Guest Interview n° 34: Jimmy Wahlsteen

Guest Interview n° 34: Jimmy Wahlsteen

Despite the raw winter weather in Scandinavia, the soulful compositions by Stockholm based guitar player Jimmy Wahlsteen make you feel anything but cold. With his sights zeroed in on acoustic, he delivers evocative and innovative tracks that make us – normally lovers of lyrics – forget that there aren’t any, and soaks us up in the sound!

We caught up with Jimmy at the beginning of the new year to talk about his second album All Time High, the recording process, his relationship to fashion and also found out he has his sights set on a Grammy…

First of all; Happy New Year! Any New Year resolutions?
Happy New Year to you too! My only new year resolution is to get back in shape. I haven’t had any time to go to the gym continuously for a while now and I really miss the old me when I see myself in the mirror.

You recently released your second album. Have you done anything differently this time around?
This time I had every song finished before I started recording. I wanted to try everything live before I went into the recording process so I could choose the songs that got the best response from my listeners.
I also moved my studio to my country house where I did most of the acoustic guitar recordings. I then finalized the songs with some new co-producers back in Stockholm. I used the same mixing and mastering people as I did on 181st songs (Jimmy’s first album, editors note) though. It sounds just like I wanted it.

You’re using a playing style called hybrid picking, which means you’re using both a plectrum and fingers in the same time. What does it do for your sound?
The hybrid picking technique enables a very fluid way of playing. It effects my sound in terms of song writing and allows me to bring in some of the rock elements that influenced me a lot when I started playing guitar. It’s not really a deliberate choice to play the way I do. It’s just how I always did it and what brings out the best of my abilities.

Do you ever find it challenging to create music that captures the listener without any lyrics?
Song writing is always challenging and I take it extremely seriously. I wouldn’t say it’s more difficult because it’s instrumental, though. It’s always the matter of catching the listeners ear and do what you do best. If I would have been a lyricist I probably wouldn’t have bothered writing instrumental music. I just focus on what I do best.

You’re one of Sweden’s most booked guitarists and been appearing both on television and on tour with international artists. What’s the biggest difference in touring as an instrumental artist as opposed to with a band?
The differences are quite huge I would say. Being alone on stage is much more demanding and I find it very inspiring. I got to a point in my career where I stopped practicing and played it safe when I toured with artists. Now I practice for hours before every solo show and it has had a very positive effect on the work I do as a session player as well. To communicate directly with the audience is a wonderful experience but it’s also challenging and I realize the enormous press the artists I used to tour with have been under. I’m enjoying music and performing more than ever.

Your ultimate, dream gig?
I always set up new goals. It’s very important to keep developing as a musician. I think I reached my dream gig in November 2011 when I performed before a sold out La Cigale in Paris. Now I need to come up with a new goal. The Grammy Awards perhaps…

When do you feel the most inspired? Can you sit down and decide “today I’m gonna write a song” or is your creative process a bit more erratic?
I’d say it’s pretty random. In hotel rooms I usually manage to combine time and inspiration so that’s where most of my ideas pop up. Very few of the riffs I write makes it to the actual recording session but once I come up with stuff I really like I tend to sit with it for hours just to get it perfect.

You have a YouTube channel (which been awarded the “Most viewed award” by YouTube back in 2009!), a Twitter account and a Facebook page. What are your thoughts on the current social media trend?
I really appreciate that all artists today get the opportunity to be heard. Money isn’t all that counts when it comes to marketing nowadays. It’s more about being devoted to your sound and to be creative enough to attract listeners. YouTube has played a huge role in getting me where I am today.

You’re from Stockholm, the home of many prominent, contemporary designers. How is your relation to fashion?
Stockholm is a good place for shopping if you don’t look at the prices. I used to be pretty thorough about what brands I wore but at the moment I find it more fun to find stuff here and there on the few shopping rounds I do. I try to keep an eye open for cool things to wear and lately it’s been a lot of cardigans and scarfs.

Which was the first song you ever learned to play? Is there any song from your younger years that helped shape your style today?
First song I learned really well on an acoustic was the classic “Streets of London”. One song that really shaped my way of composing is “Feelin’ Groovy” by Simon & Garfunkel. Everything Paul Simon does is just great.

Thank you for your time, Jimmy!
It’s been a pleasure.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Image courtesy of Jimmy Wahlsteen & Candyrat Records

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Novembre Issue 4

Novembre Issue 4

If you ask the founders of the fabulous Swiss-based magazine dedicated to fashion and contemporary art: ‘Why Novembre?’, they will probably answer you that it is a non-title: “a title that looks like it means something, but does not”. Actually, as readers, we would say that for us it means a lot. It is synonymous of creativity, forward-looking and quality of contents – texts, which worth to be read and eclectic images that strike, together with a fresh and contemporary lay out.

The fourth issue of Novembre is out and now officially distributed worldwide. Written by polyglot, bi-national editors in trilingual version (French, German, English) for globalized people, the magazine, published twice a year, proving itself as an international source of inspiration. The list of contributors is excellent as in the previous issues and doesn’t let the readers down. Special guests, such as Fabrice Stroun, the recently made director of the Kunsthalle Bern board and Haider Ackermann, one of the greatest demanded designers of the fashion system, along with the conceptual artist Hans Peter Feldman and the Swiss performance artist, painter, sculptor, critic, and curator John Armleder, enrich the pages of the magazine with their visions. Last but not least, the versatile contemporary artist Peter Sutherland’s cover, featuring work from his show “Secrets of the Valley”.

Once more 2DM’s talents have the pleasure to collaborate with this unique publication. The photo sections of the last issue this time hosts the shoots by Tung Walsh, accompanied by the stylist Tamara Cincik, and the ones by Bruna Kazinoti. Don’t miss it!

Monica Lombardi – with special thanks to Maxime Beuchi – images courtesy of 2DM / Management


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In Conversation With – Howitzweissbach

In Conversation with – Howitzweissbach

Eva Howitz and Frieder Weissbach are the inventive and intriguing fashion designers, who founded – together with their manager, Marcus Pester – Howitzweissbach, the young German label established in Leipzig.

Both the Howitzweissbach creative thinkers are strongly convinced of the importance of being able to go behind the garments, following all the production steps and grasping their ‘soul’. There is always a story, a concept behind their collections. Howitz and Weissbach’s unconventional and unique approach comes from a mix of regional traditions – all the products are realised in the Saxony area – and takes its inspiration mainly from art. Howitzweissbach pieces of clothing are based on quality and paid attention to details like the choice of patterns and fabrics or the use of French sewing, to give suits a pure and clean look, inside and out.

The brand doesn’t follow the trends and keeps aside the fashion industry to create its own style, recognizable thanks to an artistic and unusual taste, which communicates the founders’ values. The designers’ love for fashion and proximity to their audience made them feel the need of building up a second, affordable line named Freund (Friend), which “is not for everybody, it’s especially for friends”. Joining the online project Make your mess – the first experimental move of Howitzweissbach Freund online shop – people can buy a plain white piece and take part in a performance during which it will be splashed with colours. The result will be a one-of-a-kind item that reminds the works by the German contemporary artist Katharina Grosse, one of the members of the ‘Howitzweissbach own cosmos’.

Monica Lombardi – with special thanks to Matteo Cherubino & Davide Calafà 

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