A Q&A with Nicklas Sahl
Pure pop singer-songwriter, from Denmark…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
My new single is called ‘Don’t Mind’. It’s a song about falling in love but having some anxiety about doing so. I wrote it with some friends, and I remember showing up in the studio, and I could only talk about this girl I’d fallen seriously in love with. I felt like the timing to fall in love was terrible. Mostly because I didn’t feel ready for starting a relationship. I still felt so busy just being me and I was afraid of losing my freedom, but in the end, I just couldn’t resist it. Obviously, I was acting a little overdramatic, and then we wrote this song about letting go and trying to just trust the process. Maybe falling in love with this girl didn’t mean I couldn’t do all the other things I love. “You steal my freedom make me lose my reason I’m not acting like me as I’m giving into your love… but I don’t mind. It’s a power you can’t fight.”
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
We struggled a bit with the production. For me it was important that the music wasn’t too pretty and polished. It needed some roughness and imperfection as a contrast to the I’m-in-love-lyrics. We ended up geeking out and just having a lot of fun with weird, distorted guitar parts and playful harmonies.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
The song is produced by Birk Storm and Vasco. They produced the whole album together. Birk and I have been working together for ages, and Vasco was a well-needed new spark of inspiration for us. Birk has my favorite crazy mind and he’s not afraid of anything. He constantly pushes me and my artistry to places I never knew I dared to go, and he knows me like only very few people. And Vasco is a magician. He came with his great skills and his amazing taste in music and production. He’s like that friend who always knows the new, cool music a year before everybody else start to talk about it. He also had a network of brilliant musicians who played a huge and important role in making this album sound the way it ended up sounding.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I hope my music can do what other artists’ music does for me. I hope that it can be a ray of light for someone who has a hard time. I hope some of my lines make sense for someone who needed those words like I did. I hope someone hears it at some party at their friend’s place and they have no idea what it is, and might never find out, but my song was part of creating a special moment for them. That kind of stuff.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
In terms of lyrics, I guess I’ve kind of trained my brain to always be observant about if there are things, I experience that are song-worthy, and then I write them down and use these words or lines to begin writing a song about it at some point. I also use songwriting as self-therapy, so a lot of my songs come from something I’m processing. When it comes to the music, I always start out sitting with my guitar to come up with riffs and chords, and then I sing random melodies on top of that and keep trying to come up with something until it starts to feel like something that could perhaps turn into a good song.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
In general, I’ve always loved singer-songwriters like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and newer artists like Rhys Lewis and John Mayer. Those kinds of artists are my foundation for my songwriting, but then I tend to mix it up with something that to me feels a little alternative and surprises me. That’s where wonderfully crazy minds like Bon Iver, Francis & the Lights and James Blake inspire me.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
My dream is to be able to tour the world, but I’m taking one step at the time, haha. Currently I’m planning tours in Germany where I’ve performed a few times the last couple of years. I have a support tour for a big German act in the fall that hasn’t been announced yet. I can’t wait to go! I hope that my work in Germany over time can help me to get other markets attention too.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Probably the title song of the new album ‘God Save The Dream’. That song is a kind of sum up of my entire journey. It describes how I as a child dreamed about becoming a rock star and then how that dream got affected by getting a record deal, experiencing a bit of success and the new expectations and ambitions that came with all that. It can be difficult to hang on to the true values in making music when it suddenly becomes your job. I don’t wanna lose my job obviously, but I think, as an artist, you should always focus on sharing stuff that’s real to you and that matters to you – and then if you’re lucky it’s also gonna matter for others too.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
My ambitions are to keep pursuing bigger crowds and new adventures with my music. I haven’t written my best song yet, and I’m excited to see where things will take me. I’m dreaming about world tours, grammys and billboard hits, but I know that takes an extreme amount of work and an even more extreme amount of luck. Most importantly I’ll try and make sure to enjoy the journey wherever it leads me.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you so much for having me here. I can’t wait to come back to the UK and perform asap. Until then stay safe and have an amazing day!
For more info visit: facebook.com/nicklassahlmusik