismo in 1998. He wanted to quit the band, but instead allowed Ark bassist Lasse "Leari" Ljungberg to replace him on tour so he could rest. The breakdown inspired much of I Sing Because of You (Future Farmer Recordings) under his alter ego Righteous Boy.
Asked by Artist Direct if she has any non-music talents or skills, Nina Persson replied: " I'm good at whistling, I love pens, I'm a good runner (love Central Park) and I can rewire lamps like nobody's business."
The birth of Nina's first child Nils in 2010 and a brush with cancer inspired a fascination with medicine. The Swedish singer told The Daily Telegraph that she was tempted to chuck in her music career to become a doctor. "I thought about it a lot, but it's seven years for med school," she said. "Maybe it was a kind of mid-life crisis. One day I thought, fine, I love music, I'm good at it, I just need to find a way to do it that is not so uncomfortable."
The bedrock of David Guetta's Nicki Minaj-featuring single "Hey Mama" is a sample of "Rosie," a 1940s prison recording from folk archivist Alan Lomax that songwriter Esther Dean first showed the French DJ on YouTube.