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  • Ellie McGuire

Interview - Nervous City Nervous Self

Born and raised in Stockholm, Nervous City Nervous Self is a nomadic, electronic folk-project that began in Berlin after the artist went into voluntary exile. He currently lives and works in the less nervous countryside of southern Sweden.

His latest single 'Act V' is a captivating masterpiece serving as a romantic ballad with melancholy undertones over a dreamy production.

We sat down with Nervous City Nervous Self to discuss their music and much more. Here is what they had to say:

Hey Nervous City Nervous Self, welcome to FLEX! How are you?

Hi Flex, thank you very much, it’s very nice to meet you, finally! I'm better than last week, and slightly worse than next week!

Congratulations on your brand-new single 'Act V' - what inspired this particular track?

Cheers - the track was inspired by a dream I had and I think it’s my subconscious trying to tell me something about perseverance, and not to be tempted to join Hedda Gabler’s quest for something else.

Hedda Gabler is the main character in Henrik Ibsen’s play with the same name. “It´s only a role in a play,” says the lyrics in Act V – so we better choose our roles wisely, if one doesn´t feel like switching around too much. But anyway, it really doesn’t matter – do your shit, like Shakespeare said.

And do you have to be in a certain mood to write?

No, it's just there for every given situation that might arrive. There’s always a song that’s waiting to be called. The only thing that might resemble ”work” is the act of putting it all together, arranging it, and then recording it. That on the other hand is hard work.

How was the recording and writing process?

Well, there is a long story to it, but the shorter version is that I started working on an instrumental and putting down vocals to it at home, and then sending files to the producer I worked with, and then he sent files back and I added some instruments and edited some vocals – and that was the process. It took a few mixes before we reached our goal. But I'm happy with how it sounds in the end.

The preceding writing process is always elusive to describe or define, but I had written a Swedish version before I translated it into English, so it required some additional work in that sense.

For viewers who don't know Nervous City Nerous Self, how would you describe your sound?

I would say take your average sad singer/songwriter-dude, slip him a pill, or serve him a large gin, that makes him look at the world in a slightly twisted, but deep and fragile way, then put on some funny shoes that just looks strange, and hand him of book of quotes by Montaigne along with a little handheld mirror - and you´ll soon be hearing some Nervous City Nervous Self tunes arise! Add a harp for variation.

And what are some of those activities that you engage yourself in when you aren't writing or recording in the studio?

When I'm not writing recording, or undertaking mundane activities, I tend to be thinking about it all, it´s pretty much consuming a big part of my days and nights. Which is quite lovely. Either it gives the illusion of meaningfulness, or it is the essence of it. Maybe it´s both.


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