What I love the most about creating music is that it can be a kind of religious experience – when you’re in the flow of creation or listening to a great live concert, there is not much that can beat that. In some sense, the musical experience then becomes larger than life.
My name is Per Jonsson and I work as a web developer, consulting in the Stockholm area. I was born in Sweden, grew up in a small town, and then moved out as I commenced university studies.
I have lived in Stockholm since 2014. What brought me here was an opportunity to work as a trainee at an iGaming company called Betsson Group. It really turned my life in a new direction – I felt like I was living my dream, working with something I really enjoyed doing. The tech community in Stockholm and the opportunities there are truly amazing.
Computers have always fascinated me. My sister showed me how to write HTML and how to create a web page when I was 12, and that got me hooked on coding. From there on, I taught myself how to write code and I tried making computer games myself, which was hard but rewarding. I loved how creative the process was, how you could create something so interactive and alive out of almost nothing – just text on a screen.
I was a university drop-out student, initially. I really wanted to become a programmer, but engineering studies weren’t my cup of tea. That’s when I decided to study Music Production.
So, I finished my studies but struggled to make ends meet. I had to work extra hours in the security industry, almost burning myself out. But I saved up some money so that I could quit, complete a couple of years of dedicated programming studies, and finally get a university degree. I found a programme that focused solely on programming and not the traditional engineering curriculum. That was a big turning point.
My number one passion in life is still tech, and that is what I spend most of my time doing every day.
Outside of work, I love Music Production. I started experimenting with music software as a teenager. It sounded horrible initially, but I guess I brought something unique to it by mixing the electronic idiom up with jazz and acoustic elements, and I noticed other people taking an interest in it. It has been with me ever since, even though there are periods of silence every now and then.
I devour all kinds of music, be it soul, jazz, hip-hop, rock, pop, electronic, classical, or opera. If I would look at my Spotify stats, it would be heavily dominated by two jazz organists: the great Jimmy Smith plus the incredible Joey DeFrancesco. The legendary saxophone player John Coltrane also has a special place in my heart, as well as the pianist Keith Jarrett. Joey Alexander is another cool cat!
Cinematic music also fascinates me. Two big influences are Ludwig Göransson (Tenet, The Mandalorian, etc.) and Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, etc.).
Recently, I discovered the Swedish 19th/20th-century pianist and composer Wilhelm Stenhammar, and his second piano concerto. That will be a big inspiration going forward.
In the electronic genre, I would pick Squarepusher, Chemical Brothers, and St. Germain, among others.
Usually, my songs are built entirely through the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). However, I still keep drums, a guitar, some hardware synths, keyboards, microphones, and a piano around in my studio. I try to practice the piano regularly as it is both enjoyable and brings a lot of ideas and aliveness to my compositions. I also have been trying to learn the guitar, but I am not patient enough. My friends often help me add vocals and guitar tracks to my productions.
My method of producing music is either by improvising in front of the piano or the DAW or by listening to other artists and getting inspired that way, sometimes borrowing an idea or two and extending on that. Sometimes, I will receive guitar and vocal tracks from others and will make a production out of that.
My latest album is called The Dark Bird and is available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6WX0C97h0xOX52HVUOJ885?si=EC_tXff4RO-oQULTzcuPhg&dl_branch=1.
I have had some fantastic experiences with my music. It has been an honour for me to have collaborated with Prince Po from the rap constellation Organized Konfusion. Eminem has praised this group as one of his biggest influences; he sometimes wears a shirt with their logo on at his live shows (Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA5key5lnps).
Another honour was writing music for my brother’s wedding. I wrote the lyrics and the orchestral arrangement and then produced it all. I hired a soprano for the vocals: Negar Zarassi. It was an amazing experience. A few years later, she actually made it to the final of Persia’s Got Talent!
I have a few future goals with my music. I would love to be able to express myself fully and to let the music be the natural extension of my soul, unconstricted by musical theory or technique.
From a professional standpoint, it’s hard to say how music production benefits me, but at least it has a balancing effect – the right half of the brain keeps the left one in check, and it helps me relax and discard some of the work-related thoughts and problems that are spinning in the back of my head.
My advice to someone interested in Music Production is to not be afraid of expressing yourself, regardless of anyone’s particular judgment. Do it for yourself and have fun – if someone else likes what you do, that’s a big bonus. For me, it’s just as much being in the process of creation and experiencing the final result. That is what keeps me going.
There is always more than tech. I feel that it’s nice to have music as a hobby rather than an occupation. That way, there’s no need to feel stressed or pressured about it; you can practice an instrument and compose songs at your own pace. Music helps me balance my life, and there’s something spiritual to it, which is kind of hard to find in tech.