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Fast Five: A.S. Swanski



When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my brother and I had our own fantasy planet, for which we invented a complete music scene with fake artists and fake TV shows.

It’s when I wrote my first song, called Cindemary, with two lines of text and music that was little more than noise I made with my mouth. I didn’t play an instrument at the time. Maybe I should record it one day.

Things became more serious when I was 16, started playing bass guitar and formed a band. The next ten years I continued to work with other musicians but also started doing more and more solo recordings, and today it’s only me, with occasional contributions from my wife who’s a singer.

Have I ever pondered a different career? I never think in terms like that. If you see music as a career, you will have to compromise, and compromises create boring music.

How would you describe your music?

I always say it’s moving between cinematic krautrock and disturbing synthpop, because that’s what others hear in my music. It has a European feel and according to reviewers, it’s very visual. Don’t expect polished pop songs. I like long instrumental parts that slowly build up to a climax.

Quite a few listeners experience my music as dark and unsettling, but I don’t create my stuff to achieve such an effect. I just try to turn the pictures in my mind into something I haven’t heard before.

What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?

I’m about to complete a suite of songs inspired by Swedish crime fiction. I call it the Deckare project. I’m not Swedish, but I live in Sweden and have always been interested in crime novels from the North. I actually published a crime novel myself, some ten years ago. I like the dark tone of Nordic noir, and there’s an element of politics in these books that works well in my music.

Most songs of Deckare have been released as singles the past year, and I will finish the project by releasing an album. It will be my third full album, not counting the compilation I released last year.

Inbetween I have been working on a follow-up album which is almost ready too but will be released at a later date.

If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?

I have done several duets with my wife, La Gouzel, and thoroughly enjoyed it. She’s something of an angel while I love playing mentally unstable creeps.

But if you want to hear a more famous name, I would go for Swedish pop singer Robyn. Her fresh, almost innocent voice and light weight style would create an appealing contrast with my deranged musical ideas.

You should never do a duet with someone whose work resembles your own stuff. Tension is important. It’s why Kylie Minogue was the best to partner Nick Cave.

What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?

That’s a tough one. I would choose between Popol Vuh’s Sei Still, Wisse ICH BIN, simply because it’s so beautiful, and The MenInBlack by The Stranglers. Most likely it will be the latter because it’s not only weird and quirky but also funny and I think it’s otherwise pretty difficult to have a laugh on a desert island. And since the album ends with the sound of a departing UFO, it even keeps your hope alive of leaving the place.