What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I’m from the Swedish west coast town Varberg, where I started writing songs around the age of 19. Then I moved to Gothenburg where I had two guitar based indie pop bands called Laurel Music and Irene released by Labrador Records. About a decade ago I moved to Stockholm and became a solo artist as Azure Blue for the Swedish label Hybris and American Matinée Recordings. I fell in love with the synth sounds I grew up listening to and the analog synths are known to swallow up producers. It’s very addictive and recording the first two albums with Claes Björklund got me a great education in the work flow with analog synths. Forever grateful to Claes.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Images of You is my fifth album as Azure Blue. All songs are odes of love written to my girlfriend. It’s a very romantic and heartfelt album. Much like the style of my debut Rule of Thirds in the songwriting. The tracks were written on guitar and carefully transformed into drum machines and synths. I really like all these melodies. In my book it’s my most well written album to date.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Music wise I’m very influenced by chamber pop crooners from the 60’s like Scott Walker, pop bands like The Go-Betweens, electronic pop gems like OMD, New Order and Pet Shop Boys and also sophisticated pop albums like Roxy Music’s Avalon and Simple Minds New Gold Dream. I’m also very influenced by dance music and modern beats. I also love film. I love arthouse cinema and I guess I’m a hopeless romantic pop culture enthusiast. But in a good way I hope.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as cinematic, dreamy, romantic synth pop music withcarefully written lyrics about love, philosophy, life. Even if my music is melodic and catchy I think most of my listeners are pretty deep and philosophical individuals. There are several dimensions of meaning in my songs and artwork that the careful listener can look for if it entices the imagination.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I love my vinyls with Astrud Gilberto – The Shadow of Your Smile, Scott Walker – Scott 4 and Tim Hardin – 1.
Movies Le Grand Bleu, Cinema Paradiso and The Big Lebowski. You have to let yourself laugh.
And books Francoise Sagan – Bonjour Tristesse, Klas Östergren – Gentlemen and Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I’ve done over 100 live shows in 10 countries as Azure Blue and I love performing live but for the time being I like the studio work the most. It’s like therapy.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
On the release day of my debut album Rule of Thirds I was djing in David Lynch’s Silencio when Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes were there and they said they liked the music. It was surreal, but that’s the magic of making art. Amazing surprises can come along!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
On this album I think The Rose stands out as a very simple guitar hymn dressed in layers of shimmering synths. And I’m very pleased with the lyrics. It’s like a love poem from the old days but very personal. It was all written and recorded in a day and it’s the track from this album that moved my truelove the most!
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
The album was out June 14 and today we share the music video for The Rose directed by my talented girlfriend – independent film maker Daniela Gullström. It was a massive job for Daniela and I to get together a team of professionals for the video so after these releases I will take some summer holiday and keep the next step secret. I also work hard for the artists on my label The Future Sound of Stockholm and look forward to writing for and producing tracks for other artists.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What’s your dream project?
I dream of making film soundtrack for feature film! I also want to make more film and music collaborations with my girlfriend.
Photo credits: Daniela Gullström (1st one), Viktor Skogqvist (2nd one)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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