I have probably touched the subject before, but I don’t think I have ever explained why I choose the moniker Sleepy Songs in the first place.
The story gets back to 2010 when I made the gold selling record Prinsessans Rockband with my uncle Per Gustavsson (you know; the guy who has made many of the drawings for my early covers). I wrote a really sad song, what would be called a lullaby (in Swedish godnattvisa). It was about the dragon who couldn’t go to sleepy because of all the scary things that kept him awake. We decided it was indeed a lullaby, but when we were about to find a name for the song we didn’t like the title Drakens vaggvisa (the dragons lullaby). Instead I suggested Drakens sovasång (the dragons sleepy song). Listen to it here!
Shortly after this I started working with the piano songs that would later become my first album Först ska vi äta, sen sova och sen kommer pappa, and since I didn’t want to put my real name on the release I had to come up with some kind of artist name.
And there it was; Sova-sånger (Sleepy Songs)!
Written by Anders Wiking.
A while back I was driving home from work, listening to the album Först ska vi äta, sen sova och sen kommer pappa, witch by the way is a sentence you use a lot working with the youngest kids in pre-school, and my favorite song Väntan (wait) started playing. The song has a kind of sad/melancholy sound and the rockets sounds in the intro turns it in to some kind of depressed New Year’s Eve thing.
The day before listening to this in my car I saw a tv-show where, in one scene, a mother and her child was on the ship “Estonia” that sunk between Sweden and Estonia back in 1994 drowning around 950 people, and you got to watch them slowly drown, a very claustrophobic scene. So with that scene in mind and some depressing New Year’s Eve music on I started to sing along and just improvise in the moment. when I came home I hade the melody ready and knew what I wanted the lyrics to be about. Then I simply recorded it to the track and sent as a surprise to Johan. I had no real intent to have it published, it was just something that I did because it was fun, but Johan did his mix-wizardry and it turned out great!
A while ago my buddy Anders Wiking sent me one of my songs from the debut album Först ska vi äta, sen sova och sen kommer pappa to me. He had written a vocal part for the song Väntan (Wait). That got me thinking about that record and how it doesn’t really fit together with the music I currently make. And, I didn’t really know how to make this kind of music back then.
I decided to dig up my old Logic projects for the songs to see what would happen if I did some changes with my current knowledge.
It took a day or two, but then I had a brand new record; too good not to be released. Not fireworks or anything, but it was something I was more happy with than the original version. Feel free to compare!
The main thing I did was to replace all the orchestral strings with a string quartet. And on one song I replaced it with three cellos! I also removed most of the synthesizers and all of the drum loops (most obvious on the opening track Vi åker till Kina). One song was beyond saving and didn’t fit at all (it was actually a song I made many years before the others when I was studying music production in Växjö, hence the title So Old), but instead I found another song that I, for some reason, decided not to put on the original release (Den glömda, The forgotten one).
And of course; I had Anders do a proper recording of the vocals for Väntan which can also be found on the Reworked release, as well as a separate single. I asked him to write a post about that song, so I guess that one will be posted eventually.
And as always; feel free to share and put a song you like on a playlist of yours!
A while back I introduced you to the track Swimming with Kawatora by Ryan E Weber (REW). Ryan its from Lake Michigan, USA. After being part of different musical projects in different styles, REW<< is now heading in another musical direction focusing on the neo classical piano genre.
Tell us something about this latest release of yours!
Following on from my 2018 EP Conversation Arctique, Salix Babylonica is another series of neoclassical miniatures which I have the great fortune of releasing with the always outstanding label Hidden Shoal. Each of the five tracks is centered around the piano, with the spaces around each note coloured with strings and synth. The full release will happen May 14th and the single and video for Salix Amygdaloides is out now.
Tell us something about your track Salix Amygdaloides!
So I had this weeping willow tree in my backyard growing up. It was fun to swing and play on, but I was horribly allergic to it and would break out with rashes any where I touched it, so I’d have to avoid it. Sometimes, however, despite knowing I’d be in for problems, the allure was too great and to have a swing or climb on it. I was thinking about this and that melancholy funny looking tree when working on the EP Salix Babylonica (which is the scientific name for the weeping willow), so I explored and researched it and took pieces of its history and science related to inspire the songs.
Thank your for this Ryan! I was about to ask you about the title, but you gave me that answer without me asking about it. Nice 🙂
Today is another great release day! It’s 14 degrees celsius outside, and spring is here!
This song is released in collaboration with The Sonder House and is the first single from my upcoming EP called The trip.
Old as I is an instrumental version of a song called Gammal som jag, which I wrote for my band Rimstad Rockerz, and you can listen to it here. Anders Wiking wrote the words and I wrote the music. A theme for the entire album where Gammal som jag is featured is seeing your kids grow up and become as old as we are (well, kind of).
When I was writing songs for this upcoming EP I just started playing this song, and eventually I pressed record and afterwards I don’t regret it. It even became the single for the EP, right?
So, I guess it’s about time I wrote a little something about my latest EP, right?
Like someone might have guessed; the title of the EP and the titles of the songs is linked together. I (and I guess most europeans?) write dates like this YY-MM-DD. So, I skipped the year, and just wrote the month and the day of the month. Hence; 09 – September.
This EP was written and recorded during the month of September.
Next time – I promise to come up with better titles…
Fun fact might be that 0901 was my submission for The minimal piano series VOL 2. So far it’s doing pretty well on it’s own though.
I usually think of solo piano music as (neo) classical music. That was until I started talking to Erik Slättberg about his album Growth (2018). It then became clear to me that there’s an entire world of solo piano jazz to be found if you just bother to look for it. That’s how I found German composer and pianist Tom Blankenberg from Düsseldorf.
This is one of the songs from Tom’s album Atermus. He describes the album himself as “It’s very me”, and if he is anything like his track London Fields, I’d gladly get to know him better!
Tell us something about the London Fields!
London fields was written after spending a weekend in London. It evolved out of the first improvisation I did after that weekend.(A very long tine after writing, i found out that there would be a movie out with the same title… crashed totally last autumn.)
I tried to form a complete song around this first chord. This sould be the backbone of the track I planned. On the day in the studio recording it, months after the writing process and after having performed it live a few times, I changed it in three bars… Plan vs. Reality.
Thank you for sharing with us Tom!
New music you say?
Yeah, I got that coming too fairly soon.
But last week a friend of mine sent me his own version of, what he thinks, is the best song I’ve ever made. The song is called Väntan (Wait) and is taken from my very first album Först ska vi äta, sen sova och sen kommer pappa.
I have told you before about that album, and how I made it so the kids at the pre school I worked at at the time would have some nice music to fall asleep to (hence Sleepy Songs btw.).
Anyway. He sent me this song.
At first I wasn’t sure what he changed with it, because it was basically my track for the first minute. And then it came. The vocals!
He had written lyrics for my song! And it was wonderful!
That made me think of two things
- Too bad I didn’t know him when I recorded my album 48:50 – because that was pretty much the deal with that album. I write the backgrounds – you write the lyrics and sing the song.
- I really need to freshen up that old album of mine and make a re-release.
So, thats what I’m working on at the moment.
It was interesting to go through my old projects. I think I read (or watched) Olafur Arnalds talking about the re-release of his first album and how strange it was to go through the old project. What was I thinking here?
I have changed a couple of things, and I also found a forgotten unreleased song that I will include as a bonus track. I will also skip one of the tracks because it’s not good enough… And of course, I will try to include the vocal version of my song Väntan with dear Anders Wikings’ vocal on it.
That’s all for now!
Just like my previous post, about the song Arvika, this song is about one of my favorite places in the world. My wife has had this house in Falsterbo in her family for a very long time, and it’s now owned by her aunt.
One of my favorite things about this house is that it has a piano in it. It’s not in tune and it’s not a fancy piano. But like the piano in my parents house; that doesn’t matter. It is located in one of the places where I enjoy being.
Early in the summer of 2018 I sat down by the piano and started to play a couple of chord over and over again. I sat there for maybe an hour just listening to the chords and trying to figure out what kind of melody would fit over those chords. Then something interrupted me. And then we had to go back to our apartment in Malmö again.
During the vacation in Arvika, like I told you in the post about the song Arvika, I only brought with me my Maschine from Native instruments with the goal to learn how it worked. The song Arvika was the first one I produced that summer, and Falsterbo was the second one. And like Arvika, the main track on this two-track single is an electronic version of the song, and the second track is a solo piano version.
It ended up with just those four chords. Simple as that!
On the cover art you can see my youngest son walking on the bridge over the golf course heading down to the ocean.
Enjoy the song!
If the playlist doesn’t work, please use this link instead!
I have always been the drummer. If you needed a drummer for your band; I was the guy you would turn to! Everyone else played guitar, so I was kind of original.
It has been a very sentimental evening, and I’ve been going through some old recordings. So I wanted to share a bit of Johan history with you all! This was the band closest to being successful.
I present to you Vienna Heat!