For someone who wears many hats, Johan Angergård seemingly lives a rather relaxed life. Being a father of two children and managing one of Sweden's most prominent independent label, Labrador Records, should keep anyone busy enough. In addition to those daily duties, the quadragenarian musician is busy promoting his new full-lengths from The Legends and Djustin. I met up with Johan for a couple of hours on a wintry April afternoon in Stockholm to find out more about his latest releases and the places he enjoys in the borough of Södermalm, where he lives and operates.

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You have been busy promoting two different albums coming out less than a month from each other.

Yeah, The Legends and Djustin - released within two weeks. But my initial idea was to release both albums on the same day. But The Legends' Nightshift came out on 21 April and Djustin's Voyagers comes out on 5 May.

Let's talk about The Legends first then. So that project - you've been involved in for some years now.

Yeah, well it's a sort of a project; it's just me. I started it in 2002. But back then the idea was to - one of the reasons I started The Legends was to play live because none of the bands I had were playing live. I did this really simple, noisy kind of pop tracks or the catchy - you can play them drunk - like you can play with people who don't know how to play... and it turned out nicely, so that was kind of the idea. But then it became like - whenever I want to do something and I can't do it anywhere else, I do it myself. I do it with The Legends.

Johan
Johan

Name all the bands/projects you've been involved in.

I released a lot of albums with Club 8. And maybe six albums with Acid House Kings, Pallers, Eternal Death, and now Djustin.

But with The Legends, do you feel that's really you?

I think all the bands are really me. I think all the projects are really personal. But sometimes - it's more like I have no one telling me: "We can't do this because I don't like it.", or "We can't do this because it's too far away from our usual sound.", which is the mostly the case with bands like Acid House Kings... we have a very strict formula for what we can or can't do. With Club 8, we used to have a more strict formula maybe, but now, lately, I think I've been able to do quite a lot of things. With the new The Legends album, it's a personal electronic album, almost all music is electronic nowadays, but I really wanted it to sound electronic as well. I used a lot of vocoders for vocals - I sorted wanted it to sound artificial, and emotional at the same time. I don't think anyone else I work with wants to make an album like that.


Johan
Johan

This is the sixth release under The Legends moniker; in the previous releases, the sound was not so electronic.

It's quite natural - at least for me. If I made one kind of an album one year, I don't want to make exactly the same album because that's not inspiring. It's inspiring to do something different - to try out new things, to experiment - to find out how to express myself with various kinds of sounds.

Do you have any live dates coming up?

I hadn't played live with The Legends since our New York tour in 2009 - we played seven shows in a week. But back then, it was like noisy/pop, feedback, distortion, and things like that, so it was completely different, and it was a full band. I actually didn't think I was going to do any more albums as The Legends - it was sorta game over for awhile. Normally I don't find it very enjoyable to sing, but when I released the previous album, I found it quite enjoyable to sing. And there were some songs I felt they could be only sung by me; they would be best sung by me, which is always not the case. Because quite often, I feel comfortable giving away the vocals to someone else.

I'm starting to plan to play live again and then we were asked to play in Vietnam next week. I haven't been to Vietnam, so that is a good opportunity have some days in the sun and see a country I hadn't seen before. So of course, I said yes.

You've played in Asia a few times with your other bands. How is the reception there compared to here?

It is usually very very good. It's so different from playing in a lot of the western territories. People are really making you feel welcome, and they take care of you. It feels like a holiday. I mean if you play in London [laughs], it's not like a holiday! It's not like you're getting paid, getting a good hotel, hanging out by swimming pool having drinks... of course, I prefer to play in Asia than to playing in London.

Let's talk about your other/new current project: Djustin.

Yeah, it's me and an American girl, Rose (Suau). We started to write each other in the late nineties because she had a band called Shoestrings with her boyfriend. And I had a band called Club 8 with my then girlfriend. We like the same kind of music - sort of a similar sound, sort of a similar setup. And we loved each other's bands so we started to write each other some sort of fan letters. Then we just kept in contact over the years, but we never met. But then - because I'm not doing anything with Club 8 now and I really wanted to do music with someone else - someone who had a creative input. And also someone who sang and wrote the lyrics. Because I mean, as I mentioned earlier, singing is not always my favourite part and writing the lyrics is not always my favourite part either. For me, Dustin is a very luxurious project because I can do the fun things. I come up with the sound, I write the melodies, and I do all the fun parts and then I give away the boring parts to Rose. And she does it great. I mean it's not the boring parts for her of course. It's also quite good to have someone you're close to. We're similar minded, and we share the same ideas what it should sound like so it's very good to have someone bounce ideas with.


Johan
Johan

How would you describe the music of Dustin?

Umm - it's mostly rather melancholic pop, but it's also, sometimes quite the... I don't want to do the too quiet soft songs. I mean, I try to keep the production somewhat hard - like keep the synths rather distinct and punchy sort of. I think it's rather melancholic because from the songs I write, Rose - nine out of ten times, goes for the melancholic songs.

Do you guys have plans for live shows?

Nope! I want to play live. Rose - she hasn't played a lot live, and I think she has a sort of - some kind of anxiety towards playing live. But I think if we get a nice opportunity to play live, think I'll just convince her. But it has to be something worth doing.

You've lived in Stockholm for about eighteen years; what would you say you really like about this city?

I would probably say the same as everyone else: that it's nice - there's so much water. I think that's it. Like here, where I live in Södermalm - Södermalm is an island so obviously, there's water everywhere. You can actually go swimming during summer in the water because it's clean. So that's nice. And also, Södermalm is like a small town in itself. All the record stores I go are here, shops for clothes, and when I go out, I normally go out here as well. But I do like going to the countryside a lot as well. And I think it's quite relaxed in Stockholm; it's not so busy.

So tell me about some of the places you frequent in Södermalm that we've visited today.

Snickars Records - the guy who runs it: Mika Snickars, he's really great because when I go there, I usually just say, "I want something that sounds like this. I want something that sounds like uh - early electro with vocoder vocals like Jonzun Crew. And he picks up a couple of records for me and says, "here you go". And then I listen to it, and usually, it's great. So for me, that's a great place to discover new music. If I buy new releases, I usually go to Pet Sounds and it's right around the corner, but I don't discover music there. When I go to Snickars, I discover music because the guy who runs it, he has such a great knowledge of music. And also, because they have divided genres in a good way: very specific.

Record Mania is quite great too. I buy quite a lot of so-called world music nowadays. And they're quite good at that.

Larry's Corner - it's a guy from Detroit. There are bands playing there and seven people show up. And it could be a band like from Spain. And he sells coffee. And he sells strange toys, but he also sells a lot of world music so I go in there and just have a look and ask him to play it on YouTube because you can't listen to the records there. And it's 20 meters from where I live; it's very convenient. And he's a nice guy to chat with. He also shows movies, has like an art gallery there. It's a very small place, but it's really a niche.

Eriks Gondolin: If I go to a restaurant, I think the view is - or the environment is almost as important as the food - maybe more important. And I think Gondolin has the best view in town. You can see the water leading out to the archipelago, out to the open sea, and you can see a large part of Stockholm. And they have great drinks. But they also have the best lunch in the city. So I go there for lunch quite a bit.

Kjell & Company: For some reason, I buy a lot of cables and very unnecessary kind of things, and things for the studio. And I go to this shop which is like a very boring computer stuff, but I go there a lot - think once or twice every week. I don't know where I pile up all this stuff I buy there. It's my go to electronic shop. Today we went because I had to pick up cables for my The Legends' show in Vietnam.


Johan
Johan

This studio is where you make all your music. Do you have a favourite instrument?

Yeah I do, but it's in the computer! I think I could live without all these (instruments) nowadays. I mean I do like these old analog synthesizers; they sound great. But I don't play the guitar that much; when I do, I play my Fender Jaguar.

What was your first instrument?

When I was eight, I got this small keyboard. [reaches for the smallest keyboard in the studio]

How do you divide your time between operating the Labrador label, making music, and being a father?

Right now, I don't have the time to make music; I just work with the label. Actually, when I sort of wake up in the morning, and if I feel inspired to make music, I make music. And if I don't feel so inspired, I go to the office. Sometimes I have to go to the office anyways... everyday, I do what I want to do the most, which I think makes it a lot more fun.


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