Interview: Green Suburban

Green Suburban recently released a folky new EP titled II. I enjoyed the EP so much I decided to review it – there’s a stream at the end of this interview if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an EP titled II, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the EP?

II is the follow up to my EP titled I (as in one) which I released last summer. When I started the recording process the plan was to make an album, but for a couple of reasons I decided to split the album into two EPs instead.

Green Suburban is a project created by yourself, Isak Skoglund. Why did you decide to release your music under a different title, instead of under your name?

There’s a number of different reasons actually. I think the biggest one is that I’m much more comfortable with marketing my music on social media and pitching it to different blogs and such if the thing I’m advertising is my music project rather than me. I like to have a healthy distance between myself and my music project. And relating to that, I want peoples attention to be directed towards the music itself and not me as a person, for example I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to listen to and share my music just because I made it.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

No, I would actually say the opposite. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I’m not sure I would have allowed myself to focus on my own music. Even though I have been writing songs for years (and a lot of the songs on I and II were written a long time ago), I have always spent more time playing guitar in different bands and for other artists rather than actually focusing on my own music. It’s so much more comfortable to perform other peoples music, and have them taking care of all the booking of gigs and advertisement rather than doing it yourself. And of course, it’s much more comfortable since it’s not your songs that are being judged by others. But when it became clear that I wouldn’t be gigging for a while, I could finally allow myself to start recording and releasing my own music. It’s something I had been wanting to do for a long time!

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

For me, the songs usually start with the guitar parts or chord progressions. The guitar is kind of my musical foundation and the way I navigate through music, so naturally, my songs start there too. After that I usually play around with song melodies and lyrics, I very rarely have a fixed idea of what kind of lyrics I want for the song until I start writing them. Most of the time, I come up with a particular line that I really like and kind of build the rest of the lyrics from that line.

When it comes to recording, the guitars and singing is also what I record first before adding the base, drums etc.

Do you plan to release any singles from II in the near future?

No, no singles from II coming up. I actually released You (sing/song låten) as a single in September last year, planning to release the EP that fall, but that didn’t really go as planned. However I have a music video coming up, which I’m super excited for!

Have you started writing for another EP or an album?

I have been writing a lot the last month. I’m not sure what will become of the songs yet, but I’m really liking the direction the music is taking!

Your music has quite a folky vibe to it. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

That’s kind of a tricky question actually, I enjoy listening to so much music and I guess it all influences me in one way or another. But some of my biggest influences would have to be Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Mac Demarco. But bands like U2 and Radiohead also have a pretty big influence on me. Right now, I’ve been listening a lot to Khruangbin, Bon Iver and a Swedish artist named Jonatan Johannson.

You’re based in Stockholm. What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

The music scene in Stockholm is pretty pop music/major label based. Most of the big labels in Sweden have their offices in Stockholm, which I guess is one of the reasons why most people who are doing music seem to be mostly into making ‘top 40 kind of pop’, which a part of me thinks is kind of a shame. But there’s also a growing hip-hop scene here as well as some soul/jazz acts. There’s also a small indie rock/folk rock scene here, although it’s not that big.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

Nothing booked yet, although I really want to get out and start gigging soon! Hopefully there will be some shows in the fall. I have a two week tour coming up in India this August, although that’s as a guitarist and not with my own songs.

Any last words for the fans?

Well, to the ones that had the patience and interest to read all the way to the end, thank you so much! I really appreciate all the support I’ve been getting and it really warms my heart that others actually enjoy the music I’m creating. See ya soon!