Today’s interview is going to give you a glimpse at the life and creative work of Swedish guitarist, songwriter, and producer – Rebecca Mardal. Her love for music is visible in both her releases and the multiple videos in which she expresses herself through the guitar.
Her desire to be involved in music-making emerged when she was around 11 years old and that’s when her life was marked forever. Today she is not only an experienced guitar player but also someone who creates beautiful music, incorporating mesmerizing blues-inspired chords in instrumental lo-fi hip hop tracks.
In this interview, she will share with us how she got into music, what makes her feel free and how she managed to create her first tracks during a period in which she was homeless.
Hi Rebecca! I’m so glad to have the chance to learn more about you and your artistic world and share it with our readers! First of all, where do we find you?
Hi! Right now I’m in Stockholm, Sweden.
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I’m curious about the moment your love affair with music started. What triggered your interest?
Despite the type of music, I put out now, it actually all started with Green Day’s “American Idiot”, haha! I think I was that age where music starts resonating with you. I remember just being blown away by how much that album affected me and how much it resonated with me. I wanted to be able to do that myself, to be able to affect people with music. Little did I know back then (I think I was 11) how much it would affect my own life.
How did you enter the world of music production?
I never thought I could produce myself, despite having completed several courses in music production, both at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in London and at the Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts. Being a guitarist first and foremost, I instead focused on providing other producers with samples and loops and trying to get other producers to produce around my music. Despite them being insanely talented, and some famous names in the game, it never came out the way I imagined it in my head. So I figured that the only way to achieve that was to actually do it myself.
How did your life change after you discovered your passion for music? If you compare Rebecca-before and Rebecca-after music, would there be some key differences?
I was so young when I started playing the guitar, so I can’t really remember any key differences per se. What I know is that it took over my life completely, and I really haven’t had any goals, dreams, or jobs that haven't had something to do with music since.
What’s your favourite thing about being a musician?
It doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had, to be able to pick up a guitar and just let everything out is the most amazing feeling ever. Whether it’s on stage or just at home. I’m so grateful to have that.
How does the perfect spot for creating music look and feel like for you?
Fun story: I was actually “homeless” for 8 months last year. I didn’t have an apartment, but I rented a studio space that I had access to on evenings and weekends, so I ended up just sleeping on the couch there and keeping my clothes in the trunk of my car. To be able to just wake up in the middle of the night and in a studio ready to record whatever I had on my mind was amazing. I made the draft for my first two songs "I’m Not Lost (I am Free)" and "Serendipity" in that studio. I finished the mixes in a hotel lobby nearby during the day (as I didn’t have access to the studio during daytime). So I can sit anywhere, really. And I think a change in scenery is good for creativity!
What triggers your creative process the most?
Finding new music! Whether it’s a producer or guitarist, if I listen to something and go “Wow, I want to be able to do that!”, that usually triggers my creative process, as I’ll take that idea and make it my own.
If your music was a fictional place, how would it look like?
Haha, that’s a great question. Probably clouds! Or somewhere where you can float that isn’t the ocean. The ocean is a bit scary!
Your tracks often come with interesting names and artworks, that ignite the imagination and prepare the listener for the atmosphere of the song. Can you tell us more about the connection between these three key parts of the final work of art?
I’ve always been interested in telling a story, and I think both song titles and artwork are a vital part of communicating the story that the song is trying to tell. For my last three releases with Hush Child (Act I, Afternoon Tea, & Act III), our first thought was to release four tracks together. So once the fourth is released you’ll be able to put the four artworks together to see a complete picture! Like the individual songs are a piece of a bigger puzzle that will make sense once you put them together.
I loved your track “I am not lost (I am free)”. What is it that makes you feel free?
Thank you! It comes back to either playing guitar in those moments I feel like I have flow, and am able to express myself freely. Also, when I’m far out in the Swedish forest, all by myself with no one else around.
Do you have a dream collab? Who would you love to work with?
Derek Trucks, for sure!
Your favourite guitar?
My Fender Stratocaster!
Summer is ending soon, I hope it was a great one for you. What are you looking forward to right now? And would you like to tell us more about the upcoming projects, you’re involved in?
There’s a lot coming out actually! I’m releasing an instrumental guitar EP in October hopefully. I’m releasing more stuff with both Hush Child and Sleepy Vibes. There are some songs coming out with Dokkodo and LoFi Luke as well!
What do you feel grateful for at this point in your life?
Everything. I’m grateful not only for everything material I have but also for being able to wake up every morning and being excited about life and what the day might bring.