Sailor & I
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“Sailor & I is a metaphor for two wills inside a person that are fighting against one another. It is part of most peoples’ everyday lives. It’s interesting because there are times people do things they don't want to do, but they can't stop doing it for some reason.”
Time is running out. There's no way around it really. Which leaves a couple options: give up now and lose the race, or sprint full speed ahead like Alexander Sjodin has in the wake of his breakthrough single "Tough Love." In the three years since its low-key SoundCloud leak, Sjodin's landed on a couple labels (Life and Death, Black Butter Records) and held his cards close, opting to let the arty pop songs of Sailor & I grow organically rather than rush into a proper long player.
Maybe not the smartest move when you've earned the support of everyone from Radio 1 to KEXP, but that's okay. It'll all make sense in the end, as the string-swept power balladry of "Tough Love" bleeds into the beatific melodrama of last year's "Turn Around" 12'' and the tense, slow-burning summit of "Sweat." The latter is Sailor & I's latest deep cut, the lead-off listen from an EP that also manages to turn a classic Joy Division track ("Disorder") on its head. Faithfully mind you, as a blank, drum-less canvas is coated in cold-pressed keys and a strictly '80s setup.
"In a lot of ways I escape in music," explains Sjodin. "It's a world where I feel home, where life is quite easy, where I can explore sides of me I didn't knew existed."
It's been this way for a while, starting with a childhood discovery of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and a growing stack of seminal records: Blood on the Tracks, Pet Sounds and Dark Side of the Moon, with a dash of Miles Davis and Ryuichi Sakamoto thrown in for good measure. Meanwhile, the singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist has gone from hiding beneath his family's piano to picking up a guitar and tackling elements of jazz, rock, classical and punk with a tightknit circle of Stockholmers.
"We used to change instruments all the time," says Sjodin, "which was a great way to learn how the different roles in a band worked. It helped me see the big picture—how the different layers in a song work together instead of focusing blindly on just one."
That explains why he breaks up extended bouts of songwriting with binge-worthy movie blocks. In a lot of ways, that's what Sailor & I is alluding to in the months ahead—an album filled to the brim with restless productions, richly woven storylines, and no signs of slowing down.
"I'm a bit terrified by the force of music," explains Sjodin, "and what it turns me into in the long run. Will it slow down eventually or will it go the other direction and make me insane? I have no idea, but I feel that it’s very important to keep exploring what is behind those invisible doors."