In an effort to make 2020 a little less chaotic, Swedish electronic producer Kasbo is on a mission to create a dual universe with his music. One where the imagination runs free, the sounds of nostalgia provide a sense of comfort and escape, and the world feels safe for once. Where do we sign up?
Today, the indie-leaning dance artist releases “Show You” exclusively on FLAUNT. An emotive and attentive love song with simple vocal loops supported by complex melodic structures. His effortless ability to combine the warmth of buttery vocals with the precision of his striking instrumentalism sets him apart from budding electronic producers in his homeland. The track is an early taste of his forthcoming album, The Making of a Paracosm
, due out October 23.
We caught up with Kasbo to learn more about “Show You,” his highly-anticipated second project, and what exactly makes a ‘paracosm.’
Congrats on the album! We took a listen and noticed a lot of Swedish vocalists and track titles. How is this project a nod to your heritage?
Thank you! The album is very inspired by this idea of a dream world, or Paracosm, that we all have and can escape to. For me that world is inspired by Sweden and things I remember from being a kid growing up here, which naturally are the things that feel most safe and warm to me. I tried making the musical equivalent to my world with this album, and lyrically I ended up incorporating everything from references to memories from my childhood to stories of Scandinavian folklore creatures. Slowly but surely building up this familiar but mysterious dreamworld.
A lot of mainstream dance music DJs have come out of Sweden but your sound is quite different than theirs—were you influenced by that growing up and what made you venture into this more ethereal indie space?
I think it's impossible to have grown up in Sweden and not be inspired by people like Avicii or Swedish House Mafia since they were in a way a soundtrack to our youth, but I was always more into indie bands and stuff rather than electronic music when growing up. I never had a dream to become a DJ but instead wanted to have a band and tour the world. It changed when i figured out that producing my own music on a computer meant that I could have full creative control and do it all myself the way I wanted it.
With today's premiere of "Show You" what are you hoping fans will take away from this song? Any deeper meaning behind the track for you?
To me the song feels like a pause in time. Everything stops for a bit and you're just floating in space. I think if I could offer some sort of break for people listening to it I’d be really happy. Even with the visual component to the song we didn't want any super active music video, it felt more right to set up a camera and shoot a scene from what makes up my paracosm. Just one scene, from far away. You can barely see anything happen or move but that's just what we wanted, to give the listener a breather.
We have to ask—what is a ‘paracosm’ and how do you make one?
I'm definitely not an expert on the subject, haha. But a paracosm is essentially a very detailed imaginary world where you can go to in your mind. It can be super complex and have it's own history, culture and everything. For me it's kind of always been there without me really noticing too much, but for a lot of people they start in their youth and it grows as time goes.
Let's talk about your trajectory leading up to this moment - last year you toured some huge venues with artists like ODESZA, what were some of your favorite memories from that run?
My favorite touring memory from last year was probably ODESZA's "Sundara" festival. It was located on this beautiful beach. Three days of good music, amazing artists, it felt like we all were this one big family. It was such an incredible vibe.
You took a bit of a break after that - was that to make room for creating this album?
Well both that but I also had this undiagnosed intermittent hearing loss happen to me last year. It was super frightening and threw me into a big depression so Ii wasn't able to take too much on at that point.
What does your creative process usually look like? And has that changed during quarantine?
It's usually just me messing around in the studio by myself. Trying weird ideas with samples I find and if something has the right tone and feel to it I roll with it. For this album I did a lot more sessions though and was a lot more involved in the lyrical aspects of the songs since it was important to me that it was in line with the concept of the album. It's definitely been a bit more remote since quarantine but not that big of a shift since I usually enjoy working alone and losing myself a bit in the process.
What are 3 things you can't go without in the studio?
Lately it's been my JU-06a, a guitar, and some sort of midi Keyboard.
Any stand-out tracks on the album that really surprised you when you heard the finished version?
Not necessarily. I don't send my songs away for mixing or mastering, I do everything myself so it doesn't leave much room for surprises. But finishing “Lune” (ft. Vancouver Sleep Clinic) was definitely a bit of a moment since it has gone through countless different versions that all sound pretty different from each other.
What does the rest of 2020 look like for Kasbo?
I honestly don't know right now, in a normal world I'd be gearing up for a big tour but since I can't do that there's this big empty space now that I've finished the album. I was kind of excited about messing around and collaborating with a bunch of different producers for an EP. No pressure just having fun creating. I might try my hand at that!
Photos: Olof Grind