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

Sportsman on his Neverland album: "I find it hard to accept that some things just don't come back"

06 June 2017, 14:30 | Written by Andrew Hannah

Last Friday saw the release of Sportsman's long-awaited debut album Neverland.

A beautiful record focusing on the struggle to let go of the past (we've featured "Running On a Beach" and "White Shark" so far), Swede Per Magnusson spoke to us about the creation of his record.

You can read our interview below, alongside a stream of the brilliant Neverland - which is out now on Best Fit Recordings.

You've spoken about this record as a farewell to childhood, are you able to expand on that and why you're saying goodbye?

"I'm a very nostalgic person. I find it hard to accept that some things just don't come back. I had a rosy childhood that I romanticize a lot. My sentimental side has sometimes stopped me from moving forward. So I just wanted to get all these things down, once and for all. Last spring I was in the car with my wife, discussing the title of the album. We talked about Neverland. She said that Neverland is a place where you don't have to grow old. Suddenly it all made sense to me. So now it's almost the opposite of a farewell. I hope I will always keep a piece of the boy version of me."

It feels like place is an important theme on the record, from the (fictional) title place to the inspirations for "Running On a Beach" and "White Shark" did geography shape the record?

"It wasn't some kind of a masterplan or anything, it just happened that way. This album has been so long in the making, so I've had the time to travel along the way. One thing about travelling is that you leave a lot of distractions at home and you're very open to new impressions. I guess that's why I tend to write a lot when I'm away. Also – we really wanted to make an album that works as a journey. So these places – like Kenya, Tanzania, The Amalfi Coast – became like supplements to that feeling. There are also field recordings from a lot of these places on the album."

You've worked with Johan Cederberg (HNNY) on the album, what did he bring to it?

"So much. He's a true artist. Very free and minimalistic in the way he works. And possibly the most uncompromised person I've met. He's also super honest. It's a blessing to have someone like that, especially if you make music on your own. He's been pushing me to daring to be honest as a singer and songwriter. He's also a very good friend, which has been really important. Making music – especially if you aim at writing personal songs – is a quite intimate thing. We talked a lot before I even played him the demos. Making this album with Johan has just been amazing. We've been going on trips and had some really special times out in the middle of nowhere. Hanging out in lighthouses, seeing skylines shifting shades, taking morning walks on beaches. I think making music is the most wonderful way of hanging out with a friend."

Along with nostalgia and a yearning for things past, there's a sense of longing on the album...where does that come from?

"It's true! I guess I've always had a sense of longing. From being a kid – the obvious – longing for a ski holiday or the moment when you hold that perfect tennis racket in your hand, to my early youth when I longed for real love, like everyone else I guess. Today I think my strongest yearning is for nature. I live in Stockholm and though I have some of my best friends here and I like our apartment and all, I really long for being closer to nature. Birdsong, fresh air, follow the seasons closely."

There was a three year gap between the new record and your previous output, did you find it difficult to find the right music to progress Sportsman?

"We really wanted to take the music to the next level. To make honest music, find an expression of my own and make an album in its truest sense. First it was super easy. We went to my parent's summer house on Öland – an island outside the south east coast of Sweden – in the autumn and made music on a high. I think we made like six of the songs that ended up on the album in two weeks. Then, the following spring, we went to the west coast. We brought like a hundred synths and set the studio up with a perfect view over the ocean and were like: 'let's make the music of our lives!'. Then nothing happened for about two weeks. We came back with zero seconds of new music. But we found our way back and finished the album in Stockholm and Vienna. It's never really plain sailing. Also – I got married and life happens you know? But I'm happy we took all this time and all these turns. The album is the sum of everything that's happened."

There's a melancholic feel to the album but it's tempered with do you strike that balance? And is it important?

"I think it just happens naturally. For me, melancholy and euphoria are very close to each other. There are moments when I feel melancholic and euphoric at the same time. It's crystal clear. When you have the first cup of coffee in the morning, the sky pale blue, crisp air. That's my favourite moment to make music."

What's next in 2017?

"I will play some shows this autumn. I'm also making music with my wife at the moment. Her music. It's fantastic! And I guess I'm looking forward to just slow down for a bit. Spend time with my family, my friends, have some summer vaycay."

Neverland is out now on Best Fit Recordings.
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