- Mon, 2009-10-26 14:41
Though he grew up in a place once voted 'The Most Boring Town in Sweden' Erik Hassle has never been one to let anything get in his way. Having left home at 15 to study music in Stockholm, by 18 he was living in a studio with friends and working on his debut album Pieces.
Hugely influenced by the likes of Wilson Pickett, Sly and The Family Stone and Sam Cooke, Erik aims to produce minimalist pop with all the emotion and melody of classic soul. Having supported Mika onstage at The Roundhouse in London, won a nomination for Best Song of The Year at the Swedish Music Publishers Prize awards for his track Hurtful, and soon to support Little Boots on tour, I Like Music caught up with Erik to find out more about his debut album, the music scene in Sweden and what we can expect from his live show.
"I Like Music because…it’s what makes me Erik.” Erik Hassle
ILM: What can we expect from your album?
Erik: It’s an album with 12 love songs on it. I wrote the album with three guys and I met them when I was seventeen. I was very much into old American soul music at that time. They opened up a new area of pop music for me and we met in the middle! We started to write songs at the same time as we got to know each other. The album sort of came out of our friendship. The album was the conclusion of us getting to know each other.
ILM: Where are those guys now?
Erik: We are very, very good friends. They are not playing with me at the moment, they did the first few gigs with me, but now they live in Sweden and I’m playing with other friends.
ILM: How would you describe your music making process?
Erik: It’s completely random. It’s a long process also. With the album I was so young. I quit my job when I was eighteen and just started to hang out in the studio all the time. The whole vibe was that I came there and when we got the feeling, we just started. Like with Don’t Bring Flowers, the bass riff was the first thing that came out of the song, then a few days later we had the song. Sometimes we’ll build around a chorus or verse, it’s very, very different. I lived in that studio basically!
ILM: What’s the music scene like in Stockholm?
Erik: There are a lot of bands coming out of Sweden. The bands tend to be coming out of the smaller cities, there’s not many actually coming out of Stockholm at the moment. There is a lot of music. There’s a lot of people singing in Swedish, the indie artists singing in Swedish are very big, although people still listen to a lot of music from the UK and America.
ILM: What are your musical inspirations?
Erik: Wilson Pickett and Sly and The Family Stone are very big for me. Van Morrison as well. When I was eight years old I saw The Commitments! That started everything for me, that’s why I decided to sing. I love Coldplay and Radiohead. Right now I’m really into White Lies, I think their album is really good.
ILM: What can we expect from your live show?
Erik: The live show is quite close to the album, though it does go a little bit more to the rockier side. I think I express a lot more of my soul when I play live, there’s a lot more space! That was sort of a challenge with the album, to deliver those big emotions, similar to those in soul music, but to deliver them in a minimalistic pop song. To try to keep soulful both on record and live. We have five people in the band including me. It’s a bit of a rock show now though!
ILM: What have been some of the live highlights so far?
Erik: We had an amazing live tour in Sweden in the summer. I went back recently and played my first set of headline shows around Sweden which was crazy! It was on a total different level! Really, really amazing! I also supported Mika at the iTunes festival at The Roundhouse, which is the best venue I’ve ever been to!
ILM: What are your future plans?
There’s so much right now, so much to do! I’m taking one step at a time. It’s always been a dream for me to go out on tour in the UK and Europe and live on planes, be on the road, that’s what I want to do.
ILM: What would be your advice to anyone who dreams of doing the same?
Erik: I was seventeen when I started working on this project. Time is such a valuable thing when you want to be an artist. Especially when you’re young, you can get better all the time. Be patient. Also have fun, of course! Don’t let it all fly by!