Interview: Swedish Pop Talent Kristian Kaspersen Discusses New Album ‘2nd Time Around’

Kristian Kaspersen delights with his second album, 2nd Time Around, which arrives today. The release marks Kristian’s first full studio album since his 2013 debut The Last Temptation of Kristian Kaspersen. Containing the Swedish pop talent’s previous singles: Stay, One Little Thing, Come Rain Come Shine, and Love Like I’ve Never Been Hurt (many of which have been featured as Culture Fix favourites), the LP also features five previously unheard numbers.

The album opens with the pounding bass of Teardrops on the Dance Floor, which crafts a moody electronic synthscape with Kristian’s immaculately enunciated vocals transporting us to a brooding atmospheric musical world. Fellow new track Inside My Head, is an introspective mid-tempo with an impressive array of vocal effects which shines as an emotive attention-grabber. Ace of Base vibes can be felt on Keep On Coming Back, a slinky synth-drenched anthem that builds to a dramatic emotional crescendo of a chorus – packed with a slight Mediterranean flavour. The LP’s title track is a bouncy crowd-pleaser with a hint of tropical production, providing a slight contrast to the stripped back emotion and production on emotive closer Into the Dark.

We chatted to Kristian about the freshly released album below.

Hi Kristian! Congratulations on your second album ‘2nd Time Around’ How does it finally feel to have it out there?

Thank you so much! It’s been a long time in the making… and it feels exciting to finally share it. 

How quickly did the album’s central theme come about? Was it a conscious decision during the creative process or maybe something when you stepped back and you noticed?

It was clear pretty early on that the central theme in my writing was some sort of ”life after love” story. I experienced such contradictory feelings after a separation; feelings of sadness, freedom, ecstasy and despair all at once and I had to process that through my writing. So it’s centred around dealing with a broken heart and being single again with everything that comes with that. 

What is it about up-tempo pop, dance and disco that appeals to you as an artist?

I just love music that has an instant appeal… I don’t have time for a 1 minute intro! And I love music that you can dance to. Many of the songs were actually written as ballads from the beginning but in the studio I’m most often drawn to turn up the tempo, bring in a pulsating beat and some heavy synthesizers with the help of my excellent producers.

You are a master of capturing the balance of bittersweet emotion and transferring it into an up-tempo pop number. Do you have a specific writing process?

Thank you for the beautiful compliment! Most often my songs come to me when I’m in a rush to do something and definitely don’t have the time to write… thank God for voice memos! I think a lot about having some sort of contradiction to make the music interesting but also relatable. It brings balance to have a really dark and emotional lyric combined with an uplifting and energetic pop/dance groove. A little salt and a little sugar! That is how life is I’d say. There’s a little bit of sorrow even in ecstasy of joy because you know that it will not last forever. 

We would love if you could give us a brief sentence summary of each of the album’s tracks telling us what it means to you…

Into the Dark – This is a song that I’ve recorded many different versions of but finally ended up very intimate and acoustic. It was the first song I wrote with this album in mind. I’m glad that I dared to write something so fragile, in a way pathetic but true to where I was emotionally. 

2nd Time Around – Definitely the most hopeful song on the album! To be open and ready for love in whatever shape it might come. 

One Little Thing – Captures that early, neurotic state of falling in love. It was released as a single in 2020 and it’s one of my more successful ones. 

Love Like I’ve Never Been Hurt – This song has a special place in my heart, I wrote it so fast, it just poured out of me. A lot of people have said that they really relate to the lyrics and that’s beautiful when it’s so personal to me.

Keep On Coming Back – Someone being in a destructive relationship but unable to walk away. I felt like I was possessed by another, older, person writing this one.  

Inside My Head – Attraction, fear and sexual frustration. I have an enormous fear of being rejected and that complicates my life a lot… I’m working on it!

Come Rain Come Shine – A standout on the album lyric wise, a tale of a stalker, complete obsession and madness. But I guess you can relate it to this “fear of rejection” theme. 

STAY – A song that was almost like a country ballad from the beginning. Desperation and despair at an after party. 

Teardrops on the Dance Floor – I can actually thank Culture Fix for this song! You wrote about my song STAY (2020) that it had a ”teardrops on the dance floor vibe” and it just clicked in me, it was a theme I’ve been working on for a long time… but I wasn’t quite finished. This one sums it up. One of my favourite songs from the album at the moment! Probably because it is one of the newest. 

You describe this album as ‘the closure of an era.’ What does that mean for your music and its themes going forward?

I feel like I’ve really explored the central theme of the album from different angles and I’m ready to move on. I have actually been writing a couple of songs in Swedish lately and that’s really new to me! It gives me new ideas about the music production as well… we’ll see! Maybe I’m back with more on the heartbreak theme, ha ha…You never know. I learned long ago that I can’t really control my creativity, I’ll just have to follow along somehow. 

We’ve been on a real Scandinavian pop binge recently with artists like Alcazar, Army of Lovers, Darin, Loreen and of course Kristian Kaspersen! Who are some of your favourite musical countrymen and women?

Army of Lovers around 1991 – that stuff is amazing! Epic. Another Swedish group that really has inspired me is The Knife. Their albums Deep cuts and Silent Shout really made a really big impression on me, I keep on coming back to the sound of those two albums as musical references when in the studio. Another one is Tove Lo who inspired me to be more honest and explicit in my lyrics.

We need to chat Melodifestivalen. We think your sound would be ideal for the contest. Is it something that would interest you?

I have opened up to that idea and I sent in two songs to Melodifestivalen for this year… but none of them made it. You never know, maybe one day. I’m more interested in participating as a songwriter than as an artist, I can see myself relaxing in the Green room!  

We’re currently in Eurovision’s wake. Are you a fan of the contest? Are there any particular Eurovision anthems that you love or think deserve a little more love?

Eurovision is a bit much for me, just so many songs at once, I get exhausted! But of course there are some goodies, I love I Feed You My Love with Margaret Berger. Masterpiece. And La La Love with Ivi Adamou for Cyprus is a perfect song to put on when you want people to dance at the after party! Loreen with Euphoria in 2012 was a magical moment, not only for us Swedes!

Thinking more generally, we’d love to hear about some of your other favourite cultural moments. What are the films, books, music or TV shows you can’t get enough of?

When it comes to TV-series I love Euphoria! I’m not very impressed with season two though… so I recently rewatched season one! That one just has it all. Succession is another favourite, a dark sense of humour and interesting family drama. And I can really recommend the book I’m reading right now: The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgård. So extremely well written and fascinating. 

Thanks to Kristian for chatting. You can stream the 2nd Time Around above. Connect with Kristian here:

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