Thanks so much to Katie for this second interview. Not so long ago we talked about her previous project, The Wilson Hospital, which was the band through I got to know her music. These days she is busy with her current band, Katie Goes to Tokyo, and it seems that at last she’ll be going to Tokyo this summer! Under Katie Goes to Tokyo she has released two albums that I totally recommend! If you want to know a bit more about her music, just keep on reading 🙂

++ Hello again Katie! How are you? Now in Los Angeles, right? How do you like it there? First time you visit?

Hi again Roque! I’m great! I’m in Vancouver at the moment and I think it might very well be one of the best cities in the world. I love it here. I just got here from Los Angeles (with a detour to Hawaii). Los Angeles and Hawaii were also great, but I guess I’m not really a beach girl. I’m more of a down hill skiing/mountain climbing girl. Lately I’ve been a lazy-hanging-in-hotel-room-girl though.

++ And you are going on tour soon to Japan and Korea! When is this? And what can your fans there expect?

Yes! I’m so exited to go there. I have never been to either Korea or Japan before so it will be an adventure. The plan is I will go to Korea in the beginning of June and stay for about a week and then go to Japan. My Korean record label Some Music and my promoter Ruby Records are putting together a tour for me that includes TV-performance, interviews, club-gigs and gigs at the Swedish embassy. I will play with a great Korean band called Mushrooms and we’ll hopefully record something together as well. I’m sure it will be a trip to remember. I’m really looking forward to meet my fans and all the people who have been working so hard for me over there.

++ So at this moment you are recording the third Katie Goes to Tokyo, album is that so? What is missing for you to finish and all of us be able to buy it?

Yes, I am…The recording of my third album has been going on for a while now and It’s going well, but I’m not there yet. It’s been a little up and down. I have written so many songs only to trash them a week later thinking they are no good. I guess after 2 albums you can’t help but get affected by what other people think or might think – maybe it’s something you’ve read in a review or something someone said about your previous albums. When you are an artist people always have an opinion about how you should sound, look like etc. I don’t want to give any attention to it, but I guess do. Sometimes. I’m gonna let this 3:rd album take its time. In other words: It’s in progress and will be finished when you least expect it!

++ And how different will your next album be compared tot he previous ones?

I don’t know. I change my mind every other week so I better not make any promises.

++ Do tell, how different is Katie Goes to Tokyo compared to The Wilson Hospital? I see MĂ„rten still contributes with you.

KGTT is not as much 60’es (sound wise) as TWH and KGTT is not a band – it’s my solo project. After the demise of TWH, MĂ„rten didn’t really want to front in yet another band. I just wanted to do my own thing for a while. So we decided that I should go solo. Still, when it was time to record my songs it was only natural for us to work together. It took a while for us to set the terms for the whole project and there was a bit confusion going on for a while as to the sound etc. I guess we were trying to pull the project in opposite directions. For me, the whole idea with KGTT was that I should be able to do my own thing without compromising with anyone. At one point I started thinking that if we’d continue working together then maybe we would end up as enemies. So I fired him. It only lasted for like a day. I didn’t really want to continue without him. In the end, when it comes to music there is no one else I admire as much as MĂ„rten. There is no one I can speak my mind to as easily as him, and he gets me, even if we don’t agree on everything. So we sat down and had a very long talk and made up some rules. Since then everything is going smoothly.

++ Why the name Katie Goes to Tokyo?

The Wilson Hospital released an album in Japan in 2002. We really wanted to play in Tokyo, but unfortunately that never happened. When I started KGTT I wanted to set out a goal for myself. Something that I could look forward to. So then again I came to think about Japan and how it would be so great to go there one day. That’s why I chose the name “Katie goes to Tokyo”.

++ Let’s talk labels. The first album was released on Tap Your Feet Records, who were they? And how did you end up with them?

Tap Your Feet is actually MĂ„rtens company. The truth is that after all the struggle with Backfish and The Wilson Hospital, I was just fed up with labels and publishers. And I thought that if we had full control over the recording rights and the publishing rights then we would never have to argue with anyone again and still get our music out there. We would be able to decide for ourselves who we wanted to work with for promotion and how to do things in general. MĂ„rten had just started his own company and so we decided to release my first KGTT-album on our own.

++ And then the second album was released on Redberry (great name by the way!), who are they and how is the relationship between band and label?

Haha, thank you! Redberry is my company. I started it right after I graduated from law school in 2007 and so when it was time for the release of my second album, My Naked Heart, it was just natural to use my own company instead of MĂ„rtens. There’s a lot of paperwork, bookkeeping and economic risk at steak when you release an album and I just thought I would save MĂ„rten the trouble, if any. For my second album I signed with a manager, PR Agencies in both Sweden and Canada and a music publisher. Some Music is releasing both my albums in Korea and Ruby Records handles the PR. They are amazing and I am so happy with their work!

++ Now let’s talk songs.  I really like your lyrics so I wonder, what inspires you to write them?

Oh, thank you very much! I can’t take all the credit for the lyrics since I usually co-write them with MĂ„rten. I guess the main thing that inspires me is people, just ordinary people doing ordinary things. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I chose this life. Traveling has made me realize that there are so many people out there just like me, doing the same thing as I am – recording music, loving what you do one day and then hating it the next day, being beyond happy when you hear your song on the radio, getting really annoyed by that one bad review although you got 10 good ones, smiling all day long after one nice e-mail from a true fan, arguing with your music publisher, having writers block, thinking about quitting, resenting the very same thought, starting over. I’ve seen many people quit over the years and I always think they will regret it later. But who knows. I’ve promised myself that when writing music don’t make me happy anymore then I will quit. I guess I fell of the topic a bit there, sorry. I write about my life, ordinary people and love. I never write about politics. The game of politics makes my brains boil. It’s all about the package and the rhetoric. All I want to know is the truth.

++ And what about the creative process? What comes first, lyrics or music? And how did that first idea becomes a proper song in the end?

I always start with the music and then the lyrics although I know it would be much easier the other way around. I find it much harder to write lyrics to music than to write music to lyrics. But somehow the music always comes first. I usually come up with a melody when I’m out walking or doing something mechanical. I usually record it on my iPhone, but I rarely listen to what I’ve recoded. I figure that if it’s any good then I’ll remember it anyway. I write down the title for the song and what the song should be about – I basically just write down everything I can come to think of which usually leaves me with several pages of text without structure. This is where MĂ„rten steps in, finds the missing lines and makes sense of everything. We record the music pretty early on, long before the lyrics are done. Both MĂ„rten and I play several different instruments so we record everything ourselves.

++ I really like from the second album the opening track, “A Long Way From Anywhere” and also “My Naked Heart”. Do you mind telling me the story behind these songs?

It’s about trying to succeed but not feeling like if anything you do is enough. Once you’ve overcome an obstacle you realize there is a much bigger one ahead. But you keep on trying, sometimes not knowing why you do it, or if it’s even worth it. “My Naked Heart” is about being honest about who you are and not doing or saying whatšs consider to be the right thing within the group of people you interact with.

++ And which would you say is your favourite Katie Goes to Tokyo song and why?

“Moving from this town” is my favorite KGTT song, I don’t know why. Maybe because it was the fist one I wrote for my first album.

++ You prefer recording in Canada these days. Why is that? Is it much different compared to Sweden?

I can record anywhere, but I love being in Toronto. I like the city, the people. Makes me feel like home. It actually reminds me a bit of my hometown, SkellefteĂ„. Canada is not very different from Sweden except for the mentality I guess. People seem to be less stressed in Canada and more friendly. I don’t know. In Sweden I always get the feeling that the morality is that you should know your place and not try to be better/different than anyone else. Other than that, Sweden is a beautiful country, especially northern Sweden where I grew up.

++ I noticed you’ve made plenty of videos for your songs. How do you enjoy doing them? And who comes up with the different concepts for them?

Yes, I love making music videos! When I hear a song I always imagine how the video would look. I have so many ideas for music-videos that I will probably never be able to use. I was lucky to work with Maria Stenlund, who has filmed most of my videos and also created the concept for “One Way Conversation“. We’re both amateurs, with a lot of ideas and we make a great team. “A Long Way From Anywhere” and “Suburban street” was created, filmed and edited by professionals. I had so much fun shooting those videos. The Stockholm Roller derby is in “A Long Way….” They were fantastic! And my co-star in “Suburban street” is Adde, a 10 year old skate pro…he was awesome! Rollerblades and skateboarding – 2 things I wish I was good at.

++ I really like the “One Way Conversation” video, but which is your favourite one? Why?

I don’t think I have a favorite, I like them all. The videos for “Moving from this town” and “Until she breaks” (my 1:st album) are great. They both have fun concepts. I guess to make a good music video, you must see to that the scenery and the story compliments the music. A good music video does not take focus from the song – it makes the song stronger.

++ I believe your sister also stars in that video. So I wonder, is there anyone else in your family that is involved in music, or are you the only one? And do say when was the first time you picked up an instrument?

Yes, my little sister Isabelle is in 2 of my videos (“One Way Conversation” and “Paper Moon“) and my niece Agnes is starring in the video for “Good morning Accidents”. Everyone in my family plays an instrument and sings, so I guess we could form our own orchestra if we wanted to. My dad used to play bass in a rock band in the 60’es and then another band in the 70’ies and 80’ies so we had a lot of instruments at home when I grew up. The first instruments I learned how to play was either the piano or the flute. Not sure. My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was 16.

++ And talking about the videos, you aren’t a video professional are you?

No, but I wish I was.

++ So do you play live shows often? Which has been the best so far, your favourite?

I don’t play live so often. It’s hard because I need musicians to play with me and for that I need money. Or I guess I could just sing to backing tracks. I never tried that. I think my favorite gig is yet to come 😉

++ What do you say, so far, has been the highlight of Katie Goes to Tokyo? And where do you happen to have most of your fans? Can I guess Japan?

Oh…there are so many. But I remember feeling really happy when Swedish radio started playing “Moving from this town”. And when they picked up “Little sister” I felt really blessed. There’s something special about hearing your own music on the radio. I don’t know where I have most of my fans. Korea or Japan maybe. My Korea-Japan tour will certainly be a blast, but I won’t celebrate until I’m actually there. Anything can happen between now and June.

++ And now that you are going to Korea and Japan, aside from the music, what do you plan to do there? Visiting any particular sights? Go shopping? Eating new food?

I’m not sure I will have any free time. I will probably be very jet-lagged and sleep whenever I have the chance. But when I travel I usually check out the local art museum, if there is any, and historical places. I always hope that I will feel something special when I go to historical places, that there will be some kind of energy there. Unfortunately that is often not the case. I guess when a historical place becomes an institution then everything that’s magical about it disappears.

++ And after this Asian tour, what’s the next tour you wish to do? What other countries would you like to play and visit?

My highest priority is to finish my album, but after that I would love to go to Iceland. It seems so beautiful. I would also like to play in Germany, France and England. I’ve actually never been to France so it should be fun.

++ Thanks again Katie, let’s wrap it here. Anything else you’d like to add? Time to tell where to get your records perhaps? 😉

Thank you so much Roque! My records are available on iTunes, CDbaby.com, Amazon.com etc.


Katie Goes to Tokyo – A Long Way From Anywhere