In conversation with Kasbo

Interview by Shannon Lawlor

Carl Garsbo aka Kasbo is a Swedish electronic producer currently based in Gothenburg. Fusing together lush electronics, chillwave-esque production techniques and melodic pop sections into his own unique signature sound, in 2015 Kasbo released his highly successful debut EP Umbrella Club, and was shortly thereafter initiated into ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective imprint releasing a cluster of singles and remixes including The Temper Trap, Big Gigantic and Mutemath.

On the March 23rd, Kasbo will release his vastly anticipated debut LP titled Places We Don’t Know, before embarking on a North American tour including festival dates at Electric Forest, Hangout and Firefly.

We caught up with Kasbo on cabin fever and the freedom of isolation:

For anyone unfamiliar with Kasbo’s glowing radiance, how would you personally describe the music you produce?

That’s a very difficult question to answer because it means so much to me, so I tend to leave it at “music that makes you want to dance and cry at the same time.”

Kasbo’s upcoming album titled Places We Don’t Know will be released on March 23rd via Foreign Family Collective. Could you detail this recording process and give us some insight into the inspiration behind it all?

The brainstorming and writing process started once I got back from my first tour – the ‘In Return’ tour with Odesza back in 2015. I’d lost my PC along with all my projects, so I had a completely blank slate to start from. I witnessed artistry and the full extent of it’s meaning on tour first hand. Initially, it was mainly me making a bunch of music, trying to close in on a sort of sound and musical direction. Once I made the one song that I felt encapsulated the vibe (the song was ‘Stay With Me’) that I wanted to base the album around I knew what direction I wanted to head in, so it made everything a lot easier. The rest of the time following this was filled with me locking myself in my room, and more or less going crazy. A lot of time spent in isolation, trying to piece together something I was proud of.

A single from the upcoming album, ‘Aldrig Mer ft. TENDER’ taps into familiar, yet nostalgic territory with overwhelming, empowering production techniques and lush vocal work. How do these collaborations evolve while in studio?

Thank you! For this song, I made the initial beat and then sent it to TENDER who understood exactly what I was going for, who then wrote the vocals. After going back and forth a bit on the demo version he wrote we had something we both felt incredibly happy with. Usually, my collaborations are over the internet, I think it’s easier for me cause I’m more comfortable and can work at my own pace rather than sitting together in a studio session.

Collaborating definitely seems to be an intrinsic part of what Kasbo does best – if you could work with anyone on the planet, who would you choose, and why?

Extremely tough choice. I have so many, so I’ll take the freedom to adjust this question to 5 artists:
Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, Florence + The Machine, Daughter & Sufjan Stevens.

It’s evident that a lot goes into capturing Kasbo’s signature sound, what piece of equipment, hardware or software do you feel is most crucial when perfecting your original tone?

I mostly use my Gibson in my music, and just process the hell out of it with compression and reverb. One less obvious thing is a certain sample I’ve used in every song on the album – a white noise sound that’s actually a high input gain recording of my room in silence. It creates a certain coherence (albeit subtle) within all of the tracks with a sound that not necessarily everyone will notice, but it puts you in the same place when you listen to the different songs, consciously or subconsciously.

How would you describe Gothenburg’s live music scene? And are there any ways in which you would improve it?

I’m starting to get into it! For a long while, I hadn’t experienced much. But in past year though, I’ve seen several live music venues pop up. My favorite is a basement in the middle of the city, which hosts several shows a week, and I’m usually there at some point during the weekend. I think the scene is slowly starting to improve itself, there’s definitely something growing in Gothenburg right now in terms of music!

Another single, ‘Snow In Gothenburg’ is a melancholic yet alluring journey overflowing with atmosphere. Could you explain what the inspiration behind this track was?

Musically I was listening to a lot of melancholic house, specifically the Swedish artist Summer Heart’s album ‘About A Feeling’. He has some amazing stuff, very guitar driven. So conceptually, it was about the realization and acceptance of living a life in loneliness after what felt like a lifetime of isolation, and the freedom that came with that acceptance.

Kasbo’s three favourite albums of 2017?

Bonobo – Migration
Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
The xx – I See You

In April 2018, Kasbo will embark on a tour across North America. What are you most excited for about this adventure?

Meeting everyone, getting to play all of my new music and having people know the songs!

Preorder Places We Don’t Know by Kasbo via iTunes

For more information follow Kasbo on Facebook

(Image credit: Jack McKain)

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