William Sikström "I Will Be Waiting" is one of the best surprise of 2015 for Westcoast Music fans. The Japanese release offers 3 bonus tracks and new classy artwork! To know more about William, here's for you the recent interview by Toshi Kanazawa!!
First, please let me know your biography. I heard from Mikiya that you are 22 years old now.
Well, I’m actually 21 years old, turning 22 next summer. Born 1994 in Lycksele a small town in northern Sweden. I’m the youngest in my family and have three older siblings. My wife, Rakel, is also from Lycksele. We live together in Umeå not that far from Lycksele.
What kind of kid were you in your childhood?
I guess I was kind of playful, my friends and me were playing a lot outside, we loved snow which we have lots of during the winter. I was not so quiet in school; I liked talking to the other kids. Music was something I listened to a lot, and not the music you’d expect. We had a tape with Casiopea for example that I loved and still do, live recording Mint Jams, my favorites were Domino Line and Asayake.
How did you find music and started playing instruments?
I didn’t find music, it was given to me. I was lucky enough to have a father how found the music when he was a young man. My dad played the electric bass so that was what I started with and so did one of my older brothers, that is why I later thought of picking up the guitar which I did. I wanted to play along to these tracks so then I had to learn
What was the first record / CD you bought?
Oh I don’t know, it was quite recently since my dad and brothers had a lot both on tape/LP/CD and downloaded to the computer. Perhaps it was Pages 1981.
Please pick up some artists that you were influenced with brief explanation on how.
Pages, I don’t really know how. They are the ones I’ve been listening to the most, especially 1981. Jay Graydon/Airplay, many guitar parts/solos. Marc Jordan/Al Jarreau, chord changes. Ole Borud, production and sound
Please let me know some of your favorite albums.
Pages, 1981, Airplay, Marc Jordan - Blue Desert, Al Jarreau - Jarreau and Breakin’ Away, Larry Carlton - Strikes Twice, Jay Graydon - Airplay For The Planet Could make the list very long
You play different instruments and make arrangement by yourself. How did you acquire these skills? Were you in music school?
I started with guitar lessons when I was 13 until when I was 19 and took bass lessons from when I was 16-19. In gymnasium I studied music (16-19 years old) after that I had one year when I studied music more seriously when I was thinking about becoming a music teacher. We played very much and my main instrument was bass and secondary was piano which. I have drums, which is really fun to play. I think the arrangement just comes from having listened on this type of music so much and learned to play different instruments.
If you choose one instruments you are particularly good at, what would it be? Any musician you look up to with the instrument?
Bass, top five; Mike Porcaro, Abraham Laboriel, Tetsuo Sakurai, Johan Asmundsson (Mezzoforte), Guitar, top five; Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Dean Parks, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour
What made you to make an album by yourself?
Curiosity, I wanted to see how good I could make it on my own. I wouldn’t give up the playing to someone else, that is the most fun part. Coming up with parts and recording them, that is why I made an album. It’s just great that on top of that, someone wants to hear it.
I find influence from Steely Dan or Pages in your music but they are from older generation in 70s -80s. How you come to love these AOR bands? What is the information source?
My dad, he loves this music and that is what we always have been listening to in our family. Not exclusively but pretty much.
What sort of concept you had in mind while working on this album?
Just go with the flow, if I have an idea go and see if it will work or not. Some songs I started never got to be finished when I realized they didn’t fit with the sound I had started to get.
Where does the inspiration for songwriting come from? Is there any particular occasion / time you come up with melodies?
Late nights are good! Sometimes they just pop up, and most times I actually come up with some other parts first like a groovy beat or keyboard parts. I rarely get a melody in my head since I’ve always been listening to those things more than the melody.
What was the struggle you had through album making process? Was there anything you kept in mind?
I find lyrics to be very hard, it always sounds ridiculous when I first think of some lyrics but then when I put melody and rhythm to it, it sounds better. I tried to make the songs fit together and sound like they came from the same album which was easier than what I thought when I started.
Please briefly introduce each song on the album.
Mr. Clean It Up: Up tempo shuffle groove, classic west coast. I’m a Christian and this lyric has the massage that God watches over us even when we don’t seem to respond to him. Tell Me: My wife is featured on this song, amazing voice and perfect for this. I was listening to Toto’s “Stop Loving You” and found the groove on the verse to be so good, that’s how this song was born. Show The Way: Slightly more modern feel I would say, catchy chorus. I think the verse can be a little bit hard to grasp, but the chorus is easier to follow . I Will Be Waiting: I wrote this a couple of years ago and I thought it would fit on this album, and so it did. Some chord changes that are a little out there, which I love when it’s not all the time. Up On The Hill: My thought with this lyric is that God or what ever you believe in is singing to you. This song started with chorus lyric idea from when I actually were up on a hill and saw all the stars, and the piano intro. She’s a Magnet: Piano hammering 16:th notes is so classic west coast/ Airplay I just had to have it in one song. Guitar lines a la Graydon. I find this lyric to be quite entertaining. I Need You: I think this has a pop sound in the chorus, catchy and not that complicated. The rhythm of the melody in the chorus is quite simple while the keyboard parts are more rhythmic so they don’t interfere. Take a Look Around: I wrote this the same time as I did “I Will Be Waiting”. I have recorded these two songs before, early edition of Take a Look Around is posted on Youtube, so is Costa Rica. This was when I was nineteen. Costa Rica: The first serious song I ever wrote, didn’t know anything about writing music, I just put something together and Costa Rica came out. The lyrics are inspired by when my wife went to Costa Rica for real and I just spiced it up a bit. We never broke up for example. You Are Runnin’: Second song I ever wrote, now that I knew I could write songs I started with the other one You Are Runnin’. This track is re-recorded just for this Japanese edition, to match the sound of the other songs. Some crazy chord changes over the guitar solo.
Pages and David Roberts song are included as bonus tracks. Are these songs special to you?
I think that Come On Home is one of the most perfect tracks ever made, in my opinion. There is nothing I can think of that would make it better. Wrong Side Of The Tracks is such a killer song with an awesome solo by Steve. I have tried to reproduce this, which is very hard but extremely fun. These song have been with me for a very long time
Do you play gigs? or you have plan of gigs in the future?
I don’t currently play any gigs but there is a gig planned Mars 5th 2016 here in Umeå. You know I have never really sung that much in front of people so I a little nervous but that’s part of it. It’s going to be super fun.
What sort of musician do you want to be in the future?
I want to be as humble as possible and not seem to be more than what I am. I don’t think of myself as an artist or professional musician, I’m just glad I have the chance to play and record music and hope others can get joy from hearing my music. This may sound dull but I don’t have any plans to live on my music only. I like to have it as my hobby. Apparently you can make a record all alone from your apartment nowadays. That’s fortunate!
I heard you just got married. I assume you are not full time musician? Am I correct? What else do you do?
I’m studying on university to become a physiotherapist because of my interest in sports and the human functionality. I also think you become a happier person if you give people with what you have to offer. What it his doesn’t matter, it could be your time, your attention, your knowledge, your music.
Your album is just to be introduced to Japanese audience. How do you feel about that?
I’m really exited and very thankful that someone to a shot at me. I know that you guys like west coast/AOR and I surely hope you will enjoy my music. I could never have thought it would be released in Japan, I have sent a few original CD’s to Japan but I’m very happy about this release!
Thanks to William Sikström & Toshi Kanazawa