At the moment I’m working on this solo project and to give you an exact date of when it started is a bit tough. I guess things start when you pick up an instrument for the first time right? But we can hop over the crowded practice rooms and the band tours and if we want to set up a more official date for when this started I would say about two years ago when I put out some songs under my own name. Prior to that I’ve been mostly making music for bands or recording different projects. So right now all the music I write and record is for this solo project. It’s being a learning experience both on the nerdy recording technical side but on the songwriting process as well. I’m getting to a place where from the first sparks of inspiration I can tell if the idea will be any good or not. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun work.
What song of yours is the one you like the most?
I’ll have to say a song called ‘So Is Love’. That song was sort of an eureka moment because it was different from the music i was doing at the time. The writing and recording for that song was really quick too comparing to how things would work with other projects so it gave me a confidence boost start doing music as a solo thing.
How do you write your music?
I play the acoustic guitar when I’m writing a song, I’ll start with some basic chords and a melody which many times becomes the core of the song. For me the most important element is the melody. That’s what people will be humming all day. Nowadays I only write lyrics when I’m working on a song so things have a bit more honesty meaning they represent how I am feeling at that exact moment whereas before i was picking bits and pieces from texts and poems I’d written on notebooks.
What is music?
That’s actually the toughest question. Music is the thing that gives color to your life. For many it also gives meaning and a purpose. It can fill the room when you’re alone or it can speak to your loved one when you’re too shy or afraid to say a word.
What influences do you have?
I listened to a lot of indie pop and rock stuff growing up. I’ve always been interested in what music was coming from Sweden, it was a way of staying connected to the country I was born when i was living in Madeira island in Portugal. Some of my favorite Swedish artists are Kristian Anttila, Eli Na, David Åhlen, Cardigans, I Break Horses just to name a few.
What’s the best experience you have had with your project?
Peoples positive reaction to my music is the greatest experience really. Getting the songs played on the radio is also really cool. Then being able to have some very talented people record different instruments on the songs is great.
What plans do you have this year?
I am putting out a couple of more songs and doing some concerts and radio promotion in Portugal. I’m working on a lot of ideas at the moment. The next song to come out is ‘Here We Go’ where I got my friend Evandro Amaro to record the braguinha which is a madeiran folklore instrument. It looks and sounds a bit like a ukulele. The song has other interesting and very rich elements like strings and different percussion instruments that create this really different pop vibe. Does the term tribal pop exist? Well there you go.
Mention something you don’t like about your project.
Sometimes when you’re deep into the recording process of a song it can be hard to keep perspective, keep the focus on what the song is about sonically. You can get lost in experimentation or fixed on getting small details perfect when at the end they may not even be that important to the song. So although I like having control over the writing and recording sometimes you have to simply stop being a perfectionist and let the song come alive in a natural way.
Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.
I think every musician out there has sacrificed something in their life for their music. It’s been the case with me as well. But something i wouldn’t call sacrifice but is more of a thing I am still working on is being the only person who can talk about this music. When you’re in a band and if you’re more the quiet type there’s always someone who will be more open and do the talking for you. If you record or produce a band, people will mostly be interested in listening to what the band has to say. But when you’re doing a solo project you take the task of having to talk and explain your music to people. I wish the music would be enough but nowadays especially its not the case.
What band, music project or soloist from your city do you like? Why?
Well like i said there are some really amazing artists and bands in Sweden as you know but if we take a more local approach there is a band called Shotgun Crackers from a town nearby that are really good. They recorded their latest album with Kristian Anttila and it’s a great album.
If your project was a word, what would it be?
What’s your full name? Where were you when you answered the interview?
My name is Johan Andersson Rodrigues and at the moment i am at home in Norrtälje north of Stockholm drinking tea and listening to the final mix of the new single Here We Go.