We got a chance to talk to up and coming artist, XOV, who was featured on the new Hunger Games Soundtrack, which was handpicked and curated by Lorde.
XOV is from Stockholm, Sweden, and is going to make some big noise when their new song “Animal” is heard on the new Hunger Games Soundtrack. MTV Buzzworthy describes his sound as “moody dark-pop, surrounded by dark, gloomy synths alongside big pop friendly hooks.” His soulful crooning alongside his chilling production, will have you in traveling to another plane. We got a chance to talk with XOV about his music, his fashion and the next big thing from Sweden.
Ferrvor: Lorde released the tracklist for the Hunger Games Soundtrack, and just seeing the names on it got us pumped. There was one name we didn’t recognize which was yours, so we scurried to our computers to see what we could find out. We found your debut song, “Boys Don’t Cry,” and instantly connected. Could you tell us the story behind the song?
XOV: It was a rough time for me, I was having a life crisis. My company failed, my finances failed, my relationship failed, all of a sudden I felt like I had nothing. I decided to disconnect from everyone and I rented out a home on an island here in Sweden. It was tough at first but ultimately it was rewarding. I had a chance to sit down with myself and focus on myself, find what made me happy and get back on track. I started writing away, and it came to me that I needed to man up and face everything, that boys don’t cry. I got to rebuild myself and how I saw the world, and became happy again!
Ferrvor: The production on the song is outstanding. When we first heard it the vocals gave us chills. It had its moments sounding like something Kanye would do. Is there anyone in particular that inspired your production skills?
XOV: I can’t believe you said that. Kanye is my biggest influence when it comes to making music, and for you to hear it is so rewarding. I’ve studied him since his earliest work and have been inspired by him when making my own music. Coldplay produces everything themselves too, and I would say they are a huge influence of mine as well. Kanye and Coldplay, completely different types of music, production, an style, but definitely those two.
Ferrvor: There’s a lot of people that are calling you Lorde’s protégé because of working with her on the soundtrack. Is there going to be any future work with her? Whether it be a collaboration or a mentor/mentee relationship?
XOV: I would love to work with her in the future, of course! She’s unbelievable. For her to be only 18, and to be a global icon already, that’s nuts! She was very hands-on with the creation of “Animal.” She would email me and give me criticism on what I had so far, and what new elements I could possibly introduce into the song. She even sang over the phone once, on an idea she had, and that was too cool.
Ferrvor: In an interview with Nylon, you mention that you had only released the “naked” editions of your music. Can you elaborate on this?
XOV: With one of my songs out there, “Lucifer,” it’s only chords and vocals, so very stripped down. It’s actually the song the Lorde heard and then reached out after! When my EP is out it’ll be the full version and won’t be so bare.
Ferrvor: Who are you listening to now?
XOV: I’ll listen to everything. I was actually just listening to NWA’s “Automobile.” Some of today’s hip hop I’ve been listening to has been Kanye West, Big Sean, and Drake, but I love always listening to Biggie too.
Ferrvor: There’s no denying that people are going to take notice after hearing “Animal.” What are your goals with your music career, either short term or long term?
XOV: Short term- I’ll be releasing my EP at the beginning of the year, and soon I’ll release the full version of “Lucifer,” which is actually my favorite song I’ve written. Long term- I’m working on the full length album, which hopefully will be done next year and it will be welcomed in by everyone! Then from there, just keep doing what I love and making new music.
Ferrvor: You posted about a couple Swedish clothing lines, Sandqvist and WhyRed. Do you think either could do well over here in the States, and are there any other brands we should check out?
XOV: Definitely! I really think they both could do well there! There’s a huge minimalist trend right now, and both of them are urban minimalist styles, and would fit right in with today’s style. Odeur Studios would be another brand that could do well over there, very minimalist as well!
Ferrvor: We’re seeing a lot of international success with music today, and its not just limited to the UK anymore. Who are some Swedish artists we should check out?
XOV: I’ve been listening to a lot of Galantis, who has a hit single out right now, “Runaway (U & I).” One of the two in that group is Christian Karlsson, Miike Snow’s producer, and he’s pretty talented himself! I can never get enough of Lykke Li, she’s unreal. Then if I were to name a third, I would say Miike Snow.
Ferrvor: If you could give our readers any bit of advice what would it be?
XOV: You can’t give up. No matter what has happened, or what you’re going through, its temporary. Things happen. I’ve hit rock bottom a couple times, I’ve failed thousands of time, but its what you learn from it and keep going with your head up.
Listen to his new song from the Hunger Games Soundtrack, “Animal,” as well as his song “Lucifer,” below. Be on the look out for his new EP coming out in early 2015.