—The­re are no ru­les, and that su­its me per­fect­ly

In­ter­vi­ew with Erik Hass­le, On The Ri­se By So­fia Chowd­hu­ry

Odalisque - - Artwork By Sammy Slabbinck Written By Michaela Myh -

We caught up with Swe­dish soul sen­sa­tion Erik Hass­le on a rainy day at a local re­stau­rant in Stock­holm. He spo­ke to us about his new­found LA li­fe, how to es­cape re­a­li­ty and what the new sing­le “No Words” is about – mo­re than the up­be­at gui­tar tu­nes he pic­ked up next do­or. sc: The­re’s ob­viously a lot about your shows, songs, re­vi­ews and vi­de­os around the Web, but not so much about you. Who are you, Erik Hass­le? eh: The­re’s not? Oh, well, I was born in Stock­holm, in Rön­ninge. I grew up in a big fa­mily. I am the young­est of four sib­lings. When I was se­ven, all my sib­lings had mo­ved out, so my mom, dad and I mo­ved from Rön­ninge to anot­her town cal­led Katri­ne­holm. It’s re­al­ly on the country­si­de, and we bought a house the­re. It’s much che­a­per to li­ve the­re com­pa­red to Stock­holm, so we could afford an old 1970s house with a big yard and a barn. My pa­rents are a bit hip­pie; they’ve al­ways been in­vol­ved in mu­sic and theat­re and they’ve al­ways wan­ted a pla­ce to gat­her fri­ends for per­for­man­ces. They re­built the barn to a venue and eve­ry week­end in sum­mer we had so­met­hing that could be seen as a fes­ti­val, whe­re pe­op­le from the vil­lage could come, have a picnics on our yard and en­joy shows in the barn. The­re were blues bands, stand-up eve­nings - it could be anyt­hing! I used to play mu­sic with my fri­ends when I was a kid. When I was 18 and went to a mu­sic high school in Stock­holm I got di­sco­ve­red by Adis Adams­son, who is still my ma­na­ger to­day. He wan­ted me to me­et his pro­du­cers and song­wri­ters. They had just started a la­bel cal­led TEN. And ye­ah, we made so­me songs and six months la­ter I got sig­ned with TEN. It’s been full speed sin­ce then. sc: Had you plan­ned to work pro­fes­sio­nal­ly with mu­sic? eh: I went to a mu­sic high school and I thought that it was the most fun thing ever. I got sti­mu­la­ted by it but at that ear­ly age I didn’t re­al­ly have dee­per am­bi­tions to be­come an ar­tist. I just wan­ted to sing and ma­ke mu­sic. It was just about taking the op­por­tu­ni­ty when it’s gi­ven. I went to work direct­ly af­ter school. sc: How do­es your li­fe look now, as a mu­si­ci­an? eh: I sig­ned with TEN eight ye­ars ago and it has grown up to a big la­bel ever sin­ce. It’s so cool. The­re’s one of­fice in Stock­holm and one in LA, and I’ve li­ved in LA sin­ce two ye­ars back. I’ve been ma­king an al­bum and re­le­a­sing songs. I’ve al­so re­le­a­sed a new sing­le re­cent­ly. So now it’s ti­me to do shows! sc: Why do you li­ve in LA? eh: It’s been TEN’S am­bi­tion to book Swe­dish ar­tists in­ter­na­tio­nal­ly, and LA has al­ways been an incre­dib­ly cool pla­ce and a hu­ge mar­ket. The­re are so ma­ny pe­op­le from the mu­sic in­du­stry he­re. It’s simply the pla­ce to be now. New York has been the mu­sic mec­ca be­fo­re, but pe­op­le have mo­ved over to the West Co­ast. The­re are so ma­ny Eu­ro­pe­ans the­re, and a crazy amount of Swe­des! It’s an in­spi­ring pla­ce! sc: Whe­re in the world do you find most in­spi­ra­tion? eh: Right now I’m inspired from be­ing he­re. I think you get inspired just by mo­ving around at the right ti­me. I felt a bit “do­ne” with LA, at le­ast for now. I have re­le­a­sed so ma­ny songs so I just re­al­ly want to get out the­re and per­form at fes­ti­vals and shows. It was ac­tu­al­ly nice to leave LA now and get to Eu­ro­pe and fe­el the smell of Spring. sc: Who are your in­flu­ences? eh: My first mu­sic ex­pe­ri­ence that had a hu­ge im­pact on me was when I first he­ard Mo­town soul and al­so when I he­ard Cree­dence [Cle­ar­wa­ter Re­vi­val], the Ame­ri­can band. It was li­ke a knock­out when I he­ard it for the first ti­me when I was 8 or 9. I lo­ve all kinds of mu­sic but I have a pas­sion for Ame­ri­can soul. I li­ke all the clas­si­cal sing­ers - Otis Red­ding, Mar­vin Gaye, Al Green, tho­se guys, Gla­dys Knight. I li­ke old he­art­bre­ak-soul Ja­mes Brown, Cur­tis May­fi­eld… I re­al­ly li­ke Cur­tis May­fi­eld - he sym­bo­li­zes mu­sic to me. Tal­king about he­art bre­ak, tell us about your song No Words. That song is spe­ci­al to me. It re­al­ly re­flects the ti­me when it was made, how I felt back then. I was so incre­dib­ly in lo­ve. The song was made when my re­la­tions­hip just had en­ded, but I was still so in lo­ve. I had ve­ry mix­ed emo­tions, I was hap­py but al­so ve­ry anx­ious and sad. And that song is re­al­ly

all that. It ma­kes me fe­el good but if you ta­ke it pie­ce-by-pie­ce, wri­te down the ly­rics, you’ll un­derstand that it’s ac­tu­al­ly qui­te sad. sc: How do you ma­ke songs? eh: For­tu­na­tely, it’s dif­fe­rent eve­ry ti­me. That’s gre­at - ot­her­wi­se I’d be so bo­red. So­me­ti­mes you start to wri­te a song to so­me­o­ne el­se’s re­a­dy-made mu­sic, and ot­her ti­mes you start with so­me chords on the pi­a­no. This song “No words” is an aweso­me ex­amp­le of a gre­at cre­a­ti­ve pro­cess. I was he­re in Stock­holm in a stu­dio com­plex at TEN whe­re I know eve­ry­o­ne. I was wor­king in one room when I he­ard so­me gui­tar sounds, the sa­me sounds you can he­ar in “No Words”, from a room far away. I was li­ke “Damn that sounds so cool!” and I ran in­to the room and the­re was my best fri­end Gustav! So I started to wri­te ly­rics and made that song. One of my ot­her fri­ends, Da­ni­el, was in New York and we were so in sync at that ti­me. One per­son could start wor­king on one thing and pass it on to the ot­her who could fi­nish it. We sent the cho­rus from Stock­holm whi­le he was in the midd­le of a din­ner in New York, and he snea­ked away to the toi­lets, down­lo­a­ded the sound fi­le from his email and lis­ted to it. He was so ex­ci­ted to fi­nish it that he went back to the ta­b­le and sa­id that he had for­got­ten his wal­let. So he went ho­me, worked on the song, sent it back to us and re­tur­ned to the din­ner. And then we fi­nished it in the midd­le of the night in Stock­holm! I re­al­ly li­ke when it turns out li­ke that, un­pre­dictab­le and to­get­her with fri­ends. sc: What’s the best thing about wor­king with mu­sic? eh: For me I think it’s that it is not ba­sed on rou­ti­nes. New things al­ways hap­pen and sur­pri­se me. You can al­ways find new ways to be inspired and you can’t re­al­ly ever learn. That’s so cool. It’s all about fe­e­lings and emo­tio­nal sta­te. I would’ve be­come crazy if I’d been stuck in a daily pat­tern. The­re are so ma­ny ways to ex­press your­self, the cre­a­tion of songs and the shows. The­re are no ru­les and that su­its me per­fect­ly. sc: Ot­her than mu­sic, what do you li­ke to do? eh: What?! Ha­ha. I don’t think I have had ti­me for anyt­hing el­se, ac­tu­al­ly. I don’t mind. I do have ot­her in­te­rests though! I li­ke foot­ball. sc: To play or to watch? eh: Both! I li­ke sports a lot. I ac­tu­al­ly find a lot of in­spi­ra­tion in sports. I’ve al­ways been in­te­res­ted in sports and that’s what I was do­ing be­fo­re I started with mu­sic. I play­ed foot­ball, golf or flo­or­ball. I tri­ed to find so­lu­tions by be­ing cre­a­ti­ve. It’s al­so how I re­lax, how I es­cape from re­a­li­ty. Just turn on a ga­me. sc: What kind of a foot­ball play­er are you? eh: What do you think I’ll an­swer? sc: I ac­tu­al­ly have no idea … eh: Zla­tan! I li­ke ar­tists who do un­ex­pec­ted things. Foot­ball play­ers who think two steps ahe­ad of eve­ry­o­ne el­se, that’s cool. I ac­tu­al­ly have a Zla­tan tattoo. sc: Re­al­ly? Oh, look it’s a ‘Z’! eh: Ye­ah, I have li­ke 20-23 small tattoos all over my bo­dy. sc: What ma­kes you proud? eh: I’m ve­ry proud of the fact that I have the sa­me sup­por­ting pe­op­le around me to­day that I had when I first started. We have been through eve­ryt­hing to­get­her and grown up to­get­her. It’s a spe­ci­al bond. TEN is li­ke my se­cond fa­mily. We ta­ke ca­re of each ot­her and we are im­por­tant to each ot­her. I’m proud of that too! Oh! And I’m al­so ve­ry proud that I play­ed with the ju­ni­or na­tio­nal golf team in Sörm­land when I was 15 ye­ars old! sc: That’s aweso­me! Hid­den ta­lents. So, what hap­pens next? eh: I’m go­ing to spend so­me ti­me in Eu­ro­pe un­til the end of Ju­ne. I have a ful­ly pac­ked sche­du­le. We will have to wait and see what hap­pens with the song that I just re­le­a­sed. But I’ll pro­bably tra­vel around and do so­me shows, pro­mo­tion and stuff. My al­bum is pret­ty much do­ne so it’s re­a­dy to be sent out! sc: What can you re­ve­al about you coming al­bum? eh: It’s my first soul al­bum I think. Last ye­ar’s EP was a tea­ser of what form this would ta­ke. So it’s eve­ryt­hing from all the emo­tio­nal sta­tes that I’ve been though du­ring the two ye­ars that I’ve been wor­king on the al­bum. Ups and downs. I think that’s the best an­swer!

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