Nike Sellmar and Rickard Johansson met each other in Piteå, in the northern part of Sweden where they both studied music. Before they started the band they played together in different constellations. And after a while, they fell in love. Once a couple, they started writing songs together and they just could not stop. Songwriting became a way to solve their personal conflicts and most of the songs they have written are about their relationship. There is some kind of magic in the way music can help people communicate.
Two years have gone by since RIKE’s debut album “Green Eyed & Bitter” and they are now super excited to finally share the new songs with people out there. The new EP “More Feeling, Please Vol 1”, that was released April 27th was intense and emotional to record. Nike and Rickard have never been more proud of the work they have put into the first of two EP’s to come. Some songs are more rock than their previous material and some songs are even more rootsy then before. It feels like they have taken some ideas to the max. Nike Sellmar and Rickard Johansson who have written all of the songs hope people will enjoy them and that they may even reach some new fans.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
Our pleasure! We have had a great start releasing a single “The Reason” and an EP called “More Feeling, Please vol 1”, and we are beyond proud and happy to finally share the songs with the people.
Like a lot of folks, we have been looking forward to playing our music live, and now we are planning a summer tour in Sweden. Finally we can get to work again!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
From the beginning of RIKE we were as green as can be. We had not really been writing music at all and even less, recording and releasing music for ourselves. It was a real exciting time and we have learned a lot since then. PR, Social media, and music distribution.. But the learning is far from over and we still have no idea what we’re doing from time to time. We just know that we love writing and playing music together and are planning to keep doing it.
How did you come up with your latest project?
Well when we write music it's most of the time from moments that inspiratire us and not in a formal meeting where we sit down and try to get things done, even if we wish that was the case sometimes. Then when we got some songs that we are proud of we release them. The lockdown has really been shit for the most part. But it has gotten us to write more songs together. All of the songs that are on “More Feeling, Please vol 1” were written more or less during the lockdown period.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
Nike is from Stockholm and Rickard is from Malmberget in Sweden. Swedish is not that wide but a long country and the distance is about 1200km between the cities, Stockholm is in the south and Malmberget almost at the most north of Sweden. But we met in a town called Piteå where we studied music and where we now live together.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
We love the American roots sound and take a lot of inspirations from the US in our music so in that aspect, no. BUT in the northern part of Sweden where Malmberget and Piteå is located there is a lot of appreciation and love towards the american roots music. So you can kind of say that it definitely has some impact.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
Well, then we have to go back to our childhood. Both of us have always had a dream to play, write, tour and be in the music business. But our journey together started when we had a project at our university where we wanted to try to write music together, so we did. We quickly realized that writing together came really easy, which is something that we hadn’t felt before. We both got really into it and we could not just let that kind of writing go? That is why a lot of the songs are about our relationship and experiences as well.
How do you want to shape your career?
We are dreaming about traveling to the US and continuing our careers there. It's a long shot, but you have to get in it to win it.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
We kind of always go with the flow. Sometimes we would like to be more “professional songwriters” and be on a schedule. Little bit of both would have been nice.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
Well “More Feeling, Please” came to us from a music video shoot we did in Malmberget for the song “The Hole”. We had two really good directors and camera guys that were just great, although it wasn’t friction free.. The title came from a scene that we were gonna shoot near Rickard’s old family home that has now been torn down. Rickard was on the brink of crying from just being there.. and at the same time one of the camera men wanted to see “More feeling, please”. “That’s good, but please, one more time with more feeling, please”. We can laugh about it now and it became a great story.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
We don’t think we feel like that, but maybe our mixers and producers disagree.. We can be a bit picky sometimes in the studio and also in the mixing process. But when we feel it’s right, it’s right. At that “it’s right” stage we just want to release it. You listen to your own songs hundreds of times in this process and when it’s done you are kind of sick of it. They usually start growing on you again once they are released.
Do you feel an emotional attachment to your music?
Yes, alot! We only write about things that are very close to our hearts. It could be about a fight of ours, childhood trauma or a friend's experience. Everything we write is somehow a little chapter of our life in a way.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
We would call it “Americana”. As we feel it’s kind of a “forgiving” genre. As we blend in a lot of rock/blues influences, folk influences and country influences we feel like the genre Americana accepts that. We would hate to call ourselves Country and then maybe people feel we’re not enough Country, or Blues or Rock or any other genre. Also it doesn’t hurt that we love the artists and bands that are in the Americana charts, and we take a lot of inspiration from those guys.
Where do they go to listen NOW?
You can find our music on Spotify, Youtube and many other streaming apps. We’re also planning on releasing our music in a physical format in the future, so keep an eye open for that.
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
We did have a real special moment at our release gig we had at a local venue. The whole night was great, a lot of people and good vibes, but at the end of the show we played a song from our first album, “This Town” and the whole crowd sang along at the end of the song. Nike got goosebumps and we really felt that we got some fans out there.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
Summer is coming up and with that comes more gigs. We’re in the process of planning our summer tour. We are really looking forward to it. Eventually we are of course going to release “More Feeling, Please vol 2”!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
Yes! We will be playing a lot of shows this summer and if you don’t have the possibility of making the shows we promise to get better at filming them and posting them on our social media. We have posted some but we can be better at it for sure. When the time comes the gig dates will also be on our social media.
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