Highly Sedated – Exclusive Interview With The Swedish-Based Electronica Band
Highly Sedated is a Swedish electronica band formed in July 2015 consisting of Patrick Ray, Verner Vestlund, Leonas Somovas, Sebastian Dollinger and Hannes Söderlund. Described by Steve Angello “as analogue as digital can get”, they are merging the universal sound of dance music with the structure of a rock band together with exquisite attention to detail around their aesthetics and artwork, Highly Sedated is a unique concept that promises to take electronic music forward to incredible new levels. Signed to Steve Angello’s prestigious label SIZE Records, the band’s debut-album, ‘All We Have Is Now’, is now available. Viralbpm caught up with the guys just a few days after their performance at The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, from where we have some exclusive footage provided by the talented band.
V1. Let’s begin with your debut album ‘All We Have Is Now‘, which is out on Size Records. How do you feel about it? Would you say that every track has its own story and which one is your favorite?
HS: Wow, what a journey it’s been. Such an amazing feeling, almost dreamlike and surreal. The album itself is quite filmic the songs all have each unique emotion from suggestive and storytelling in Wasted Youth to hard core dance music in Now. We all have different favorite songs but probably if we have to pick one its Wasted Youth, it sounds like a classic track that can withstand the test of time.
V2. You are a Swedish-based electronica band consisting of five dope dudes with different skills that have come together to put out some real bangers and rock the scene. How did you meet and start the project of your “innovative band” in the first place?
HS: Well Patrick (Vocals) got in contact with Leo (Production) when they shared publisher before, and they started sending stuff to each other. Patrick was then invited with Verner (Vocals ) to a festival and they invited Sebastian and Hannes to tag along. We had an insane week together that was more than X rated but more importantly we felt the VIBE, the one you look for but can’t force. We had it together, in Leo’s studio when we rehearsed. It was moments of magic and we decided to actually try to do some stuff together all of us. Keeping everything in house and doing everything ourselves without people telling us what to do.
V3. Your tracks seem like their following a specific musical pattern, characterized by dark synths, catchy lyrics, a great set of stripped down spoken vocals, which are accompanied by ‘deep/tech’ elements of house. How would you define your music style?
HS: Raw Intelligent dance music. We strive to make people move, both physically and mentally. For us it was always about the live experience, a Highly Sedated set should feel like a journey where we all travel together and have a kick ass time. If we would allow people to put us in a bracket then as soon as we would break out of it musically with a new track people could get disappointed because people tend to want more of what they just heard. We want to be free, just like Pink Floyd were to do what the hell we want.
V4. You choose your artworks very carefully, like the “Existence” from John Clark who makes paintings that reclaim territory that is more commonly occupied by music and writing. Or for example the ‘Last Call‘ cover by Ernest Zacharevic, who’s a Lithuanian-born artist combining fine art techniques with a passion for creating outdoor interventions. How difficult -and important- is it to pair your musical visions with cover paintings?
HS: Steve Angello described us “as analogue as digital can get”. Pretty spot on. When it comes to artwork is was as important to us as our music. Collaborating with real artists that work analogue as well, it ties in so well with our music. It’s so easy to just throw together some sort of artwork that looks cool. For us to have commissioned work is far more challenging both for us and for the artists. Furthermore it creates rings on the water where we touch different fan bases that the artist carries and where the artists reaches our fans. I guess we just don’t want to cut corners when it comes to music or in this case neither when it comes to our artwork.
V5. A few days ago you performed at The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, which took place in a castle from medieval times that’s part of UNESCO’s world heritage list. How was this musical experience?
HS: It was surreal! The best musical experience anyone of us has ever had.
V6. What do you think about SIZE as your launch label and how’s working with a legend like Steve Angello? How would you describe your relationship with the label’s boss?
HS: Steve is wonderful, he is like one of us in the group a great friend to us. As a person he is easy going, creative and positive. He is also a musical wizard and a tech nerd. SIZE is great for us since we can do what we want. We are not herded around like we would have been if we were signed to a major label and told how to sound and what to do. We do what we like and we are super thankful for it.
V7. Which ones would you describe as your musical idols that have inspired you? Do you have any other source of inspiration?
HS: Wu Tang, Pink Floyd, Aphex Twin, The Doors, Underworld, Radiohead… we could probably write forever. So many brilliant people out there creating wonderful music. Art wise we are quite spread too what we like from 60s Psychedelia to Scandinavian minimalism. It’s a wonder we always agree so quickly on what to do!
V8. What should we expect from Highly Sedated in the near future? Any news we could share with our audience?
HS: Barcelona lock up your loved ones, Highly Sedated is coming to Opium the 23rd of August with Steve Angello. We bring thunder, be prepared. Thanks for having us at Viral BpM. Much love from HS team!