Hi Sol, how are you?
Shiny and bright, thank you!
What have you been up to since we last spoke to you?
I have recorded another album, moved from south to north of Sweden, I now run a professional, purpose built studio for sound, music and video-editing and recording, AND I have my own music/culture and new technology show at a local radio station that is also broadcasting on air at www.onefm.se.
You’ve just released your third album, ‘Fairytales and Lullabies’ how has the response been so far?
I’m happy to say GREAT! =) I have received some really nice reviews and I have just been included in rotation and top-lists at Swedish Mainstream Radio, so I am kinda excited to be honest.
‘Fairytales and Lullabies’ is very different to your previous work. Is this something you planned or are the songs changing as you grow as a song writer and performer?
Songwriting is more like giving birth, to me. They grow in time and have their own personality from scratch. I see myself more as the instrument playing them, then the creator. But since I have had this well equipped studio to record in this time, I guess at some point my productions have changed along with the surroundings and instrumentation used.
Are there still styles of music that you want to explore?
I have so many un-released songs of different styles. You will find out in time. But definitely more 60’s music!
Looking at the sleeve notes for ‘Fairytales and Lullabies’ you play a lot of the instruments and also do the photography and graphics for the album. Is this because there wasn’t anyone else to do these things or do you like to be totally involved with everything if you can?
Production is my favourite occupation, if I could I’d sit and design, write, produce and play around with new styles and concepts all day long. So, it’s not that I do not have people who are willing to support me, I simply like what I do and the process, and workflow is important to me. I need to be “one” with the music and every aspect of it.
What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
I have been in a band, but since I write songs at the same time as I record them, and I wanna move forward to next song pretty fast, I think being a “solo-artist” suits me best. On the other hand, I feel like the musicians that helps me out are an important part of my solo-project too, as they paint my songs in the same way I do.
Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?
Yes, already at 6 years age, but actually, being a writer is what I wanted most of all.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Almost everything. Really. But I have always enjoyed things that sounds a bit confusing, emotional and that you have to listen carefully to understand. Big musical arrangements to simple acoustic songs.
How long have you played your instruments?
I started having lessons in piano and guitar when I was 7 or 8, but I quited from time to time, and started seriously again when I was 20 years old, but focused on the singing and writing lyrics/songs part at first.
What was your first music making experience?
Pretty bad. Haha. I got in touch with the software reason -97 something and tried to paint in midi-signals to nail down my songs. It sounded of-beat and I couldn’t use any automation or quantisation. I had no guitar at that time, so I used a plug-in, that sounded awful. I kept those songs, and actually the melodies are great, but the arrangements sound so baaaad. I have re-used parts of that material on my 3 albums.
What is your current equipment?
Oh. As I now work in a professional studio we have different computers for different set-ups. I use Macbook with a 8 channels M-audio Fast track ultra external soundcard or Duet Apogee soundcard and Logic studio 8, combined with latest Reason from Propellerhead. But we also have pro-tools and PC environment with different racks, focusright, dbx, digidesign etc... Also full backline in different shapes and models.
Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
Both. I have been singing at the Swedish Royal School of Music, but most of all it’s many many hours in front of the mic at home.
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
I’d throw out all PC-computers and buy MAAAANY new hard drives for backup, and invest in a complete Mac-environment. Also I’d buy my self a new Gibson Les Paul Guitar.
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Depends. But I often bring my own soundcard etc
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
Most of time I have a feeling and I find a sound, or melody that reflect that emotion. Then I just build it one part at a time. I never plan to write a kind of songs and then just do it. It has to have it’s own spirit.
Any new recordings planned?
Haha. I record new songs at least 4 evenings a week, so hell yeah =)
I often write songs that I do not release, I save them until I have enough in the same style and then I drop them.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I love it!!
It’s like painting my inside on the outside air. Enough said =)
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
It has to sound different because my music is so over-arranged most of times, and I play most of the instruments myself, and the people involved are not often with me while playing live.
Do you have any favourite tracks on your albums?
Well. It’s more like I have favourite recordings on my hard drive and I release those songs on my albums. Each song is written in a special mood, so I like them all. But those that has been hard to produce nicely is dear to me, I like it when things are not to easy.
Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
I often do. I believe that songs get better if I really mean and know what I sing about.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Easy, it’s harder not to. One week away from the studio and I feel terrible.
Which countries have you gigged in?
Sweden. Denmark. Italy. Spain.
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
It’s up to my fans to decide. Where they want me the most, I’d go. US, next year for example.
How do you promote your music and get your music to new fans?
I pay for promotion campaigns, that send out cd’s, reviews etc, and so I hope people who like it spread the word.
Do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
I use every single music website I get my nose on =)
But I focus on those where I have a good relationship with the fans and owners already.
Do you think such sites are good for independent and unsigned artists?
Music business today couldn’t do without them.
Do you think the internet overall is a good or bad thing for new artists?
Only good. Downloading too. The point is to be heard, not to be paid. First.
How do you relax?
I produce music or write =)
Well, but seriously, I like being out in the nature, at my parents countryside. Sitting in front of the fire and have a nice dinner among friends.
Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
I kinda like it the way it is, I work full-time with my own production company, radio etc, and I really like it. But I could handle some more attention music-wise ;)
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
In one way it has, I am including in a soundtrack for a website project called VISIONS. But it is an art-project. But I also work with sound and music for computer games.
Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
A dream is to produce sound for a long-time movie. YES!
With you being involved in so many things, is there something still that you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?
All the time. I am interested in so many things. But have to deal with that in another life. *smiles* Like nature science, chemistry and things like that.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
A short notice to all the readers:
My music is available at spotify, where you can listen as much as you’d ever want to, and also you can download my first cd’s for free from www.solskugga.com anytime!
And THANKS for this interview!
Somojo rocks =)