On the heels of the debut of his first single “Loverboy”, Copenhagen’s self-proclaimed “Viking Soul” Mattis (Mattis Jakobsen) is ready to share a live session of that song with the world. So we’ve got that for you. But we are also honored to share an interview we conducted with him recently, allowing our readership to get up close and personal with this up-and-coming talent. Check it all out below!
What was the first song or record you ever heard, and who introduced it to you?
One of the first songs I can remember as a child is a song that my father always used to play. We lived in a small house in Elsinore north from Copenhagen and whenever my mom wasn’t home my dad would crank the speakers all the way up and he would play Argent’s “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” and many other 70s rock songs. As I child I loved the guitars in Argents song. The way it build up to the chorus and broke down into the hook really spoke to me and still gives me flashbacks to my childhood home whenever I hear it.
What made you choose to get into music to begin with?
I was 11 years old and hanging out with my best friend Martin in a shady backyard in Elsinore. We heard all this rumble and noise coming from this big black metal door leading into something I think used to be an auto mechanics workshop. We pushed it aside and right there we saw these three guys probably three years older than us playing Nirvanas “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in a rehearsing room. Being the biggest Nirvanas fans on the earth this might have been one of the coolest things we had seen up to this point in our lifes. We couldn’t even comprehend that merely mortals actually were able to play a song made by such rock gods or even come close to something that sounded just half as cool as the original. We thought that if these guys could do it so could we. So just like that we decided to start our own rock band.
Your solo debut track “Loverboy” is almost primal and earthy in its delivery. It’s absolutely beautiful, honestly. Did it take a while for the sound to come together, or was that something you envisioned off the bat?
Most of the songs usually take a lot of time to make. It is all about finding the right production and words to fit the song, vibe and story we want to tell. Everything is made by my producer Ole Meyer and myself and Loverboy is one of the songs that we spend the most time to finish. We knew we had something special and a song that probably would define me as an artist – and it also became the song that later on define what would be named “vikingsoul”. Loverboy was made in various version, mixed by four different mix engineers and the vocals was rerecorded several times during the progress to keep on optimising our sound. We knew that Loverboy would be the first song for the world to hear and we wanted it to be out of this world.
We never finish a song in just a couple of days or even weeks. We take our time to make it just right. Go back on forth, let it lay for a while and return to it after we forget how it sounds to hear if it still sounds great. If you come back to a song, listen to it and everything is just still mad cool then you have smash and you can finish it and send it to mix.
I might also add that there is always something magical and unspoiled about the first take and not everything gets better with time it all depends on the song.
You mentioned that “Loverboy” came from a time when you felt very alone. Do you think that was a necessary thing to go through to get to the sound you’ve now created?
The whole “Vikingsoul” sound which is the genre Loverboy is defined as is a product of the time I felt very lonely no doubt about that. But with that being said I don’t think that you have to feel terrible all the time to write great songs. I can agree that it probably helps if you want to write a ballad or something melancholy but in order to write something special I don’t think you necessarily have to go through something terrible and hit rock bottom in order to do it.
It is all about progress you go through and the experiences you have in life. In order to feel inspired you have to experience change, travel, danger, happiness, sadness etc. – it doesn’t have to been either good or bad as long as it is experiences out of the ordinary then your soul will get inspired. All of my songs including Loverboy has a very dark and mostly melancholy vibe but to me thats just the way I write music and I wouldn’t be able to write a jolly song even if my life depended on it. A good rule of thumb to keep being creative is never go static, always evolve and you will forever feel inspired.
Getting super introspective here… what is something you think everyone needs to go through to really understand themselves?
Everybody needs to get out on one’s depth, be truly fucked and hit rock bottom. And most important you have to figure out how to get out of it again on your own. When everything is up to you, and you alone then you realise that you are the architect of your own future and in order to live a fulfilling and honest life you must know deep down that it is you and only you alone who can make that happen. Love and believe in yourself because in the end everything you can and will achieve is all up to you.
Is there a specific feeling you want people to have once they’ve heard the track?
When hearing “Loverboy” I want people to have the feeling of astonishment. It is the goal of my producer, Ole Meyer and I to make songs that musically astonish people. The best thing you can do is to surprise the listener without letting them think too much about it but just embrace it. Do something unexpected all the way and still make it work as a pop song.
After a couple of listens you are naturally getting deeper into the song and then I want the listener to feel inspired. Inspired not to fancy superficial shit but embrace and cherish the things that truly matters in life.
What’s the writing and production process like for you?
I write songs in my head and record them on my iPhone daily. Sometimes something you have written in your head can be really amazing but most of the times the best songs I write is just me sitting at my piano or guitar and strumming a chord that inspires me to sing a great melody. I play the good melodies for my producer Ole and we pick out the ones that has “a soul”. We say that songs and ideas can have ”a soul”. I can’t explain what that actually means, but you just know it when you hear it. Some people call it the “x factor”. When the ideas with “a soul” has been picked we make a demo production for it and then discard the bad ones from the good ones until we only have amazing material left. The demos production are just piano and vocals, sometimes with basic drums and then we build the production around that and write the lyrics for it as soon as the melody is finished.
Do you have a mission for your music?
I want to inspire in any way possible. That could be to inspire a person to let go and rock the fuck out to my music at a concert after having a stressful and unfulfilling week or it could be another person listening to a song getting touched by it and inspired to be a one hundred procent honest to speak his or her mind to someone they should have done it to a long time ago. The bottom line is that I want to inspire people and give them strength and courage to be honest to themselves and be the ones they want to be. Not thinking about what everybody else thinks. Do what they really wanna do or say what they wanna say. I am not a messiah but if I could inspire people to find the honesty in themselves through a song in everyday life even though if its just for three minutes then it would all be worth it.
What’s up next?
The world is next. Loverboy is out and it keeps building momentum around the world. I am very exciting about releasing the next couple of songs we have in store, because these bad boys are gonna blow your mind.
Keep up with Mattis here.