Hi Matilda, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me! Circumstances aside, I’ve been well. My friends and family are healthy, and I feel excited to finally release music again!
From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”?
Well first of all, I don’t think I can record an ABBA EP without including the most popular of their songs J But I also heard how this song could be about something more vulnerable. The lyrics, which seem to be light and flirty, to me has a different meaning when it’s wrapped in this new arrangement. My version is a celebration to women of all generations, about female empowerment and encouragement. We need to believe in ourselves and also support each other.
What was the approach you were hoping to go after with this upcoming EP?
While touring the US as one of the principal singers of the tribute act ABBA The Concert for over a decade, I’ve been singing these songs probably more than any artist – including ABBA! It’s like they’ve become such a big part of my life and my sound that I wanted to reinvent them, create something raw and personal. I wanted the familiar melodies to be discovered in a new way and maybe it would also attract new listeners. I was hoping to give the songs a new perspective, and I hope, a new emotional journey for the listener.
How did you go on balancing the original with your own personal take?
It certainly was a challenge to rearrange these songs, since ABBA made the best pop version there is! I needed to go a totally different route, be very personal and also find a theme, musical pattern and instrumentation that felt true to me. But still, I wanted it to keep the ABBA essence! I think (hope at least!) that I succeeded in keeping the ABBA spirit but adding my own expression and spin on it.
How was the recording process?
I must say, the process was easy. I prepared well, the work before actually recording the songs was more extensive. Things like forming an idea around every track, arranging the songs, how do I want to sing it and play it, and so on. So once in the studio, it went very smoothly. The piano, guitar, vocals and strings on two of the songs were recorded at The Studio Lounge in Philadelphia, PA. My co-producer Andrew Lipke is a singer himself and he knows how to keep a good psychological feeling in the room 🙂 It’s a small studio in the basement of his house and I traveled there from NYC, stayed for a couple of days at a time and hung out with his wife and adorable kids when not recording. Joy!
The strings for “Dancing Queen” and “The Name of The Game” were recorded in a bigger studio, The Gradwell House in NJ, since we doubled the musicians for that and needed more room. The string players were such professionals, they listened to my vision and I love how it came out.
And then the mixing process definitely took a while, but I think that is a good thing! So that you have a chance to grow into the sound you want.
What role does Sweden play in your music?
Probably more than I know! You might hear that Swedish melancholic heart of mine in there J And being from Sweden, Swedish is obviously my first language, but most of my favourite influences sing in English. I spent a great deal of time learning English and many of the nuances that come with it. But in my songwriting, I’m positive that a lot of my Swedish roots are coming through. I’ve not fully turned into an American yet!
Does the cover mean we can expect original material – how’s that coming along?
YES! This project was definitely a source of inspiration for me, to just find my way back to being creative and try things out, to challenge myself. I have already a number of songs to be recorded. I can’t wait to start that next adventure.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Too soon to say.. But follow along and I’ll keep you posted! J
What else is happening next in Matilda Lindell’s world?
Secretly in my head, I’m planning on a small solo tour even though we are not sure when stages are opening up again. And I have high hopes for ABBA The Concert to be touring later this year! And other than that, I’m trying to build a home, build a voice coaching business, might get a puppy at some point and hopefully I can go back to Sweden soon and hug my family and friends!