A Lanky Swede

14 Aug

“It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides but I feel very fortunate having had the chance to do this for a living for as long as I have.”

Going from a full band to a solo artist isn’t always an easy task to accomplish. Some artists really struggle with not having counterparts, however Ola Kluft’s spotlight has gotten brighter. With his recent album release, Soon Soon Soon, Ola has been busy working on promoting his work to fans all over. His talent is beautiful and I’m honored to have had the privileged of getting to know him a bit more.

Q. What was it that made you want to spend your life making music and how did it all come together for you?

A. I’ve loved music ever since I was a kid. I remember sitting outside my older siblings rooms listening to whatever they were listening to at the time. I started taking guitar lessons at around ten and formed my first band with my best friends a couple of years later. At some point after graduating, I realized 9 to 5 work isn’t much fun and that playing music was the only thing I wanted to do and the only thing I was good at. In 2001, after four years as a band, we (The Perishers) signed our first record deal and started recording our first album. I’ve been doing what I do ever since. It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides but I feel very fortunate having had the chance to do this for a living for as long as I have.

Q. You got your big start playing in the band, The Perishers, but have since gone solo. How does it feel being on your own, making the music you want to make?

A. I’ve been a part of The Perishers for more then 10 years so to stand on my own two feet is a big change. The best thing about being in a band is being in a band. Together is always more fun I find. The only thing that is not so fun is all the compromising. A big reason why I wanted to record a solo album was to find out what my songs would sound like without those compromises.

Q. There is a quote in your biography that I really liked.  “Sometimes you have to abandon all that is familiar in order to become someone new. Such was the journey of Ola Klüft and how he became “a lanky swede.” Tell me more about your journey to get where you are now.

A. I never thought I’d leave Sweden. Living somewhere else never even crossed my mind. But now here I am, living in Vancouver. I think moving far away from everything you know and the people you love will ultimately change you. There are a few songs on the album on that topic, “Follow My Heart” being one of them. Although Sweden will always be closer to my heart than Canada, Vancouver is home. For now.

Q. The Perishers got to the point where they were well-known all over the world and featured on many different TV shows. Do you feel like it is hard to live up to that success and how do you succumb to the pressure of having your solo music be a hit?

A. First of all, I don’t know if we are well known all over the word, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have our music reach a lot of people in different parts of the world. I don’t feel much pressure actually. A Lanky Swede is a very low-key project. For the most part, the album was recorded in my basement with me taking on the role of both producer and engineer. I chose to do it that way partially to see if I could pull it off but also to keep costs down. With big budgets comes lots of pressure and that was the last thing I wanted. I obviously want my music to reach people, but the thought of being successful (whatever that means) is not what drives me. These days the biggest reason I write and record music is to help me stay sane.

Q. Your hometown is Sweden, but you’re currently living in Vancouver. Is there a big difference there when it comes to music?

A. I’m ashamed to admit it, but even though I’ve been in Vancouver for a few years now I know very little about the local music scene. I’ve looked some bands up online but I don’t go to nearly enough shows. Thinking about it, I only know two local musicians… In my home town Umeå, I’m used to the local bands being quite close and supportive, always helping each other out. I’m hoping Vancouver is the same. I guess I need to go out and find out…

Q. Your album, Soon soon soon…, has been completed and has gotten many nods so far. How would you describe this album?

A. I often feel stupid trying to explain what my music sounds like. I usually say that I play depressing rock music. Thanks to the Internet I can now tell people where they can listen and decide for themselves. It’s very handy. But to try to answer your question; It has twelve songs. Most of them slow. Most of them kind of sad I guess. All of them gently arranged and produced. All of them awesome.

Q. To someone who is apprehensive about listening to your music, what would you say to sway them?

A. Hmm. I probably wouldn’t even try to sway him or her. I don’t think I’m the swaying kind. I naively believe that good music will spread and find people by itself. That all songwriters need to do is make their music available. At least that’s what I want to believe. To what degree (if any) that’s true I don’t know.

Q. During your stint as a musician, what has been one of the best memories you’ve had so far?

A. Something I will never forget is a six day promotion trip to Taiwan in 2003. It was almost euphoric for us, a bunch of young Swedish guys, getting to stay in a five star hotel, being introduced to Taiwanese celebrities and playing in front thousands of people. It was borderline crazy and certainly not something we had expected.

Q. If you could play alongside any other musician, who would it be and why?

A. Doing something with Feist would be very cool. I love her songs, her voice, her guitar playing, her dancing… everything about her really. I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to sing a duet with Dolly Parton either.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. That’s a tricky one. One song for possibly the rest of my life…and it has to be one of my songs. What a nightmare. If you ask me tomorrow I might have a different answer but at this second I would pick the song I mentioned earlier “Follow My Heart”. It’s also the song that I’ve recorded a video of for you. I think it’s one of the better songs I’ve written and it’s close to my heart cause it makes me think of my family and especially my niece and nephews.

Here he is doing “Follow My Heart” exclusively for Sounds That Matter. Enjoy and be sure to check out more from this lovely talent.

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One Response to “A Lanky Swede”

  1. Samuel D. Pascoal September 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Thanks to good grades i got a chance to go on an exchange program, when i was asked what country id like to go to immediately i chose Sweden because your band the Perishers is definitely my all time favourite band. Would love another album, patiently waiting! By the way, am trying to get a fan page for you guys started here on Facebook, would appreciate all the help from both you and your fans. Cheers

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