‘Amazing Agnes’ is what I like to call her. This super stylish and talented Swedish performer has released an incredible powerful disco-infused orchestra backed dance pop album MAGIC STILL EXISTS after nine-years away from the studio. Agnes Carlsson in conversation with me was a blast…enjoy!
Have you ever been to Australia and can you surf?
A – Wanted to visit Australia for a long time but never have, it’s so far away. I like the beach although no surfing. I did say to my boyfriend on our next trip, as long as the water is warm, I’d like to be at the ocean.
You have a beautiful voice, what do you do to maintain it or keep active?
A – I look after it, I have vocal exercises. Also I write songs that suit my singing voice. If you write melodies not suited to your voice, it’s easier to destroy it. When we were working on the album, we agreed to write melodies that were easier to do live as well. I drink so much honey-water when performing, I don’t want to even look at it after that (laughs).
You had a break from the music scene, what did you do until now?
A – Starting when I was sixteen, I did music for ten years so needed a rest. I was so young and by the time I was twenty-six, I felt I wanted to grow as a person, artist, wanting to do something completely different. I was also the person who couldn’t come to a family dinner or party, it was time to connect.
When writing music, I felt under pressure. I learned to take time to develop, also learned to produce myself, be in control.
How did you choose what songs to put on the brilliant new album?
A – It was a journey (laughs), we wrote a lot of songs. Most of the songs on the album were only three months old at the time, I had a clear vision of what sound I wanted it to be, deciding what song fits. The lyrics were important.
What about your costumes, beautiful!
A – Thank you so much. I had the idea of exactly what I wanted. Usually I paint the designs, a friend then helps me make them real.
You could put those amazing clothes you make in a fashion parade.
A – Exactly (laughs).
Since you began at 16, how do you like the music industry’s progression – good or do you prefer the old ways?
A – Love how it is now. More open, personal and easier. People are creating their cravings and releasing their dreams. Earlier, artists were much more in the hands of the record company, I don’t think it is like that now.
Is streaming music a preference or do you like vinyl or cassettes?
A – Love vinyl, only started to buy vinyl recently so don’t have that many, we are building a new house now and looking forward to moving in to organise them. You listen to music on it in a different way.
Tell me about appearing on Eurovision – what happens backstage and any memories on stage performing?
A – In 2009, I remember being very nervous. The weird thing, you perform on TV live, but before that you do soundcheck. Standing there with no make-up, no proper outfit with a full arena of people watching, they sell tickets to soundcheck. Thousands of people looking at you practicing in your pyjamas, that was surreal. Eurovision is a beautiful thing bringing people together.
Australia is in Eurovision; how do you feel about that?
A – When I heard you were in Eurovision, I thought, OF COURSE (laughs).
What musical instruments do you enjoy playing?
A – Playing violin young, I was never that good at it, also piano. I use strength in my songs combining orchestra with disco which calls back that experience.
Have you ever thought about writing a movie soundtrack or musical?
A – Yes, actually this year, one of my songs was in a Swedish movie, Dancing Queen. I would love to do a whole movie.
Do you have disco aspirations moving forward or other styles of music?
A – Right now I love being in the disco world, I think it’s obvious to remain disco with the freedom of the lyrics being yourself. In the future I don’t know.
Saturday Night Fever & Can’t Stop the Music are my favourite disco movies, do you have a favourite, or another movie you enjoy?
A – It’s not disco but I love Call Me by Your Name. Actually, there is a little bit of disco in it, they go to a club.
Is there a singer or band you would like to collaborate with.
A – Definitely, Years & Years. Also Georgio Moroder, that would be amazing. Sebastien Tellier, he would be fun to work with. Or First Aid Kit, love them.
Was it hard to learn to sing in English?
A – No it’s easier to sing than to talk in English, I don’t know why.
Why should people buy or listen to your new music, your new sounds?
A – I call what I do, spiritual disco. For me making this album, it was very much me having to do it, growing as a person, wanting to make music to let me ponder what it’s like being a human. It made me feel uplifted answering these questions, the strings in the music lift you up to heaven when engaged. How I felt when I made the songs is how I hope people feel listening.
The strings and orchestra pumped by your voice made me want to get up and move or dance, you certainly did something right Agnes.
A – Thank you very much Shane, hope to see you in Sydney sometime.
The new single ‘Here Comes The Night’ from MAGIC STILL EXISTS is available now through Universal Music and digital platforms.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.