How to Live

An Echoic’s latest single “How to Live” is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on hopelessness.

An Echoic’s latest single “How to Live” is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on hopelessness. A loop of despair so deep that it becomes your one-person inside joke. With a certain touch of freak folk, the song has a strange ambiguity that could fool you into optimism if you didn’t pay attention to the lyrics. 

“A very personal experience inspired me to focus on this topic.” An Echoic explains. “A very personal experience called trying to live life.” To the Malmö-based singer-songwriter, there is incoherence in trying to live up to all expectations. “It’s not just that it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work to the point where it’s actually silly.”

Its original version was recorded nearly three years ago. “I tried to make a vocal booth by hanging my duvet over an upright ping-pong table.” he remembers. While the initial recording experiment didn’t fly, the creative process moved forward thanks to the insistence of producer Andrew Feels. An Echoic’s steady collaborator is also known for his work with artists like Emma Beckett.

The overarching topics of most of An Echoic’s music are personal identity and introspection. His two EPs “An Echoic EP” (2016) and “Headless Heathen” (2018) go beyond typical alt-folk expectations. Unconventional harmony and sound design are two of his recurrent themes. 

“How to Live” will be released via Rexius Records on March 11th, part of a series of singles with similar aesthetics.

Artwork by: Georgia Rose

An Echoic

An Echoic’s music is one of those rare gems that encourage you to push beyond your usual listening habits, subtly taking notice of its quirky quality. What started as a solo experiment in 2016 after dropping out of jazz school became a solid artistic project for Martin Kihlstedt, Swedish singer-songwriter based in Canada. His style can remind you of Andy Shauf combined with Tame Impala’s early psychedelics, with a tendency towards experimental songwriting that you’d rather associate with Radiohead.

Just like Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen or Elliot Smith, An Echoic is not afraid to sing tales about the rough edges of existence. He tackles tough topics with the clinical curiosity of a shaman-philosopher: “I’m always intrigued when I hear stories told by people that have been through unimaginable things. So I wanted to write a story like that.”

The fascination for subtle musical quirkiness developed through years of playing and improvising since his early days in Sweden. He continued to craft this particular style while studying jazz for 2 years in Toronto, where he played and performed with various jazz, funk and blues ensembles.

During this time he also built artistic collaborations with visual artists, producers etc. that gave birth to An Echoic as a fully-formed project. His idea was to create a reflection of himself, rather than just ”a character”, writing music that encourages you to become an active listener. This kind of engagement is very related to the different aspects of introspection (like meditation and a kind of spirituality devoid of religion), which is a central motive for his songs.

Martin released An Echoic’s self-titled debut EP in 2016 and shortly thereafter signed to Rexius Records for his second EP: “Headless Heathen”. A chamber of thoughts in the form of experimental songwriting (recording spoken word and sampling traditional folk instruments, for example) and unimaginable stories.

“Bad Weather” will be released via Rexius Records on January 28th, part of his new series of singles with similar aesthetics.