A.S. Swanski is a Dutch musician/producer, now living in Sweden, ready to release an album with songs inspired by Swedish crime fiction. Swanski’s music is unique, as each track reflects on one specific novel. Musically, his work moves between dark ambient, krautrock, post-punk and synth pop. “Deckare” is A.S. Swanski’s fourth full-length album, set to release early this year. We asked A.S about some of the elements of his music, and what inspires him to continue creating.
Entertwine: Tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got involved in music, and what you currently do!
A.S. Swanski: It’s a long story but I’ll keep it short. When I was a kid my brother and I had our own fantasy planet with its own music scene. We didn’t play any instruments but we had our mouth producing the sound of guitars and drums.
I was 16 when I started playing in real bands, this time on bass. I played punk, psychedelic rock, freaky stuff. I also recorded my own stuff and eventually, when there were no more bands to play with, doing solo work became my own musical occupation. That’s when A.S. Swanski was born. It’s basically a banner I use for all kinds of solo stuff that’s supposed to be adventurous, experimental and thought-provoking. Hope that doesn’t sound pompous!
ET: You have a unique way of showcasing your music – each one of your tracks represents more than just the music, but specifically follows the storyline of a novel. What was your inspiration behind this kind of idea?
AS: You’re talking about my Deckare project which I just completed. Deckare is a Swedish word which means ‘detective’, but it’s also the common name for crime novels. The Deckare project was a series of songs inspired by Swedish crime stories. Each song reflected on one specific novel. The idea behind it was simple: it’s perfectly normal to create films based on books. But why not create music based on books? Like a film director tries to translate the moods of a book into images, I tried to turn these moods into sound. It’s all a matter of interpretation.
The project started when I had just read a book called Skumtimmen, by Johan Theorin. It’s called Echoes From The Dead in English. This haunting story somehow fitted a piece of music I was working on and that’s when I got the idea. I chose Swedish crime novels because the genre seems to work well with my music. The narrating style is simple and direct, yet the stories are well constructed and the tension usually builds up slowly.
ET: If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
AS: Cinematic, krautrock, post-punk.
ET: How has the music scene in Sweden influenced or shaped your work?
AS: It hasn’t. I’ve spent most of my life in The Netherlands, where I was born, and also lived in Belgium. I moved to Sweden about six years ago. I live in a small town in a rather remote area and I know only very few people over here who make music.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not part of any scene that influences me. I’m totally DIY, have to find out everything myself, sort out my own mistakes and I don’t have to compromise. In a band or when you’re part of a scene, you spend a lot of time talking about music and trying to convince others of your ideas. Solo, you simply start recording.
ET: You recently released your fourth full length album – is this your favorite out of the four? DO you have any specific tracks that you like the most? If so, why?
AS: It’s hard to say. Most musicians say that their last work is the best. Every album I make is different and I’m always one ahead of what is released. I was working on Deckare when the previous album came out and now that I release Deckare, I have pretty much completed the follow-up.
Deckare contains the most song-oriented stuff I’ve did since working as A.S. Swanski, but it’s still far removed from mainstream pop. I don’t have any specific tracks that I find the best. I like the album as a whole because the material is extremely diverse, ranging from loud and dark to quiet and almost romantic, though I’m aware this will also put some people off. But that’s o.k.. I’m not here to please everyone.