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Up-and-coming singer & producer Carsten Sherpa aka Sherpa is rising out of Copenhagen with fresh electro-pop sounds that are complimented by smooth melodic vibes. His strong powerful vocals add to the sonic goodness and with a debut EP on the way GroundSounds thought it would be best to catch up with Sherpa now, check out our exclusive interview below.
For those just discovering your music can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started making music?
It’s actually quite funny that I ended up being a musician because until I was about 18 years old I didn’t even knew that I could sing. Up until that I had been very focused on playing soccer and wanted to pursue that professionally, but then I started at a creative summer school in Copenhagen where it was required that you had to sing. So I stood up in front of everybody, opened my mouth and sang. It was quite nerve wrecking, but luckily singing turned out to be something I was pretty good at – who would have known that this soccer boy could actually sing?
After that experience I got more and more interested in how I could express myself through music and started making music with a friend.
After a few years and a couple of releases we decided to part as he wanted to use more time on his studies, where I wanted to do the opposite – I wanted to make music full time and taught myself how to produce and started writing my own songs.
What is it like living in Copenhagen? What is one thing every visitor should see or do?
I think Copenhagen is a free city with space for all kinds of people and that’s why I really love my city. People are free to express themselves and there are a lot of creative people. I also think that we in Copenhagen are very innovative in the way we use the streets and open public spaces for festivals and other kinds of arrangements. There is nothing like summer in Copenhagen sitting on the pavement with a cold beer in your hand and a bunch of good friends. An example is Distortion festival where you dance and party in the streets of Copenhagen and they move the festival around in different areas of Copenhagen. Also Trailerpark Festival that turns Copenhagen Skatepark into three stages for artists to perform.
The song is written in a period of my life where someone very close to me was going through a rough patch. It is about how you can see the person is suffering, but you can’t do anything about it. For me it is easiest to write a song when I write about stuff that matters to me. That way the writing process can almost be therapeutic and can help you to express those feelings that sometimes can get bottled up if you don’t get an outlet for them. Tore Nissen helped me make the production of the song and introduced Morten Hellborn and Johanne Andersson who recorded live drums and live strings, respectively. I am really happy about the result and like that it is both funky and dramatic at the same time. I am a bit of a drama (king). 😉
Can you tell is about your forthcoming debut EP, what has it been like working on this project?
I am still working on it. I have a lot of ideas and have some sessions with other producers to get some different inputs. I want to do something oldschool and modern at the same time – something that can stand out. It is really hard to do something original in a time, where the world is filled with producers and songwriters everywhere, but that is my goal and my drive.
What has it been like working with producer Tore Nissen?
Working with Tore has taught so much. He is so talented and creative both as a musician and as a songwriter and has a lot of live experience as well.
He has a very strong personality and always knows if he likes something or not. I still feel I need to define myself more as an artist and work on my sound and Tore is definitely one of the best guides to have by your side in that journey!
At this very moment he is touring with Oh Land so we haven’t looked into my new sketches yet, but I am looking forward to work with him again as soon as he is back from touring.
Because of my age I was not around to experience the eighties and therefore I have not been fed up with synth as I could imagine people living in the eighties could have been by the end of that century. For me that eighties synth was a fresh sound after so many years of pop and indie that had dominated the charts through most of the 00¨s.
Even though synth was and still is a reminder of the eighties I feel that it also has a very modern sound to it that I really love. Also I think it suits very well with my melancholic vocal. Plus growing up with MTV you couldn’t help but notice a certain artist called Michael Jackson, and after a brief introduction I was hooked on his music and dance moves. I even have videos of me impersonating his moves when I was ten. So I think a lot of my love for that special upbeat eighties sound comes from listening and dancing to Michael Jackson most of my childhood. And whenever there is upbeat music you can find my on the dance floor doing my Jackson moves.
What inspired the track “River?”
The writing of the lyrics to River is a result of a feeling I have had ever since I left high school. During high school I played soccer on the best level and therefore I had to say no to a lot of stuff and would miss out on some great moments that my friends were experiencing. By at the end of high school I was tired of always doing what others expected of me instead of following my own dreams and desires and making my own mistakes along the way. My use of the word “River” is a reference to something dangerous and risky and the song is about how you can miss out on some great experiences by staying on the safe side all the time. This is regarding all parts of life – sometimes we have to jump even though we are not sure of the outcome.
What musicians/bands are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to MS MR. They have a really mysterious and grandiose sound remaining me of Florence + The Machine, who I am a big fan of as well. Besides making danceable electro pop I also like to make some dramatic and melancholic songs. And I would really recommend MS MR for that.
I am also a big fan of The Weeknd’s latest track “I Can’t Feel My Face”. He is obviously inspired by MJ as well both with his moves and the way the music video for the song is recorded – it is VERY MJ-like with the plot and the characters. I think his reference to MJ is very sincere and modern. I am a big fan.
What’s next for Sherpa, what can fans look forward to?
Right now I am focusing on making new music for my EP. I have some live session videos that will be posted soon, but the main focus will be on making the EP. The plan is to release new music in the beginning of 2016.