FEATURE: Mikhael Paskalev

By Alana Mazurke

The charismatic man from Oslo, Mikhael Paskalev has proved exceptionally well that he is one of the most enigmatic, excitable upcoming musicians to date in an interview of firsts where more was discussed about Silverchair than if I interviewed Silverchair themselves; it’s a long story. The debut album What’s Life Without Losers, featuring first single release ‘I Spy’ making its way to #75 on 2013’s JJJ Hottest 100’s list, is out March 7th through Dew Process. It’s an album of Scandinavian pop delight, almost like describing a fine wine; delicate notes of indie with a touch of Summery pop…It’s easy listening at its finest.“We do have really great fresh summers but they only last for a short time, like where two weeks of the whole month are actually warm. It makes you appreciate it a lot more hah.”

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“I’ve been raised with Home and Away on TV. That shows cracks me up; it’s amazing… I’m expecting to get drama and sunshine when I get to Australia.”

As a shared fan of Silverchair the discussion went on its own little tangent here, proving that he actually digs Australian music and knows; notable effort was to commemorate Sydney outfit The Preatures stating they were one of the most excitable bands he had heard in the last year. “I am extremely excited to come and play and like I’ve already said earlier been really trying to reach out to people who might know Silverchair  – I’m really hoping they’ll have a re union when I’m down there. I love their music; it’s pretty like nostalgic for me I guess – not a lot of people from Norway listened to Silverchair…I don’t even know if I’ve heard the latest album…the scary thing right now is that when I was listening to Silverchair I was like 13 or 14 which was the peak of downloading music…I had loads of tracks but with none of them having actually been a complete record; I don’t even know what any of the records are called! I feel sorry for never giving them my money.”

The album What’s Life Without Losers was aptly named after the title of the single ‘What’s Life Without Losers’ was the forerunner in deciding on a name, a process which was deemed quite difficult by Mikhael. It turns out the morals behind the song weren’t as simple either. “I wrote the song and this is gonna sound kind of soppy and cheesy, but I met my girlfriend a couple of years ago and just a couple of days after I met her I started writing this song. Mostly because I had just left school in Liverpool and I went into my very kind of selfish state where all I wanted and needed to think about was myself. Then all of a sudden I meet this really cool chick that I just really wanna hang out with and it was just a big conflict in my head; the fact of if I should do this or not because she seemed so great yet she’d be taking some of my time. So I just started thinking about that and started writing the line and I guess just kind of that line what’s life without losers was championing to get to know her better.”

“I’ve always just been focused on song writing so I’ve never actually written for the specific reason of trying to reach a sound or concept kind of album I’m just always focused on melodies and song writing. Because I’m focusing on that as a core it’s always been very easy to take the song and make it into what you want to do; I think I can play 70% of the songs off the album completely different if I wanted to. Then there’s the ideal of a debut album, I’ve never done it before but I get that it’s a bit like songs that have accumulated over time. In the beginning obviously you write some shit songs and then songs over time that you just don’t know how you wrote them and you think they’re great so there’s always ups and downs; I think I just came to this stage where I started recording and I had enough songs for an album but I kept writing. I’d say its 50/50 maybe on stuff that’s written before I started recording and stuff that was written after I started recording.”

What makes the album great is this almost constant thoroughfare of eclecticism which Mikhael resorts to being his varied influences. “Music is obviously very inspired by music as well which often you forget to mention but it is extremely inspiring. Movies is almost as…if I wasn’t doing music I’d love to write a manuscript or direct or something  I just love motion pictures – and ah I guess besides that you can’t get away from the fact that life is pretty inspiring and uninspiring – you quickly learn from experience about that.”

Unashamedly the rest of the interview continues to be a discussion and name swap of documentaries for the next ten minutes.

Watch the clip for single ‘I Spy’ here