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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Perfect Storm: An interview with Swedish singer songwriter Vanbot

Wonderful electro pop from Sweden's newest musical maestro. If you love Robyn and Lykke Li you'll adore Vanbot.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Vanbot Seven by Jenny Kadis
Vanbot, Seven by Jenny Kadis.

Stockholm based melody maestro Vanbot is set to release the wonderful electro pop album Perfect Storm, a much anticipated follow-up to her 2011 debut. The record has been produced and mixed by Johannes Berglund of The Knife and I Break Horses fame and showcases a darker and more evocative spectrum than previous outings. Vanbot (real name Ester Ideskog) has created an immaculate and moreish pop album that will find her many new fans this year.

Vanbot_print
What was the best bit about growing up in Smaland? And how often do you return?
The best thing about growing up in Småland was the closeness to nature. I grew up on a very idyllic small farm, hung out with the calfs, climbed the trees, got lost in the forest. I wasn’t very proud of it when I was a child, but looking in perspective I feel so lucky to have spent my childhood so near nature. I really miss the quietness of the forest. I have my whole big family in Småland, so I try to return as often as possible.

Vanbot by Simon McLaren
Vanbot by Simon McLaren.

Where did the Vanbot moniker come from?
It started out as a joke, but has become a way to express myself. It started when me and my country side friends moved to Stockholm, we were joking about our Stockholm alter egos and I made up my alter ego Vanessa from Vasastan. Later on when I recorded my first album I used the alter ego Vanessa and let her reflect some of my sides and it was almost like acting. But nowadays I think Ester and Vanessa are much closer, hard to separate. And the bot in Vanbot is from the computer program, it’s a virus that works like an alter ego.

Why did you shelve the album in 2013 and what has changed since then?
We worked on that album for one and a half year, but it never really happened, something was missing. We worked hard, made new mixes, new productions, but slowly it became very obvious that I had to trash it and start all over again. I had a breakdown, it was hard to accept that all work was in vain. But I started writing immediately and I felt more free than ever. I noticed that I could let go of my former restricting frames, it felt like I had nothing to loose and I started to work with new beats, new effects, new synthesizers and especially I found new layers of my voice. I’m pretty stubborn, so letting go of the old and starting over was a big challenge.

Vanbot Perfect Storm by Jenny Kadis
Vanbot, Perfect Storm by Jenny Kadis.

Where did the darker sound of this album come from?
I really love to write melodies, but I think the magic happens when you combine the catchy melodies with some warped synthesizers and evocative beats to create contrast and tension. I love the melodies better when surrounded by a darker veins.

Why is the DIY spirit so important to you?
That was the only chance to move forward! As I mentioned, I’m pretty stubborn, and I won’t take no for an answer, haha. The place I grew up in is well known for it’s DIY spirit with a lot of entrepreneurs, so I guess I have it in me.

Vanbot
I hear you write your melodies whilst out on a bike, how do you make sure that you retain your ideas without setting them down?
It’s pretty embarrassing, but I try to record ideas for the beat, the bass-line and backing vocals also. I would never ever let someone hear those recordings, I would sink through the ground…

How do you find the right lyrics for a melody?
It’s pretty hard for me. But the best lyrics come tightly bundled with the melodies, they almost can’t be separated. I work hard on my lyrics, I tend to sit up many late nights, bending and twisting the words whilst drinking wine.

How do you transmit an honest message with your music?
I think it’s all about transmitting a feeling but without mention the real facts, to make it possible for anyone to relate and feel what I feel. I don’t really think my personal details are that interesting for others, so I color them in metaphors.

How do you set about making videos?
I love to do videos! I wish I had crazy big budgets for videos, but that’s not the fact. Not yet, haha. I often collect ideas for videos from ordinary events in life, it can be elements I see, a movement or an idea of a location, then I work with very talented filmmakers and let ourselves get inspired by the moment in the shooting.

What other electronic artists inspire you?
During my periods of writing and recording in the studio, I don’t really listen to other music than my own. It’s a really tight bubble that is hard to break. But now when the album is finalized I’m starting to discover new music again! Right now I listen a lot to Susanne Sundfør and iamamiwhoami.

Perfect Storm by Vanbot is out on the 15th May on Lisch Recordings & Sony Music Sweden.

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