Musicscan: You have (had) a couple of bands and projects. Why has it been necessary to release an album on your own?
Christian Aelvestam: It has not been necessary, by any means. That is not why I chose to do it. I've always liked to challenge myself, trying out new things. It inspires me and inspiration is what it's all about, if you ask me. Without it, you might as well throw in the towel and do something else. I love the mixed feeling of excitement and fright, not really knowing what awaits you round the corner. Anticipation mingled with terror, if you will.
At the end of the day, I always write stuff for myself, first and foremost, trying to satisfy and please the inner critic, if anyone (which is damn hard for the most part...haha!) and this time around, I felt I wanted to try out something different, while still staying true to the 50% of my heart that is not metal.
Musicscan: Does being a solo musician make managing the songwriting easier or harder?
Christian Aelvestam: Well, yes and no! It's a bit of both I guess. On the one hand, it's convenient not having to compromise on your vision, nor your goals. On the other hand, it can be tough sometimes not having anybody else to toss ideas around with and so on.
Musicscan: And being around as solo musician with an own identity and vision, does it bother you when you see or meet listeners who ignore you or have a different
understanding of what your music means to you?
Christian Aelvestam: No, of course not! As I said before, I don't try to please anyone else, but myself. This is who I am and what I like. If you stay true to who you are and follow your heart, you can never really go wrong, regardless of what anybody else says. If I cared about what people thought or how things were to be received, I would never have entered into the holy matrimony that is the music business, to begin with! ;) Stick to what you believe in and the rest will follow!
Musicscan: Did the feedback and the reactions already meet your expectations? What has it been like so far? Do people understand what you are heading for with Self 2.0?
Christian Aelvestam: The response has been really good thus far, I think, which was a pleasant surprise. People seem to be really open-minded about it, which is cool. As for expectations, feedback-wise, the only one I've tried to meet, was my own really. You would only be doing yourself a disservice, by trying to meet others expectations, I think. It's like Linda Poindexter says: "Never let what other people expect from you, dictate what you expect from yourself."
Musicscan: Remembering the working process: what were your goals for the album and were they reached, or perhaps altered, along the way?
Christian Aelvestam: The creative process is one in constant motion, where your goals and vision, unconsciously, alters as you go. There are always things that look good on paper, but in reality doesn't hold water. In fact, when I think about it, the creative process is nothing but a long succession of "back to the drawing-board"-moments...haha!
Musicscan: What were the most prominent influences for you at the time of the songwriting in terms of other bands, philosophies, sounds, etc…?
Christian Aelvestam: I have always had a weak spot for more pop-oriented stuff, especially in the vein of the sound of the '80s. Bands and artists, such as Michael Cretu (Sandra/Enigma, etc.), Krister Linder (Grace/Dive, etc.), 30 Seconds To Mars, Freiheit, Mute Math, Nephew, Dead Letter Circus, Pendulum, Mew, The Radio Dept. etc., have all had a huge impact on me and my music. "Self 2.0" is very much a melting pot of everything mellow leaving an imprint on my heart and soul, from my childhood days, up to now!
Musicscan: Which songs were your favorites in the beginning and which songs still remain favorites today? Why?
Christian Aelvestam: To me the EP works best, taken as a whole. Like a movie with different chapters, if you will. It's hard to pick a favourite part, without the risk of losing the big picture; the all-embracing concept. Then again, that is just my way of seeing things! ;) With that said, I like them all equally, in their own way. If I did not, they would not all have been included.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on Self 2.0 that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you, you would like to share with us?
Christian Aelvestam: The closing song, "En Knippa Ljung", will always have a special place in my heart, being a poem set to music. A poem written by my late grandmother, back in 1944. I was lucky enough giving the song to her for her 87th birthday, before she passed away earlier this year. It's my way of honouring her for what she has meant to me and my life.
Musicscan: If you have to pick one song off Self 2.0 that best exemplifies what you are doing, which would it be and why?
Christian Aelvestam: That's a hard one to answer, cause I'm never really quite sure I know what I'm doing...haha! That's the beauty of challenging yourself, visiting unexplored territories of the mind. Like I said earlier, the creative process is one in constant motion, so you often end up with a result, not completely in line with your initial vision. It's all a matter of trial and error and "Self 2.0" is very much the result of such a mode of procedure. I've never made an album quite like this one before, so it's hard to just pick one song, trying to put my finger on what I'm doing. When it all comes down to it, I just go with my gut-feeling I guess, not caring too much about what you can and can't do, according to some. If I can feel it and it puts a smile on my face, I will go through with it.
Musicscan: What, in your opinion are the most exciting aspects about the album when you sum it up?
Christian Aelvestam: That I finally got around to do it, having wanting to do so for such a long period of time. I'm also very proud of what I have accomplished, together with Plec and everyone else taking part in the creation that is "Self 2.0". Sure, it's my vision, but it's still very much a team-effort. Without Plec and all the guest musicians, this album would not have been possible.