You may not have heard of Mattias Lindblom, but you’ve probably heard his music, since it might as well be the law that all self-respecting pop fans own a copy of Rachel Stevens’ second album, Come and Get It. Mattias, with his writing partner Anders Wollbeck, wrote Rachel’s hit Negotiate With Love and the Swedish duo are also behind some of Alcazar’s best songs, such as Chemistry and Celebrate The Night, as well as Nouveau Riche’s hits Hardcore Life and Oh Lord.
Mattias is also the lead singer of his and Anders’ band, Vacuum, who have had hits in Sweden and Eastern Europe. My favourite is the ballad I Breathe, but they have some interesting, dark electro-pop tracks as well, such as They Do It. If you’re a fan of BWO, Universal Poplab or West End Girls, I definitely recommend giving Vacuum a listen. I asked Mattias about the artists he’d worked with so far, who he’d like to collaborate with in the future, and what’s the deal with him and Alexander Bard these days?
You had a UK hit with Negotiate With Love by Rachel Stevens. Are there any other UK acts you’d like to work with?
Rachel Stevens was a great experience for us. We got to see our music on Top of the Pops, CD:UK and all those famous UK TV shows. That was super cool for us at the time. I’ve been into British music since I was a kid. Actually UK music would be the main reason I got into music at all. Adam & The Ants, Depeche Mode, Human League, The Sex Pistols and naturally Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Holly Johnson’s ‘The Power Of Love’ would be my all time favorite song, combining the heartfelt song and lyrics with Trevor Horn’s finest work.
Anders Wollbeck and I are working right now with some British singers. Can’t give that away though so I’ll just throw out a dream collaboration right here. We wrote a song for Garou called Accidental together with UK songwriter Wayne Hector a couple of years back. My dream collaboration would be back writing with Wayne, together with and for two of my fave UK voices, who for this occasion team up as a duet! Artist extraordinaire Bryn Christopher and songwriter, voice extraordinaire Niara Scarlett (Xenomania writer and former member of Mania). Now that would be a day to remember!
For acts such as Cinema Bizarre and Tarja Turunen, you have created a rockier version of your sound. Was this difficult to do?
We wrote ‘I Walk Alone’ (by Tarja Turunen) in the dark of winter in Stockholm. And what could be more natural then to write ‘Put all your angels on the edge. Keep all the roses, I’m not dead’, in winter, close to the north pole? We ended up writing five songs on that album I think, My Winter Storm. I recall writing lyrics in bed, actually scaring myself with the words. It was an intense experience. We’ve been working on her new album ‘What Lies Beneath’ and we can’t wait to hear the result later this year. Tarja is one of those unique musical beings that has created her own space in the world of music. I hope to be part of her musical journey for a long time to come. Besides that, she’s awesome.
Now, Cinema Bizarre. The best song we did for them was a b-side called ‘The Other People’. Big mistake not focusing on that song I feel. What can I say, Strify (the lead singer) is a star in his own right. We left the project during the second album as we felt they were moving in a direction we didn’t like, but I think Strify should get his own TV show!
Do you tend to approach artists with songs you have written, or do they come to you?
It goes both ways. Songs tend to live their own little lives. It’s like they float around for a while and if they’re good enough, they find a home. Sometimes a shack! Sometimes a loving, safe home. Filled with Christmas and good food. Sometimes you get a call saying there’s this new amazing vocal group called The Canadian Tenors who just recorded your song, and before you know it, you’re number 1 on Billboard Classical.
It’s all a great adventure, that’s the way I look at it. Some songs take you to Ibiza and back. Some songs makes it all the way to the top of the charts as far away as in Asia. Some songs put you firmly in your seat riding the subway. It goes up and down. But one thing I can say: if you’re cynical about music, forget about it. If you’re choosing between music and selling cars, go sell cars. I pour every ounce of my heart into music and have done since I was 6 years old. I sang before that, but my professional career started when I was 6. That’s when I knew.
Which artists have you worked with recently who you think could be a big success in the future?
We’ve been working on stuff that I can’t talk about all last year and into 2010. Stuff is cookin’ and bakin’. I could tell you about it, but I’d have to… and other clichés like that! We don’t talk about what we work on until it’s released. That’s the gentlemen we are.
Which are your favorite songs in the charts at the moment?
Well, I think the stuff that Rihanna is putting out is as progressive as it gets right now in the mainstream. I’m excited to see if Die Antwoord (a South African rap group) will have the impact that the hype suggests. Not to compare the two at all. But I do miss great songs a little – songs like ‘Halo’ are few and far between. But I tend not to focus too much on what’s good right now. As a songwriter I’m writing the songs I want to hear, songs that aren’t out there yet. Remember, when a trend’s a trend, it’s basically over.
Have you ever written a song for someone else but loved it so much you kept it for yourself?
Yes. And I feel ashamed about it too.
As part of Vacuum, you worked with my pop hero Alexander Bard. What was he like to work with, and do you still make music with him these days?
Alex was a handful to work with. And to be perfectly honest, so was I. We’re very different as people but I think that was part of the creative magic and also, in a sense, what made Vacuum’s first release quite special. I learned a lot from working with him, Anders and the people around us at the time. Also the situations we found ourselves in as artists, but in the end, I had to follow my heart and us ending the collaboration was the natural thing to do. I see Alex now and again at award shows and functions but we don’t work together now. Not since 1999. He’s a great guy and I think the music industry would be way more dull without his contribution!
Are you working on new music for your band Vacuum at the moment?
At the moment no. We struggle to find time for the band. Mainly because writing and producing is such a pleasure and we like our fingers in that cookie jar. But there’s more to be done. I feel blessed that I can still do shows now and again. It’s so important to me to be able to sing and actually perform music we write. But I’ll tell you one thing. Given the success we’ve had as a band, the shows and amazing fans we’ve enjoyed, every time I walk on stage the last thing I think is: If this is the last show, I’m more than pleased with what I’ve achieved as an artist. That’s the truth. All the dreams I had of being an artist, every single one of them has been fulfilled. From now on, it’s all a bonus. But as a songwriter and producer, I’m not even half-way to achieving all my dreams. I’m enjoying one dream right now, to be able to make music and for a living too!