We caught up with Sweden’s Saga Back in the wake of her debut single release ‘There You Go…Again’ to talk about her writing process, musical influences and how it all began.
Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how Saga Back’s music career began?
Thank you! Well, I don’t know if I would call it a “career” yet, but I think it was almost exactly two years ago that I started recording my own songs. It was for an examination project in school and although I didn’t take any music classes I somehow managed to “write, record and perform five original songs” around the topic of the project. So, that was when I started working with Mattias Nyberg (who’s produced ‘There You Go… Again’), but at the time I didn’t take it very seriously. We just recorded three or four of my songs – they were very acoustic and I didn’t even use a metronome, so the beat was completely off in some parts. And then I uploaded them onto Spotify. As for songwriting, that started a bit earlier but the songs I wrote back then luckily will be forever unheard… Except for one song that me and my best friend made when we were ten. We wrote it in Swedish, asked my mom to translate it to English, and then we sang it at our school’s talent show.
Then, few months back I decided I wanted to do something to learn more about the music industry and so I started an internship at a record label in Gothenburg called Kning Disk. I’ve learnt, and I still am learning, so much from my boss, Louise Hammar, who runs the label. That’s also where I met Markus and Jesper from Something Beautiful, the record label that I’m working with now. So, although I wouldn’t call it a career yet, only four months back I never would’ve guessed that so many people would be listening to my song!
We’re loving your latest single ‘There You Go…Again’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
I’m so happy to hear that! It feels surreal that it’s been played on a radio show in London. Wow. I was in a pretty destructive relationship, without really realising how much it hurt me. It’s strange how you can abandon all your beliefs just to make someone else happy. That’s why I wrote the song. Actually, I started writing it as a way of putting into words what he did. That way it was harder for me to ignore my feelings and continue making excuses for letting him do those things. But now the song is more of a reminder to not let anyone make me feel less than I am. I hope that’s what people feel when they listen to it.
Can you tell us a bit about Gothenburg, and what the music scene is like there?
Actually, I live in a smaller town twenty minutes from Gothenburg, but I’d say typical “Gothenburg music” is a lot of indie – Swedish music that you either love or you hate. But we do have Way Out West festival, which is the best weekend of all summer. Does that count even though the majority of the acts aren’t Swedish? I really hope it does.
How do you go about writing your music – can you give us an insight to your process?
Lyrics and music at the same time, always. I’ve tried to write lyrics to an already finished instrumental when someone’s asked me, but so far I’ve had no luck with that. My phone is filled with random words and sentences that I’ve heard or come up with. It could be from a newspaper, a movie or a conversation. Usually, I have an idea of what I want to write about and a phrase that I really like and then it goes from there. I always write about my own experiences in one way or another. It makes it a little scary to put it out for everyone to hear, but I don’t think about that while writing. It’s only when I record the song that I start realising that other people will hear it.
Who or what would you say are your inspiration and influences?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot with Jorja Smith, H.E.R, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa. All women as you can tell. I listen to male artists as well of course, I just find female musicians more inspiring and relatable. And last but not least, Adele. Although I don’t listen to her music every day, that’s the type of music that I always go back to. I love the songwriting, her vocal range and the way she builds her songs. She played in Sweden a couple of years ago and I didn’t manage to get any tickets, which I’m still sad about.
As we’re a new music-focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Maple & Rye! You might have heard of them but I think they deserve a lot more attention.
Finally, what’s 2019 got in store for Saga Back?
To be honest, I don’t really know. I’ll be going to Paris for two months, which I planned way before all of this started, and my goal there is to finish writing enough songs for a first album. There’ll be some more singles, I’ll spend time in the studio recording, and then we’ll see. I don’t wanna jinx anything…
Huge thanks to Saga Back for answering our questions!