Unmistakably Nordic in flavor, Sofia Talvik somehow still conforms to American interpretations of her own original music, a North Sea siren blending sparkle and melancholy, creating a special niche of folk music.
Sometimes I wish I had a band. Well I do have a band and I love them to bits, but we are not a band. They are my boys and I am their artist. They are my friends but they are not my confidants. Sometimes, when I see things like this lovely pledge by My Bubba and Mi, I wish I had a band, where everyone were equals. Where we planned together and fought together. Where we were annoyed at critics and happy for our music together. Sometimes I feel like it’s just me, and they are just tagging along for the ride.
I’ve tried a couple of times making my band into my band. At first I gave them a name, The Tallboys, so that they would feel like a band and not just musicians backing up a singer/songwriter. It didn’t really work, but it doesn’t matter because now, 6 years down the road, they’re still with me and I don’t think any of them feel like just a back up musician anymore. It’s probably for the best, as I can be quite bossy and stubborn and tend to decide everything but sometimes I feel I’m struggling all alone. Like last year when we were on tour and there were just so many things that were going wrong, and I felt like I couldn’t tell them and had to pretend that everything was alright so we wouldn’t all be depressed and worried.
This year my guys are showing their skills as more than musicians playing behind me. They are each producing an EP for me in my 4 piece L.O.V.E saga. I wonder if they will feel as protective about their EPs as I do when I release an album. I wonder if they know just how much I appreciate and love them. Even if they’ll never be my band.
For the 4 EPs I’m releasing this year I’m using 4 different producers. And not any producers but the 4 guys in my backing band also known as The Tallboys. The producer for my first EP “L” is Christian Hörgren. Christian has been with me for more than 5 years and can be heard playing cello on all my previous albums. Here’s a little interview with the man in charge.
Hi Christian Hörgen, producer of the first EP in the L.O.V.E saga! How does it feel to be the first of 4 producers involved in this project?
– I’m pleased, honored and very excited. I think this is a great idea to let the members of the band take care of one recording each. It forces you to really make a statement about the song, not only your single part.
Is this your debut as a producer or are you in fact a veteran?
– I have produced several albums with my own bands and projects, but never for another recording artist.
How come you decided to do this and are you excited about the EP?
– How can I say no to such a flattering offer, Ha! To be honest, It was a tough decision to make since I’m on a parental leave with two kids. It’s always hard to make everything you dream of doing actually happen. But this time, together with some help, support and understanding from my wife and kids, we actually pulled it off.
What’s your main inspiration as a producer?
– I like to work with acoustic instruments, and I like weird instruments. I also like clear and simple ideas, and how you can question those ideas by making small changes in the arrangement of the song. I’m no big fan of an artificial studio sound in the Phil Spector tradition. I’m more into traditional, or even vernacular music superimposed with art music, like the things Jimmy O’Rourke is doing. Or Wilco.
What do you think will be different with this EP from Sofia’s previous albums?
– It’s really hard to tell. It’ has the airy and clean sound from the first records, paired up with the sweet americana vibe on the recent ones. I have tried to do it my way, not Sofia’s way, Ha!
You have played with Sofia for many years, how does it feel to be the producer as opposed to a musician working with a producer, and will you be as hard on yourself as you are on the other musicians?
– It’s a big privilege to help Sofia develop her great songs in my way. It has been so fun, yet difficult and very challenging.
Which instruments will you be playing on the EP?
– I play the kalimba (african thumbs piano), autoharp (American folk zither), electric and acoustic cello, piano, Fender Rhodes, hammond organ and I also made some field recordings.
Do you think that you and the other producers will create very different EP:s or will they sound alike?
– My friends in the band are so talented. I’m sure they will do it in their completely different way. But I have no idea what it will sound like, Ha!
If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do?
– I would hire Brad Mehldau, Bill Frisell, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson to do the instrumental parts, playing Sofia’s songs together with the Brodsky String Quartet. I would ask Danny Elfman to do the arrangements, or perhaps Stephen Sondheim. To be honest, that sounded more like Brewster’s Millions. There is no clear connection between budget and quality. I would rather have unlimited time than budget.
We thank Christian for the chat and look forward to hearing the result of his hard work!
Me and my Tallboys will be playing a song live on “ZTV Presenterar” tomorrow, Wednesday, at 8.30 pm (kl 20.30). We’ll only be playing that one song so make sure to set the alarm! If you don’t have ZTV you can check it out online HERE
Don’t miss the festivals Hoodsfred and Re:publik (both in Stockholm) this upcoming weekend. Friday me and my lovely Tallboys are playing at the big stage at Hoodsfred in Kista at 7.40pm (kl 19.40). We’ll bring you songs from the new(ish) album Street of Dreams and it’s for free so don’t miss it!
Saturday I’ll do a very special gig with Sophie Rimheden as most of of you know as Sweden’s own electronica princess! We’ll be doing a very clubby, discoey kind of performance for all of you who want to dance and party. This is the first time we’ll perform live together and to get a hint of what you might get to hear, check out our myspace site www.myspace.com/sofiasophie
We’re playing in Allhuset on Frescati at 11pm (kl 23) and it’s a free festival.
BluesBunny takes on the new album and gives it 4 carrots:
Sofia Talvik & the Tallboys, Street of Dreams, Makaki Music 2007
“Street of Dreams” is the second album from Sweden’s Sofia Talvik. This album is 13 tracks of quirky love songs that run deeper than they seem.
Highlight was the single “It’s Just Love” featuring Bernard Butler. Swooping and dramatic, this song is a convincing demonstration of the talent of those involved. Not that the rest of the album disappoints. “I Won the First Prize Tonight” sounds like a pleasant folk song but the lyrics are altogether darker. “Holding Your Hand” also sounds lightweight and fluffy but is in fact a touching commentary on the search for a soulmate. Ending on the bluesy “So Good to Me”, she tells us of the search for happiness once more. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Ms Talvik does not give us easy answers. There are no simplistic love songs here. Things do not often work out but we should never give up hope.
Charmingly performed and a fine example of the genre, this album makes for a pleasant and enjoyable listen. We think that a lot of people will like this release. Nothing offends here and you get a nice, warm feeling from it but it does bear up to closer investigation. There is a lot more substance there than the first listen indicates. Well worth tracking down therefore and adding to the collection. Available from her website.