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.
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!!
Featured Image PC: Guthrie Melchiade
LACEI has been a long time favorite of MFL, and with a new year, they’ve brought us some new music. Their newest single, “Wanderer”, is a track about finding your purpose in the world through the chaos that is constantly unfolding, every day, every minute. In the words of LACEI:
“Wanderer is about breaking through the confines of society and following your dreams, making your own truth. There are so many crazy things going on in the world right now, if we can find light in the darkness we can begin to wander on this earth with a purpose. Each and every person has one. What is yours?”
A few months back, I got to talk music with Jessica Lombardozzi and Viktor Ahlgren the duo better known as, LACEI. The two met in a music business class during college and hit it off musically and now have released their first EP, 11:11, which you can find on iTunes now. Recently, they showcased another level of their artistic capabilities by releasing their debut music video for their track, “Sufferer.” LACEI together with video director, Andrew Choi, created a colorful and honest visual representation of the song, and the meaning behind it. About the song, vocalist Jessica Lombardozzi says:
“The song came from the idea that when you’re hurt or feel guilty about something, you make yourself suffer intentionally as a means of punishment and coping.”
LACEI and Choi focused on utilizing wild visuals and colors overlayed on the two of them in their element (playing music) and interpretive dance. Check it out:
LACEI is a musical duo based out of LA. Viktor Ahlgren and Jessica Lombardozzi came together after meeting in business class, both bringing unique musical aspects to their project. Their music merges musical concepts, genres and styles that give LACEI a truly novel sound. Viktor (Vik) and Jessica (Jess) took the time to answer some questions about the origin of LACEI, their debut EP, 11:11, and their concert venue wishlists. Check it out!
MFL: How did the two of you come together to make LACEI and what is the meaning of your musical project’s name?
Jess and ViK (J&V): First, it’s great to be connecting with Music For Lunch; always amazing to be involved with supporters of the arts and upcoming artists.
ViK: We met in a music business class at our university and started to collaborate. I believe the initial origin of the name Lacei may have been inspired from Jessica’s obsession with Flyleaf lol, but then it definitely just fit the persona of the music we were creating.
MFL: I love the unique sounds that you have merged in LACEI. There is something gentle and folk-like about the vocals but it is meshed flawlessly with the kind of electronic music that is flooding the music sphere right now, creating something so innovative. I feel like “Cold Moon” is the perfect example of this. What kind of music-listeners are you trying to reach with this new sound?
Jess: Thank you very much. It seems that you understand what it is we are doing. We do not like to create boundaries or categorize, therefore we want to reach anyone and everyone that can relate to our stuff.
MFL: What is the overarching story you are telling with 11:11 and what is the significance of the EP title? 11:11 was always the time that I would make a wish when I was growing up!
Jess: We kept on seeing the numbers 11:11 everywhere, and I mean everywhere lol. In fact, the night we were discussing EP titles Viktor randomly looked at his phone and there it was again. So, we figured that was a sign haha. The spiritual meaning of 11:11 is that it is a sign of doing something right and being on the right path.
MFL: In your opinions, who are the musicians that are making waves today and how do they differ in sound and content compared to the musicians you grew up with?
J&V: Bon Iver. His latest album is a master piece. Vernon was able to create something unique and innovative with all this new sound and texture while at the same time keeping the ‘folky feeling’ as Bon Iver is known for. The album is also very short, only 34 min, which also is not very common, and the songs titles are crazy.
Another artist that is making waves is DJ Dahi who we have been privileged to work with. Dahi is an amazing producer and his tracks are always very interesting. He can bring out something different and unique in the artists he is working with and his beats always stands out from the rest.
MFL: Are there other songs in your musical treasure chest besides the four that appear on the 11:11 EP? If so, why didn’t they make it onto the EP?
Viktor: Yes! We have a huge repertoire of songs. But we thought these four records were enough to get the listeners an idea of what LACEI is while not revealing too much, leaving them interested in hearing more.
MFL: What do each of you bring to LACEI that is unique?
VIktor: Jess is amazing with topline, I’m working the tracks… we meet in the middle on melodies. Also, I’m a male, she’s a female; that always brings unique perspectives.
MFL: Why is LA your musical hub and how, if at all, does the culture influence your music?
J&V: LA is where we met, live and go to school. We are hitting the road to explore the world. We love to travel!
MFL: If you could pick your top 5 cities/venues to play in the world, where/what would they be?
- Coachella – because it’s Coachella haha.
- Glastonbury (England) – Looks like a super dope festival.
- Way Out West (Sweden) – because Viktor is from Sweden and he has always wanted to play back home.
- Hollywood Bowl – because it is such a chill venue and we saw Bon Iver there and it was absolutely amazing.
- Red Rocks Amphitheater – it just looks crazy.
MFL: If I were to dig through the music you listen to personally, what do you think would be the most surprising find?
Jess: Binary beats. Does that count as music? lol
ViK: That I am a huge fan of folk music haha.
MFL: Where and when can your fans find you playing live in the next couple of months?
J&V: Currently in the studio working hard on the album and hitting the road in the new year.
With the change in season comes new music. I hope you enjoy it.