Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Exclusive interview: Erik Hassle

Erik Hassle, our Swedish talent with that great voice and cool red hair, that moved to London and made his career even bigger. He's back with the mini-album "Mariefred Sessions" and we caught him in action to discuss the release and some other things around Erik.

Hello, Erik. First of all we must say thank you for showing us your new tracks a couple of weeks back. We got hooked right away.
Hello and thank you. It's sensitive times always around a release, so it pleases me a lot that you like it.

This means that you're back and you're singing "Are You Leaving". What is your new single about?
"Are You Leaving" is about being caught in between your "yet to come" and your past. About the rootlessness of standing with only one foot in the memories from your childhood while the other one struggles to move on. It's a gap outside both realitys. In my case about a small town two hours south of Stockholm.

You left the small town for a bigger town, nowadays you even live in London. Was Stockholm too small for you? Maybe you had bigger plans with your new label of Island Records?
Moving to London was a natural step for me in many ways. Partly because I got signed to Island Records and have been working in a lot of different territories the last couple of years, but also it is a crazy town and a good base connecting both Scandinavia and the US.

Was it in London you met with our fave Ellie Goulding to make the fine duet of Robyn's "Be Mine" that was out in the end of 2009?
Yes. Me, Ellie and Little Boots were on tour together last fall. I love Ellie and we had a little getting-to-no-each-other-ceremony recording "Be Mine" and some other songs... It actually wasn't supposed to be released but it leaked out on Popjustice and the rest is history.

Do you have more projects on the go with Ellie?
Not at the moment, but she is always welcome to Stockholm.

If we get back to "Are You Leaving", the video is made by you and your friend Johannes Ring. And you went back to your hometown of Katrineholm for a Saturday night to catch the feeling of a small town. How was it to come back and do this kind of video?
It was fantastic and since it brought back so many memories, it was quite easy to come up with different locations to visit. The design of pleasure is permanent and a Saturday night is more than often the same. There is not many clubs, restaurants and houses to choose between and I really wanted to capture the beauty of that. The safety of knowing who your friends and enemies are and the safety of knowing you will meet them if you go to certain places is something I really appreciated while living there. Before we took the car down there to shoot the video, I was a little bit worried that people would be offended and not see the love in it. But the reactions to the video from the locals has been so nice and they really understood the idea.

Here is the video:

The whole new mini-album "Mariefred Sessions" is recorded together with Jocke Berg and Martin Sköld from the well-known Swedish band Kent. How was it to work with these guys, they're pretty big in Sweden?
I loved every minute of it. They really took me in and made the process very natural. It was a new experience to work with people coming from a band and I found that very inspiring. If they wouldn't already be a part of a band, I'd force them to tour this record with me. The writing and production process turned out quite "band-like" and it was great feeling the unity. And apart from being great guys they are really really fantastic songwriters.

Almost the whole album is also recorded in Martin Sköld's studio, that is in Mariefred. Was the title of the album clear to you or did you think about other titles for it?
Well, at first we didn't have a clear thought at all of what to do. We had been talking about trying and write something together, back then maybe just a song or two for my album no 2 that I was currently working on. But after just hanging out for a couple of days we had made 3–4 songs and quite instinctively felt we had to make something special out of it. The city Mariefred and Martin's little atelier was the core of all the songs and the name was the first that came out.

Is this maybe the fresh start of a long term working relationship between you and the guys from Kent?
Never say never...

The English paper The Guardian wrote a tribute article about you a while back and called you "the Stockholm Wunderkind". How did you feel when they wrote such a great article about you? Did you get scared?
Yeah a little bit scared. It was so early in my career, I was about 18 and it was a big thing to handle :) I remember how surreal it felt. Still in the start of writing my first album and they basically based that article around a couple of songs I had put up on MySpace. It led to so many good things though and created a buzz outside of Sweden.

Anyway, we're really glad that you're back, with this new mini-album you've shown that you're "the Stockholm Wunderkind". Good luck Erik!
Haha, thank you!! Bye!

And here is a taste from the mini-album "Mariefred Sessions" that is really good, buy your copy here or use your Spotify. "Stay Away" is the next single from the mini-album.

Stay Away by erikhassle


Quinn said...

"Talk About It" is a fantastic song, and I think this video represents that very well. I'm excited to see what Erik Hassle does next.