Rooted in various genres including classical music, jazz, post hardcore and pop – here is Ember Island.
What is your musical background and when did you begin making music? We’ve been more or less self-taught in instruments like guitar, piano, viola and singing since we were kids. The three of us met about two years ago and started creating what soon came to be “Ember Island”.
What and who inspires you? Anything that moves us… maybe a story, an interesting sound, an atmosphere or a heavy guitar-riff. We listen to a lot of music like Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, Coldplay and maybe that shows in our music.
Tell us more about your single Stay. Stay is a really special song to us. It was the first song we wrote and recorded together as a band, before any of the covers. So we wanted it to be our first single. It represents the beginning of something new and holds a lot of memories for us as a band.
What about your other single, a version of Where Are Ü Now, that was picked up and included as an official remix on Where Are Ü Now (Remixes) - what¹s the story behind this? We loved the original song and wanted to do our own version. We saw the potential of a more acoustic version of it – so we just went for it! It got a lot of good response and after a while Atlantic Records reached out wanting it to be a part of the remix-package! Such an honour to get that kind of recognition!
How has the response to your music been so far?
Absolutely overwhelming! It’s just incredible to have people from all over the world telling us our music has changed their life… We love doing what we do and if other people love it as well – then that’s more than we could ever have expected.
What are your expectations for this year?
Releasing more original music and some exciting collaborations! But other than that, just keep building Ember Island. We want it to be not just about the music, but also a concept, a movement, a place. But that’s really a never-ending goal.
What¹s happening next - any releases or gigs coming up?
At this moment we’re finishing up our EP so hopefully that will be our next release!
This week we introduce a Swedish artist, who has been singing and writing music since he was in his early teens!
What is your musical background and when did you begin making music? Music has always been in the family. I started playing guitar when I was 13-14 years old, and started in music class in 6th grade. It was there that I first started to sing. I wrote my first song when I was just 15… and it’s continued ever since then!
What inspires you? The things that inspire me change from day to day. For example, I might hear a really good song, or meet people that inspire me or just take inspiration from going for a walk. I am most creative at night; that’s when I write most of my music.
Tell us more about your latest release. Burning Man is a song I wrote with Jens Handell. It’s about a girl (as usual ) who doesn’t feel particularly good. It’s about letting go of everything negative, not waiting for life to happen, and taking care of the problems. And by her side theres a man who would do anything to help her!
How has the response to your music been so far? Really great! I’m so thankful for all the people who have been texting, calling and listened to the song already. Now I hope that the song will be played on the radio!
What are your expectations for this year? I hope that people will enjoy Burning Man. This year has been so great already, fingers crossed that it will continue to be so!
What’s happening next – any releases, gigs or tours coming up? I’ll hopefully play some gigs in the Summer. No tour is booked yet, but that will come! I’ve worked with a lot of different producers to get my EP finished, and I will release my second single in the Fall! Who knows, if I write the right song, maybe I will participate in Melodifestivalen again.
This week we introduce the talented band of four - Gone in the Sun. The members, Pontus, Max, Patrik and Daniel, told Spinnup their story:
What is your musical background and when did you begin making music? Pontus: Max and I met through a mutual friend 3 years ago and just decided that we should try to write something together. Since we didn’t have so much songwriting experience, we really felt the collaboration would take us both to a new level. Max: When we had some demos done, we wanted to try them out with a band. Daniel, Patrik and I had been playing together for a long time, so of course they were the obvious choice for the project.
What inspires you? Patrik: The process can be triggered by pretty much anything… a movie, a strange melody or whatever… Max: And then it goes through a filter, based on the messy process of figuring out who and where you are… Patrik: The lost souls… Pontus: Hah exactly, the lost souls. When it comes to musical influences though, we’ve been listening to a lot of Black Keys lately.
Tell us more about your latest release. Max: Sound-wise, it feels like the second chapter to our debut single ’Beaches’, all though the lyrics are totally different. Pontus: Yes, the sound of these two songs introduces the entire project. Max: The feeling of ‘Shine’ came out of the idea that you are your own worst enemy… Pontus: It’s quite melancholy, with a catchy chorus.
How has the response to your music been so far? Daniel: We’ve had a really good response from friends… Max: Haha, and from our Mums! Daniel: But seriously, I’ve felt support from many different places. Pontus: Yeah, some blogs have been written about us, and people seem to be listening on Spotify and so on. I think we’re off to a really decent start.
What are your expectations for this year? Daniel: Continuing to release music… Pontus: Get more people to hear about us… Daniel: And hopefully come out and play some gigs later this year.
What’s happening next – any releases or gigs coming up? Max: Maybe we’ll give you all a holiday tune during Summer, but we’ll see… Pontus: We’re planning to release an EP after the Summer, and there’s so much stuff going on. We’re really looking forward to sharing more music.
We have a new scout, Jonathan! Here’s what he had to say about himself:
There isn’t enough space here for me to tell you everything about myself, so for now I’ll settle for this:
Music is what makes my heart beat. I live for the thrill of finding new and groundbreaking music before anyone else does, and I put a lot of time and effort into the hunt. Without getting into too much detail, here are the genres I like: Future Beats, Future Garage, Future House, Future RnB, Future Soul, Future Bass, Future Trap, Future Chill, UK House (I promise I’ve left out lots of detail!)
When I find something I like, it makes my day. Besides music, I also enjoy music, hanging out with music and spend most of my weekends looking for new music. Oh, I almost forgot… I also DJ!
We’ve been running a Spotify streaming competition in Sweden together with Scandinavia’s leading music magazine, GAFFA. The top three streaming artists + two jokers handpicked by our scouts and GAFFA get to play in front of a jury which/who elects the final winner. The big prize includes a marketing pack from Spinnup/Universal Music, studio time, an add to Digster FRESH, and more. The jury consists of:
Peter Hart – A&R Manager Universal Music Sweden/Polydor Sweden
Johan Lothsson – Editor in Chief GAFFA
Holly Astera – Jr A&R Manager Universal Music Sweden/Svenska Inspelningar
Pontus de Wolfe – Swedish artist/songwriter/Grammy winner
Now it’s time for the final event, held in Stockholm. The event will be live streamed, so if you can’t be there, you can follow it anyway. Watch below, the broadcast will start at 7.30 PM CET. We wish all participating artists good luck!
The 8th signed artist from Spinnup to Universal Music is IRO! Discovered by Spinnup scout Christoffer, we decided to find out more about the two of them and how it all came about.
Christoffer, please tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in the music business and scouting for Spinnup? My first steps in the music business was as a musician. I started out playing guitar, both live and in the studio. I love creating music but as I studied communication science at university, my old interest in being music journalist started to grow again and I began to write reviews and pieces on mostly rock and metal, and that is something I do regularly as a freelancer today. But I have always been fascinated by record labels and wanted to work with music regarding PR, Marketing and A&R. When I saw that Universal was looking for people for this new exciting project Spinnup, I was very eager to send in my application.
What do you look for in an artist? I look for identity. We scouts get exposed to so much music that in order for something to look enticing, it needs a clear and strong character. A confidence that says “this is me, and I know what I am doing”. Along with that, a kind of self consciousness, often strong ambition and thirst for development comes naturally, which combined with musical abilities is a recipe for success.
How did you discover IRO? IRO used Spinnup for his digital distribution and I was one of the scouts that he contacted. I then checked out his release and saw that the artwork and his photos was not only cool but also very interesting. From the moment I pushed play I instantly knew that this was something out of the ordinary. This guy knew who he was and what he wanted to do. You could hear it.
Do you still work/stay in touch with IRO after the signing? Yes, we stay in touch. Even though he lives in New York and I live in Uppsala, Sweden, we’ve met while I was in New York on vacation. This story on how he, as an american artist, actually is signed to Universal in Sweden, by simply giving me a push on Spinnup is amazing. Who knows where it will take either of us? IRO has become a friend of mine and we will definitely meet up again.
What kind of relationship should there be between a scout and the artist? The relationship is what you make it. Some artists are in need of help with a variety of things, while others just need some input on specific stuff. I see the Scout role as a person who simply cares about good music and because of that offer his or hers opinion on what it might need to take it to the next level. Being a Scout can involve anything from being a manager, producer, engineer, songwriter, PR-marketer or simply an honest helping friend.
What advice do you have for those who wish to be scouted? In order to get scouted, you need to see it a bit as a sales pitch. If you are trying to create interest, you should not only have good music to showcase. You should also tell us what you have accomplished so far, where you are heading to and what you look for in becoming scouted. We scouts all have different networks and specializations, so try to find your own scouts and impress them both creatively as well as commercially.
Who is IRO? IRO is an artist who possesses something unique in today’s music business. By combining deep lyrics, a passionate voice and a soulful mixture of pop, folk and electronics, he has managed to find an untapped source of strong melodies and intricate songs. On his self-titled EP he showcases several sides of his creative mind, music that ranges from sexy RnB to catchy Folk Pop. It was the single “Sun” that drew the attention of Universal Music, when Spinnup scout Christoffer Bertzell pitched the music to the label. The song spread instantly through the office corridors at Universal and after some talks over different timezones, a deal was inked and IRO was the first American artist to get signed to Universal through Spinnup.
When aiming to become an artist, music quality is crucial. We’re proud to announce an exclusive opportunity for you to get your music mastered online. Spinnup has partnered up with Cuttingroom Studios in order to make your music sound even better than before.
Cuttingroom is the leading mastering studio in Scandinavia, with more than 30 years in the business. It is one of the most famous studios in Sweden and have produced several worldwide hits since 1978. Some artists that have worked with Cuttingroom are Tove Lo, Vigiland and Albin!
In just 3 easy steps you can sign up:
1. Login to your Spinnup account.
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3: Go to the offers page, click the link and claim your deal.
This offer includes 15% off the total price of your online mastering through Cuttingroom Studios.
For more information about this offer and how to proceed, click here.
It all starts with a great song and if you add professional mastering it increases your chances of being discovered through Spinnup!
This week we introduce Kastrup – a Malmö based alternative pop duo, Timmie and Puppe.
What is your musical background and when did you begin making music? Puppe: I started as a drummer at the age of 10 and then moved on to guitar. I got hold of a cracked version of Cubase and started to explore songwriting and music production. I went to the Malmö academy of music to study music production which is where I met Timmie. The rest is history!
Timmie: I got a guitar when I was 17 and started to write songs and sing. I loved it, started a band and was accepted into the Malmö Academy of Music to study music production. I then quit the band and after meeting Puppe, I got restless and we founded Kastrup!
Who/what inspires you?
Puppe: Ok… this is always a hard question to answer, I guess because I don’t have a specific inspiration source to pinpoint. I am inspired by everything from Queens of the Stone Age, Frida Sundemo, to Deadmau5 and my mom! Right now I’m really into the songwriters/producers Salem Al Fakir, Vincent Pontare & Magnus Lidehäll.
Timmie: Uhmm… Right now I’m a sucker for Jonathan Johansson’s latest release Lebensraum! – the songs are nice and the lyrics are epic! I’ve always been inspired by people and music which tells stories and inspires people to think such as songwriters like Tomas Öberg (Bob Hund) and Joakim Berg (Kent).
Tell us more about your latest release Thieves. Timmie: It’s actually a very old song that I wrote for 5 or 6 years ago. It started out as a pretty naked, mellow song with acoustic strumming but evolved into more of a “synth environmental” piece when I met Puppe and the musicians we play with (Joakim, Edvin, Andreas). Thieves is a pretty slow, electronic-type pop ballad about made-up boundaries.
How has the response to your music been so far?
It’s all been surprisingly overwhelming! We’ve received so many good words from people, good reviews from bloggers, radio and critics. It’s an amazing feeling. We try to suck it in as much as we can!
What are your expectations for this year?
This year has started out pretty awesome, and hopefully the awesomeness will continue throughout the year. We’d love to reach more listeners, build a bigger fanbase and also meet them face to face on our live gigs all over Sweden. ALSO we just moved in to our OWN STUDIO!! So we expect to spend a lot of time in this cosy cellar in the center of Malmö writing new music.
What’s happening next – any releases, gigs or tours coming up?
We have some radio interviews and live sessions planned. On 21st of April we will release the music video for Thieves and then on 24th of April we will support Little Jinder at her gig on Babel here in Malmö. Hopefully we’ll see you there!
What is your musical background and when did you begin making music?
My family has always been interested in music. My older brother and my dad played guitar, and that’s the reason why I started as well. In the beginning I didn’t enjoy it at all, I just did it because I was expected to. I didn’t play much because I didn’t want anyone to listen. As I grew older, I became more confidentand started playing more often.
At the age of fifteen I played a lot of funk, soul and jazz music as I liked the improvising aspect of it. Even if the song you played already was composed you had the freedom to spontaneouslychange it and like every other guitarist of that age, I liked to play the guitar-solos.
The first time I tried to make my own music was at the beginning of Secondary School. To be just a good musician was no longer the most important thing for me. Instead, I wanted to feel something for and with the music.
The music became an art form instead of a sport competition for me.
I started to make my own indie-pop music with a lot of synthesizers and effects but my music has changed and grown a lot since back then.
After Secondary School I moved to Stockholm to study on a sound engineer school. I wanted to make my music sound more professional and I really learned a lot. At school I started to make music with my classmate Love Sivik who is the same amazing producer I work with today.
Who and what inspires you? As long as I’ve been writing music I’ve been some kind of singer-songwriter, so of course I am inspired by other singer-songwriters. I love Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Jose Gonzalez, Anna Ternheim, Regina Spektor, Joni Mitchell and others. However, what inspires me the most is movies and I think that is something you can hear in our music. It’s the same kind of atmosphere you can hear in a movie soundtrack and it’s the same kind of melancholy you can feel at the end of a strong movie.
I get inspired by movies that make you feel. It can be a movie about relationships or it can be a movie about the future and how we humans destroy our planet, or it can be something completely different. What’s important is that it makes me think and feel something.
What has the response to your music been like? I had my first concert with this project just a few months ago, so I guess I haven’t been playing long enough to get that mush response, but the response I’ve got from people who have been listen is very positive. People say that they really like and feel something when they listen to our music and I hope they don’t say it just to be polite!
What are your expectations for this year?
Today we released a new single and we will release an EP later this year. Our goal is to make music that touches and makes people feel something real. I hope we can reach out to as many as possible.
Spinnup is collaborating with a web-based music studio called Soundtrap. Soundtrap enables you to create music across all borders and to find other musicians with whom you can work. Once the piece has been created, you can easily upload it directly to Spinnup and release it on Spotify and iTunes!
Soundtrap and Spinnup have made a video* to show you how easy it can be to create and release your music! WATCH IT NOW!
This week we introduce Stranded Mermaid: A bunch of weird savages with different musical backgrounds and influences. They come from all over Sweden but with a drummer from the South of France. The passion for real instruments brought them together – working with different acoustic tones, creating epic and dreamy soundscapes.
What is your musical background and when did you begin playing music? We met in Småland, Sweden while studying at University. We started the band in 2013. We all have different backgrounds – some of us have been playing music all our lives and are multi-instrumentalists while others are more focused on the music production part. It’s an awesome combination as it gives us all the opportunity to get creative while allowing us to make our own music at the same time!
Who/what inspires you? We are inspired by the wilderness – the idea of a lonesome soul walking through an endless and striking landscape in particular. We admire the great Ennio Morricone along with rock and indie mostly.
Tell us more about your latest release No Bloodshed Allowed and the connection to the previous single In the Jaws of the Wolf: No Bloodshed Allowed is an epos with dystopian lyrics inspired by both personal experiences and general stuff that people can relate to. It’s a mixture of imagination and reality. We wanted it to feel like a powerful song where the sound created an illusion of a tribe preparing for battle. The song is a bit darker and heavier than our previous single In the Jaws of the Wolf. What brings them together is the feral feeling but In the Jaws of the Wolf is more mystical and dreamlike.
What has the response to your music been like? 2014 was a really good year and we have noticed a big change in how the crowd responded to our music, especially the three singles we released through Spinnup. Bloggers, followers and friends open their hearts and describe the visions they get when listening to our music. We think it’s a sign that we affect people.
What are your expectations for this year? Spring is coming! Maybe some crazy live gigs? We hope that we will reach out to more people and that the ones who already follow us will like what we’re doing. We also hope to do more amazing photoshoots and music videos with our secret member photographer, Lanna Olsson. She’s just as wicked as we are! There is always stuff going on in the world of Stranded Mermaid. We can reveal that we have new songs coming up so stay tuned – they are almost finished!