Wonderland.

Cajsa Siik

The Scandinavian songstress proving third time’s the charm.

Suit JIRI KALFAR, necklace and rings ALEXIA JORDA

“I usually just wear black jeans and trainers!” Cajsa Siik laughs as we sit down between a quick outfit change at her Wonderland photoshoot. Decked out in a suit that would fill the late, great David Bowie with outfit envy, Cajsa currently looks every part the image of the experimental pop star that her music conjures; uncomfortable platform shoes and all.

Critically acclaimed for her unique take on pop, the Swedish star already has three albums under her belt, dropping latest LP, Domino, earlier this month. An avant-garde exploration of art and indie pop, the record is daring and delightful with songs that glisten with refreshingly modern production techniques whilst showing off the type of stunning melodies that can only arise from a classical upbringing. As I’ll later find out, Cajsa was brought up playing the cello before switching to guitar – this she explains by miming the transitioning process in an identical way to Jack Black’s “Cello! You’ve got a bass!” movements in School of Rock.

Meeting up on the penultimate day before Domino‘s release, as we settle to talk – and Cajsa finally gets to take her shoes off – her excitement for the album is palpable. Asked how she’s feeling, her answer reflects the inherent grace that characterises her latest release. “You’re just getting all of those emotions that you have built up inside of you out,” she tells me. “It’s hard to analyse it because you don’t want to think about it too much; it’s just magic.”

(LEFT) Dress ANNA MASON LONDON
(RIGHT) Top JIRI KALFAR, rings ALEXIA JORDAN

When did you first fall in love with music?

When it comes to songwriting it must have been when I started to play the guitar, but I started playing the cello when I was five. I don’t have many memories that don’t involve me making music and I think that I discovered it was something special quite early on, when I was about five or six.

Starting young! What artists would you say are your main influences? There seems to be some echoes of Björk and Lykke Li in your music…

There’s a darkness to Lykke Li that I’m inspired by. Sound wise, I’m inspired by hopeful, melancholic stuff but I listen to a lot of different types of music. I’m very focused and drawn to melodies, so I don’t have any specific genres that I prefer. There’s also classical music and instrumental music. It varies!

Do you think that your classical background impacts the songs that you’re writing now?

Not in the sense that it sounds like classical music, but I think that the melodies that I’ve been inspired by are from playing classical music as a kid.

What do you think spurred the change from the cello to the guitar?

I think it came sort of naturally because when you play an instrument you use your fingers in a special way, like the coordination. I’ve practised a lot. I played since I was five and I stopped practising when I was 16 when I was fed up with the cello. But then when I started playing the guitar I kind of discovered music all over again and I started to write songs immediately. I had found an instrument where I could combine poetry with music and melodies.

You’re about to release your new album Domino. How long, and what was the creative process behind it?

It’s been for the last two years. I’ve actually worked really hard on this album. With the writing process I had a lot of self-doubt and a lot of struggle, but I was so convinced that I could write it. I was working a lot in the studio by myself – a lot of lonely days and nights in the studio – and then I think it was when I wrote “White Noise”, the first track on the album, that I felt that I was on the right track. I also spent a lot of time on an island in the north of Sweden. So the creative process has been a lot of ups and downs. When recording was done I was really proud of it. It’s a turbulent time in my life that I’ve turned into a record.

(LEFT) Top NICOLA BRINDLE, trousers RUN LABEL
(CENTRE) Dress TARA JARMON, belt STYLIST’S OWN, ring O THONGTHAI
(RIGHT) Dress ROCKY STAR, bracelet STYLIST’S OWN, necklace ALEXIA JORDAN

You’re about to release your new album Domino. How long, and what was the creative process behind it?

It’s been for the last two years. I’ve actually worked really hard on this album. With the writing process I had a lot of self-doubt and a lot of struggle, but I was so convinced that I could write it. I was working a lot in the studio by myself – a lot of lonely days and nights in the studio – and then I think it was when I wrote “White Noise”, the first track on the album, that I felt that I was on the right track. I also spent a lot of time on an island in the north of Sweden. So the creative process has been a lot of ups and downs. When recording was done I was really proud of it. It’s a turbulent time in my life that I’ve turned into a record.

So that time in your life was the main inspiration for the album?

Yeah, it was highs and lows basically.

How would you describe the album’s sound?

My last album was more electronic based, and with this one I’ve mixed a lot of electronic influences with more acoustic and analogue sounds. I’ve played a lot of keyboard and synths on this album. I also had a chance to work with one of my favourite drummers of all time, his name is Thomas Hedlund, and he’s a drummer for Phoenix. I really wanted to record live drums on this record, so I called him and he was like, “Yeah sure!” The sound is very dramatic, rhythm driven and dreamy with sharp edges at the same time.

Looking back to your first album, Plastic House, how have you grown as an artist?

Plastic House was when I first discovered that I had this thread in my way of writing, and it’s a much more acoustic and laid back album, but it has a lot of passion because it’s my first. I think my songwriting has changed in a way but is still similar somehow. It’s sort of like sound is a naked body and then you dress that body in different clothes. So, for me, when you make a new album you also want to change the clothes. With the first album I was finding out how to arrange an album, and how to get those emotions and feelings on tape. Now I feel that I know what I’m looking for and I also know how to navigate through that.

So that was five years ago; what about the next five years?

Hopefully I’ve made three more albums! I just want to keep on writing. Also touring is very important to me. I’ve been isolated with this album for quite some time, and now I can actually play it to people which is super cool. I’m also nervous about it though because the first shows you do with a new album are very special.

Photography
Marta Literska
Fashion
David Cochrane
Words
Elly Watson
Hair
Mark Daniel Bailey
Makeup
Natasha Lakic
Cajsa Siik

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