Frida Sundemo Talks Debut Album 'Flashbacks & Futures'
Frida Sundemo has a very distinct childhood memory of laying out underneath the stars in awe. Years later, and apparently the Swedish songstress held onto that inspired reverence, devoting her musical talents to an out-of-this-world homage to outer space—with a debut international album titled Flashbacks and Futures. Described (accurately) as icy synth pop, Sundemo’s style is nothing if not memorable—and now, with her album slated to drop on October 6, she’s about to make a permanent mark on the electronic pop landscape that’s been not-so-quietly eclipsing every other genre on the market. MILK.XYZ sat down with the artist just prior to the release to hear more about the record that’s got an out-of-this-world focus; check our full interview below.
Since Flashbacks and Futures is about to come out, how are you feeling? Are you all ready to go?
Yes, I feel great! I’ve been working on it, for, almost two years, maybe last year, I was focused on finishing it. But it feels like all those songs really wanted to come out.
I know it’s about “space”, but could you elaborate on that for us?
I got a lot of inspiration watching space movies, and also YouTubing “traveling through space.” It’s been a big inspiration throughout the writing process, and I wanted to create music to the visuals. Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about parallel futures, and what it might be like, and the past as well. It’s really big questions going on in my head. In my head, everything is coming together, I’m in space, thinking about these big questions. It’s a bit weird. [Laughs] I also love how space looks, I get a lot of inspiration from that too.
Do you feel like you’re someone who takes a visual and is inspired by that? I feel like that’s the opposite for a lot of artists, because they usually take the song and then produce a video around it.
Yes, that’s right! I guess I haven’t been putting it into words, but yeah, that must be right! It’s a good process for me.
When you create videos for the songs, are you then referencing things that were the original inspiration? Or how do you go about that?
Uh, yes sometimes. It’s coming out, the music video for “Gold”. There are some space clips, but also, I love contrast, sometimes it’s good to do something different. Like, if spaces was the inspiration, it’s good to something opposite, but bringing those elements into it. I don’t want it to be too obvious, I don’t want to be an astronaut. [Laughs]
Your interest in space in general, was it specific to this project? Or is it something that you’ve always been interested in?
Always. Ever since I was a kid, I would think about space and eternity. I have a memory of me falling asleep under the bare sky, I just realized that, we’re in space. On earth. That’s so cool. I took an astronomy class in high school, so it’s always been there. But I haven’t thought about it, like that much, until I look back on the process of writing this album, but I have been watching a lot of space clips.
Are there other themes or narratives in the album?
Like things that I got inspired by?
Like a common thread? Of course space is one, but I’m wondering if there are others.
It’s more me, like, seeing myself from an outer perspective, and watching me be between the future and the past, and reflecting a lot about that. What did I do? Trying to focus on the now and be here and now.
I know a couple of the tracks have already been released. What has the reception been like? How do you think it’s all playing out?
They have been received well. I feel like people get what I want to tell with this music. Like, the cinematic, futuristic vibe, and I feel good about it.
I know that this is your international debut album, but you had an album way back in 2010 in Japan. How do you feel like as an artist you’ve changed since that album?
Yes! So that was a lot more guitar based and more indie, it was the result of me learning to become a producer. I could really look at those tracks, at this point, with love [Laughs], but it was like, at one point, I felt like I didn’t want to make that kind of music anymore, I wanted to make more epic stuff, in a way. I think it’s good that you can develop as an artist, but still stay true to who you are.
Yeah, I think it’s interesting because people are always changing, but the foundation of who they are is always the same, it’s just expressed in different ways.
Yeah, it’s a lot of the same melodies, you can recognize them from 2010, but you can still hear them now. I’ve been better at valuing the lyrics now, before I just sort of focused on the music, and wrote words that would feel good, but now it’s really important to me too. But music will always be my main thing.
So as a Swedish artist, coming into the US market, is that something you think about? Or because of the internet, is it irrelevant because we’re all so connected anyway?
For most Swedish artists, it’s sort of a dream ever since you were a kid, to tour the US. It’s really exciting. But the USA is such a big country, so it feels overwhelming to start, but it’s exciting.
Cool. So, my last question is—obviously the album is about to come out—what are you most excited for?
I’m really excited to play the songs live—they get another dimension to them when you perform live. Also to see how people react to the music.
Stay tuned to Milk for more out-of-this-world music.