CAJSA SIIK

Cajsa Siik is the Stockholm based musician who's ghostly and ethereal voice manages to smoothly float on top of faster beats. The Other Half spoke with Cajsa about 90th birthday parties and dreamy frailness. 

Introduce yourself to us
My name is Cajsa Siik. I’m an artist, musician, songwriter and producer from Sweden. Originally from the north but based in Stockholm.  

Explain your musical style? 
I’m obsessed with melodies. What i do is basically to dress melodies in musical outfits – trying to capture certain modes and emotions. I’m releasing my third album DOMINO in June. The record is rhythm- and melody driven and the soundscape involves both acoustic and electronic elements. I wanted it to be focused on dynamics. Hard edges, explosion and dreamy frailness.  

What was the inspiration behind White Noise?
When writing the song it became my way to talk about time, trust and space. The feeling of sometimes being two faced. At that time I was also thinking a lot about the way I’ve handled exposure when it comes to music. How important it is to hold on to that inner conviction. Whatever that is. Tune out the outside world and try to follow yourself wherever you go. 

We're a magazine for women, who is the most inspirational woman in your life? 
I have so many inspiring, smart and beautiful women in my life - women I can talk to about anything. Nothing is taboo. They are my lifeline.  

Last week I ended up at a 90th (!) birthday party for a woman named Inga. She lives in a little village in the north of Sweden, close to the mountains. Inga is a concert violinist and has travelled the world with her violin. At the party she held a beautiful concert playing Bach and Grieg. That was so inspiring. At the age of 90 she’s still exploring music using her instrument to express. Even with slower-moving fingers. 

When it comes to other musicians I would say that Patti Smith and PJ Harvey has inspiered me a lot - with their honesty, strength and artistic integrity. 

What's the best bit of advice you've ever received? 
My grandma used to say: ”Don’t take life too seriously – it will soon be over anyway” I’ve never managed to do that. I usually do the opposite. My curse and my blessing. A quote I carry with me is: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” 

What do you think is the biggest challenge you face as a woman in the music industry? 
Just having to answer that question somehow defines the problem. That repeatedly defining the ”woman” in the music industry as something ’different’, separated from the ”man”, somehow defines the ”man” as the norm. That bothers me. It’s a part of a patriarchal structure and unfortunately a part of the reality women face every day. On a personal level I’ve experienced certain assumptions about me due to the fact that I’m a female musician and artist. Sometimes it has involved expectations of music style and my role as a producer.  

Tell us your favourite story from Tour? 
Two years ago I went on this very strange tour in northern Sweden. It was during summertime and I visited these small small villages situated in the middle of nowhere. In one village i was supposed to play outside but it was so cold – nearly freezing (observe this was in june) so I ended up playing the show inside the local food store (!). In the audience there was this man looking like he was coming straight out of the woods, with dreadlocks and a very nice smile. Love happened. Today he’s a very important part of my life. I didn’t really expect that would happen playing a show at a local food store in the middle of nowhere.  

What are your plans for 2017?
I’m releasing DOMINO June 10th. That same month I will play shows in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Denmark. In the fall I’m going on a longer European tour. I’m also currently working on an EP that probably will be released in 2017. 

Mara Simpson - The Charitable Pop Star

After donating proceeds from her last album to Mothers2Mothers, it was evident that Mara Simpson was someone The Other Half wanted to talk to. We sat down with the charitable Pop Star to talk female influences and her inspiration. 

Tell us about your decision to donate money from your album to Mothers2Mothers?
I left the label I was with, giving me the freedom to release my album however I wanted, and to have financial control over that. Mothers2mothers are such a brilliant, practical charity, who do a lot of work in Kenya where my family come from. I was really impressed at what they were doing so decided to pay a % of the profits from my album forward to them, rather than what I would have paid in interest back to the label. Mothers2mothers were incredibly supportive of my music, I’m hoping to continue to be able to support them in what they do.

What inspires you when you write music?
Music helps me make sense of things and understand life. People, stories, places, histories, all inspire me. 

What are your plans for 2017?
I’m just about to disappear into the Cambridgeshire countryside to record with my band which I’m really excited about. We’ll be working towards a series of releases this year and some new collaborations. I’m also going on tour to Germany and Switzerland next month. And am hoping to play some summer festivals!

How do you think the representation of female artists in the industry needs to change?
We need to continue a shift towards equality where humans are treated like humans no matter of your sex or gender. We’re people with souls, sex and gender comes second to that, it’s a detail, arguably a big one, but it doesn’t necessarily define you. We need to see the misogyny and prejudges shown towards women, to get uncooler and uncooler. It doesn’t just doesn’t have space to be tolerated anymore, it’s complete Bull **** and who has time for that?

Who is inspiring you at the moment?
Patti Smith and Brene Brown.

What women did you look up to growing up?
My Mum, my Sister, Tina Turner, my year 5 teacher Mrs Beer who taught us yoga.

Describe your sound for us in three words?
Warm, gutsy, imperfect. 

What is your biggest dream?
To play with an orchestra at the Albert Hall.

 

Words by India Opie Meres