Dear Low-Fi Concerts Community, It is with great regret that we have to inform you that Low-Fi Concerts has unfortunately gone bankrupt. We have done everything we could to keep the company running, but unfortunately this has not been possible. We want to inform you about the next steps and thank you for your support [...]
Artist of the Month: Christian & the 2120’s
The artist of the month is the musician Christian Smedeström from the Southeast of Sweden. Christian is a singer-songwriter who mostly plays blues.
Present and tell about yourself and your act. Who are you?
I’m Christian Smedström, a middle-aged Swedish blues singer/songwriter. I live in the countryside in the Southeast of Sweden with my wife and our dog. I work half-time in the restaurant business, and the rest is full-on songwriting and playing live gigs
One of the best pieces of advice my dad told me, when he realized that playing guitar and singing was my chosen path, was “make sure that you have a steady income of a halftime job, so you never have to take those bar gigs and sing for people who don’t care if you’re there or not, just because you have to pay the rent.” And so I did!
For the last ten years I have mainly been out touring, recording, and releasing my music in English. My songs have been placed in a lot of American movies, TV shows, and commercials. A few years back I started to toss around the idea of singing in my native tongue, Swedish. I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone. This spring I will release my first album in my native tongue called Blod och Alkohol (Blood and Alcohol, red.) which is to be released on May 1st.
Briefly describe your journey as an act
I started out the band Christian & the 2120´s like a birthday card, for real.
I have played in bands since I was a teenager, and I have always been the main songwriter and been humming for the singers how to sing, and also wrote some of the lyrics. So I thought that I would record some songs, sing them, and have them as a birthday card for my 40th birthday bash. It turned out to be a whole album instead, and I’m still on that road as a solo artist
Who are you inspired by?
My main musical influence is Bob Dylan, hands down.
But I have a very wide taste and a big record collection that covers almost everything. I think a good song is a good song, doesn’t matter if it’s, Slayer, John Lee Hooker, or Alf Robertsson.
I tend to like old music, from the 1930s up to 1980 the most, I’m very picky about what’s gets me going and what doesn’t But I usually say that Bob Dylan, RL Burnside, John Lee Hooker, Kiss, Bon Iver, Jack White, Kristoffer Ragnstam, Aretha Franklin, Thåström, CSNY, Carole King, and The Hellacopters get me in a very good mood and always inspires me, no matter what.
Has one of your concerts been especially memorable, and why?
I played a concert last summer at Svensson Svenssons in Ulricehamn. It was one of those nights where everything fell into place, so much that a snippet from that gig recorded on a cellphone actually ended up on my new album!
What is your career setup? Do you have a manager, a booker, a mentor or do you do everything yourself?
I do all my bookings myself, and have done so the last 10 years, and honestly, it’s a lot of work. I got some offers from a few booking agencies over the years, but since the music business is like it is, for a singer-songwriter like me, why should I give a booker 20% when I can do it myself. Most of the time I get better deals, and more importantly, a better route than leaving it to someone else. It’s hard work, and it’s worth it.
My producer and drummer extraordinaire Kristoffer Ragnstam is also my mentor/ manager, his input on things is just pure gold that I value a lot. I’ve also got a publisher, who I’ve also been very happy with.
Why did you choose to become an artist on Low-Fi?
It was my mentor Kristoffer Ragnstam who let me know about Low-Fi and he thought it would suit me well since I do a lot of solo acoustic shows. I checked it out, got myself a profile, did a few shows, and loved that it was so easy to arrange concerts.
I have to say one of the absolute best things that sold me in, was that when you arrive at the host you don’t need to talk money and all that comes with that hassle. It’s all been taken care of by Low-Fi, I get my share and the host gets theirs. We can concentrate on just having a good time!
What is special about playing a Low-Fi concert as opposed to a “regular” concert?
The number one thing is that the audience is there to actually LISTEN to you and your songs and stories. In a bar or a regular concert, if you start just a bit too late there’s a big chance that those low-key and laidback songs/stories just don’t cut through. As a singer/songwriter it’s just hell when the audience is getting too loud and drunk.
There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s a hard time for those who are there to actually listen, and of course for the artist as well.
That’s why Low-Fi concerts are so great!