Interview - Vanbot
Last Friday was her first ever performance in our creative London. The bright and self driven Swedish artist, Vanbot, presented us her new album called "Perfect Storm" to be released on Friday 15th of May. Following the success of her self-titled debut album, Ester Ideskog, explores the pop music from another angle. Brilliant melodies and darker electronic tones, pace and gives a powerful momentum to songs like "Trooper" or "The Way You Say It". I had the chance to see her performing and discuss about how she embraces her art, when nowadays mass culture tend to forget the essence of it.
London is very important to me. Here you have so much of your own when it comes to music and especially pop music. I believe that Swedish artists have always been keen on being noticed here as in, if you make it within the British scene, you can make it anywhere in the world.
How do you experience the change from the British scene to the Swedish scene ?
Even if it's more or less the same, the feeling I have live is different. When I'm performing abroad, I feel even more freedom when I get on stage. Probably because I don't know anyone here so I can really take a wilder turn. Stockholm is home so it's a safe environment to be playing in.
What is your first memory and feeling you can relate to as a starting point in music ?
My first memory came from when I was singing in church with my friend. I grew up in this environment, where I always was singing in choirs and playing different instruments. Within the orchestras I also learned about the harmony, arrangements and I then started writing my own music in my early teens.
Why did you start writing your own songs ?
I think it was because I found out I could sing and this feeling made me happy. I actually remember myself sitting by the piano and writing songs. I then recorded my first album and it was like eight songs, when I was eighteen years old. I have had a few bands, some acoustic ones, but mostly pop.
Is your music always been about pop ?
Pop always been the core of my music. Melodies for me comes first, this is how I start writing and also how I connect to music. If you try to imagine the creative process of a song, it always starts with a feeling. This might sound silly, but quite often I feel inspired when I'm out walking or cycling . It's actually true... (laughs) I then record the birth of this melody on my phone and I start working on it in my studio with arrangements as a first part of the production.
The music is for me about communication and melodies. If you are listening to a melody without lyrics or in a language that you're not able to understand, you're still going through different powerful feelings because it holds so much in it. I love doing pop and being able to create catchy lyrics and melodies, but I also want to approach them from a darker perspective. It becomes interesting when you combine different contents, like you can do with fashion.
How do you see the communication between art in music ?
If we discuss about the artistic aspect of music. I feel the most inspired when I see other kind of art such as modern dance performances or photography exhibitions. This is what actually make me the most inspired to write music. Probably because it communicates to each other without having to speak.
What makes you believe in music ?
When you look at the society, it's always about work and making money. We are actually forgetting and loosing the artistic part of it by wanting to produce things faster and gain even more money out of it, but I think there is so much more. Everybody knows that when they hear music or go to art performances it communicates something else. It's essential not to put that aside. As a human being, I believe that music and art have such an important function in our society amongst people, we often tend to forget about it because we don't think its worth. I want to make music because I love it so much and it's something I believe in. Listening to a song can potentially change the way you feel and this strength carried through all types of music is just wonderful. It is something that speaks for itself.
How do you feel about impacting people's life because of your songs ?
I sometimes received emails saying that my music helped them going through a difficult time and this actually feels like the right purpose to do what I do. I write because I love doing it and if it's meant something to someone else then it's even bigger. I remember a few years ago I worked with young children, from a few months up to the age of six. I was singing for them. At that time I realised, when I started singing, children were more open minded and innocent than we are. When they hear the music, they are straightforward in the way they are enjoying and receiving it. They're not influenced by any popularity or clothes you are wearing. When it comes to us, adults, we are also like them, but more shattered because of the layers we are putting on ourselves. We just have to let it go and absorbs the music the way children's can do, without any superficial aspects.
I also feel like being a woman in the music industry is tougher. You have to show that you are not only a singer but an artist. I always been doing things myself, I have my own label and I really hope that this will inspire other woman to do so.
Why do you think it's harder for a female artist to be successful in this industry ?
It's harder for women to be respected as a songwriter and artist. Sometimes the superficial aspect of it becomes stronger than the artistic ones, when you have to look good and being styled in a certain way. I mean it's also important but this is not what music is all about. It's important to encourage female producers to start and believe in themselves because we are so few. I want us to be able to do what we stand for without putting too much pressure on the way we look because they way we do music, is what matters.
Photographer Carlotta Marangone