Drawing inspiration from oceans, forests and folklore, Vargkvint is the musical project of Stockholm-based multiartist Sofia Nystrand. Combining evocative melodies and a playful approach to arrangement and instrument usage, Vargkvint’s music falls neatly between the definitions of modern classical, folk, pop and experimental music.
Her conceptual debut album “Hav”, released on Piano And Coffee Records in 2019, was warmly received by an international audience while singing in her native language. The music from ”Hav” was mentioned in several ”Album of the year”-lists, and has been played on radio stations such as BBC and KEXP.
In 2021 Vargkvint released ”Hav Reimagined”, a collaborative sister album to her debut with reworks from the likes of Tim Linghaus and Tangerine Dream-member Hoshiko Yamane. The following year she was hand picked by German label LEITER, started by the renowned composer Nils Frahm, to be a part of their compilation Piano Day Vol.1 alongside Frahm himself, Oláfur Arnalds and Poppy Ackroyd, with her track ”Efterskalv” being the first single of the album.
Following the release, the label invited Vargkvint and her artistic collaborator Jakob Lindhagen to record her follow-up album in Nils Frahm’s Saal 3 studio in Funkhaus, Berlin, together with Grammy-awarded engineer Antonio Pulli (The Joker, Chernobyl). The album ”Månens hav” is scheduled for release in June 2023
1. The darker parts of the moon were thought by the early astronomers to be oceans.
2. Today the moon is thought to at one point in time have been a part of the earth.
3. Even if it’s been 50 years since the first moon landing, no woman or person of color has still set their foot on the moon.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My inspiration often comes from nature and folklore or tales connected to nature, but it can often be anything that has a story to it that kind of tingles my inspiration. When I write music I often work with themes and concepts and get a kick from creating more of a vibe than a piece of music. In working on my new album “Månens hav” my inspiration originally came from an old poster that I found laying around in my in-laws cottage that showed the dark parts of the moon that were originally thought to be oceans, hence the dark spaces were named very beautiful and dramatic names that gave me the thought of writing music connected to that theme.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I’ve always been involved in music and wrote my first songs when I was very young. But I didn’t take writing seriously until I was in my twentiees when I studied music, and it took me a bit longer to start to write in the sphere of modern classical/ambient music scene.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Valtari by Sigur Rós
Jazz på svenska by Jan Johansson
The Lighthouse Project by amiina
Du och Jag Döden by Kent
Grey Oceans by CocoRosie
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Berlin for me is the center of creativity surrounding the modern classical and ambient scene, and a place where a lot of creativity and possibility comes from. There is also a saying in Swedish that is: “Bättre i Berlin” which basically means everything is better in Berlin.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
My favorite place in Stockholm is an outdoor bar in Södermalm that opens every spring at a place that is called Södra Teatern, it has a beautiful view of the Stockholm islands and sometimes hosts really cool concerts. If you come to Stockholm in spring or summer, you should definitely go there.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would probably keep on animating stop motion videos, do my best to write a novel, or maybe get really invested into baking. Creativity comes in so many different ways!
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The last record I sat down and listened to was “Muerte en una tarde de verano” by Sergio Díaz de Rojas that he released a few weeks back. It is a beautiful album that also has a full length collections of music videos so that you can watch the entire album as a movie. I really recommend it!
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’m honestly so in love with the collaborations I have done for this album. I hope I’ll get to continue to work with my record label Leiter and maybe even collaborate with Nils Frahm in the future.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
My best gig was probably the first time I played at Q3Ambientfest in Potsdam, it is such a nicely curated festival with a very friendly audience and a lot of kind artists who have become very good friends of mine. Daniel and Sebastian Selke who are arranging the festival, are also talented musicians who are playing on my new single “Stillhetens hav II” and they will also play together with me when I come back to the festival this year so it is very exciting!
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is very important to my creative process and to how I write music! When writing the music for “Månens hav” I was very iinspired by the moon landings and the technology surrounding it and I spent hours listening to all the recorded material from NASA because it made me feel as I was part of the race to space as well and that was a huge inspiration for the album.
On this release the beautiful space of Saal 3 and Funkhaus has also made a huge impression on how the music on the album sounds. A lot of the technology used is vintage, a lot heavier and more well crafted than what you can buy today and it gave me the feeling of dept in the recordings that really created the right vibe for the album.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I’m an only child so I have no idea what any possible siblings would have thought, but I think the loneliness I sometimes felt from being by myself a lot as a child also gave me a lot of the imagination that I use in my writing today, so maybe that was the way it was suppose to be.