Interview: Jimmy Wahlsteen
HE built a career as an in-demand session player and producer in Sweden but in 2009 Jimmy Wahlsteen stepped in to the spotlight with his acclaimed debut album, 181st Songs.
As well as showcasing his distinctive finger-picking style, the album was listed in end of year polls in the US and Germany. The track, Shifts Of Attention, was lifted to be used on US TV show LA Complex.
The success of his videos on YouTube prompted a worldwide tour and a second album, All Time High.
His UK tour draws to a close at the GuitarBar in Sherwood Rise tomorrow night...
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How did music start for you?
A friend of the family was a drummer in a rock band. I pretended to be their guitar player doing playback performances in the living room when I was five. I pretty much knew I was going to be a guitar player by then.
Who were you listening to when you were growing up?
I started off with Kiss and later moved on to Simon and Garfunkel and the Dave Matthews Band.
What was the first album or single you ever bought?
Ratt's Invasion of Your Privacy.
Where and when was your first gig and how did it go?
I played my first gig when I was 12. I was in a rock band with older guys and skipped school to go and play at their graduation. It's a great memory.
How would you describe your music?
I write instrumental pop songs performed on guitar. I take the productions of my songs extremely seriously and work with dub overs and additional instruments to create the atmosphere I'm looking for. Live, I challenge myself by trying to recreate that whole vibe with one single guitar. My live sound is flavoured with effects and I even use a looper sometimes to force a little bit of club feeling into the acoustic guitar genre.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is Phillippe Petit. A French wire-walking artist famous for his amazing performance between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. I'm hugely inspired by the massive focus he possessed for that remarkable achievement.
Tell us about your latest album.
All Time High is my second release on Candyrat Records. The album has a touch of melancholy over it without losing the positive vibe I always aim for in my music. I use some new minor tunings on the recordings which enhances the atmospheric sound I see as a trademark to my productions. It was mostly composed on tour and all the songs were tried out live before being recorded. I like that way of working and will continue to do so with my next album.
What can we expect at your Nottingham gig?
You can expect me being happy, energetic and grateful for being able to tour the UK. I have never been to Nottingham and I really look forward to coming to the GuitarBar. I'll be playing music from my two albums and even throw in a new song which I hope will make it to the next album.