FINALS ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER
A few weeks ago we started our first ever Battle of the Bands music contest – a battle royale style live music contest held in our Skybar on Fridays and Saturdays. We went out with a short video and some info asking bands to send us material if they were interested in playing for us. After getting sorting through a bunch of applicants, we hand picked 16 bands out of all the applicants and tried our best to make sure there was enough variety between the bands. We included rock bands, solo artists, acoustic bands, bluegrass and even a jazz 1920’s inspired jazz band!
Each evening we’ve started at 9 PM with 4 different bands, with different styles, going head to head. Each band played for 20(ish) minutes and were scored on several different criteria. These included performance/appearance, vocals, lyrics and energy and many others. A final score out of 100 was given and with four judges it was a total score out of 400 points. Some nights we had clear winners, other nights the point differences were +- 5 points making it really, really difficult to pick winners. In the end we picked 8 bands to go through to the semi finals: Human Highlight Reel, Shaky, The Bafoons, The Imperfects, Overbooked, Quantum Refrigerator, Diamond Bullet and Moodstone.
This weekend we had an even harder time picking the bands for finals. All bands rocked the Tower with great music and awesome performances. A real standout for Saturday was Quantum Refrigerator – they really surprised us with new material and a much more intense show. We really noticed a change in their attitude and it was like night and day between their two performances, big shout out to those guys! These are the kind of changes we’re looking for and take note of when we will be deciding an overall winner for our contest. Initially we had planned to have four bands in the final but we had to throw in a wild card (Quantum) because of their great performance, new material and fire up on the stage.
For our final on June 16th we’ll be starting at 8 PM after the bands have gotten some food. Each band will have 20 minutes again to perform their best songs and this time we’re looking for as much new material as possible – this will be rewarded very well!
The following bands are in our final now: Moodstone, The Imperfects, Diamond Bullet, Shaky and wildcards Quantum Refrigerator.
This month’s featured artist is not really an artist in the traditional sense – nope, we’ve got another photographer featured this month: Anne Sofie Eriksson. Coming from Norway, Anne Sofie fell in love with Stockholm’s charm quite quickly and decided to make the move over the border to join us in Sweden. She brings sharp images with start contrasting colors and even manages to capture some pictures of Stockholm in such a way it feels like you’re looking at New York or Time Square. She’s got quite a solid following on Instagram and she can also be found on Facebook and her own personal site!
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born and grew up in Norway, but have been living in Sweden for most of my adult life. When I first came to Stockholm as a tourist, I was struck by the beauty, the charm and the history of this city – the water, the lush greenery and the old boats and buildings that all seemed to have a story to tell.
After many years of working as an independent contractor doing transcriptions and translations, life in front of a computer screen started to feel a bit cramped and I took up photography as a hobby. A few years later my hobby has turned into another profession, one that provides a constant stream of change and interesting challenges.
With this chance to exhibit my work at the iconic Kaknästornet, I want to honour beautiful Stockholm and the great first impression this city made on me.
When did you realize you wanted to work with art?
I’ve always been fascinated by photography, but it wasn’t until five years ago that I first picked up a camera. After having developed a habit of looking at beautiful photos on various photo-sharing sites on the internet, I started hanging out on Instagram after being prompted by a friend who thought that app would be right up my alley. And was she right! I discovered a world of beauty and inspiration and, as this coincided with me getting my first camera, the ball was set rolling.
How did you develop your style as an artist?
By looking at photos, looking at more photos and looking at even more photos! And by spending practically all my spare time out and about with my camera, trying out new techniques after reading up on them on the internet. Nowadays, there’s practically nothing about photography you can’t learn through tutorials, articles and sheer grit, and the first thing I set out to master was making dreamy long exposure landscapes.
Can you tell us a little bit more about this style of art?
Long exposure photography is the technique of using slow shutter speeds to blur things that are moving while keeping stationary elements sharp. The technique is much used for seascapes, but also for nighttime cityscapes where light trails from cars add colour and motion to the image.
That being said, by now I don’t think I have only one style. I am too curious and too fond of variety to settle for one particular style. Photography is an ongoing process of learning to see, and I never want to stop taking in the world!
What is art to you and how is it important to you?
Actually, I’m still not sure I would call what I do art, though. I tend to think of photography more in terms of communication. The communicative potential of photography never ceases to amaze me. I love it when people share their thoughts about my photos, what the images mean to them on a personal level, or when they show me one of their own photos accompanied by the story of why they took it.
But then again, art is of course also communication, so I guess this is still a kind of answer to the question.
Are there any artists out there who inspire you?
There are so many great, inspirational photographers of various styles I wouldn’t even know where to start! I will mention two photographers though, who are an inspiration to me in more than just their work. Berenice Abbott and Annie Liebovitz are icons and pioneers of photography and a constant reminder that the most important thing in photography is to do your own thing and go your own way.
Have you ever done anything socially or politically related?
Not as such, yet. I have a certain respect for taking on such a project and feel I’m still honing my skills for a possible future project of that kind.
How often do you travel (in or outside of Sweden) and do you ever try to do work abroad? (Inspiration from traveling etc…)
During my first years of doing photography I traveled quite a bit, mostly to England, to meet up with other photographers I’d met through Instagram and visit the iconic sites all photographers long to visit. During the last couple of years though, photography has turned into a profession for me and kept me busy with less time for travel.
What was your last big project and where/how did it go?
I’ve been lucky enough to do a few exhibitions, a couple of smaller ones and group shows as well as a larger solo exhibition last year called “City lines and city lights” highlighting my passion for cityscapes.
At the moment I’m also working on a couple of interesting projects, although they are both at a stage where I would prefer to wait to go into detail about them.
What are some of your goals for the short term and for the long term?
For the short term I want to explore portraiture.
For the long term… I wouldn’t be able to say! Photography is such an unpredictable and exiting journey, so I’m just making the most of the ride.
Fires, songs, brunches and celebrations
Valborg is an age old tradition for Sweden and many other European countries. It has roots linking back to the Middle Ages and Christianity. Giant fires were lit to keep dark forces (usually witches) at bay while the local folk celebrated. Plenty of food and drinking was had in the Middle Ages and that hasn’t seemed to have changed much today. It’s said to be THE drinking day of the year for Swedes. This year Valborg falls on a Monday so expect it to be a wild weekend and an even wilder Monday due to the public holiday on Tuesday. We will be open on Tuesday, don’t worry! In fact, we’ll be serving our famous brunch buffet from Saturday all the way through to Tuesday. This is perfect for those of you who want to enjoy the view while nursing the inevitable hangover that comes as a bi-product of Valborg celebrations.
Look out for large (structured) fires in your neighborhoods – most will be having at least one or have one nearby to attend. There’s usually singing involved as well and it can make for a cool outing for the family, especially with kids.
After you’re done celebrating you can come find us up in the Tower to enjoy brunch. We’ve got two services (11:00 and 14:00) each day from Saturday through to Tuesday. It’s 315 SEK for adults and a bit cheaper for kids. All-you-can eat Swedish/American style! Call us on 08-667 21 80 or book online here!