MY fascination with Swedish music is hardly helped…
PHOTO CREDIT: Joel Humlén and Linnea Sundemo
when I encounter someone like Frida Sundemo. Her new single, Gold, is out tomorrow and it seems her album, Flashbacks & Futures, is going to be a cracker! She discusses the album and how influential space – and the cavernous mystery of our universe – strikes her creative heart and compels her imagination. Sundemo talks about composers like Hans Zimmer and John Williams; how producer Joel Humlén helped add new dimensions to her work – and what tour dates she has approaching.
I learn about the artists/albums that affected Frida Sudemo at a young age and what the music scene in Sweden is like. She talks about past successes – and what it feels like hearing her music featured on T.V. – and whether there are any plans on coming to the U.K. very soon.
Hi, Frida. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been really good, thanks - a mixture of baths in the ocean and preparations for the album release.
I just shot the music video for my next single, Gold!
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m an artist, producer and songwriter from Sweden who’s been making music for some time now. I’m in love with symphony orchestras as well as minimalistic Techno music - and pretty much everything in between.
Flashbacks & Futures is out on 6th October. What kind of themes and inspirations go into the album?
I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from sci-fi movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar and Gravity. It’s about the small human in a gigantic universe.
I’ve written the music for big orchestras - even though the final sound of the album isn’t exactly that. But I love to dream big, think big and write big: as long as the small and fragile finds it place too.
I know (outer) space is something one hears throughout. The compositions have that stellar, quasi-intergalactic grandeur. How influential is space and its mystery to the scores and lyrics?
I’m happy to hear you get that feeling! I love writing music to video clips of space. Sometimes, I just search for ‘travel through space’ - or something like that - on YouTube.
Other times, I put on a specific, inspiring part of a space movie.
Is the universe something you have always been interested in? Were there any films or people who fostered that love?
I have a special memory from when I was about twelve-years-old.
I was in the Scouts and we were just about to fall asleep under the bare sky one summer night. I was looking at those millions of stars up there - and realised that we’re actually traveling through space then and there.
It was really overwhelming and I found it so cool that I (along with the rest of the population of the Earth) am a space inhabitant.
I hear elements of Hans Zimmer in your work. How important are composers like him and the work they have done?
It’s really important to me. I just love it so much and get so much inspiration from them!
John Williams and Hans Zimmer are my heroes (since childhood) and Thomas Newman is a more-recent favorite.
I love it how they maximize the beauty and the mightiness without compromising. It’s like really good Pop music - but in another genre, obviously.
Are there any particular songs from the album especially meaningful and important to you?
They all are; in their own ways, of course.
But, the prelude and the title-track mean a lot to me - and say a lot of the process of writing the album. Circles is special to me, too - and To The End and Back which my awesome sister, Neamo Kid, is featured on.
What was it like working with (producer) Joel Humlén on the record? What does he bring to your music?
We’ve been working together ever since the Indigo E.P. in 2013 - so we know our ways in the process, I’d say. He’s such a multi-talent and creates the most beautiful melodies, lyrics and harmonies.
He’s also a very good (and fast) producer and shares my love for the mix of cinematic orchestras and Electronic music.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joel Humlén and Linnea Sundemo
You are a Swedish artist so must be influenced a lot by the people and place around you? How important is Sweden and its energy? What is the music scene like there right now?
There are a lot of people to look up to in the industry, which is great. I think that helped me believe in myself - especially when I started out producing.
It’s really inspiring that more and more female producers and songwriters are on the rise.
Can you reveal the artists and albums you grew up listening to? Was there a particular musician that sparked that love of music?
My first album was Very by Pet Shop Boys. I bought from my big brother - the same brother showed me Hans Zimmer a few years later.
I also listened to Depeche Mode, Green Day; Weezer, The Strokes; Oasis, Coldplay; Phoenix and many more.
Since 2010 – when the debut album Dear, Let It Out was released – you have performed in films and had your music played on big T.V. shows. You signed to Cosmos Music and delivered terrific singles like We Are Dreamers and It’s OK. What are the best memories from your career and does it seem crazy the success and evolution you have seen?
Wow, thank you!
It’s hard to pick certain moments but everything from signing my first record deal, to getting thrown into the shooting of the movie, Kill Your Friends; to live shows with amazing people in the audience.
Sometimes, it strikes me when I find myself in a strange place somewhere in the world - that I wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for my music.
That is awesome.
Are there any tour dates later in the year? Where can we see you perform?
I’ll do some closed showcases in N.Y.C. this September – but, also a charity show called Give a Home. It’s a collaboration between Sofar Sounds and Amnesty – in order to support refugees all around the world.
Apart from that, I’ll do shows in London and Sweden later this fall (but haven’t set any dates yet!).
IN THIS PHOTO: Ólafur Arnalds
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
I have to admit that I’m not the best person to check out new music (even though I get inspiration from it when it happens!).
But, if you haven’t heard Ólafur Arnalds yet, you should definitely check him out!
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Citadel Band by Loney, Dear
When I first heard it, it inspired me to write and produce music like no other album had done before. Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl is still one of my favorite songs in the world.
Parachutes by Coldplay
I remember the day when my brother sent me Yellow.mp3 (a song by a cool Indie band from the U.K.). I fell in love with the whole album, instantly, and I still listen to it every now and then (but on my vinyl player instead of on WinAmp. Haha).
OK Computer by Radiohead
No words needed.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
To dream big and to have fun - and to not overthinking things (but trust their gut-feeling).
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Regra Três by Dóris Monteiro
It’s my happy-song!
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