Erik Hassle Talks “No Words” Single, His Upcoming LP & Feeling Melancholy: Idolator Interview
Erik Hassle has been making waves in the pop scene since he emerged in 2009, and this year the Swedish artist continues to catch our attention — thanks to his latest disco-pop gem of a single, “No Words.”
Along with working on his forthcoming third studio album, the singer has kept busy collaborating with fellow Swedes Icona Pop on their kooky “Emergency” single and recently booked an opening gig for Tove Lo‘s Queen Of The Clouds tour this Fall.
I got the chance to catch up with the artist about his forthcoming third album, collaborating with other artists and the emotional influences used in his music. Read on to see what Erik Hassle had to say in our conversation below!
This will be your third studio album, and “No Words” sounds a lot warmer than your Somebody’s Party EP. Does this LP have more of an upbeat vibe?
ERIK HASSLE: Yea, I think it’s partly that. There are a couple songs that are upbeat and dance-y — I’ve been feeling a lot of dance vibes this past year. But then I would say it’s kind of a chapter two of the EP.
So it’s just like telling another story.
EH: Exactly, my life continues! [laughs]
What kind of stories are you telling on the album?
EH: It’s mostly my impressions of the relationships around me with my family, my friends and my own relationships. That’s what inspires me the most.
You collaborated with people like Vic Mensa and Tinashe on the EP. Are there any features for this album?
EH: No one yet actually, but there are definitely songs where I would like some features. There is a song that I’d like to make a duet, it’s called “All Of You.” It’s good that you asked that question, now I’ll remember!
If you could place the vibe of this album within a movie theme, what would you choose?
EH: A romantic thriller! [laughs] I think I’ve experienced a very emotional period in my life last year. I had to learn things about life pretty quickly. I just moved to L.A. and there’s been a lot of emotions, it’s been like a tornado. A lot of them are pretty broken. It’s definitely dramatic. But there’s always love.
So what are your dream collaborations, either producers or other artists?
EH: I’ve been lucky to have already worked with some of my idols. I’ve been working with Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio, he’s definitely a house god for me. I was up by Rick Rubin’s house too, just writing.
The opening line to “No Words” is “Walking home, I passed by a funeral.” That is totally different from the way the tune sounds. What was the concept behind that?
EH: I did this song when I was in Stockholm last summer, and I was really heartbroken. But it was still fresh, so I had really positive emotions as well — I was so out of my head in love. So the song lyrics tell the truth…it’s sweet and sour, dancing and crying.
Yea, you’re even crying on the single artwork!
EH: I cry in the video too [laughs]
Speaking of the video, it looked like a blast. I loved the part where you were throwing pancake batter everywhere.
EH: It was fun to shoot. We shot the video in our house in LA. We were a small team, so we decided to base the video around the kitchen. Actually, we did it in one take!
So are pancakes your favorite breakfast food?
EH: No, they’re just aesthetically pleasing! I’m Swedish, and we don’t have a big breakfast. I like yogurt and berries.
You’re currently coming off your U.S. tour. Is there a difference between American and Swedish audiences?
EH: I haven’t played in Sweden in almost three years, and I’ve only been playing here. I wouldn’t say there’s much of a difference — England is different. They are pretty hard to please. I’ve opened up for Broods and Twin Shadow, and those were definitely two different crowds to please. I think it depends more on the music than the people.
Speaking of Twin Shadow, everyone has been discussing the tour bus accident.
EH: We were on the same bus…it was terrifying. We were asleep in our bunks and it was like 7:30 in the morning. Then we crashed on the highway into a semi-truck. Everybody was really frightened and some were seriously injured. After an experience like that, you’re just lucky that you are still here. It was really horrific. I’ve never been through trauma before…you feel a lot of love from people.
I was looking at your backstory and I read that you helped to write Shakira’s “Can’t Remember To Forget You.”
EH: It was during the early era of my LA trip, when I lived there for two years. I went there after having a pretty tough time in Stockholm. My dear friend Daniel Ledinsky and I started writing and we really revitalized each other! This was one of the first songs that came about, and we wrote so many songs. We got that track from Kid Harpoon and John Hill, and we finished writing it and put it on the backburner. It started circling around and we heard Shakira was interested in doing it. A half year went by and then Rihanna became interested, another half year went by and the shot the video. And then the song was out! It’s really cool.
Would you consider writing for more artists?
EH: I’ve been doing it a little bit now and then, but I’ve been focusing on my own stuff. I would love to do it, but it takes time and it’s easy to get comfortable in the studio and not get your own shit done. It’s such a natural environment to be in. But I would write more, for sure.
Do you find a difference between writing for other artists and writing for yourself?
EH: I usually just write about what I want and go in passionately about that. Usually I don’t have the switch to think differently about the process. But a couple of times I’ve been writing with the artist in the room. That’s another thing because it’s more of an assignment.
There has been yet another new wave of Swedish artists taking over the states.
EH: It’s been amazing. But I think LA is a mecca right now too — there are so many Swedes there. It’s kind of like the new Berlin since there’s so many artistic people there. I think when Icona Pop, Swedish House Mafia and all the big acts that really broke through gave confidence to people at home. It’s amazing to have your community on the other side of the world, because Sweden is pretty small and everyone knows about each other. But there’s so much talent! It’s the blend of that dark Scandinavia where there’s six months of winter as well as being Americanized and being brought up in American culture. I think that’s what it works here [in the U.S.].
It seems like everyone is moving to LA. No one is in New York anymore.
EH: I know, it’s insane. LA is a bit like the lost island, it’s a bubble. You always feel a bit relived when you lift off at LAX. Then you think about that place, and it almost feels surreal — like how Don Draper feels in Mad Men. But then you always feel good when you come back, because the island pulls you back!