The break out ep Float from the Swedish producer August Landelius set his benchmark rather high. The four track 2015 project released on Naiv Records displayed his ability to bring a sound that languishes somewhere between rnb, hip-hop and pop. It was an ep that earned him some high praise from BBC 6 presenter Mary Anne Hobbs.
While the ep was a success, August Landelius did not capitalise, and a four year break ensued. But in 2019 after a long hiatus he is set to release his album. That hiatus has ensured that August Landelius has honed his craft, experimented with new equipment and ultimately worked in “shit jobs here and there” as a “struggling musician”.
The latest cut Now from the album follows the debut single All You Can Eat and is a more minimal track with a psychedelic edge before dropping sweetly with a rnb funk (like) energy.
We wondered on your musical beginnings so can you tell us a bit about you and how your childhood had an impact on your interest in the creative world?
My parents are really into different types of music. We had loud music on in my house daily. I don't know how many times I've been woken up by the bass in Erykah Badu's Rimshot (1997) blasting from the stereo. Other from that I was singing every single day in school from when I was 10-14. I went to some form of choir-school, except not at all Christian. It was a regular school except we had singing lessons every day.
We understand you have been out “improving” since your last ep Float. Can you expand on that hiatus of sorts and indeed was that always the plan after your debut ep?
I'm a struggling musician and I got to pay bills. I've worked different shit-jobs here and there which takes a lot of time but mostly energy. Despite that I think it's important to take your time and try to make something as good as you can. It's easy to get excited about a track in the beginning of the process but that excitement might not mean that the track is as good as you think it is. So, if you take longer breaks from a track, you can truly judge which ideas are the best ones.
One bad thing with taking a lot of time is that if you work with something for too long you might mess up the spontaneous feel to the creation, the translation of the emotion you expressed in the first place. Sorry but I don't really know how to express that in a less pretentious way.
The modern music world sometimes insists on staying consistent and visible. Were you worried that you would have to build your name again with this new release?
I don't have a name to begin with, so it wasn't a problem. I hate everything around the music-making part. I really don't judge other musicians being active on social media. I just have a big problem doing that myself. It's so boohahooring. But everyone must do it otherwise no one will hear you, so who the fuck do I think I am?!
The comparisons to people like James Blake have been expressed-are these comparisons unnecessary and where do you position your sound?
I didn't know I've been compared with him that much, but if I have then that's flattering of course. I used to listen to him when he released more instrumental stuff on R&S Records–Tell Her Safe (2010) is still a brilliant track but I haven't listened to him in a while. I guess the comparison is fair enough in the way that we are both white dudes making some-what “rnb-ish” stuff and I think we've done our homework rhythmically. But he has worked with Andre 3000 and Connan Mockasin, I sure haven't…
With your new equipment and elements of improving your own abilities, was there a different approach to this album?
I'm not sure the actual approach was different, but the work was different since I had to do everything by myself. The only thing I thought of was trying to make shorter songs with more chord progressions.
It states in your bio that you were fed up of perfectly sequenced beats-what were you looking for in this release?
I was listening to a lot of bands at the time I made the album and I wanted most of the songs to sound like a band playing electronic instruments live in one take. I'm also just an old Dilla and D'Angelo-lover so why have perfectly sequenced beats?
And talk about the journeys for equipment-it seems this was an integral process in the album and indeed in the length of time the album took?
I've always worked with someone who had a studio with gear. I've been able to just drop by with my laptop and record the ideas I've had. For this project I had to use an old mixer, pre amps, synths (which were hard to program), drum machines and more. I went from mixing up what ‘in' and ‘out' was on a soundcard to knowing about almost every synth and drum machine there is. On top of that there was a lot of trial and error with very mixed results-I've been called a perfectionist many times in my life.
I'm not sure I can say too much about the actual journeys. I was excited on different trains going to different places in the Netherlands usually. Sometimes in Germany and Sweden also. The actual “buy” was usually an in-and-out-operation and then a long ride home. Trying gear, the first time is always so amazingly awesome!
Why did you choose All You Can Eat as the break out single for the album-how does it epitomise (if it does) the album as a whole?
It's kind of the first song I made for the album but ultimately, the song really sums up the album's theme well. I think it might suit a more eclectic audience which is helpful. But there are probably songs from the album that might have more hit-potential.
Interested in the idea that you (representative to a degree) of modern Western young men realised that you complained a lot despite being very privileged?
I think a lot of privileged white people (particularly guys) understand they are privileged but they don't really understand how much it influences their life's, morals and culture. When I moved to Berlin, I got to meet a lot of people I wouldn't have met if I stayed in Stockholm. Getting to know their backgrounds made me realize that I was lucky with the family and surroundings I grew up with/in.
My roommates were smart and interested in politics, which also affected me. Later I moved to my girlfriend in Amsterdam and she's also very smart. She's taught me all kinds of things about advanced and simple problems about issues like race and gender. The thing is that my personality has been built (in a way) on me withdrawing and moaning about problems in my life. But now that's very hard to justify.
Talk to us about Kelly Hibbert and his work on the album?
I can only say he's done a great job and I'm super flattered that he liked the music also. He's worked with so many great artists. It's a bit unreal that he mastered the album to be honest.
Is there anything you want to add that has not been asked?
Check out Dj Harrison and J Fernandez! Really, really underrated stuff!