Scandinavian pop is a saturated old beast, and it can be hard to stand out in the genre. But with her brand of glacial synth-pop, Frida Sundemo‘s name has always been mentioned in the higher rungs; she cements this brand next week with her album Flashbacks & Futures, which is full of the pristine songs people adore her for. We caught up with her over email to find out more…
Hello Frida! Firstly how are you, where are you, and what are you up to?
Hi there! I’m pretty happy because I just started sipping on a perfectly brewed cup of black coffee, sitting in the lounge in my studio with a laptop on my knees (doing an interview). On the top of this – it’s raining outside – which is one of my absolute favourite things in the whole wide world.
We can’t see your first name without thinking of another Frida, the majestic Frida Kahlo. Do you think you share anything with your namesake?
I want to believe so anyway, because I think she’s super cool. She fought for women’s rights and I’m a proud feminist wishing that I was close to at least one tenth so brave as Kahlo was. Also, I love my eye brows and I choose to believe that Kahlo loved hers too. She should anyway! And I also love painting. Not self-portraits that much, though.
We’ve listened to your lovely new album Flashbacks & Futures. Where do you find the bridge between those two concepts?
The bridge is me! I’m standing right in the middle, thinking about all those parallell futures that could be my futures and also about everything that happened already (or that could have happened but never did happen!). It makes me crazy. And when I sometimes feel like I manage to embrace the ”now” I realise that it just became ”then” and there we go again! I’m a super nostalgic person and a week ago I thought I’d invented the word ’pre-nostalgia’ but then I googled it and unfortunately it had 15,700 hits. But the good news is: I’m not alone!
What’s your most memorable Flashback, and what’s your greatest hope for your Future?
I loved the rain when I was a kid cause I knew that the dew worms would get up to the soil surface to breathe. I went out and lifted on every stone in my neighbour’s gardens, seeking pets. I then put them in a little plastic jar for a couple of hours and pretended they were mine. Maybe this is the reason why I love rain so much. I’ve got a lot of hopes for the future but one big dream is to perform at a really big venue with a symphony orchestra with me.
How did you decide what to include on the album? We’re sad not to see Neon but I guess it had it’s time…
Thank you for supporting Neon! Unfortunately, it didn’t really belong to the Flashbacks & Futures world. It was quite easy to decide which ones that were right for it though. But I had to kill some darlings anyway. Sometimes it feels like you let a song down when it doesn’t make it to the album and that’s not funny.
Circles is a song that really hit us when we listened. Tell us a bit more about that one.
Thanks! It’s one of my favourites on the album. Circles is about getting struck by the insight that you’ve made a terrible mistake. Your intentions were good but somehow it all went wrong anyway. That feeling of regret and knowing that you could never undo it. I guess most people can relate to that feeling. At least I can (obviously).
“I refuse to create and release just song after song and focus on getting them into the biggest playlists as possible”
What are you hoping people take away from this record?
I’d love it to be a hand to hold when you’re lonely. A place to escape to when you’re tired of this world. But also a source of power and courage. It might sound like cliches but it is how I feel about it.
It’s been a long time coming for some of us. What happened with Parlophone after Indigo?
We kept working together on new music but we kind of realized that we wanted different things. No hard feelings!
Obviously there’s a lot of Scandinavian acts out there. Do you ever feel the pressure to conform, or indeed the pressure to stand out even more?
If something – to stand out. But I feel nothing but gratitude to all talented artists and producers that put and still put Scandinavia on the music industry map. It’s a big help!
Has the climate of streaming music affected the way you approach things at all?
Hopefully not. Not that I’m aware of anyway. It is really hard to make money as an artist, that’s a fact, but it would never be the reason for me to make music. And I refuse to create and release just song after song and focus on getting them into the biggest playlists possible. I want to build a whole world of my music. And I hope there’s still people out there that want to listen to albums.
Finally, the question we ask everyone: what’s your favourite Beyonce song?
Love the question. Run The World (Girls)!