‘improvisation has always been a big part of my music taste’ | Interview with Victor Rydström

A well – read and passionate musician . His song ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is an homage to old era Jazz. Class!

Describe your sound in three words!

I would say stripped, traditionally and playfull.

How did your involvement with music begin?

My dad listened to a lot of 70s rock n roll when I grew up. At an early age, around ten years old or so, I started listening to Deep Purple and all the awesome solos in the songs. From there on improvisation has always been a big part of my music taste.

‘To Whom It May Concern’ offers the first taste of your debut album. What is the concept behind the album?

Most of the songs are dedicated to, or inspired of, musicians I looked up to and learned from by the years. One example is the song Amber who is inspired of Peter Bernstein who has been one of my biggest influences the last couple of years. Another example is Lime Tree that is dedicated to a Swedish guitarist named Erik Söderlind, To Whom it May Concern is built upon a song called “We See” by the American jazz pianist Thelonius Monk but also by Robert Nordmarks expressive playing filled with attitude. It was amazing having him playing on this song.

In ´To Whom It May Concern’ you join forces with saxofonist Robert Nordmark. How do you choose your collaborations?

In firsthand I usually choose to play with people I think play really well. People I think have a story to tell by their playing. In this case I also had the privilege to have Robert Nordmark as a teacher for a couple of years. In combination with listening to his music and having him as a role model it wasn’t a hard pick asking him to join.

What is the best album you heard the previous year?

Very hard to pick just one! But if I have to I must say “The Intimacy Of The Blues” by Larry Goldings Trio. Peter Bernstein on guitar, Larry Goldings plays the organ and Bill Stewart behind the drums. Featuring on the album they also have the tenor saxophonist called David “Fathead” Newman. This was an album recorded early on in their career. I think they were in their twenty’s when they did it. Impressive!

Jazz music as a genre has been accused as music for snobs. Is jazz music elitist?

I think you can find Snobs and elitism in all genres and contexts. I don’t think that is what should define jazz. What I think defines jazz is more a curiosity and a will to develop, expressing yourself and communicate with both musicians and listeners. I believe this issue is more important to focus on than the biproduct of elitism and snobs.

If you were to plan a tour outside Sweden, which countries would it include and why?

The US would definitely be on that list! Mostly because the jazz origins from there. Imagine yourself do a gig on The Village Vanguard or Smalls where many of my jazz heroes have played. Another country I would love to go to playing is Brazil. I had an amazing guitar teacher from there named Nelson Faria who lives in Rio. I got a very nice picture of brazil from his stories.

How do you spend your day when you are not making music?

Most of my time during the days I spend practicing, rehearsing and jamming with people. When I don’t do that, I believe I do what most people does. Grab a beer with my friends or watch a good movie.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

A couple of years ago I cycled down to Greece with a friend of mine. We did this trip between September and December, so it was very cold and rainy. We slept in a tent almost every night during the trip, so it was pretty challenging during the time but also a lot of fun!

Thanks Victor!

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