Musician Nils Albin has certainly come along way since rapping with his friends in Västerås. The rapper-turned-indie/rock artist released his first solo album Pluto on June 2. The album is full of a mix of ballads, acoustic indie/rock tracks. and songs that are seemingly inspired by his earlier hip-hop days.
While Albin's music style is everychanging, so is his fashion. Odalisque sat down with Albin, along with Caliroots, to discuss the musician's evolving style, inspiration, and finding his own niche in the music world.
Nils. Albin. MC Hans - “kärt barn har många namn” as we say in Sweden (direct translation - a dear child has many names). Tell us more!
When I started rapping, we would perform in Västerås, and they needed a name for the poster. So, I chose MC Hans because I thought it sounded funny, and the thought was to change it after the show. But then, I started liking it more and more, so it stuck. When it was time for me to go solo, I thought it was suuuuuuper hard to come up with a new name. At first I was considering calling it ”likblek” because it sounded cool and punky, haha. But after a while, I decided to go with Nils Albin, my real name, because the music was closer to me than anything I’d done before, basically.
You’ve started doing music with friends in the Swedish rapgroup Fridlyst at a young age. Take us through the journey!
I met Phil and Shanti through mutual friends when I started high school. I had secretly started writing rap lyrics and wanted to make music but didn’t have a context, and I was a bit too afraid to start for real. But when I met them, they immensely helped and encouraged me. Their friends were also involved in many creative things, like one who made films and directed our music videos, painted and designed our album covers, and then a bunch of skateboarders. So, we were like a big gang in Västerås, just hanging out and thinking we were the coolest in the world. After high school, we all moved together to Malmö. Time spent in Västerås and Malmö is a time I hold very close to my heart.
How would you describe your music today? You started with rap and are leaning more towards indie now.
As indie rock/pop. The lyrics are very personal and the songs were created after a breakup from a long-term relationship. So, it reflects a time post-breakup, when I was going out clubbing a lot and just living it up. I felt very sad but at the same time free.
From Västerås, to Malmö and then Stockholm - do you have a favorite city?
I would say that I have beautiful memories of all the cities. Childhood in Västerås was nice and good, where I met my first real friends, you know. Malmö was nice too because that’s where I felt that I developed as a person and a musician. But I would probably say that Stockholm is my favorite city so far! I think a lot of it has to do with it being the latest. But I think my personality fits Stockholm the best; I’m a big city cat, haha.
What is the go-to outfit for a gig?
I love to throw non a tracksuit and some cool sunglasses. I want to feel like a rock star from Manchester in the ’90s. But I’m not afraid to wear a shirt and tie either. But usually, my go-to is a tracksuit for sure.
Do you think your clothing style in any way reflects on your music?
Yes! My music is a bit mixed with soft ballads and then some indie rock jams. So, as I mentioned before, I usually alternate between tracksuits and dressing up with a shirt and tie. So, it’s a mix up just as my music.
Adidas, Stuzzi, and like Umbro. Preferably vintage for all of them. Also, I think CHPO makes really nice sunglasses!