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Skott - Talk About Me, Dollar Menu, Sweden and dreams (The IndieLondon interview)

Skott, Photo by  Peter St James

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CRITICALLY acclaimed Swedish singer, songwriter and producer Skott talks exclusively to IndieLondon about the inspiration for her new single, Talk About Me, its accompanying video and her forthcoming debut album, due later this year.

She also discusses lockdown in Sweden, getting to grips with fame and being championed by the likes of Katy Perry and Lorde, setting up her own label named Dollar Menu and the best piece of advice she has been given. The new single, Talk About Me, is out now and was a former IndieLondon single of the week

Q. How is lockdown for you? Things in Sweden appear very different to things in the UK…
Skott: Yes, from what I’ve heard, Sweden’s response seems to be quite different. I’m not sure what to think of it yet, but it did feel really weird to come back to Stockholm after seeing first-hand the reaction in other parts of the world. Getting home from my last show as everything was shutting down, we went from everyone wearing masks, closed shops and restaurants, and quarantining for 14 days – to going for a grocery run in Stockholm, where the streets seem crowded and people sit at cafes – there’s almost no noticeable difference from before… It’s almost like a parallel world in comparison.

Q. We’re loving the new single, Talk About Me, and its inspiration about the girl who loses her mind to narcissism while chasing big dreams, only to discover later that she feels invisible. Where did the inspiration for the track and the girl come from?
Skott: I’m more of an introvert person, so before I became an artist I didn’t even have an Instagram account. I literally made an account the day before I released my first song Porcelain. So jumping into social media was a bit of a shock to me. But I really love how it allows me to connect personally with fans, that’s my favourite part about it.

Q. Were these feelings you could relate to at any point?
Skott: I’ve always been good at dreaming big. And as for the other side of the song, you could say it’s for anyone who can relate to feeling the pressures of maintaining some sort of image.

Q. How easy has it been to chase big dreams for you?
Skott: It’s a lot of hard work. I come from a small village of about 1,000 people, so I had zero connections in the music industry growing up – I had to be stubborn and follow my guts and not give up.

Q. When it came to putting together the accompanying video, how much fun was it to delve into pop culture references? Were they easy to choose? And why did you choose those ones?
Skott: This song was a new writing style for me, so it was fun for me to see how many pop culture and geographical references I could squeeze in. Usually I write with a more subtle and introvert style, so this one was a contrast with the lyrics being so in your face, it was refreshing. It was natural to approach the video in a similar way.

I picked public figures that were mentioned in the lyrics, or that I generally respect, and some that I’ve crossed paths with or have affected my career. Katy and Lorde really boosted my confidence when they tweeted about liking my songs. And I’ve been touring with MØ, I think she’s one of the best artists out there.

Q. Do you enjoy directing?
Skott: Yes, I’ve been co-directing all my videos since day one, except for one that I conceptualized. It takes a lot of time and effort, but I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to anything related to my music. Plus, I enjoy working with visuals when I can.

Q. And what was it like growing up in the small wooded Swedish village of Vikarbyn?
Skott: It was a little bit like Stranger Things, we were just biking around, trying to find mysteries to solve.

Q. Do you still have pinch yourself moments when you look back and consider how far you’ve come, internationally, since then?
Skott: I still have a hard time understanding that real people are out there listening to songs I make. So when I meet fans after a show or something, it feels unreal.

Q. What was it like to have artists like Katy Perry and Lorde tweet about your music? And have you had the chance to meet either of them?
Skott: I thought they were fake accounts at first, to be honest. But when I realized it was really them, I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t had the chance to meet them personally, but I’m so happy that they showed my songs so much love. Putting them in my video for Talk About Me was the least I could do.

Q. When writing songs, where do you go to for inspiration?
Skott: I go to all the stuff spinning in my head. Or whatever feeling is occupying my chest.

Q. And what inspired a track like Kodak and Codeine?
Skott: It’s about the courage it takes to get away from a toxic relationship. There’s confusion, guilt and chains of history to get past. So, I want it to be an anthem about loving yourself first.

Skott, Photo by  Peter St James

Q. What can we expect from the new album?
Skott: I wanted a variety of different soundscapes on my album – there’s many sides of me as an artist, and I wanted this album to show a bigger picture. It has the stripped down intimate songs, as well as the dramatic cinematic productions. It feels like I’ve worked on some of these songs forever, and it feels weird to say it’s completely finished and to put it out there for people to hear. I hope people like it and can find a song or two that really speaks to them or something they’re going through.

Q. What’s going on with Dollar Menu? Was it easy to get off the ground? And what do you consider to be among its biggest successes?
Skott: After having experienced working with a major label, and not being allowed to work on my album (although I secretly did anyways), I started dreaming about starting my own record company. So, when me and my friend created Dollar Menu, we put creativity and passion first. We wanted to avoid as much bureaucracy and politics in the industry as we could, and just focus on whatever crazy ideas we got.

Dollar Menu’s first music video won a Swedish award for “Music Video of the Year”, and was also nominated for another. That was a pretty fun way to kick it off. That was the video for Bloodhound.

Q. What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Skott: When I started my career, Say Lou Lou gave me some advice I took to heart. It was something like “When creating your visuals, be honest with yourself – what intrigues you? And use that. Don’t worry about trends or what other people might expect you to be.” I have magic creatures, dinosaurs and battle-axes on my album covers. Because I’m a kid at heart.

Photo Credit: Peter St James

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