December 06, 2017 by Daniel John Johnsson

Eddie Wheeler

A record about accepting your bad sides and move on. Today, Eddie Wheeler is an icon in the Swedish "underground" music scene, but the road to his new EP-album  was everything but given.

How did Eddie Wheeler's journey in music begin?
- Yeah, how did it start? I've always been doing music. Have always played and sung by myself.  Played both the piano and guitar when I was a kid, but i think it was in the last year of high school that I felt that I should dare to bet on music. Had about a thirty percent attendance in music class, so my music teacher of course wanted to flunk me. But because there were so few who had signed up for the school graduation show, she instead gave me an ultimatum. Play a solo song, live at the commencement, and you get a grade.

So I did it. I remember how my classmates got incredibly touched by it and hugged me afterwards, with tears in their eyes. Some good looking girls also approached me, who had never talked to me before, and also embraced me. So I felt this might be something. I started playing in lots of different bands, I don't remember all of them, but I do remember one that I had with my cousin ... Sonic Death Monkeys, named after the film, as we were such music nerds. We played goth and post-punk and made covers of Elvis Presley. It was fun.

Have there been any particular obstacles you've encountered since you first started. Did you have to struggle to be taken seriously in a largely streamlined music industry?
- Yes, oh my god, yes. And not only in the industry, but in terms of everything. If you have a handicap or are different, you can get attention and publicity, but you're at the same time perceived as a "fun" thing for the moment. People think you're cute who tries and don't think you are all that serious. It's really hard to get people to see that my music is deadly serious. It's really about life and death for me.

The music industry is quite ill, really. It isn't very well. There is so much fear of not being popular and first.

I realized early on that no matter how much I struggle or how good I am, I would never be invited in a hundred percent, so instead I make due on my own premises and runs my own race. It takes longer and is a bit harder, but on the other side it's for real and I think that's something that people notice. I think it's only now the last few years that people in the industry has understood that, "That little rascal really don't give up", I now feel that I'm starting to get respect, some fifteen years later (laughs).

Is it true that you also considered becoming an archaeologist for a while?
- Yes absolutely. I studied in the university for several years. It was one of the funniest things I've done. We went on excavations in Greece and Italy. It was a great time. But it turned out to be even more difficult to get a job and a salary as an archaeologist than a rock star, so I put my bets on the music instead. But I'm still a huge archaeological nerd...

Antiquity is my absolute favorite. Alexander the Great, Hatshepsut, Sulla and Old Ptolemaios, bring it on baby!

Your media debut was ticked off rather early and what was obvious already at that point was your positive energy and attitude towards overcoming obstacles and challenges. Where do you think you got that from?
- Oh, what a difficult question. Yeah, I remember participating in a documentary when I was eight years old. They followed me around as I went through a period with a lot of surgeries and misery. It was a bad time that I hardly remember, but it turned out to be good TV. But, I really think attitude is about three things, for one, the enviroment ... what energy and love you get from your loved ones. Despite being in the hospital all the time and in pain, I had an aboundment of love around me.

It makes you fight on. Then two, how you see things ... I was probably only around 7 or 8 years old when I felt that there were only two options in life when facing tough times. Either you keep on going, or you give up. It's eally not more difficult than that. And that's what my single "Burn It" is also about in a way. And then three, comparing yourself to others ... look to yourself and not to others, then you'll see progress. You'll notice you're heading somewhere.

If you compare yourself with others, there will always be those who are better, but has other conditions, so it doesn't really say anything.

Today you're probably mostly associated with Gothenburg, but you've played a lot abroad as well?
– Yes, I had such a difficult time getting gigs in Sweden there for a while, so I started sending out mails to venues outside the country. And I wrote to other bands that also were going. This was just before the whole boom with the DIY-era had happened, so clubs in Australia who received mails from a Swede got quite proud and charmed and let me come over there. I had another tactic as well...

Instead of taking a fixed gage, I let all of the clubs share my travel expenses. So for each booking it got a little cheaper for the other bookers, so it was in their interest to also recommend me to other venues and contacts. But has performed in countries like the United States, Australia, South Africa and Hisingen now. Fantastic memories.

Will there be any gigs in conjunction with the EP?
- Yes, that was the idea. Had a thought-out release party at the Brewhouse Arena in Gothenburg, which unfortunately was canceled due to logistical hassles, but there will be a real release in January instead. I also played at the Gothenburg City Theatre on November, 30, in a manifestation for human rights. But there will be a new tour in the spring.

What has been your most memorable gig so far?
- Hmm, hard to say. But probably the one I did in 2004 at Gothenburgs Culture Festival. That summer I had been in a serious accident that crumbled my lower leg. I got flown up to Stockholm to get intramedullary nails. All of the marrow in the leg was removed and then they patched the skeleton together around a nail.

A week later, I'm performing in front of four to five thousand people at Kungstorget. Was so full of morphine that I can't remember squat of it, but my friends were there and they say I was in brilliant form. So, my most memorable appearence, I don't even remember.

Is there any gigs you actually would prefer to forget about?
- (Laughs) There are plenty of those too. But I remember a venue I played at in Landskrona. There was just a bunch of drunk biker-guys in the audience, screaming, and the tech didn't work. Then we got to sleep in rickety sunbeds at the booker's place instead of in beds as we were promised. The whole house was also full of pyramid cake and cat sand that the booker was supposed to sell to Japan and become a millionaire. He was "a bit" eccentric, so to speak.

We've already got to hear a bit from the EP in the shape of the amazing single "Burn It". Does the songs tie together?
- Oh thank you very much. Glad you like it. There is a red thread in all of the songs. According to myth, Emperor Nero burned down half of Rome just to be able to rebuild the city again, stronger and more beautiful. Or as Shiva who dances and destroys the whole world in order to recreate. Sometimes I think such reboots is necessary to begin anew.

That's what the whole album is about...

It has a bit darker sound than you had before?
– I've always listened to somewhat "darker" music myself, so it felt natural to do something that sounded more like the music I listen to myself. Don't ask me why I didn't think of this before. Feels rather logical now that I'm looking back on it. There is something special about darker music. It feels like it's more honest and true.

What are your musical influences?
- Lots! David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Queen, Scott Walker, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Kent, Nine Inch nails, Jacques Brel, Antonio Vivaldi, Patti Smith and Henrik Bergren.

Many Swedish songwriters find it difficult to be completely authentic when writing in English. As you often approach your own experiences in your song lyrics, what do you think of this aspect in writing?
– I think everything can inspire. There are no limits in that, the most important thing for me is to convey something. I think music is such an important and beautiful art form to express yourself in that I'm having a hard time with "nonsensical music". I'm glad people enjoy it, but in my world it's not a waste to try to get some meaning or message out while you're having listeners.

Which of your songs means the most to you?
- Which of your children do you love the most? I can not answer that unfortunately...

On the new EP then?
- Song number two ... "True love is dead" ... is my favorite. It's so non flexible, so definitive. In addition, it sounds a bit like Depeche Mode, which are one of my absolute favorite bands.

Will there be any new music videos?
- Yeah. I have a video for "Burn it" which released in late November. The hardest and most honest video I've made. Strangely enough, I really don't enjoy being filmed, and I absolutely don't like to show myself naked. So I thought I'm going to challenge myself to the fullest this time and really face all my demons that I have in this life, so I shot a video that focuses on me when I'm sitting half naked.

Still haven't dared to see all of it, but what I have dared to see looks amazing.

So is there anything you'd like to say to the readers before they await "Live, Love, Repeat" on Friday?
- Thanks! I don't want to say too much, because I think it's important that art and music are in the eye of the beholder. But I can say as much that I''ll be very proud and happy if you take the time to listen to my music as their is a lot of sweat, blood and tears in every tone.

And thanks for a nice interview. Very good questions!

WHO IS EDDIE

Eddie Wheeler is an Swedish artist and musician from Gothenburg, he was earlier a part of the band Wheeler. The EP Live, Love, Repeat is out December, 8 at Spotify, iTunes, Deezer and Tidal.

SOCIAL

Follow Eddie Wheeler at Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Blogspot.

There is also an official website.
Check it!

"PUSH IT"