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interview

Mattias Tell

Westside Music Sweden

Westside Music Sweden is a small company working with (indie) music businesses and artists from Gothenburg and around. We work to up the number of relevant live opportunities, create media themes and support releases, and also the host of international club festival and music conference, Viva Sounds.

Mattias Tell

Where are you based?

In the music capital of Sweden, Gothenburg.

Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m the founder/manager of Westside Music Sweden, a small company facilitating international live, media and release opportunities for our own music industry, with an exporting focus. We’re representing and working with 38 partners from Gothenburg and out in circles, doing our best creating relevance for the artists they work with.

What are you listening to?

Constantly and ever shifting but this last month it’s been a lot of Morphine, Sunhill, Gluecifer, Beverly Kills, Sheryl Crow, Christian Kjellvander, Run The Jewels, Andrew Cushin, Alexandra Savior, Noel Gallagher, Tomma Intet, Travis. And Beastie Boys, of course, always Beastie Boys.

How do you discover new music?

I listen to a lot of music coming through the office via our label partners. They’re all doing an amazing job finding talent and putting out great music, so I’m keeping up with what everybody’s up to. My personal discovery comes from all places possible – online, playlists, streaming algorithms, tv-series, friends and more. I have a dedicated playlist for new stuff where I put songs I come across randomly and then listen up on a bit more closely.

Also my wife puts together a pretty killer weekly playlist of music she’s discovering and being lucky she’s got good taste and it keeps things nice between us with me listening up on things she likes. Also I got three kids and their listening habits are demanding space as well, at least at home, so I’m also discovering sounds via them. Some I like and some I just can’t stand. I try to raise them on music I love, but that never works.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I’m 90% on Spotify and 10% on Soundcloud, and somewhat guilty about it. I have a pretty decent collection of CD’s, vinyl and cassettes (and even mini-discs). I also got an ongoing plan on getting those players installed again. But, they stay where they are. Maybe you reminding me of this can get me to at least get a vinyl player set up? I even bought a new platter mat via Suicide Records that I wanna use. I think a vinyl player in the house should be a mandatory law btw.

“I think a vinyl player in the house should be a mandatory law”

Where do you do most of your music listening?

When riding the train to the city and 90% of the time in the office, those are given ones. And then just any time of day where and when it works. I used to think that there was not ONE moment in life that would not be better with the perfect music, which I don’t think anymore, but still 99% of all moments in life can be enhanced with the right sounds. So I listen when I do my running, I listen when using the vacuum cleaner at home, when driving, when preparing a meal, when I do my shopping – and I just got new headphones so it’s even more of a pleasure now than before.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

All pre-release comes through partners. Mostly labels we work with but also from international partners. We do invites of artists from other countries every year so some music comes in that way and we also run a festival – Viva Sounds – and some want to pitch unreleased stuff for that, so those ways are quite common.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

I’m fine with getting music all ways they come, even tho we only work with a limited amount compared to the music we get. And when (and if) we get time to listen we always write back. Re: Spotify I love it when the algorithms get it right and I discover new songs and artists, and at the same time I hate when they try to force stuff I already rejected time and time again. And of course, I think the money finding their way to artists via Spotify could be done better, and more fair.

“I love it when the algorithms get it right and I discover new songs and artists, and at the same time I hate when they try to force stuff I already rejected time and time again.”

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Playlists. I also use Shazam a lot, which keeps a record that I can go back to, but mostly I create new playlists and have one for all new music I get interested in. From that playlist those songs either go into other playlists or they get discarded. I also go back to conversations done via mail or messenger services to find songs or artists discussed that I forgot. And of course I also forget plenty, but if it’s good enough it will come back at some point, in some way, and that’s ok.

Discover the #HowWeListen Playlist

Listen to the #HowWeListen 2021 Picks playlist. Curated by this year’s interviewees.

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Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

Constantly, yes. I’m not the type to be all in your face about things I like, which I used to be, but I like talking about music with people and I like to have control of the stereo system and have the music sneaking up on people. Like everybody else I think things I like should be liked by more people. Comes with the territory having this job as well.

Anything you want to “promote”?

Gothenburg, and our part of the country, has always been a bit off the grid and by that also a nice climate for pretty unique sounds to develop, and right now we’re in a good place with a lot of interesting music and artists coming from here.

A personal favor for just anyone would be to listen to:
The Exorcist GBG, Sunhill, Sarah Klang, Pale Honey, Tomma Intet, Beverly Kills, Bottlecap, Lisa Wanloo, Electric Hydra, Two Year Vacation, The Bongo Club, Novarupta, Ett Dödens Maskineri, Arvid Nero, KÅRP, Black River Delta, Boy With Apple, Virginia & The Flood and more.

"99% of all moments in life can be enhanced with the right sounds."

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