Loving Patti Smith doesn’t get you a one-way ticket to Blues Town. Fan-girling Kurt Cobain won't guarantee you a love song devoted to last nights rendezvous. Crumpled paper, flakes of rubbings and a pint of coffee are requirements that get you to the cuff of stardom. Let your strings tangle, nimble fingers ache and heart pour out until you reach those bright lights ahead and you're everybody’s next craze. Let them adore you.
The morning rehearsal is a feat that many don’t grace. Rockstars burn out far quicker than the young dreamers still strumming away in the unseen hours, gasping for their shot on the main stage. Their sights are set on the top, as they shake of last night's beats that thump in their ears and make way to their resting guitars.
Musician Axel Dagman is with them in the mornings. He breathes with modesty and plays with soul, as he sits in the early summer rain, drinking his coffee and strumming away to old rock idols. Elsa Soläng captures him in this daze as he listens to Stockholm’s sounds for the day's dose of inspiration. These morning rehearsals are mighty, and only a select few are awake to listen.
Hey Axel! How has your summer been?
Well, I’m a bit sad that it has come to an end. I love summer and almost everything that comes with it. Having a late night swim after a long warm day is a favourite, as well as drinking coffee in the summer rain. I can’t think of anything more relaxing.
Were you here in Stockholm when we had our warmest weeks?
Yeah, I believe so, but I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. I went to New York and Prague, which was amazing. I visited a lots of museums and absolutely loved both cities.
Tell me, who is Axel?
Haha wow, it’s really hard to have a straight up answer to that question. But I would say that I’m quite restless if I don’t focus my energy on something specific, like making music or something. I’m also rather stubborn at times.
You just finished school, did you enjoy it?
Yeah, I went to a really good music school here in Stockholm and liked it. Of course, I was tired of it after three years, so I ended up skipping a lot of the lessons - but that turned out well anyway!
What’s your plan this autumn?
I hoped to get a job after graduation and until last week that wish looked very dark. But, through one of my best friends I got one. I know that’s a bit cheating, but still. My other dream would be that me and my band would open for The Cure when they’re playing here in Stockholm this autumn. That would be really cool.
What got you into music?
I’ve been playing the piano for as long as I can remember and my parents have always been listening to jazz, so that’s been around me my whole life. It wasn’t until I bought “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns N Roses when I was 11, that I knew I wanted to make music myself. I almost purely listened to rock; Jimi Hendrix, Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Black Sabbath and occasionally some jazz. That got me into some more of the 80s and 90s indie bands like The Cure, Joy Division and so on.
You are in a band called Delagoon, how would you like to describe your music?
We play some sort of mix between post-punk and indie-pop. We blend influences from everywhere, so it’s like Iceage or Joy Division meets pure pop.
How did you come up with the name “Delagoon”?
It’s very bad word play; our bass player Christoffer came up with it while he was doing an accent, so it does not mean anything at all. After we named ourselves, we found out that there is an American national park called Delagoon.
Are you nervous about releasing your next single in September?
It’s going to be exciting, but it’s also a bit scary. When we released our last single called 'Somehow', people and press who wrote about it called it “a pure post-punk hit”, which of course was nice in a way, but then we got that stamp of being a pure post-punk band and that’s not really the case. So it’s a bit scary to release a song that’s more of a pop song with a post-punk nerve.
When I shot you guys before you were asking me to wait to take photographs when you weren’t laughing (I did take them anyway). Do you feel that you and your band need to have this cool brooding image?
Of course, haha! Our record label told us to never smile and that image is everything - look at the Jesus and Maria chain for example, did they smile?
I know you make music on your own as well, but how and when do you find inspiration for that?
I always get creative at night, which isn’t very good for my sleep. So I guess that’s when I process things. Most of my music is influenced by teenage drama and other cliché things.
How would you describe the boy of Stockholm?
I love Stockholm, but to describe “the boy of Stockholm”, wow, hard question. Maybe he is a bit self aware and focuses on him-self. I love Vinterviken; it’s this green place along the shore where you can take a beautiful walk, have a picnic or visit the garden café nearby. And it’s a bit out of the city.
If you could wish for a perfect Sunday?
I would wake up and it would be pouring down from the sky. I would have breakfast on my balcony, which should have a roof (I don’t have that right now). I would sit there in the rain, drink my coffee and eat fruit salad until the rain stopped. Then I would get on my bike and ride into town, meet a slightly hungover friend and we would just chill, drink coffee, maybe a beer, and make great music until the time is way too late.
I like your style and the clothes you brought for our photoshoot.
Thank you! Yeah, I think it’s a way of expressing yourself and people often get their first impression based on what your wearing, so I definitely think it’s worth considering that. Sometimes I think my friends and I are more shallow than we want to admit - we often ask each other for fashion advice.
Do you like being in front of the camera?
I'm actually not that comfortable in front of the camera. I just try to be as relaxed and comfortable as I can. But, there is always that little part of your brain telling you that you’re going to look weird in the pictures, so I kind of have mixed feelings about being in front of the camera. I feel that it’s getting easier and easier, but if you had asked me three years ago if I wanted to be in this magazine with pictures of me, I would have given you a straight up ‘no’.
What do you think of the world right now?
Some things are going in the right direction, but there are so many bad things going on as well. I believe that we can do better. Hearing about all the shit going on in the world with corrupt political parties getting bigger, people having their lives destroyed because of war, people getting pressed only because they’re women, loving the “wrong person” or having the “wrong opinion”. There’s so much to be sad about I think.
What mark would you like to have on the world?
Oh, big question! I’ll give you the short answer. I want my band to be recognized as one of the important dividing bands of the 21st Century and that our music lives on.
Interview by Elsa Soläng.
Words by Charli Poster.