Magnus Sörensen is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who fronted his own band Suburbia and the indie-pop band Crossing Memory Lane. He is from the midsize town Trollhättan in Sweden, and today he discussed with the making of his musical projects, his single “Breathe Easy,” and what it’s like to write music for other artists.
Magnus had his first band at age 14, playing in several groups before starting Suburbia in 2002, a band that had the rock sound but was also very melodic and pop. The band played together for 10 years releasing four albums and two EPs along the way.
One time, when Magnus played with Suburbia, the band opened up for Hellacopters, Backyard Babies and Millencolin on a big circus tent stage.
“That was an amazing gig,” Magnus said. “Not just because of the big names, but the whole atmosphere was amazing the audience was in a great mood the whole show.”
Magnus said that some of the artists who have inspired him the most over the years include Butch Walker, Tom Petty Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters.
“Other than that, the power-pop of the 90s are my greatest inspiration,” Magnus said. “Swedish bands like Wannadies, Merrymakers, Popsicle, Brainpool and American bands like Jellyfish, Fountains Of Wayne, Weezer and others.”
Magnus also started another musical project called Crossing Memory Lanes that consisted of two other singer-songwriters who were the frontmen of their own bands – Marcus Bohm from the 60’s inspired pop band Kyte and Jimmie Rudolfsson from west coast rockers Danger Avenue. They released one EP during their time together.
Magnus eventually decided to go solo and has since released his debut album “Love In a Mixtape.” The album is a mix of pop, rock, indie and Americana, inspired by the acoustic guitar playing of Tom Petty and John Mellencamp.
“I always have a hard time to describing my style, but its pop-rock and very melodic,” Magnus said. “It’s somewhere in between power pop and singer-songwriter. The melodies are my main focus.”
The first single off of his debut album was “Breathe Easy,” a melodic rock song with power pop choruses.
“’Breathe Easy’ is a very special song to me,” Magnus said. “I think it’s the song that sounds the most ‘me’ out of all the songs I’ve ever written. It was the last song I wrote for the record and everything just fell into place during the recording. The band really made it come life and the vocal harmonies in the chorus still gives me goose bumps.”
The video was filmed in an empty theatre in just two hours and edited by Magnus himself. He was going for a simple video that showed everyone enjoying themselves in the music they make.
“The lyrics are a call out to someone who should wake up and realize that they could have it so much better,” Magnus said. “That maybe they should slow down and take a look around them and notice it for themselves to break out of old habits and into a new better way of living. Encouragement and hope I guess would be a short way to describe it!”
Magnus was accompanied by The Captains Inc., which consists of Jonas Myrholm (guitars), Mikael Tuved (bass), Jerry Lowberg (drums) and Mikael Teger (guitars). He originally met The Captains Inc. when he ran the town record store. He was working there for 12 years and the band members were all customers throughout the years, and so everyone already knew each other.
“I had some demos ready and wanted to start recording again so I just asked them while meeting them one by one,” Magnus said. “Thankfully they have all played together in several constellations so it was an incredibly smooth ride to get the sound!”
When writing music, Magnus said that melodies are never a problem because he can come up with a song he likes in a couple of minutes. But when it comes to lyrics, he has to focus more on them since he wants to tell a story rather than making a song that has no meaning to him. He said most of his songs are like parts of a diary, telling a narrative about himself or someone he knows.
In addition to working on his music, a big part of Magnus’s musical output is done in collaborations with other artists. He co-wrote a song for Swedish artist Jimi M. Anderson on a song called “Stepping Stones.”
“I like it best when the ideas come from myself and when the artist give me ideas based on it,” Magnus said. “When I’m working on someone else’s idea it’s harder but it can also grow into something great and unexpected.”
Magnus said when it comes to writing music for other artists, sometimes they come to him with ideas and other times he comes up with the ideas. He is able to delve outside of his comfort zone when he writes music for other artists because he can write simpler lyrics that do not have special meaning to him but still suit the artist it is written for.
Currently, Magnus is writing on a new album by Jimi M. Anderson and is also half way done making demos for his next solo album.
“There’s also this untitled project where me and a friend wrote and recorded song parts and sent to each other to try build it into songs,” Magnus said. “Recording this way is strange, sometimes hard but very fun. As it looks now it will be a four song EP to be released this spring.”
Outside of music, Magnus also runs a Swedish podcast every week titled GeekPodden, a podcast about music, movies, games, and more. It is one of the biggest podcasts in Sweden and is on its third year now.