New Swedish darkpop project. After 10 years and 5 albums with The Exploding Boy, it was about time for singer Johan Sjöblom to put together songs from the past and present that were truly his, without compromise. The dark core and the melodies are still there, but sometimes a bit slower and more inspired by pop and indie music than the goth and synth music scene.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in a city just north of Stockholm called Uppsala, probably the oldest city in Sweden. Now since the last two years I’ve been living with my girlfriend and my 1.5 year old son Simon in a 3-room apartment in Sundbyberg. A small city-like part in the northwest of Stockholm.
Tell us about your experience being an artist in Stockholm Sweden:
I’ve always felt like I’m working alone trying to get bigger and more known. It’s like all the important music people are in a big bubble where I am not. Nowadays, 50% of my friends play in bands in Stockholm, so I feel we are all outside that big bubble. Well, some have recently gotten into the bubble, but most of my friends are still on the outside.
What is the indie music scene like in Sweden?
I don’t really know what in considered indie music nowadays. Our bands are thrown into the goth/post-punk/synth-pit, and are having a hard time getting out from there. Into the indie-pit, where I think a lot of our bands would work really well. Indie as great alternative music, I must say there it is, very small. It feels like no one listens to good music anymore. The radio plays crap music, the few music magazines write about crap bands and there is a lot of crap bands playing in the biggest arenas. That’s the only venues that are left in Stockholm. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but basically this is how I feel.
I recently visited Sweden, it’s an amazing place. Tell me something I should know about Sweden:
Yes it is, and Stockholm is the best place in Sweden! One thing that people should know, that never really has been told, is that the guys also look good! There is a lot of talk about the beautiful women, and that’s true, but what is never mentioned is that the guys are equally good looking! There are no polar bears in the streets and Swedish people are as stiff and shy as it is said!
You were the singer for the post punk band The Exploding Boy. What inspired you to go in the musical direction you are in now?
I’m still the singer, we’re going to start recording the new album next month. As nice as it is to be in a band, you also have to listen to the other guys and compromise about things. So I had a lot of songs that the other guys didn’t liked or we thought didn’t really fit into the frames of The Exploding Boy. I’ve always wanted to do something just by myself but never really knew how. Suddenly I found a producer, I had some money and the energy, so I took the chance. Actually it was the death of Bowie which really made me do it. “What would he have done?” I asked myself. “He would have done exactly what he wanted to, without compromises!”
How’s the response been for this new project?
Good I must say. I don’t have the biggest promotion machine or the money, but it seems the songs has reached some souls anyway, as I wanted them to. I’ve gotten some really wonderful reviews and also mail, likes and so on. So I’m happy about that of course, but I really want it to be bigger. I think it can be!
Where in the United States would you like to visit or perform?
Well, we’ve played two times in NYC with The Exploding Boy, so I’d like to perform everywhere else in the States, and maybe a couple of times more in NYC. I love New York!
Top 3 artists that inspire you:
Lloyd Cole (I love sad songs, the sadder the better), The Cure (Always been my best band) and The Charlatans (My heart belongs to indie, pop songs and nice melodies).
What do you hate about the world?
The hate in the world. The fear in the world, that mean people use it for their own sake.
What do you love about the world?
That there are good people fighting and working out there. They are often never shown, and neither are the good things that happen are shown in news etc. I think people need more good news to know that is not only bad things going on. Sometimes it feels like that, don’t you think?
What’s in your iPod?
Today I listened to the latest album by She Past Away, I know the singer a little bit from playing the same festivals. The new EP with a pretty new Swedish artist called Roya, and a couple of songs with the french artist Hante. Oh yeah, I also listened to the new album from Leonard Cohen.
What’s next for SJÖBLOM?
We’re having a show in Stockholm and a couple in Italy, then we’ll see what bookings come my way. I also found a couple of old songs I really want to record although there’s not much time with a small child, but I want to make some new ones as well. I really want to make a really slow and sad sad album. That would make me happy!
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
If something is dark and beautiful it is probably just great! Could be a great song, person or guitar. It’s something really good!