Ember Island, a Swedish trio comprised of Didrik Franzén, Joakim Axling and Alex Andersson, first came on to the scene after releasing covers of well-known tracks. Their catalogue of covers is eclectic, with their most recent cover of Rihanna’s iconic “Umbrella,” Radiohead’s legendary “Creep,” Jack Ü and Justin Bieber’s hit “Where Are Ü Now,” The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and Porter Robinson’s emotional dance ballad “Sad Machine.” Ember Island continues their EP video series with the release of “Hide Me,” the follow up track to “Stay” and “Need You.” “Hide Me” features Alex’s angelic and soft vocals over a gorgeous instrumental crafted together with bandmates Didrik and Joakim, further proof that the Swedish trio create music flawlessly together.
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Sean Ritchie: To start this off, let’s touch on your home of Stockholm, Sweden, what really stands out about the city and country as a whole? What would you suggest a first-time visitor to see when traveling there?
Didrik Franzén: For someone who hasn’t been there, one of the things that is special about it is the weather. We have very diverse weather. In the summer it’s warm. Then in the winter there’s a lot of snow, especially in the northern parts. And, of course we have the fall and spring. For us as a band, it gives us a lot off different inspirations for feelings in the music. The nature here is kind of special if you compare it to other countries. There are a lot of big forests and lakes. These are things you can see if you watch our videos.
Stockholm is a very beautiful city. I would suggest going to the old town (Gamla stan) of Stockholm. There are very beautiful houses and cozy restaurants there. If you want to see more nature, I feel the further north you go the more beautiful it is. If you’re lucky up there you can catch the northern lights.
SR: That’s interesting. I can see when listening to your music how different seasons have influenced your sound. To bring it back a bit, when did you get your first exposure to music, and inspiration to create your own?
DF: Everyone in the band has their own different background in music. For me, I started listening to Michael Jackson when I was about eight or nine. That was when I really started getting into music. It just kind of evolved from there. I listen to everything from punk rock to dance music. I got really into electronic music before I met the others in Ember Island. Joakim has a background in metal and hardcore music. Alex has her background more in jazz and contemporary music. When we met we kind of combined all of those things to get our own sound. We picked what we liked best from all of our different backgrounds and tried to piece them together.
SR: Love to see that kind of collaboration. Fast forwarding, you now have your third video out “Hide Me” from your EP video series. Talk a little bit about that video in particular, but also about the greater goal of the series.
DF: “Hide Me” is actually the second song we actually ever wrote together. So, the original demo is very old. It’s passed through many different stages until now when it finally got released. The song kind of explains itself, because the lyrics are very descriptive. The song is about kind of finding an escape from the real world. It’s about trying to find comfort from whatever you’re going through. We tried to find the music that would bring that out as much as possible. For the video, we wanted to capture that feeling, but in an indirect way.
This being our debut EP, we wanted to make a series of videos that kind of brings you into the world of Ember Island. It’s to make your familiar with the places and atmosphere of the world we want to create. That’s the main goal of this video series. In the future, we’re looking to expand on this with more developed stories between different characters.
SR: That’s pretty sick that it’s more than just the music, but the overall production of everything. Now, to transition more into travel, how does music and travel really fit together for you?
DF: Whenever I travel it always starts of with making a playlist on Spotify, before that was available I did it on my Walkman or MP3 player. I will then listen to it on the plane and throughout the trip. Those songs will then become connected to the trip, so whenever I hear them I’m sort of transported back. For us as a band, when we do more touring, those things will merge together very well. We would love to spread our music more, but also to see and experience all these different places.
SR: Switching a little into your personal travels, when you do have some downtime and are looking to get away, are you more of a beach guy or after a more active vacation? Where do you like to go when you have a break?
DF: I really like nature, so I would probably go somewhere that’s a bit more quite and where the nature’s beautiful. It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s up in a mountain or at the side of a lake. It doesn’t bother me warm or cold either. I’m always looking to be a bit more secluded.
SR: I always love to ask musicians about their bucket-list travel. Do you have three destinations that you haven’t been to but you want to hit?
DF: There are so many places I want to go to. I’ve only ever been to North America and Europe. So, there’s a lot of places I really want to go to. One of them is Hawaii. A good friend of mine was there for a couple of months, and he described it as the most amazing place he’s ever been to. I’m also very fascinated with Asian culture, so anywhere in Asia would be very cool to go to – Japan or China. It’s just so different than everything I’m used to. Australia would be cool to go to, as well. I had another friend that lived there for a year, and I just got the feeling that the place just feels so relaxed. Everyone seems very friendly.
SR: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
DF: Music is an amazing thing being the international language of the world really. I haven’t toured that much, but going online and seeing people from all over the world listening to something you created in your bedroom is pretty surreal. We were playing at SXSW in Texas. It’s such a big festival and people were coming together from all around the world. It was such a good atmosphere. Everyone is there for the same reason. No one really cares about where you’re from. I think bringing people together is one of the best things about music.
SR: We covered SXSW in 2016 and I love it down there. It was really awesome. Lastly, to wrap this up. What do the next couple of months look like for you guys?
DF: We’re releasing our EP in November. Until then, we have two more singles to release. We are very excited to release more of our original songs. We will be continuing to write a lot of cool music. We will travel to Los Angeles to record more, as well. Hopefully, we’ll start touring more next year. I think that’s what’s on the agenda to us. Looking to continuing to build Ember Island.