Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interview #1 - Exit Island [EN]

After trying out quite a few things I finally managed to get the first interview with an artist online. I think its quite fitting that I started the feature with the one artist who managed to grab the 5/5 LP's. I am relatively satisfied with my first try regarding the interview. What do you think?

Great that you got time for the interview. Lets start with some simple questions. Why did you start making music? Was there anything that inspired you?

I started making music just after getting into music when I was maybe 16 and fell in love with Depeche Mode. I've always been pretty creative I suppose, before music I was heavily into film (which I am still) and was making up stories and writing scripts and stuff like that. When I was little I was into comic-books and drew my own comics. I started making music because I love the artform and I love creating things.

I was inspired by the album as a format I think, how a cohesive collection of songs or sounds could contain a little world of it's own which you could escape into at any time. At home by your stereo or while waiting for the bus from work.

What are you doing when you are not busy with creating music?

Listening to other peoples music mostly. However, other things I spend a considerable amount of time on include taking photographs, drawing, watching film and reading books.

How did the decision to start a band and release music instead of just playing for yourself come about?

I started out playing by myself and still do. Exit Island (the project has gone through many name-changes) is still only me writing, playing and recording everything by myself. I do play in a band called From Antarctica (http://www.myspace.com/fromantarctica), and I love that aspect as well, the collaborative element. I like both ways of making music, both by myself as a total control-freak and with other people as part of the sum.

I started sharing my music with others when I got a bit confident in my musical abilities a couple of years back. For a long time I kept my recordings only to myself, but recording and mixing music started to consume a lot of my time and my friends were curious as to what I was up to. At first I was very nervous about playing people what I had recorded, but grew to enjoy it. I think most artists, whether they admit it or not, likes showing people their art.

Who do you want to reach with your music? Is there any plan to release a CD people can buy? By the way. Be sure to tell me when that is the case.

I'm not trying to reach anybody in particular, when I write my music I don't do it with anybody else in mind. Of course, if other people like the what I do, that's amazing to me and I'd like to reach as many as possible. I'd love to release a CD at some point, but I'm not sure where to go or what to do to make that happen.

What do you think of Myspace or other internet media in that regard? Were they a big help for you to get your music out to others?

Yeah, they are convenient channels to help people access your music by posting links and such. However, so far I use it mostly to share my music with friends. There are so many singer/song-stalkers on myspace, for example, that the mediocre stuff sort of drowns out what's worth hearing. I don't want to be the guy spamming message-boards or shoving my music down people's throats.

Speaking of your band. What is the meaning of the band name? Or while we  are at it, the meaning behind the album title "The Giant Owl"?

I'm terrible at coming up with band names, Exit Island is just a name that wasn't taken and that stuck. Before that I called Exit Island "Reverb Is Your Friend", which is also the name of the record I made before The Giant Owl. As for The Giant Owl, the album has no real overarching theme or message, so I named it after the ambient section in Winter Can Kill You where I sample an actual owl.

Personally, I think that your latest Album was a big step up in quality from the one before. Is there any reason to that? I mean they were just about 8 months apart. Did you put in even more time and effort?

Hmm, I guess it's a learning-curve thing. With Reverb Is Your Friend I was just learning how to properly put stuff in the mix, and when I set out to record The Giant Owl I started out with all the knowledge I had gained from the recording sessions of the previous record. I had also been mixing an EP for From Antarctica in between these two, so I had the opportunity to refine my knowledge a bit.

Regarding your album covers: The last two albums had a shape on a real photograph. Is there any meaning to that? Did you came up with the idea and created it yourself? Do you plan on using this as some sort of trademark for your album covers if there are more albums to come?

In many ways, those two albums are linked together. They are both pop-records and contain the same type of songwriting. I think of The Giant Owl as a more aggressive, dark and immature companion to Reverb Is Your Friend and I let the similarity between the covers mirror that. Also, the subject matter of the lyrics is pretty angsty, so using the cartoon characters may provide a little well-needed self awareness or distance to the music. It was a good way to avoid self-parody, and I also very much enjoy drawing those simplistic characters. Yes, I came up with the idea and did the cover art myself. The picture is a photograph I took of a lake called Storsjön in northern Sweden. I may continue to use the same type of imagery for Exit Island, though it depends on the music.

Since you tend to try out different ways of making music, how would you describe your music overall?

I'm never quite sure what to answer when I get this question... As melodic, expressive pop-music influenced by everything from The Cure to Neurosis.

Recommendation time! Another band you think of as criminally overlooked?

On a bigger scale, a band called IAMX (http://www.myspace.com/iamx) who makes amazing and unique electronic music. The singer Chris Corner was in the 90's trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps, who were also amazing, everything he touches turns to gold basically. Definitely deserves more exposure, even though IAMX has a very devoted following in Europe. They are based in Berlin now I think, so you might have heard of them.

On a smaller scale, a Swedish band called Kommun (http://www.myspace.com/kommunswe)who recently put out thier debut, self-titled album. These guys have released a lot of great music before that though, but sung in Swedish. It's pretty straight forward indie pop-music, but don't let that description put you off.

Any band or musician you would love to work with on a song?

Definitely Bradford Cox from Deerhunter, because he seems like such a nice person and because I adore all his music.

Since you are undeservingly unknown as a musician I guess you havent played much live? What was your personal greatest moment regarding your music?

I have actually never performed before an audience larger than ten people. Even with the band (From Antarctica) we haven't managed to get any real gigs and when we did manage to get one, something usually got in the way. But I'm working on that.

My greatest moment regarding my music must have been recording and listening to the album Goodbye Songs I made in 2007. I almost feel embarrassed to say it, but I remember being moved by my own work of art and then also realizing that music is probably going to be my biggest passion for the rest of my life. Listening to it today, that record is kind of all over the place and unfocused, but I have some heavy sentimental feelings towards it.

Also, playing together with Miro from From Antarctica for the first time, that was fantastic. Just meeting someone with the same creative mindset was amazing, it's never happened since.

What are your plans for the future? Some concerts? New album? Other things you would like to share?

As of now I'm working on an album sung in Swedish, the project is called Vintergatan and translates into The Milky Way. I recorded an EP with three songs about two months ago and the proper album should be ready by September. (http://vintergatan.bandcamp.com/) It's more focused around the songwriting and lyrics, so I'm writing in my first language.

Also, in about a week I'll play with From Antarctica a maybe record a song or two, we'll see what happens. We live really far away from each other, so when we do get together to play it's really intense and we have a lot of fun. I think there could be some pretty great results if we're lucky.

After I'm done with those, I'm planning to take Exit Island in a more experimental direction. It's going to be dark, weird, electronic and noisy. And hopefully good as well.

Is there any question you ever wanted to be asked? And please share the answer with us :)

Yay! How about: What is your favorite sound in the whole wide world?

I think my favorite sound is the sound of wind blowing through trees, as cliche as that sounds. No birds or anything, just the sound of wind rattling the leaves, coming closer, blowing over your head and moving into the distance again. No matter how bad I'm feeling, that sound always makes me calm. I should try and record it sometime.

Any last words?

Thanks for listening to my record and being interested in my music! It's what I put my heart in, so it's amazing for me when people actually take time to listen and appreciate my art.
Thank you for taking your time!

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