La Sante is the musical project of Swedish-based musician Nikki Nyberg, and his latest track ‘Something Is Happening’ has lived within me for the past month and a half! I wake up, make coffee, put it on, and get ready to start my day. I found myself listening to his previous releases and quickly realised that Nikki is seriously onto something quite special sonically! We at Indie Top 39 were thrilled when he agreed to an interview with us, and to talk about his creative process, his biggest musical influences, and what he’d be if he wasn’t a musician. Please give a big welcome to La Sante.
Hello and welcome La Sante! We’re delighted to introduce you (yet again) to our ever-expanding audience today. I love discovering bands/artists who are still in their relative infancy, at least in terms of their discography. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, could you tell us a bit about your musical journey? What has led you to where you are today musically?
I think me and my friends were the last generation who grew up starved for music. We basically listened to whatever CDs and vinyl our parents had at home. When the streaming revolution came in the mid-’00s (or something like that) we suddenly had the whole world of music at our feet, which probably became overwhelming for some, but for me, it was absolutely amazing. I could sit for days just scouring the net for new music and bands. Old and new. Take a deep dive into different genres and pick up something new. I think it had a great effect on me and where I am today.
Say what you will about streaming and the effects on the industry and upcoming bands, but it sure made it easy to refine one’s musical palette.la sante
OK, now I have to confess, I first discovered your music when I heard ‘Something Is Happening’, and I still listen to the tune multiple times a day! I just absolutely love everything about it. How did it come into existence?
Why thank you, glad you like it! At first, I wanted to make it quite a lot more psychedelic. I listened a lot to Innerspeaker by Tame Impala at the time and I think I really tried to make it sound like ‘Alter Ego’. After a while of trying to jam it out, my drummer, creative brother and absolutely fantastic producer Gustaf Björlin came up with this thumping drumbeat which kind of laid the foundations for the whole tune. Sprinkled in with a few jazzy chords and spaced out vocals for maximum effect.
Staying with ‘Something Is Happening’, but I suppose it relates to all of your music, do you play every instrument and take care of the production for your tunes? And, may I just say, if the answer is yes…WOW!
Haha, thanks, unfortunately though; no, I don’t tend to every part of the production. I’ve had the pleasure of working with fantastic people, most notably Gustaf who’s been doing the majority of the mixing and drumming. On ‘Something Is Happening’ my good friend Christoffer Zakrisson, who usually tends the sounds for Viagra Boys, came in and laid down some psyched-out guitars for the outro. Other than that, it’s just me.
I’ve been getting seriously into your other two tracks ‘Stick Around’ and ‘We Belong Here’. I imagine this is like asking you to pick a favourite child, but which tune are you most proud of to date?
Oh, difficult one. ‘We Belong Here’ definitely means a lot more, emotional-wise, as it’s about my hometown and the effects of nostalgia and leaving parts of your life behind. But I probably like the vibe of ‘Stick Around’ more? Hard nut to crack this one, so I’ll say the ones I’m most proud of are the ones that we’ll release later this year.
I’m a sucker for having to know the origins of a band’s name or an artist’s moniker. How exactly did La Sante come about?
Oh, this is a strange one. It came about, basically, when I started listening to a certain streaming service. I had to come up with a name for my favourite playlist, and, for some reason, it became La Sante, so when I had to pick a name for the project I guess it just seemed appropriate. I never intended it to mean anything, I just liked the way it looked. I’ve come to learn that La Santé is a high-level prison in Paris. Maybe I can work that in somehow for interviews in the future.
Who would you put down as some of your biggest musical influences? What and who did you grow up listening to? And would you say that your tastes have changed or evolved over the years?
My tastes have definitely changed and evolved.
Growing up in a small town in Sweden you kind of followed suit when it came to music.la sante
Getting into Led Zeppelin and 60’s/70’s rock in your teens, reaching over to Hip Hop and Funk when you graduate. Kind of. I always had a sore spot for “GBG-indie” which is indie-pop from Gothenburg, most notably the years 2006-2010 or something like that. I don’t really listen to it anymore, but as soon as someone puts on the band Skansros I’ll dance around in the living room pretending I’m Morrissey, just like them. The band Dungen has been a major influence as well, although it’s not really noticeable in my music now. But Reine Fiske, the lead guitarist, is my absolute favourite in the world. He’s brilliant.
With every artist being different and unique, we at Indie Top 39 are always intrigued with their creative processes, and how they take an idea and transform it into a finished product. Could you tell us a bit about your creative process?
Usually, I try to come up with a melody or some chord structure. Sometimes, I come up with a title that I really like and then just try to riff around until I find something that I think checks out. Then I write the lyrics, change them 500 times, change the chords again, rewrite the whole thing, take a cold shower, and then start over. Repeat, rinse, repeat until I finally think that I’m somewhat happy with the result.
What are your thoughts on the state of today’s music industry? And what changes would you make to it if you were able to?
This is a difficult question for me to answer. I guess I would try to make it easier for upcoming bands somehow? It costs a fortune to record and get yourself out there unless you know people.
The nepotism in the music industry is kind of bugging, but I guess it’s the same anywhere you go.la sante
If I could change one thing I’d try to bring more clubs and venues to Stockholm, where I live. There are WAY too few small venues for upcoming bands.
Einstein famously said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” If you were not a musician, what would you be?
Oh man, it’d have to be something creative. I love films, so maybe I’d venture there. Actor? Writer? Something like that. I remember being a kid and seeing a David Lynch movie for the first time and then trying to recreate it with my friends. If I could not be a musician I’d probably give moviemaking a go.
OK, La Sante – desert island time! You’re allowed to grab 3 albums before being stranded on a desert island. Which do you choose, and briefly explain why?
Love – Forever Changes. It’s probably my favourite album ever. It has some kind of ethereal sound to it. It sounds so beautiful and bittersweet still to this day.
Dungen – Ta Det Lugnt. How did they do this? It’s still absolutely bonkers. I love music that sounds like a dream and Dungen really goes there. If I could bring some LSD to the island as well, that’d be a pretty good combo (probably?)
Honey Slides – Vol.1. Cause you gotta have some new stuff as well right? This sounds like Ennio Morricone but is done by, like, the drummer from the band Twin Peaks or something. Listen to the song ‘Arrivederci Motherf*cker’ gorgeous music for blatantly staring at the sea.
What would being successful in the industry look like to you? And is it something that’s on your mind when you’re creating new music?
I’ll skip this one if it’s OK, as I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about being successful in the industry in that way. I just want to make music, and if people like it, that’s amazing. If they don’t, hey, that’s OK too.
What does your musical future look like?
I’m hopefully finally releasing an album as La Sante later this year! Other than that, I’m working on another project with a couple of friends, and there’ll be more on that soon. Also, Honeymilk, my “regular” band, will be releasing an EP later this year, so fingers crossed, it’ll be busy busy busy.
We added La Sante’s single ‘Something is Happening’ to the playlist of all the artists we interviewed so far.
Don’t be shy to give it a listen!