Month: September 2018

Interview: Viktor Ahlgren

Viktor Ahlgren and I have been going back and forth for a couple of years now. He originally reached out to Music For Lunch for his duo collaboration, LACEI. Check out the interview we did here. Now, Vik is up to his ears in musical projects, just the way he likes it. Not only is he still writing music for LACEI, he’s also divulging in mixing, producing and engineering for his own solo work in addition to working with some prominent DJs and producers out there. We discuss all of this below!

 

MFL: Do you recall the moment in your life when you knew music would become a permanent part of it?

 

  • It’s hard to describe, but I’ve always felt a special calling to music. I’ve always felt that it has been a huge part of who I am. When I was younger, it was pretty obvious to my parents that music was extremely intriguing to me. For instance, at the age of four, I was dying to have a Beatles album. And at the age of nine, I cried so hard because my parents wouldn’t buy me a Britney Spears album haha!

 

MFL: You are from Sweden originally. Does culture influence your music today? If so, how?

 

  • I believe so. I listen to a lot of music from Sweden (both globally known Swedish artists as well as artists that are only famous in Sweden) and I’m definitely influenced by them. I also often find myself making dark, melancholic music. Maybe that’s because I’m from a place where its cold and dark for 8 months out of the year lol…

 

MFL: In addition to writing/recording music, I know you have gotten into producing and engineering. How is this kind of work different from just writing music if it is different at all?

 

  • It is a little bit different as it’s more focused on sound design, programming, mixing, etc. Instead of writing the song you are tweaking a song that’s already been finished (ie. changing sounds, mixing them, etc.). I have also engineered (recorded) other people’s sessions.

 

lexia Connor

PC: Alexia Connor

MFL: I know you have been working with some up and coming producers and DJs recently. Who are they and how did you connect with them?

 

  • I have been working with Grammy winning songwriter/producer DJ Dahi, Grammy nominated songwriter/producer Brian Alexander Morgan, and recently, I’ve been doing some music programming with the rapper King Mez.
  • I met Dahi in 2010. He was working at my school and my friend told me that he was a music producer. One day I decided to walk up to him during lunch and ask for some tips to get started with making music. At that time, he had not broken through the music business yet but I asked him to help me get started and he did. Ever since then, we have kept in contact. Once he started to gain success he asked me to work with him. He was the resident director at the school, so every time I got in trouble at the dorms I had to go and speak with him lol. I thought that was pretty funny.
  • I met Brian through Dahi. He was in a session with Dahi and saw the work I was doing. From there, he asked me to come and do the same work for him. His engineer had just moved away so the timing was perfect! I met King Mez through Brian. It’s crazy how one thing can lead to another… You never know who the person you meet will end up becoming.

 

 

MFL: What have you learned this far from these esteemed producers and how have you applied this knowledge to your current projects?

 

  • I learn so much every day, and I love it! Working with established artists and producers and watching how they work and think about music is so educating and inspiring. It can be all from how to program better drums, to how to build more interesting chords with unique voicings, etc. Everything I learn from the people I work with I try to incorporate into my own music making; lately I can see how it has improved me as a musician. Since the people I work for are songwriters and producers, they also work with a lot of well-known and talented artists. I get to meet some really cool people and gain inspiration from their work too.

 

MFL: I know you are also working on a solo project. Why did you decide to take on a project of your own and how do you plan to keep it unique from your collaboration, LACEI?

 

  • I think because I’m such a diverse music listener, I feel the urge to create different types of music. LACEI is my main focus which is more rock infused, but I also have other projects. Deeps is another project I’m working on with a friend of mine from Sweden which is more folk and soul infused. Vik Mikael is my solo project which showcases more of my songwriting and producing abilities, basically I’m gonna be making whatever music I feel like (no particular genre). Fourthly, I have also created music scores for tv and film as well as doing programming and sound designing for other people. All this music express facets of myself. They are all a part of me.

 

 

MFL: Do you have an opinion on music streaming and how it has changed the way people buy and listen to music?  

 

  • I believe that the idea of streaming music is great as it is more accessible and affordable for people to consume and discover. Playlists are great too. However, I do feel that the distribution of money to the artists are not yet fair, so they need to sort that out.

 

MFL: Finally, 2018 will be coming to a close before we know it, what are your major goals as a musician for 2019?

 

  • Release music! I have been working on so many different projects lately that I cannot wait to put out. It’s gonna be LACEI stuff, Deeps Stuff, my own solo stuff, and other artists stuff that I will be credited on. Let’s hope it will be a good year =) and hit me up if you want to collab! I love working with new people!!

 

You can follow all of Vik’s projects on Instagram: Vik Mikael, Deeps, LACEI.

 

Featured Image PC: Guthrie Melchiade

 

Debut EP from A Box of Stars: “Days Drunk Off Heat”

A Box of Stars hails from a college town in Western Vermont where four of the five band members live. Despite their proximity, the record was born of isolation. One of the lead vocalists and main drivers of the band, Macaulay Lerman, would visit each of the other members’ homes to focus on their part of each track, rather than have the entire band get together to work. This method created something very different than their initial expectations of what was to become, Days Drunk Off Heat. Just like the band’s name, their debut EP is a shimmering collection of stars. Each track just as sparkling as the last but each glimmers in its own color, pulses with its own beat. I feel that this is the result of the bands’ unique creative process. The band is made up of Macaulay Lerman (guitar and vocals), Claire Londagin (vocals), Jens Hybertson (violin), Eben Schumacher (bass, piano, and guitar), and Tim Halteman (drums). The EP was mixed by Josh Druckman.

 

The record is a carefully curated collection of seven tracks that are built on the idea that life is in constant migration, evolution and motion. It is a record that acknowledges our existence in this perpetual motion machine that is life, constantly pushing us forward but also recognizes that we can and will always look back no matter how quickly we are moving into the future. More specifically, the record is a reflection on a period of Lerman’s life where he hopped on freight trains and hitch hiked across the US in his late teens, early twenties. He let the motion of life settle him in some towns for several days, others for several months. Days Drunk Off Heat is Lerman looking back on this period of his life, wondering if he had stayed forever at any one of his stops, what would his life be like today? A question many of us ask ourselves throughout our lives about daily decisions regarding life, lovers, and our occupations.

 

The album opens with my personal favorite on the album, “Cornfields.”

 

 

Within seconds, I knew this was a record I wanted to spend some time with. It simultaneously sounded like something I had heard before, some combination of bands already out there, but also something completely novel. I could not and still cannot decide if Lerman and Londagin’s voices are perfectly similar or completely different. I cycle back and forth between hearing their voices overlap so flawlessly that it seems like both voices are coming from the same body while at other moments, their voices could not sound more dichotomous, almost dissonant at moments. “Cornfields” is a hazy lullaby intertwined with lyrics that are thick with that summer heat that leaves you feeling dazed. The following track, “Sunshivers”, picks the tempo up and is lazily playful, just like those insanely hot summer days that leave you unsure of what to do with yourself. You never completely wake up. That is how Days Drunk Off Heat leaves you feeling.

 

“Tongue Tied” is a lilting waltz that seems to highlight specific memories or moments from Lerman’s travels. Specific stops along the journey, tastes, smells, sights and scenes are captured in this track perfectly laced with Hybertson’s longing violin. Each instrument has its place in each song and I find myself having moments throughout each song with each instrument. The record also highlights Lerman and Longadin individually. “Migratory Birds” lets you get drunk off Lerman’s husky, whispering voice while “The Leaving” highlights Longadin’s pure, rich and soaring voice. On “The Leaving”, Longadin sings of how sweet is to leave, her voice the perfect means of conveying this message.

 

 

The record closes with, “Static Companion”, another favorite of mine, leaving you just as dazed as you began. Days Drunk Off Heat is meant to be listened to slowly. It’s like honey. It’s sweet and it can’t be rushed. This dreamy EP is out now and can be found on Bandcamp, Spotify,  and Amazon.

 

New single from Danish singer, Alex Vargas: “Silent Treatment”

Danish singer Alex Vargas brings us his latest track, “Silent Treatment.” The sultry and soulful track features his velvet-clad voice and an undeniably sexy beat. Last spring, Vargas released his debut record, “Cohere”, and based on this new single, the upcoming record brings a new level of intensity and soul.

Check it out:

 

 

Listen for more from Vargas via Facebook, Spotify and his official website.

Featured Image PC: Seth Nicolas