“An early contender for album of the year…”. The Guardian said it, we’re reiterating it. Youth is Simian Ghost’s new album out on 5th March.
The Swedish three-piece, Simian Ghost, is a body of work originating from acclaimed producer / songwriter Sebastian Arnström. They released their debut album, Infinite Traffic, which topped the critics chart in Sweden and was voted record of the year by the readers at Dagensskiva.se. In 2011 Simian Ghost, toured Sweden and shared stages with the likes of Mount Kimbie, SBTRKT and a name we’re already very familiar with, Niki and the Dove. The year also brought demand in for his remix work – including contributions for hotly tipped LA shoegazers Letting Up Despite Great Faults and an as yet unreleased turn on one of Bjork’s recent efforts. Their latest release “Wolf Girl” is a wonderful pop lilt that draws comparisons to Nordic contempories Mew, with magical vocals that envelope you like an electric blanket in winter. It’s dreamy, flowing indiepop that is reminiscent of The Postal Service, only more ear pleasing.
Most importantly, 2011 saw their first release with UK label and tastemakers Heist Or Hit. Lovelorn is due out on 5th of March, was in Sebastian’s words is “a collection of songs all conceived in my messy living room, very DIY”. We caught up with Sebastian on all things Simian Ghost and this upcoming release.
MUZU: Where does the name Simian Ghost come from?
Sebastian: It’s from a line from a song I wrote long ago. It kind of describes what I as an artist become in the massive stream of information we’re constantly bombarded with these days.
MUZU: What are your influences?
Sebastian: Well we listen to a lot of music and all bands are but the sum of their influences. It’s hard to chose which artists to mention, but recently we’ve been into to a lot of pop music. Panda Bear, Real Estate, The Flaming Lips, Youth Lagoon and M83 for example.
MUZU: What is the best thing about being Swedish?
Sebastian: Wow. Well Sweden is great in many profound ways. We haven’t been involved in any war for the past 200 years. That’s probably the best thing for people growing up here. Sweden, like any other rich country, is involved in some bad shit though, selling and developing horrible weapons for example. We also have this really bad right wing government now, which is basically destroying all the good things that people like Olof Palme did for this country.
MUZU:Are there any upcoming artists that you are backing for 2012?
Sebastian: Some old friends of ours play in a 90′s tinged indie band called YAST. They’re really good!
MUZU:What is the songwriting process – do you work together from start to finish or separately and collaborate?
Sebastian: We’ve written all the music for Youth together as a group. We’ve basically been jamming and recording simultaneously and then I’ve been putting vocals on it mostly by myself.
MUZU: You are all personally close, do you ever get into fights?
Sebastian: Haha yes we’re close and of course we fight. Today we had an argument as to whether or not I should sleep all day before our gig on Nyhetsmorgon (Swedish national TV). We never stay mad at each other for long though.
MUZU: What are the influences and story behind the creation of ‘Lovelorn’ and now with ‘Youth’?
Sebastian: I did Lovelorn alone. It consists of stuff I’ve recorded mostly at night after coming home from work. I went through kind of a rough period in my life then and Lovelorn convey a lot of bitterness, in a very subtle way though. Working with my brother and Mathias was very inspiring and funny and I guess this too is reflected in the music. We wrote and recorded it during the summer last year, going back and forth between our studio, which was a little room in Mathias parents basement, and this big inflatable pool they had on their lawn. It was a great time.
MUZU: What was it like being featured as the year’s first New Band Of The Day by The Guardian?
Sebastian: Overwhelming! It was such a nice article too.
MUZU: What music/artists are you into at the moment?
Sebastian: Except for the ones I’ve already mentioned I listen to a lot of electronic music like Shlohmo, Mount Kimbie, Active Child, James Blake and the Internet.
MUZU: Are you all hopeless romantics fighting unrequited love, (while trying to stay youthful)?
Sebastian: Haha I don’t know. We all have girlfriends with whom we’re very happy. I myself am more like a hopeless never growing up and getting a real job.
So there you have it, that’s the essence of Simian Ghost. Listen to the wonderful Wolf Girl below, and fall in love.