Interview by Shannon Lawlor
David Alexander aka Summer Heart is a musician and producer currently based in Sweden. Formed in 2009, and best known for his experiments in lo-fi nostalgia, Summer Heart’s music could be best described as a spirited yet earnest stirr of genres such as electropop and chillwave; beat-drenched, guitar-driven melodies surround colourful, processed vocal samples and synths to create Summer Heart’s signature shimmer.
Among many singles and EPs, Summer Heart released a debut album titled About A Feeling in 2012, gaining Alexander considerable exposure across the blogosphere and respectable publications. In August 2017, Summer Heart released the long awaited follow-up LP titled 101 via Perfect Texture, which saw a slight change in direction although still retains the same wonder and excitement we’ve all come to know and love.
We caught up with Summer Heart on travelling, inspiration and studio solace:
For anyone unfamiliar with Summer Heart’s sparkling haze, how would you personally describe the music you produce?
I would probably describe it as dream pop, mostly because that is how other people describe it. At least it is some kind of dreamy electronic pop music. Does that make any sense?
Your latest enchanting LP titled 101 was released on August 25th 2017. Could you detail this recording process? And how might it have differed to recording 2012’s beloved LP About A Feeling?
101 was a bit more of a conscious process. I kind of knew what I wanted to do, and how to get there. I collaborated a lot with my friend Joakim Buddee and we recorded most parts for 101 in his studio during like a week’s time or so. About a Feeling was much more of a big mess. It was just a bunch of tracks I made and liked. I didn’t have really have a firm idea of what I wanted, or what I was doing when making that album. It was a lot of trial and error. I learned a lot when making it though.
Influenced by an array of different emotions and textures, from dream-pop, to chillwave – where do you usually like to take influence from when writing music?
Travelling is always inspiring. I get a lot of ideas when I am out travelling. I love visiting art galleries and photo exhibitions when I’m out on the road! So that’s one thing. And then reading is another. A good book is everything!
Tell us about Sweden’s live music scene. Is there anything about it you would like to change? And if so, how would you do it?
Oh, I am not too familiar with Sweden’s live music scene to be honest. I rarely go out to gigs unless my friends are playing. Not that I don’t like live music, but just because I am travelling a lot and it’s all for music, you know. I prefer to hang out in the studio and work, or just go to a quiet bar and chat to my friends when I’m back home.
In such an oversaturated market, What is your personal take on electronic music culture? And if you could, how would you improve it?
I kind of like the market. I like the idea that pretty much everyone can release music these days. But the noise is obviously huge! I think what’s important is to just keep making the music you want to make, and to have fun while doing it. Not sure if that really answered the question though, heh.
Was the any particular inspiration behind writing the track ‘Milano’? And how would you interpret this as a story from it’s lyrical content?
Milano was actually the first track I finished for this record. It’s about aiming big and trying to focus but getting stuck in bad habits.
Are there any specific instruments, pieces of gear, hardware or software that you feel is absolutely essential when creating Summer Heart’s distinct and original sound?
Everything I have released has been recorded and produced in Logic Pro, so that is pretty essential for my work flow. Sound wise, I’ve used a Roland TR 707 and a MFB 522 for a lot of my drums. The synths and basses on my older stuff is mainly done on a Roland JX8P and in Massive. On 101 pretty much all sounds are made with a Nord Lead 4 and an Elektron Analog Four. And then my signature guitar sound of course; a Fender Stratocaster plugged straight into the interface! Haha
Top three albums of 2017?
Shit, I don’t know. I like Toro y Moi’s new album. That’s the only album I can remember I listened to that was released during 2017.
If Summer Heart could collaborate with anyone on the planet, who would it be, and why?
Can I say Michael Jackson? His music is just great!
What does the future hold for Summer Heart?
I have just been in Austin TX for SXSW. I’m on my way to Chicago as we speak. Gonna be there for a bit just to work on music and collaborate with friends. And then continue working on my year-long project #12SongsOfSummer , which is releasing something every month that I made the month before.
Order 101 by Summer Heart
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