ALWAYS good to talk to an artist from Stockholm…
because it is an area of the world that creates fascinating music. Elias is a shining example of that and someone who talks to me about his new single, Thinking of You. I wanted to know more about its video – a black-and-white scene with Elias playing under a railway bridge – and whether there is more music coming through. I wonder what it was like working with HYENA and what the music scene is like in Sweden right now.
He talks about the three albums that mean the most to him and a new artist we should be aware of. In addition, Elias talks about touring plans and what it is like being picked up and celebrated by the likes of BBC Radio 1.
Hi Elias. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’m all good and it’s been great.
I’ve been to the studio quite a lot since I’m trying to wrap up the last pieces of my album.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
Music has been my everyday since I started to skip classes back in school. My songs are somewhere between Soul and Electronic music – with a lot of old school influences.
Someone once described it as, hopefully, sad melodies and I think, maybe, those are the right words for it.
The new single, Thinking of You, is out. Can you tell me the idea behind the song and what it means to you?
I think I wrote it as a process of a farewell and I wanted to be pretty frank and simple about it. Not hide (as much) behind a heavy production – and it’s a piece of my album that felt good to start with.
I am impressed by the simple but evocative black-and-white video. What was it like filming the video and how did you discover the tunnel in Årsta?
It was exciting. Actually, a train came in the middle of a take so we had to make him stop and go back to the station where he started off – and made him wait for a few hours.
Really intense for a few minutes, there.
They usually have these rave things in that tunnel so I’ve been there before but we had to search around for a while to find a tunnel without any traffic – and I guess we succeeded half the way.
You have released stunning work like Green Eyes and Revolution. It seems you are growing more confident with every release. What is the secret behind that would you say?
I guess I’ve been trying to explore different sounds and ways of writing – and really trying to develop myself in that and stay curious about it.
I know you have a debut album out later this year. What can you tell me about it and the sort of things that will be investigated on the songs?
I’ve been really honest and pure on this one in a lot of different ways. Lyric-wise and musically. Of course, I’ve been playing around a lot and have a lot of different sounds on it – since that’s the way I am. But I tried to stay simple with it in a way.
HYENA is someone who you will be collaborating with on the record. What was that experience like?
We´ve been working quite a lot the last years and we are good friends.
He is a wonderful producer and musician so it’s been fun and hard at the same time – as it should be.
Some have compared your voice to the likes of Sam Smith and James Blake. Is that quite flattering to hear – considering they are huge artists in their own right?
Yes. I guess that I should just say thanks to that. Both are great artists and James Blake has had a big impact on me during the years.
I am always interested in the Swedish music industry and the artists coming through. What is the scene like there and is it a good country to be a young artist?
I think it is, in many ways. You get the depression during the winter season and that is always good if you wanna be creative.
Of course, it’s hard to get in at first but I think it’s getting better each year with the transparency in the music industry. Even though it goes a bit too slowly in many ways.
So far, you have been picked up by BBC Radio 1; nominated for a Swedish Grammy award and worked with producer Paul Epworth. What has been the highlight so far or do you feel the best times are still ahead of you?
I’m really happy about all that.
Of course, working with Paul was a big thing for me and gave me a lot.
But I have more to give and a lot that I want to accomplish – so, I’m looking forward to the future.
Are there any tour plans at all? Will you get a chance to come to the U.K.?
I will tour this autumn and (I think and hope) I´ll come to the UK.
Don’t really know yet, but I´ll let you know!
Any new artists you recommend we check out?
My friend Mando is gonna release her E.P. in the near-future.
You really should check that out.
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Antony and the Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
I was thirteen when I first heard it – and fell in love.
Nina Simone – Baltimore
I just admire her.
James Blake – James Blake
I was fifteen or something when I heard it and it gave me a lot.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Be confident with your work and visions and don’t listen to what people say.
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).
Sound and Vision by David Bowie is a classic song that I love.