‘I want to be the best at everything,’ declares Lucas Nord – and you can bet your life that he means it. Despite the jetlag he confesses to be suffering from prior to our interview (he’s at home in Stockholm, only just having arrived back from LA), the singer-songwriter isn’t holding back. He means business.
‘I don’t really do anything else other than music. It sounds really boring, but it’s all I think about! If I’m not performing, or writing, or recording, then I’m listening to music. It’s never just listening, though. I don’t switch off. If I’m listening to someone else, then I’m thinking about what I like in their music, and how it could work in my own.’
Nord is an electronic crooner, with a penchant for putting melody into the melancholic. He’s an artist looking to bring his heartbreak onto the dancefloor – a sonic mixture of Nick Murphy, Sampha, Nao and Shura. It’s funky, electronic pop music that deals with love, loss and heartbreak. His latest record, Company, is a seven-track collection of upbeat, toe-tapping miserablism.
Tracks such as Don’t Need Your Love and Faking are perfect examples of what the Swede does best. ‘No matter what you do, no matter what you say, you’ve been faking,’ he sings during the latter’s hook, a devastating lyrical revelation that’s set against an upbeat toe-tapper of a trip-hop instrumental. It makes for quite the sonic contrast – which is something that Nord’s always been interested in.
‘Yeah, I guess I do consider myself a juxtaposing artist,’ he replies, when I quiz him on the relationship between story and sound.
‘I’ve always thought it was interesting, to take feelings of sadness and anger and making people want to dance to them. The contrast is fun to play with.’
It’s fun to listen to, as well. Though Nord’s firmly rooted in the electronic, he works in instrumentation. ‘When it comes to song-writing, it’ll often begin with me sat at my piano – that’s how most of them start’ he says. Though he’s also a successful DJ, he seems most at ease when he’s providing a genre built on artificial sounds with heart, colour and life. Consider the personalised nature of the subject matter in his songs, too, and you’re left with collections of music that feel human and relatable, regardless of their technical makeup. Much of this probably stems from his upbringing – his grandfather is the legendary jazz clarinet player Putte Wickman, while mother was also a musician. ‘
‘I always had their support and advice – which was incredible. I really grew up with music. I still keep them close. They know exactly how things work, and stuff that I’m going through. I don’t take that for granted.’
During our chat, what’s most striking about Nord is his drive. Although he’s a warm and laidback interviewee, every point he makes, regardless of topic, concludes with a serious statement of intent. Here is an artist who takes nothing for granted; he isn’t going to be caught resting on his laurels – no matter what success comes his way. ‘Yeah, the album is good, but that just makes me want to go away and do an even better one,’ he explains. ‘I’m such a perfectionist. I only see opportunities to do more.’
It’s going to be fun watching him do so.