Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Alice Boman

07 August 2013, 11:30 | Written by Michael James Hall

Dealing in the most intimate, tender kind of pop songs, Sweden’s Alice Boman released her debut EP back in May.

Titled Skisser (‘Sketches’), these sparse, fragile beauties were represented perfectly by their microcosmic lead track ‘Waiting’, a listen-to-the-end-go-straight-back-to-the-beginning bit of near perfection that inspired much critical adoration as well as a fan-perfomed YouTube cover.

New to the world of live performance, it would be wise to grab a ticket for Boman’s debut UK performance at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston, London this October so ahead of all of her imminent trip to UK shores, we speak to Alice about the future, her process and her opinions on The Smiths.

You recently made your live debut – could you tell us what that was like? What were the circumstances around the show?

I did a small show at Öresundsfestivalen, which is a festival that focuses on the music scene in Copenhagen and Malmö. I was really happy to be asked to be a part of it and for the chance to play there.

All of the songs on the Skisser EP were written and recorded at your home. Did you work totally alone or did you work with other musicians on this recording?

Yes, these songs and recordings I did alone. Just doing one take and then adding things and sounds – for the fun of it and for me to remember. When doing it like that there is no pressure and no forcing. You don’t really think about what you’re doing.

To now be in a studio, working and playing with others, is something different. Knowing that what you do is something that’s gonna be released, you want to take it to another level. You have to be able to express what you like and don’t like – how you want things. You see the importance of communication. I’m not the best at that, since I’ve never had to do that before, but I’m learning. And it is so much fun to be in the studio. Working with others is stimulating and naturally brings something new to what you do. Especially as I feel I have found the right people to work with. And with other instruments and other equipment off course the sound changes. Like everything does.

It’s both scary and exciting. I’ve been longing for this – taking the next step.

Tell us about making the video for ‘Waiting’ – it’s very striking. Was that a collaboration between you and Jesper Berg?

It was quite a quick process. We just wanted something simple, something to suit the song. And we didn’t have the time to make something big or complicated anyway. I came to think of the Radiohead-video for “Lotus Flower “. It’s plain and beautiful. I wanted to do something like that. So I danced and Jesper filmed and cut it and the next day we had a video.

The song itself is pretty delicate, sad, but hopeful – what effect do you hope it will have on listeners?

Comforting, maybe. Me myself I love the way some music sooths and comforts me.

Have you seen the cover video of the ‘Waiting’ on youtube? If so what did you think of it? What would you cover given the opportunity?

I have – and I was very touched. It feels unreal seeing and hearing someone else singing a song you wrote. But at the same time it makes it feel a bit more real, all this.

I love singing the songs of others. For a long time that was all I did. But I always come back to the songs of Dylan, Cohen, Cave and Young. And Townes Van Zandt. Their songwriting is timeless. It’s phenomenal.

Who would you cite as your major influences? Did you grow up on music?

I grew up in a home with a lot of music and started to sing early on. And when in school I went in different music-classes. I love singing in choirs.

Those men I just mentioned have definitely influenced me. I’m fond of music and artists that feels simple and genuine. But I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I think all music you like influence and inspire you somehow. As well as movies and books and things that happens to you or others. It all affects you. Anything can be the trigger.



What current artists would you recommend to us?

There’s a new Swedish band I’m looking forward to hear more from; Amason.

And as I write this I’m listening to John Maus, I love the fullness of his sound. ‘Believer’ and ‘Hey Moon’ are such good songs. And earlier tonight I listened to some songs of The National, Perfume Genius and This is Head. And I keep coming back to Bon Iver’s last album.

What plans do you have for playing live next? Will there be a tour?

I have a gig at a festival here in Malmö in August that I’m looking forward to. And I was unbelievably happy when I just the other day learnt that I’m going to support Matthew E White on his Scandinavian tour in September. I love his music and this feels crazy and hard to realise.

Then in the beginning of October I am coming to London for some shows. At this moment only one date is set – 01 October at Servant Jazz Quarter.

Tell us about your relationship with Adrian Recordings.

Since Adrian Recordings released my sketches and is now letting me record another EP, I am of course very grateful to them for making this happen. For believing in me and for wanting to release my music just like that – in what felt like just an instant.

How would you describe your approach to music?

As I am quite restless, singing and playing and listening to music has always been a way for me to find calm and peace. I don’t know how I would function without it.

I think everyone needs something like that. Something to be lost into. Where you loose your sense of time and space. Something that makes you feel good.

Have you lived in Malmö your whole life? What keeps you there?

I left Malmö after finishing school and the last couple of years I’ve been living in other cities and places. But last summer, when I felt that I just wanted and needed to land somewhere, I came back. It’s like I’m getting to know Malmö all over again. There is such a nice and relaxed atmosphere here and for now, it feels neither to big nor to small. Or rather, when it feels to small you can find comfort in knowing that you’re just a 30 minutes train ride away from Copenhagen. There are so many countries and places I want to see. But somehow I feel closer to everywhere from here, which eases the desire I have to be moving around. I feel no rush.

What makes Swedish art and music different to work from any other country?

Is there a difference? Maybe. I guess there are differences, but I wouldn’t really know. What’s so great about music is that is has no boundaries, right? I know that Swedes sometimes have a reputation for being very aware of new trends and movements. There is a lot of music coming from Sweden. I think there is a quite warm vibe here and I don’t think there is competition among artists. Instead people support and inspire each other. That’s the feeling I’ve got anyway.

There’s an air of mystery about your work – do you prefer to keep things a little bit cryptic?

I like it when you don’t put it all out there. When you have to make your own idea of things.

When will there be a full album from you?

The songs we are recording now are gonna come together as another EP that’s gonna be released sometime this fall. When it comes to a full album – I don’t know. I’m taking one thing at a time now, just trying to enjoy everything.

The lead track on the Skisser EP ‘Waiting’ contains a little Smiths lyric reference – are you a fan of them? What do you make of Morrissey and Marr these days?

I actually don’t know what Morrissey and Marr are up to these days and I wouldn’t call myself a Smiths fan, but I have listened to some of their albums. Some songs in particular, one of them being ‘Please, Please, Please’. I love that tune but didn’t deliberately take that line from there. I realised that later when someone mentioned it. But that’s what I love about music and art. How things emerge. How you’re influenced unconsciously. Everything is already done. Everything blends. You can’t really do something new. But you can do it in your own way. Or try to.

Finally, who would play you in the film of your life?

That’s a hard one, I have no idea. If I would chose considering who I think is a great actress I would say Meryl Streep. I think she could play just about anyone. That woman can act!

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