Sven Wunder (Interview)
Today we’re listening to Sven Wunder, a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Stockholm. Sven composes jazz/funk/psychedelic pieces for orchestra, like a modern day Quincy Jones or David Axelrod. He also produces his records and puts them out on his own label, Piano Piano (whose Spotify playlist is a gold mine). We’re playing two of his eclectic LPs, Natura Morta from last year and Wabi Sabi from 2020. In a Flow State first, we interviewed Sven, and you can read the transcript just below the streaming links.
How did you decide to devote your life to music?
It’s actually the only thing I really know how to do well. Sometimes I think that I’d like to try to do something else, but don’t know what might be. I really love to be in the atmosphere of music-making and to dive deep into that world and surround myself with records and sounds while making it.
What are your favorite records to work to?
Lili Boulanger is one of my favourite composers that I love to spread the good word about as soon as I get the chance. She died at age of 21, but still managed to write a whole lot beautiful pieces. Personally I’d place her music somewhere between Ravel and Debussy. Splendid and deserves more of a spotlight too! Just listen to her ”Vieille Prière Bouddhique”.
Name an underrated musician from the past 50 years who deserves more recognition today.
Yusef Lateef - fantastic musician and composer. Not that underrated maybe, at least these days, but his work is brilliant and deserves even more recognition.
How do you get into the right headspace for creating music?
For me it’s just hard work. I write every day, either a song or an arrangement for a song. Maybe a bit like a writer that writes a certain amount of pages each day. That method works very well for me. From 10-20 compositions it usually comes a good one. That’s how it works for me.
Which non-musician artists inspire you the most these days?
I’ve been reading Kazuo Ishiguro lately, very inspiring author that always finds new ways to approach storytelling that in some ways lean towards science fiction, but always feels like something new, charming and pensive.
What do you use to make music – instruments, software, etc.?
I begin by the piano most of the time. In some cases it also begins with a mood, rhythm or groove found in my record collection. As long I have access to my piano and my records I can keep working on new music.
You work a lot with studio musicians. How do you convey your musical vision to others?
Recording music might be a lot like directing a movie. The musicians, in this case, can be seen as actors. I can have an idea or a script (notes) and then they fulfill the work by colouring it their way. I have been working for many years with some of the musicians I work with. We work very well together and can communicate in a very direct way that I find is very important for me being able to get my work done.
What music has inspired you recently?
I’ve been very into jazz lately. Every winter is jazz mood for me. Medium experimental jazz from the 50s to the 80s is always my under my radar when I go record shopping, which definitely peaks during winter season.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a couple of different projects at the moment, not that far from my previous releases. My main focus is always to write songs and to stay inspired.