One boy has said that it feels like he has scored a goal in the FIFA World Cup when he listens to Nobody Knows. Do you think about how your songs will affect people when you write them?
"That is exactly what I want to convey in my music, to communicate the feeling the song is about. That is the entire purpose of the music, to share. When you manage to convey the feeling, you have been successful."
Darin, however, was not at all happy with Nobody Knows when he wrote it. Even though his song writing partner Tony Nilsson recognized the song's potential, Darin was hesitant. Every time he listened to it, however, it grew on him, and after a slight rewrite it was good enough to become the first single on the new Exit album.
"By the time we finally released Nobody Knows, I had changed my mind. I really liked it! Nothing really happened at first. It took six months before it started to get played on the radio and reached number one on the charts. It's lucky I didn't give up on the song in the beginning, but instead decided to give it some time."
What is most important when you compose?
"Everyone thinks differently when writing, but I rely a great deal on feeling. That's where everything starts. Everything has to be done with the right feeling since that is what makes a good song. For example, if it is to be a piano, it has to be the right feeling. The same applies to the song; you have to sing it in the right way. How the structure is built up is important, of course, but for me, the songs are based on feeling. This is top priority."
"There are other songwriters I admire who think entirely differently. One aspect involves putting the different parts of the song together in the right way, for example. And then there is always 'here comes the bridge, here comes the verse'. However, I still rely a great deal on instinct, 'this feels right, it needs to go up here, it needs to go down here'. More feeling than mathematics I would say. That's how it was when I was in music school as well. I always liked ear training better than music theory."
What inspires and fuels your development?
"I am naturally inspired by other people's music. I like listening to modern classical music by Einaudi, for example, as well as film music. One of my favorites right now is the soundtrack from The Village by James Newton Howard. Then I vacillate wildly between everything from Bob Marley to Sade, OneRepublic and José González."
"But it is the feeling I have in the studio that determines what my own music sounds like. What I feel like when I'm there, if I'm having fun. When I feel good in the studio and click with the people I'm working with, the songs are usually good. And, of course, the more you write, the more you develop."
You seem to have an overflow of ideas and songs. Do you ever get writer's cramp?
"Every once in a while I get stuck on lyrics, but never on the melodies. I always have the melodies in my head, they are always there. In my most recent album Exit, I focused a great deal on the lyrics, really getting involved in them and making them more detailed. Since my previous album Lovekiller, I feel like I have developed the most in terms of writing lyrics."
Is songwriter Darin given too little recognition in the shadow of Darin the artist?
"When I started writing songs eleven years ago, I didn't even see myself as a song and lyrics writer. A huge amount has happened since then from a musical point of view, and I have recently started receiving more recognition for my songwriting. More people know who I am and what I can do musically. This is due, amongst other things, to my taking part in the "Så mycket bättre" program, where I got to talk about taking part in writing my own songs."
"In this particular genre there might be a lot of people who believe that the artist gets finished songs from someone without really getting involved as an artist. But the exact opposite is true for me. I am very involved and have been from my breakthrough. I have always known what I want to do."
Which colleagues have meant the most for your compositions?
"I grew up with Max Martin's songs, and he is someone I have greatly admired and been inspired by. Getting to work with him on the first and third albums was fantastic. I have also learned an incredible amount from Tony Nilsson, RedOne and Jörgen Elofsson, for example. It was very exciting to work with Jim Beanz and Sacha Skarbeck, for example, on my most recent album Exit."
"I really like to be inspired by and learn from others. I remember when Jörgen Elofsson wrote Who’s That Girl. I was sitting in the living room as he finished writing the end of the chorus. As he wrote, he told me what his thoughts were about the structure. I learn so much on occasions like this. It has also been extremely instructive for me, from the very start of my career, to be able to sit next to the producers and see how they work."
What is it like to write for other artists?
"It is naturally a greater challenge to write for other people than to write for myself. For example, I try to adjust to the artist's scope and voice, and try to determine what can best emphasize the voice. I haven't had time to write for others as much as I would like so far, but I would like to do more of this in the future."
Do you know how many works you have registered with STIM?
"No, not exactly. How many? What, 122! Really? That's a lot. But I have been writing songs for a long time, ever since I was 14 years old, so there are naturally quite a few."
What are your plans for the near future?
"What I'm looking most forward to right now are the concerts in Sweden. I haven't been out playing in a long time. I am really happy that I have been able to continue working with music, but I don't take anything for granted in terms of the future. I am not going to sit back, but will continue working just as hard as I always have.”