Next on the list of interviewees is Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist/All-around Musical Genius, Kristoffer Ragnstam, a native of Gothenburg but a rocker of the world. “Ragnstam specializes in an exuberant type of rock, with strains of everything he’s ever heard – musical and otherwise — found like footnotes in his songs…” declaims his website, and come to think of it, declaims his music as well. The eclecticism and yet simple appeal of his music draws listeners like moths to the flame – which of course is a perfect segue into the topic of the interview: his new music video for Who Set the City on Fire.
Explore West Sweden: Your newest music video, Who Set the City on Fire, was a single continuous shot. What was it like filming for it? Were there any nerves about not making any mistakes? Or did you just shoot and go with it?
Kristoffer Ragnstam: The whole idea behind my new EP is: one take, be proud of who you are, and have fun with it. That idea left us pretty open to options how to make the video. But the Director “Markus KoKoKaKa” had an idea of trying to get the live vibe out of the song and with a homemade touch of it. He nailed it!
EWS: What is Who Set the City on Fire about? What does it mean to you? What was the inspiration behind the song?
KR: Its a very direct and self driven song. The lyrics came from when I got an accidental love letter. It was meant to arrive in my friend’s mailbox, not mine. I had to open it and it kind of changed my life in way. I don’t want to explore more of that story though!!
EWS: Ok well we’ll leave that line of questioning for another day! Why shoot overlooking the Gothenburg Harbor? Does it have a special significance to you or was it just for the beauty of the location?
KR: Gothenburg Harbor is sort of the heart of my hometown, from my point of view anyway. It’s a bit gritty but still very beautiful in a masculine way I think (I dont know?!?!?). The rooftop where the video session was located is the rooftop of the studio where our EP was recorded.
EWS: How long has your new album Homemade been in the works? What inspired the album?
KR: Oh! Its’s not an album, it’s an EP. I love the format of EPs. Having 5 songs is super duper and never bores anyone to death like some full-length albums can do. But to answer your question the inspiration was just hanging out in the studio with Joel Lundberg and making music without any pressure at all from label etc. I didn’t even tell the label folks I made it. It was made totally incognito towards the people in the “Biz”.
EWS: Sorry, excuse my ignorance, not album EP. What’s your favorite song on the album EP?
EWS: How old were you when you had your first kiss? Who was it with? Have you written any songs about her?
KR: Hmmm! Kiss or french kiss. Kiss=9-10 years (I think) French Kiss=14 (I know for sure!!)
EWS: I guess you’re being coy about the lady friend in question, but it’s good – respecting her privacy! So how has Swedish culture and growing up in Gothenburg influence your music?
KR: There is a lot of great music from this city that has also achieved a success outside of Pusterviksbaren (a local venue) Of course that influenced me. Many people (musicians) from this city have been helping me out during the past years. I get a local vibe from the other bands and we help and inspire each other a lot. I dont know if that’s a Gothenburg thing or just the way of thinking in every town? The city itself has also influenced me since it makes me very calm.
EWS: You’ve traveled all over the world and seen many cultures. What do you think is unique or special if anything about Swedish culture?
KR: We drink a bit too much if there’s free alcohol!!
EWS: Who are the Swedish artists that inspired you the most?
KR: Bernt Staf! There’s an album called “När Dimman Lättar” He received a Swedish Grammy for that particular album, but in my book he should have received more accolades than that. It’s a wonderful album form beginning to end! That album inspires me to be myself (musically speaking) and just accept the way I sound!
EWS: When you’re not busy making music and filming on rooftops, what do you do for fun in Gothenburg? What’s your favorite hot-spot?
KR: I’ve got a couple of Favorite spots:
1: Mahogny coffee shop at Gibraltargatan
2: Maharani indian food place at första långgatan
3: Dirty Records
4: Visit my friends who’ve got day jobs.Like Markus at KoKoKaKa or Ola at H&M
5: Grab a couple of beers at a local place called Tre små rum.