Interview: OPOLOPO

Swedish producer OPOLOPO has seen releases with labels like BBE and Defected Records in the past, and he’s just returned to our feeds for one of his biggest projects to date.

His new 11 track Sickla LP recently arrived on Local Talk Records, a label also based in Sweden that have been responsible for tracks from HNNY, Lay-Far, and Kyodai.

Catching up with OPOLOPO recently, we got to ask him about the new album, why he released it on Local Talk Records, where he finds inspiration and what advice he has for anyone considering an album. Get the full discussion below.

You’re about to release your new Sickla LP with Local Talk Records, how would you describe the album in your own words?

It is a collection of various shades of deep, soulful and jazz infused house music.

And how did it come to land on Local Talk?

I did an EP for Local Talk in 2011 right when they started out. Even back then we talked about doing an album. Local Talk has ever since been one of my favourite labels as they stand for quality and a meticulous curation driven by passion. So, I couldn’t think of a better home for this project.

Will we see a remix EP for some of the album tracks?

We’ve talked about it, but at this point nothing is confirmed.

In the past you have also released tracks on labels like BBE and Defected, what kind of things do you consider when looking at a label for a release?

Luckily, I am usually approached by labels. When it comes to original stuff like EP’s or albums, I often say no to most requests. Fortunately, there have been some good labels knocking, and if the timing and label are right, then I will consider it. When it comes to remixes, it is mostly about the original track and the potential for me to do something nice with it. I don’t mind too much about the label, provided I am free to do my thing and there is a proper budget with professional promotion.

And what labels might we expect to see you on in the next few months?

There are a bunch of remixes on various labels, but also another album project for Local Talk that is an edit/remix collection of tracks from their back catalogue. It’s part of a cool series that’s also featured people like HNNY and Jacques Renault.

Tell us a few albums which inspired you during the process of making Sickla?

I know I did check some of Herbie Hancock’s 70’s fusion albums (as usual) for a certain sound and vibe. But that was for some extra inspiration when a track was already in progress. Usually I just start messing around then see what happens, but I know at least two tracks were inspired by checking music theory videos on YouTube. One was on block chords, and another on passing chords. I find it so inspiring to learn new things and then try them out in the studio as often it leads to new compositions.

And what’s your favourite album of all time?

Impossible to answer with just one, but there are a few that meant a lot to me when I was growing up. Jeff Lorber and Herbie Hancock’s ‘70s jazz funk stuff was huge for me. Two examples of albums would be Jeff Lorber’s Water Sign and Herbie’s Thrust. On the more electronic side of things, Jean Michel Jarre’s Souvenirs of China and Isao Tomita’s The Planets were also pretty inspirational to me.

Lastly, before we go, what kind of advice would you give to an artist that is on the fence about whether or not to commit to making an album?

Don’t do it, haha! An album is a lot of work (Or, at least should be), but it’s a great way to make a statement, and is an opportunity to tell a more elaborate musical story. It can be tough, as people have a very short attention span, and there are thousands of releases every day. The masterpiece you spent two years on, will often be met with – “That was great, but what are you working on next?”. Most albums released today are in a digital form, which means people often cherry pick the tracks that instantly grab their attention, then forget the rest.

For the Sickla album, we decided to release it in three parts to prolong the release, and give us more time to drip feed the music instead of flooding people with it in one go. It was still conceptually written and recorded as one album. When all three parts are out, it will hopefully still make sense as a coherent whole. We’re moving more and more towards streaming, playlists and single-track releases, but I think there’s still value in releasing a collection of songs that were made to belong together.

OPOLOPO’s Sickla is out now on Local Talk Records.