• photography by SANDRA MYHRBERG

    An interview with Anna Nordenström

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    Call Me

    Up and coming songbird and writer (Call Me), Anna Nordeström, creates sad and lucid pop music. The sound is young but the voice has got the sound of experience. The album A Sort of Company, just released on the 25th will keep you from feeling alone, or get you feeling lonelier depending on what side of the bed you woke up on. Either way it's a very impressive first record. 

    Anna grew up in the quiet small town of Karlstad, but later on moved to Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, where she started high school in a musically focused class. She quickly became tired and uninterested in it all because of the strong social structures surrounding her. For example she says, “I played a lot of jazz music, but most people were convinced that girls could only sing jazz”. Those kinds of patriarchic rules ruined the fun and joy of music. It wasn't until her move to Stockholm that she felt excepted and found her place in the social contexts. That is also when she started enjoying creating music again; but this time on her own terms.

    MM: So what happened in Stockholm?

    AN: In the beginning not that much. A friend of mine asked me to play at one of his clubs, I think he'd heard me sing or something and I said yes. I didn't have any songs then, but this event gave me a reason to start making music again. I did everything by myself which gave me a freedom I'd never experienced with music before. It was liberating. I performed at the event and in the band Palpitation, which got on stage right after me I found Ilon Vejde who later became my producer.

    MM: What happened after you released your first song on Soundcloud?

    AN: There were a lot of bloggers who wrote about the song and I'd just started talking with Ilon about a collaboration so we decided to start working on one song. We released in on Soundcloud and later got a call from the record label Luxury.

    MM: When all of this started, did you think that music could be an actual career for you?

    AN: No, I just thought it was fun, I had no expectations whatsoever. Of course it became a lot more business when I started working with Ilon, we didn't really know each other then so it was strictly work. Ilon's the one who definitely developed the sound of the record.

    MM: What do you think your music sounds like?

    AN: That's a difficult question, but I think it's quite melancholic, although at the same time there are glimpses of hope. I hope that's what others feel too when they listen to it. As the title of the album says, I hope that the record can be a friend and a company to others.

    MM: What do you think will happen when the record's out?

    AN: I really like the album and that's most important to me. I know my mom and dad will listen to it and that they'll like it. I'm trying not to get too high expectations. I mean, I'd love it if I could work in music business for a long time, but I won't put all of my cards in one place. Mostly I'd like to perform, I'm a tired of sitting in the studio for now.

    MM: So it gets lonely?

    AN: Maybe not lonely but monotone. The thing I really love about music is being on stage and preforming live for an audience.

  • photography by ELLINOR STIGLE
    stylist KAROLINA BROCK
    make up YUCO AOKI
    photographer’s assistant MELISSA LOPEZ LEACH
    stylist’s assistant ELLEN ELIAS
    thank you to 123 BOWERY STUDIO
    jacket & trousers ANDREW MARC
    top KOONHOR
    sandals PEDRO GARCIA

    An interview with Kissey

    Written by Michaela Widergren

    Kissey is a multitalented Swedish born musician living in New York. She was recently featured in I-D, Hunger and Dummy Magazine with her latest release Melting Pot; and a couple of weeks ago her music collaboration with iconic Rad Hourani for his unisex couture collection which was released in Paris. She describes her music with the words; minimal dance, roaring baseline and cinematic vocal. I couldn’t agree more.

    MM: First, I’d like to know what you been doing today?

    K:Today I started out with a morning meditation and creating some beats. Right now I’m sitting in a sofa at a coffee shop in Park Slope in Brooklyn, answering you while having some coffee, and when I’m done I will go back to the studio to write some more music and rehearse.

    MM: Why did you move to New York, and how long have you been there?

    K: The first time I arrived here, coming in a cab from JFK driving in over the Queensboro bridge I had a strong feeling of “this is home” when I looked out over the skyline, I have never felt that really about any city that I travelled to before… I still get that feeling crossing the Manhattan Bridge with the subway. I think that first encounter definitely was the beginning of my love-story with NY. I later fell in love with a New Yorker that made me love the city even more. We are not together any longer, but I think his love for the city and his lessons about how to be a “New Yorker” versus someone that is just visiting New York did teach me how to survive here. They don’t call it a “NY-state of mind” for no reason, because there are some cultural things that are very connected to the city that you have to understand to be able to live here, if you don’t it will swallow you and spit you out all chewed up. It’s an extraordinary city that I get along with very well.

    MM: Do you think you will stay in New York or do you have any plans of changing location?

    K: I’m planning to stay in N.Y… This city is my home.

    MM: You’ve really been in the spotlight lately, how was it being featured in I-D?

    K: End of last year was really cool for sure. At the core of my music, I want to create music that reflects the soundtrack of the lives of my friends and me. Anyone who likes it from the outside is an absolute added bonus. I’m so grateful that I-D came in, liked and supported my production mixtape for the remix project ‘IDIOS’, I took 8 NY artists and gave their acapellas my sonic interpretation of NY, I-D is streaming it as part of their “Music To…”-series and we named this one ‘Music To Own One’s World’. The photo is shot by Wenjun Liang. There is a lot of trust that goes into creating the right interpretation of my music visually, it means a lot to me that it turns out inspiring, the best that it can be there as well, no matter the resources. That is my approach when I create music in general, sonically or painting, I don’t care. The White Stripes recorded at least one of their albums on a 4-track porta studio, and the result was absolutely amazing. It’s all about execution and having a great idea. You don’t need to be in a “Jimi Hendricks studio ‘Electric Lady’ “ to record a hit album, if you don’t have a great idea, it doesn’t matter where you are. I work a lot with photographer Ellinor Stigle with this approach as well, great message - great quality. I’m thankful that media-players as I-D, HUNGER and DUMMY magazine have decided to spread the word about me, my music, and what I and my friends are creatively doing. I don’t think pop-culture and pop-music has to be packaged in the “box” that traditionally is presented to us as consumers. That box bores me easily and I’m sure it bores others as well, I see it as one of the main reasons why underground and over ground music is merging so much right now, people are intelligent and hungry for more than surface, and I think last year was an indicator that sonically there’s a tipping point currently happening.

    MM: What about the music, how would you describe your own sound?

    I usually say that I create indie alternative dance music, “music that you can dance to”. Overall the sound scape is minimal drums, big baselines and vocal melodies and lyrics that are extremely “sticky”. It became a reaction to the music I created earlier which had more complicated and complex lyrical and melodic structure (or controlled non-structure). Right now I want the message of the songs to be in your face, non-avoiding and extremely direct, so direct that you can’t hide from it. All you need to dance is a drum, and a baseline that makes your heart feel stuff ( it vibrates your body in different ways and evokes different levels of your being and anatomy to resonate), no matter the genre. The sound I create for myself currently is a diary of my life - living in NY, being part of the urban machine, growing up and running in Swedish forests at dusk; and swimming in lakes 3AM in the morning after being out, dancing at different parties around the world, my Caribbean connection to spirituality, meditation on rooftops in LA, reactions to stuff that is happening in the world. When I’m producing others e.g. TK Wonder, it is a different soundscape because it’s a mesh of her, her experiences, and the message she wants to put out.

    MM: You’re also a DJ, what do you enjoy the most, playing records or creating your own music?

    K: I totally adore doing both, the best feeling is to spin remixes I produced myself from my personal-crate, test tunes that only I have, and seeing when it “works” and the crowd to dances and stomps out to it, and in the corner of my eye, seeing other music nerds sneaking their phones up discreetly trying to shazam them. That’s when I know that I’m on to something, and I bring that information back with me the day after to the studio. Making the connection between what you imagine works and what really works is super important to calibrate, that way you have the knowledge about how far you can push, what rules you can currently break; it changes all the time. Subconscious behaviour is very honest and truthful, very reactionary, and I like developing song-ideas based on those reactions.

    MM: Were you a musical child? How did you get into the scene?

    K: It was a melting pot of a bunch of different things when I grew up. I don’t think I was overly talented in music, but it does come very naturally to me. I liked doing it at first, then I didn’t, and now I do again. I had a very classical education, playing the piano from when I was 6, being part of different choirs etc. My father would play a lot of ELO, Led Zepplin and Fleetwood Mac at home, mother would listen to disco and more dancey UK-stuff. I started to DJ in my teens, I learned about dance music, house, acid house, Chicago, French sounding stuff, NY, dreamt about going to Detroit mostly through that. I was a kid in Sweden and one of my main dream places I wanted to travel to was grimey- music –mecca-Detroit, I still do! I was into hip hop parallel with this, but the exposure was commercial radio stuff, the same way I was exposed to pop-music earlier when I grew up; Madonna, MJ, Janet. I learnt more and deeper about hip hop when I started to sing vocals for a bunch of people that was in the outskirt of the J Dilla LA/Detroit beat–scene. I think it’s mostly that I’ve been fortunate to have a some great mentors and friends throughout the years that have guided and catered my aural curiosity - taken me to parties, introduced me to people, sent me tracks, a lot of “you should listen to this” - “do you know of” - “hey you should come”. I follow my ears a lot, and love being where people are in a celebration mood, I find it’s the best meditation being surrounded by a big sound system either dancing or singing.

    I ask if there’s any Swedish influences in her music and she tells me that growing up she got to hear a lot of jazz. She especially mentions Jan Johansson and Monica Zetterlund, being played on repeat in her childhood home. The ease of Monicas voice has made her own way of singing more relaxed, it taught her; “not be all over all the time… To let it breathe”.

    vest & dress TUYEN TRAN
    necklace CORNELIA WEBB
    coat TUYEN TRAN 
    trousers & hat KOONHOR
    coat TUYEN TRAN
    trousers & hat KOONHOR
    jacket KOONHOR
    trousers TUYEN TRAN 
  • photography by PAULINE SUZOR

    Backstage at Cheap Monday AW15

    Written by Jade D'econzac Mbay by Michaela Widergren

    People are starting to form a line while waiting to get into the “open to all” show that Cheap Monday is arranging. The excitement's high, it’s outside and it’s freezing. Everyone gathers around the stands were you can get a hot beverage of tea. I take a seat close to the runway which is built up around the fountain in the middle of Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. Then, suddenly the surrounding in the middle of the fountain goes into flames and everyone gets quiet, the show starts. My main focus besides the show is meeting one of the designers; Richard Hutchinson the former owner of the brand The local firm that is now creating menswear at Cheap Monday.

    JDM: Richard, Hi! Which is the most interesting piece in the collection and what has been your focus this year? 


RH: There are fanzine inspired prints which are unusually placed on the garments. Instinctive design is the most brilliant attribute in this collection. 

    JDM: What materials are given extra attention in the collection? 

RH: A lot of pieces that are torn apart and hairy surfaces. 

JDM: Inspiration for the show?


RH: The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.


JDM: Why did you choose to have an “open” show this year? 

    RH: Cheap Monday has always been very close to the customers and we are used to interacting with the crowd. To show to the public seems obvious when possible.

    JDM: Will you try to do the same next time?


RH: I don’t know yet!


JDM: You have been a part of Cheap Monday for almost a year, how does it feel to be part of that team?


RH: It’s overwhelming. I can’t think of any other place were my colleagues would be more creative, ambitious and decent. 

    JDM: Tell me more about the project pocket Operators! 

    RH: It’s a super inspiring collaboration with Teenage Engineering. Everything started with Kouthoofd, the founder and CEO on Teenage Engineering, got in touch with a friend of his- our Creative Director Ann-Sofie Back and wanted Cheap Monday to design work coats and so on with the Teenage team. We thought it seemed nice so we went with it, and asked Teenage Engineering to design something for us as a counter-performance. The whole thing ended with Teenage Engineering and us together launching a series with three portable micro synths and matching gear such as t-shirts, pins and phone cases.


JDM: What's the biggest difference in working with Cheap Monday and your own brand The Local Firm? 

    RH: The most natural difference is that the companies are so different in size and structure. But the most surprising one is the powerful driving force behind creating fashion for the youth of our time.


JDM: And one last question, what's your feeling about the upcoming season?


RH: I haven’t had time to think about that yet!