INTERVIEW: Axel Thesleff

Release 28 February, Find My Way is the latest single from Axel Thesleff, an electronic musician and producer based in Helsinki, Finland. A prolific and incredibly successful producer, his hit single Bad Karma has clocked up a staggering 500+ million streams all platforms, and been supported across playlisters, radio DJs and music aficionados alike. He also recently finished his North American tour of 30+ shows supporting CloZee and Beats Antique.

Axel’s style is incredibly diverse and hard to describe, with his output ranging from bass-heavy bangers to more relaxed and deep tracks. One thing that remains consistent in all of his releases however, is his focus on the emotion and story behind each piece of music he creates. His tunes will make subwoofers purr, but also deliver an emotional impact which resonates with your soul.

Hi Axel, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been good thanks. Thanks for having me!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Find My Way”?

The initial idea was started back in 2018. It’s a song that represents perseverance and hope for me. The song came to me when I was in a bad place mentally, and it had the power to switch my mindset to a more empowered state. The song itself is a kind of a slow jam that punches, with powerful chords and melodies that build up as the song progresses. I hope this song could inspire people to push forward in life even though sometimes we might feel lost.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Nothing in particular. For me, songs are based on all the accumulated emotions that life has produced in me along the way, trying to find a channel and be understood in a non verbal way.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes, we are releasing a video that we call a ”Studio Live”. We have done these types of videos for the songs Unity and Piya Mora and now Find My Way. We’re always switching the milieu and this time around we shot it here in Finland in an outdoor ice rink with a synchronized figure skating team. It was a really cool experience! The Studio Live concept is a hybrid between a live recording and a music video. I play the song live at the location the way I would play it on stage, with a keytar, drum pad, and an electronic xylophone. Everything I play is recorded on the spot and heard in the video, but the visual aspects of it are closer to that of a music video, with multiple takes, edits and color grading etc. to give it that polished look.

How was the recording and writing process?

I started the song by editing and sequencing vocal samples from different sources and figuring out a chord structure to go with it. I played the main harmony and melody parts in with a keyboard as MIDI and sequenced everything else. So no big studio stuff with this song, just me and my laptop and a keyboard like most of my tracks actually.

What role does Finland play in your music?

Finnish culture is very honest and direct, and I think that can be heard in my music. Finnish people are generally very real in my opinion. I live in eastern Helsinki, Finland, in a pretty quiet and calm area. There’s not a lot going on here which helps me focus on music and being creative.

How much does the great success your music has gained throughout the years has influence you as an artist? Does it place any pressure on you?

Sure it has had some influence, mainly forcing me to do my absolute best every time because many people are waiting for high-quality music from me. In that sense it brings pressure but it’s good pressure. However, I don’t obsess about success, I obsess about music. I don’t just try to create something that I think the masses will like in order to gain more success, instead I try to be as honest as I can to my inspiration and trust that people will feel what I feel when I produce the music.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes, lots of new material is waiting to be released and a lot is in the works. This year will see many single song releases while I’m working on a new concept EP. We are also heavily focusing on video content for every release so now is a good time to subscribe to my YouTube channel 😉

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

We can’t reveal any titles or release dates at this point, sorry.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yeah, I’ve been constantly developing the live show and this year we’re bringing live visuals to the table. You can catch me in Austin, TX at SXSW on March 18th and Denver, CO on March 21st. Some more festival shows will be announced later.

What else is happening next in Axel Thesleff’s world?

I’m fortunate to have a great team behind me and that team is growing this year which is really exciting. We’re constantly working hard to bring quality content to people with meaning and depth. You can expect a lot more coming out of this project gradually as we’re switching to a higher gear this year.

LISTEN HERE

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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