Taking a break from his day, Swedish singer/songwriter Simon Alexander answers some questions for The Other Side Reviews. Chatting about his latest single, his inspiration and what he couldn’t live without, here is what he has to say:
OSR: Hi, Simon. I hope you are well. Shall we begin with the interview?
SA: Hi! All is just great, happy to be here. Let’s go!
OSR: When did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
SA: I’ve always been interested in music. My father gave me my first guitar at a very young age, but I felt more comfortable behind a drum set and the drums became my weapon of choice. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to write music with myself on guitar and vocals in mind. From there on it’s been my biggest passion.
OSR: Your sound has been compared to Neil Young and Hozier, do you think they influence your music at all?
SA: I draw inspiration from a lot of people, but some artists just have a special place in my heart. I believe that older songwriters, like Neil Young and Jeff Buckley, can have an emotional influence on what I want to convey with my music. Modern songwriters like Hozier can be musically inspirational to me, opening me up to new directions.
OSR: If you had to compare your music to any musician, who would it be and why?
SA: If you take the folky sound of The Lumineers, the modern touch of One Republic, and sprinkle a vibe of Matt Corby on top, I think you’ll land somewhere quite close.
OSR: I always wonder when non-English speaking musicians sing in English if they find it uncomfortable. As a Swede, do you find singing in (I assume) your second language sometimes challenging?
SA: On the contrary, I feel quite naked and vulnerable when performing in Swedish! Singing in English is way more comfortable.
OSR: You began your musical career as a drummer without focusing on songwriting, so were you nervous when you started a solo career as a singer/songwriter?
SA: Very much so. I had a lot of stage fright just singing in front of friends to begin with. It’s a big difference from being behind the drums, and all of a sudden you’re standing by yourself in front of a bunch of people. It’s scary, but all it takes is time and practice.
OSR: Why did you write ‘Last Dance’?
SA: I wanted to follow up my previous single ‘Slide’ with something more fun and up-tempo. I had a bunch of old ideas that I threw together and really liked the outcome. Also, I didn’t really wanna be stuck in a certain category with only mellow and sad songs. So, it sure was a challenge for me and a big step out of my comfort zone.
OSR: What is the meaning of ‘Last Dance’?
SA: Being young can be tough. You go through a lot of changes, and you make a lot of mistakes along the way; at least I did. With this song I wanted to make a danceable anthem for all of those who wish that they had taken the chance when they had it, whether it be telling someone how you really felt or ask someone for one last dance.
OSR: What was the recording process like for ‘Last Dance’?
SA: Once again I teamed up with producer Tobias Ekqvist (electric guitar) and Jonnie Holmberg (drums) in Studio Sunnanå in Malmö. We based the song off a pre-production that I recorded in my home in Gothenburg, but we added a lot of ingredients on the spot. If one of us had an idea in the studio that got us all grooving, we knew that we were on to something. We have a lot of fun together and they are both now out-performing with me.
OSR: Can we expect a new album or any upcoming tours after this release?
SA: More songs, yes; but not a full studio album quite yet. It all depends on if people want it, but for now I’m focusing on singles. First we’re heading to the showcase festival Live At Heart in Sweden this September, after that I have some dates in the UK that are not yet announced and a tour in Germany in the works. So, things are happening.
OSR: What is the most enjoyable part of being a musician?
SA: Meeting new people and seeing new places, it’s always good fun! Also all the love from people on my social media pages. I read everything and I’m always thinking of new ways to interact with the people who support me and what I do.
OSR: What is the most challenging part of being a musician?
SA: For me, I think it’s the pressure. I’m not ever fully satisfied with anything, things can always improve. So, releasing music and playing live with that mindset can be pretty difficult, but I’m always as excited. I mean, I love being a musician and I wouldn’t trade it with anything else.
OSR: What is one thing you cannot live without?
SA: Coffee. Plain and simple.
OSR: How would you know if you were in love?
SA: It’s just a feeling really. All of a sudden, you find yourself thinking about the person and everything else sort of vanishes and matters less. It’s a mind-defying situation where you unconsciously chose someone to be ‘the one’, but it’s lovely.
OSR: If you had to move to another country, where would you go and why that specific country?
SA: Recently I backpacked around Europe and got to see a lot of amazing places. I personally fell in love with Austria. I can definitely see myself living in a small cottage on the mountain side later in life.
OSR: What inspires you to make music?
SA: Good and bad times in life. I can’t really choose when to write, it just comes to me. Listening to new artists and different genres can also have a major impact.
Thanks to Simon for chatting with us. To enjoy more of Simon Alexander’s awesomeness, you can visit his Facebook.