A Chat with Toni Sundén (22.09.2020)

When the pandemic hit, Toni Sundén took the time to create his latest album Empty Rooms. Created using only the instruments he had around his apartment, the album offers a melodic and upbeat emotional journey. We sat down with Toni Sundén to talk about the album, his music, future plans and much more!

OSR: What first drew you to music?

Sundén: I think that seeing other people perform and being surrounded by music while growing up is what first drew me to music. I’ve always loved music and the feelings you get from listening to music. I also think that music has always been my primary form of expression.

OSR: As a multi-instrumentalist, is there any instrument that you favour more than the others?

Sundén: Not really, but my main instrument is the guitar, so the guitar will always be one of my favourite instruments. I love playing other instruments and it’s nice to try out different ideas with new instruments.

OSR: What is the backstory for your new album Empty Rooms?

Sundén: The album is quite special because it was recorded during the corona outbreak. So everything was recorded and produced in my apartment. I wanted to challenge myself and write new music, using only instruments I have at my home. The album consists of 10 new songs that I wrote and produced.

OSR: Empty Rooms is slightly different from your previous work with more synths. Was there a reason for this?

Sundén: The music that I’ve released earlier is very guitar-based, mostly instrumental music in different styles. For the new album Empty Rooms, I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted to experiment more with synthesisers and have vocals on every track. I can’t say I have a specific style because I’ve done so many different things.

I always thought of my music as a diary where I can listen to my first release, for example, and remember what things I was going through and how I composed the music. I also think it’s nice for listeners, to be able to surprise them and take them on a journey through different themes and styles of music.

OSR: Do you have a favourite and least favourite track from the album?

Sundén: All the tracks are important to me, so it’s quite hard to say. ‘Empty Rooms’ was the first track I wrote for this album, so that’s the song that started the whole project. I love all the tracks in different ways and think of the album as a story where every song is connected.

OSR: With the album being recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, what was the biggest challenge you faced?

Sundén: I wrote and recorded it between April and June of 2020 and, as I mentioned earlier, everything was recorded in my apartment. I don’t really have a proper setup for home recording and especially the vocals are a bit tricky to record if you don’t have the right equipment. So that was a big challenge.

However, in this case, I think it gives a nice feel to the album. Then, of course, it has been a stressful time with COVID-19. I think it’s important to try and stay positive, do positive things and help other people.

Toni Sunden

OSR: Do you find that your environment affects the style of music you make?

Sundén: Yes, I think that the environment affects the style of music I make. In the same way as the things you experience and things you have been through affects your music. It’s not always easy to point out exactly which things it affects in the music.

I think all the things that you experience will make you the person who you are. All those things will affect the way you tell stories, write music and what you want to try and tell other people through the music.

OSR: If Empty Rooms were a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would it be?

Sundén: It would be red with shimmering gold.

OSR: What is the one thing you would like people to feel while listening to the album?

Sundén: Good question. I haven’t really thought about it in that way. I think that it’s nice that everyone can have their own interpretation of my music, but I hope that people will feel many things. Such as inspiration and excitement. I also hope that I can inspire other artists to write music and give them inspiration.

OSR: What are your plans for the future?

Sundén: This year has been very hard for so many of us and there are so many negative things happening. I try to concentrate on everything that’s positive and I think it’s important that we listen to each other and help each other.

Music wise, I’m working on some new acoustic songs and I have some collaborations coming up.

Thanks to Toni Sundén for chatting with us! You can find more about him on his website, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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