Now, over the past few years, I’ve written a quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and as you may recall, his solo electro pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention both here and across the blogosphere for a sound that at points has been compared to Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others. Along with that, Alexander has long been considered among the first wave of Sweden’s contemporary electro pop/dream pop/pop movement, which also includes Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.
With his 12 Songs ofSummer, Alexander adds his name to an increasing number of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series over the past couple of years, and as you can imagine doing so manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially, and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively speaking, the artist isn’t constrained by having the pressure of writing material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would if they were writing for an EP or a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with material within relatively strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Financially, independent artists, who may be struggling to find ways to fund their efforts to record and tour, can put out material quickly — and in the blogosphere age, it can ensure that the artist can receive some sort of attention over the course of year, outside of the album cycle. As Alexander explained in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”
“I Got This Thing For You” is the latest single in Alexander’s 12 Songs of Summer project and the single meshes slickly produced thumping house music with arpeggiated synths and anthemic hooks, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and swooning dream pop. Interestingly, both lyrically and sonically, the track is the sort of track that manages to simultaneously be an early blast of summer while reminding the listener of the first, uncertain pangs of a summer fling. As Alexander says of the song ” It is a track that during a short period of time has changed a lot! It started as a small loop and the lyrics ‘I got this thing for you.’ I wasn’t sure where to take the track so I showed it to my friend Joakim Buddee, who asked if he could play around with it. I gave him a carte blanche, and he came back to me with a version of the track that we both really liked. Big ups to Joakim Buddee for all his work on this one!”
Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.
Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”
“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”
JOVM mainstay David Alexander is an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo, electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention for a wistful and nostalgic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, 80s synth pop and lo-fi rock and has been compared favorably to the likes of Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s equally renowned electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.
Alexander’s latest Summer Heart album, 101 was released last month, and as you may recall I’ve previously written about album single “Hotel Beds,” a swooning yet buoyant production featuring shimmering synths, stuttering house music-like drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar, Alexander’s dreamy falsetto and a rousing hook within a dance floor friendly song. However, underneath the buoyant and summery vibes of the song is a bittersweet and weary rumination on the life of a touring musician.
101’s latest single “Follow” continues on a similar path as its predecessor as the song features a house music-inspired production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, chiming, Afro-pop-like percussion, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Alexander’s dreamy falsetto with a soaring hook. And much like its immediate predecessor, underneath the buoyant and summery vibe there’s more than meets the eye — in this case, the song’s narrator expresses a plaintive, desperately unresolved frustration. As Alexander explains in press notes. “To follow your dreams, you must figure out what they are. ‘Follow’ is about that moment when you think you have it all figured to, only to realise you’re not one bit wiser. Those things you do, which you imagine will change everything . . . when all is said and done, afterwards you feel exactly the same.”
Directed by Kyle Macfadzean, the recently released video features expressive, contemporary choreography by Amy Kent and Laura Ava-Scott, and stars Grace Macfadzean and Angela Downs. Shot in an lushly cinematic fashion, the video makes a connection between the young woman and her older, seemingly wiser doppleganger, emphasizing the song’s central theme with a powerfully emotional yet surreal wallop
David Alexander is a Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart has received attention internationally for a wistful, nostalgic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, 80s synth pop and lo-fi rock and has been compared favorably to the likes of Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that that Alexander’s profile has grown as a result of several songs being featured in TV series such as the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him and his work to the attention of millions of American TV viewers. Along with that, Alexander is largely considered to be among the first wave of Sweden’s internationally renowned and growing indie pop and dream pop scene — a scene the includes a number of internationally recognized acts that I’ve written about at some point or another, including Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.
Up until last month, some time had passed since i had written about Alexander and Summer Heart, but as it turns out, the Malmo, Sweden-based dream pop artist had been busy writing and recording the material that would comprise his forthcoming full-length effort 101. “Hotel Beds,” the single I wrote about last month further cemented the Swedish dream pop pioneer’s reputation for crafting swooning yet buoyant and summery productions — in this case featuring shimmering synths, muttering house music-like drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar and Alexander’s laconic falsetto and a rousing hook with a dance floor-friendly vibe; however, underneath the buoyant and breezy pop stylings is a bittersweet rumination on the life of a touring musician. And in a extremely subtle fashion, the song evokes the sensation of rushing off from place to place, without ever really getting to know a town beyond the fact that you have to be there by a specific day or time. “‘Hotel Beds’ is about touring, going from city to city, hotel bed to hotel bed. About meeting new people every night. It’s about a feeling of being detached from reality,” Alexander explained in press notes. “Don’t get me wrong. I love to tour but after a while, it becomes a big blur . . . the lyrics were written in the back of a tour bus. It was recorded in Stockholm, mixed in Brooklyn and mastered in Jersey City.”
101‘s latest single “Follow” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features a percussive yet swooning production consisting of syrupy cascades of shimmering synth, Afropop-like percussion, finger snaps, tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Alexander’s breathy falsetto and layered vocal samples, and while being equally as buoyant and summery, the song manages to possesses an underlying, unresolved frustration. As Alexander explains in press notes. “To follow your dreams, you must figure out what they are. ‘Follow’ is about that moment when you think you have it all figured to, only to realise you’re not one bit wiser. Those things you do, which you imagine will change everything . . . when all is said and done, afterwards you feel exactly the same.”
Alexander will be embarking on a handful of live dates to support the new album and it includes a October 18, 2017 stop at Sunnyvale. Check out the tour dates below.
So, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d be familiar with Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay David Alexander and his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart. And with Summer Heart, Alexander has received international attention for a wistfully nostalgic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, 80s electro pop and lo-fi rock, and has been compared favorably to the likes of Caribou, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others. Interestingly, Alexander’s international profile has grown as a result of several songs being placed in TV series such as the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him and his work to the attention of millions of American TV viewers; but perhaps more important, the Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer is considering among the first wave of Malmo, Sweden‘s growing indie pop and dream pop scene — a scene that includes several internationally recognized acts (some of whom, you’ve heard about here), including Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind Lake and Emerald Park.
It’s been over a year since I’ve personally written about him but within that period the Malmo Sweden-based artist and producer has been very busy touring and writing and recording his latest effort, 101, which is slated for release next month — and while 101‘s latest single “Hotel Beds” will further Alexander’s reputation for crafting swooning pop as the single consists of a buoyant and summery production featuring shimmering synths, stuttering House music-leaning drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar and Alexander’s laconic falsetto paired with a anthemic and dance floor. But underneath the buoyant and breezy pop stylings is a bittersweet rumination on the life of a touring musician — and in a way the song feels much like a rushing blur from place to place, without really knowing how long you’ll be around. In fact, as the Swedish pop artist explains in press notes “‘Hotel Beds’ is about touring, going from city to city, hotel bed to hotel bed. About meeting new people every night. It’s about a feeling of being detached from reality. Don’t get me wrong. I love to tour but after a while, it becomes a big blur . . . the lyrics were written in the back of a tour bus. It was recorded in Stockholm, mixed in Brooklyn and mastered in Jersey City.”
Interestingly, Alexander’s international profile has grown as several of his songs have appeared in TV series — including the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him the attention of millions of American TV viewers. Now, if you were frequenting this site last year, you might recall that I wrote about “Nothing Can Stop Us Now,” a song that consisted of jangling guitars, washboard-led percussion, layers of ethereal vocals and cascading synths with a warm buzzing summer afternoon warmth. His latest single “The Forbidden” off his forthcoming EP also named The Forbidden is a slow-burning and shoegaze-leaning single that pairs Alexander’s ethereal cooing with shimmering guitars and synths played through gentle amounts of reverb and jazz-like drumming. And although the song evokes the sensation of waking up from a pleasant dream, just underneath its placid surface is a wistful melancholy that will remind the listener that all things will eventually dissipate.
Alexander along with a backing band featuring some of his dearest friends will be making Stateside appearances at SXSW and Williamsburg Brooklyn’s The Knitting Factory later this month. Check out tour dates below.
Over the past year Moonbabies, a Malmö, Sweden-based indie electro pop act comprised of husband and wife duo Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick have become something of a mainstay act on JOVM, as I’ve written about several singles off their impressive Wizards on The Beach, which was released earlier this year and have interviewed Ola Frick as part of the site’s ongoing Q&A series.
Although the Fricks have known each other since they were both high schoolers, they started writing and recording together in 1997. And with the release of their debut effort, the Malmo, Sweden-based duo had quickly developed a reputation for crafting an intricate shoegazer rock-based sound. However, by the time the duo had written, recorded and released their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, The Orange Billboard the duo’s sound expanded and had become refined; in fact, many critics across Europe had compared the album’s sound favorably to Wilco‘s critically acclaimed effort, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And as a result of the critical attention the album received, the duo embarked on an extensive European tour to support it. War on Sound, The Orange Billboard‘s follow-up effort was a critical and commercial success in Sweden and the album’s title track “War on Sound” won them greater international attention as the song was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
As the story goes, the Fricks were busily working on what would be their highly-awaited, third full-length effort, the couple had begun to feel an increasing pressure to create and deliver songs that were commercially viable — to the point that that they had begun to feel as though they were drifting away from their initial creative vision and spirit. Recognizing that they were in a creative rut, the duo forced themselves out of the their comfort zone, relocating to Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, they quickly felt in love with the city’s globally renowned EDM and house music scenes; in fact, as a result, the material they had begun writing began to lean heavily towards a more electronic-based sound. However, the duo did feel an entirely different pressure — the pressure of having to prove themselves in a much bigger, much more competitive scene, and after two years in Germany, the Fricks returned to their native country and started the recording progress again.
Upon their return to Sweden, the duo found the recording process to be both unsuccessful and frustrating, as they spent time forcing themselves to be push the process forward, scrapping it when the material didn’t feel exactly how they wanted it and then starting over, which according to the Fricks, they did more than 30 times. Interestingly, as the band has publicly noted, the birth of their son seemed to be the catalyst that breathed new life into their entire creative process and forced a change in approach. Their approach became much simpler – move past bad memories and associations, and focus on the songs that evoked a visceral sensation. As they were going through old material, they began to see things that they didn’t originally see within the material, and they found that ideas started to flow about naturally around it — and in a way that they hadn’t had in a while. And the end result was the duo’s aforementioned Wizards on the Beach.
Album single “24” pairs layers of shimmering synths, boom bap-like drums, acoustic guitar and industrial clang and clatter with Frick’s ethereal vocals to create a song that evokes the sensation of waking from a pleasant and yet half-remembered dream while subtly channeling the work of Jose Gonzalez and Junip. Recently, the London-based duo Glass Children remixed Moonbabies “24” as part of a unique remix exchange between both bands (you’ll hear about the band shortly), and their remix pairs Ola Frick’s vocals while an upbeat production consisting of layers of gently undulating synths, propulsive, tribal drumming that makes the song much more club-ready and yet trippy while retaining the dreamy feel of its original.
Comprised of David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou, the London-based electronic duo The Glass Children craft dark, 80s inspired, upbeat electro pop consisting of lush production and ethereal vocals. Their uptempo single “Undone” pairs layers of undulating synths, swirling electronics and Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals in a song that sways and swoons with a plaintive Romanticism. Moonbabies’ remix pairs Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals with swirling electronics and tribal-like percussion that actually makes the remix sound as though it could have been on Wizards on the Beach whileretaining the original’s plaintive Romanticism — and of course, adding a dreamy fade out to the conclusion reminiscent of the ending of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”
I recently spoke to Moonbabies’ Ola Frick and The Glass Children’s David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou via email about their unique remix exchange, their inspiration behind each band’s take on the other’s material and what’s next for both bands. Check it out below.
WRH: Moonbabies and The Glass Children recently remixed a single from their most recent full-length efforts — and both acts are releasing them on the same day as part of a “remix exchange” for lack of a better phrase. With Moobabies being based in Malmo, Sweden and The Glass Children being based in London, I wanted to know how did this collaboration come about?
Daniella Kleovoulou: It was through Twitter actually. When “Undone” was released Moonbabies discovered the track through a blog review and tweeted about it. A bit later Ola [Frick] contacted us about remixing the song which we were really up for. I told him that David [Fairweather] played me “24” a while back from a BIRP playlist and we both loved the song so Ola asked if we’d like to remix it in exchange . . . and that’s how it all started.
Ola Frick: Both of us loved “Undone” when we first heard it, I guess it was back in January-February maybe. And since their other tracks also showed that they’re pretty extraordinary we wanted to get in touch and see if we could do a collaboration or remix exchange, and that was just what happened. Nice peeps as it seems!
WRH: The Moonbabies’ remix of The Glass Children’s “Undone” retains Daniella Kleovoulou’s husky vocals but pairs them with a percussive yet very dreamy production consisting of undulating and swirling electronics before ending with chiming keys and a distorted vocal sample that evoke the sensation of waking from a dream. That remix sounds as though it could have been a B-side to Wizards on the Beach. Ola, why did you choose “Undone”? The remix manages to retain the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. What inspired your remix?
Ola Frick: I’d say all my good studio work starts with a being filled up to the limit with a great feel/inspiration to begin with. Confidence, as well. And if you have it, it all goes smooth, happens fast and is driven by pure instinct. With this track I needed to have a complete blank canvas and just let it out. It happened very fast, 3-4 hours with some extra tweaks a day or two later, including mix/mastering. I just felt the song, and let it go in any way. And the first path it took (the big rhythm and thick vocals in focus) was the right. I’m very happy with it.
WRH: The Glass Children’s remix of Moonbabies “24”retains the Fricks’ vocals put pairs them with an uptempo, dance pop production — shimmering synths, skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, and the like. It sounds as though it’s both headphone-ready and club-friendly. And much like the Moonbabies’ remix, your remix retains the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. Why did you choose “24”?What inspired your remix?
David Fairweather: It’s partly inspired by the same production ideas we had for our song “Undone”: a big bass and lots of 80’s analogue synths. We went for a melancholic feel but with some euphoric strings poking their heads in. We wanted to keep the beautiful central riff the Moonbabies wrote on the guitar, but instead translate it to the piano.
Ola Frick: We have a few dancy Remixes we’ve done of tracks by the bands Blind Lake, Cantaloupe and The Land Below, that I guess and hope will be out before the end of 2015. And as you know we just released the Deluxe Edition Version of Wizards on the Beach with 12 bonus tracks. It sort of marks an end to a very long cycle for us. It feel great to get back into making something brand new, a complete fresh start, as were on a blank paper. Don’t know when something new will be out. One thing [that] stands out of the experience of working within the music industry 2015, is that we’re doing it straight out of pure joy, nothing else. We have set up our own imprint label Culture Hero, and no real pressure. My guess is a spring-time Moonbabies single or EP release. When something great pops up, we’ll capture it and release it. And I’m not lying when I say that I feel more confident and inspired than ever.
Summer Heart is the solo dream pop recording project of the Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Alexander. Summer Heart has received attention for a nostalgic, 60s psych pop-leaning, lo-fi sound that bears a subtle resemblance […]