Three years ago, Swedish artist William Sikström caused quite a stir in the West Coast music scene with his debut album “I Will Be Waiting”. Now he’s back with his second album “Running Out Of Time”. I took the chance to talk with him about his new album and his love for classic West Coast AOR.
Sweden has always been a Scandinavian stronghold of West Coast and AOR music. What do you think are the reasons?
I have a theory that the church could have something to with it. In the 80’s there were a lot of great CCM created and Swedes like Licence, Per-Erik Hallin and Salt was very inspired by the sounds of the American west coast. That may be one of the reasons, I’m sure there’s more to it.
It seems that West Coast music has experienced a real renaissance in the last years. New artists have entered the scene. Do you feel like a part of a new movement?
Absolutely, it’s great to see some new music in the west coast genre. Though I won’t get sick of the classics it’s always fun with something you’ve never heard before.
Three years ago, your debut album “I Will Be Waiting” left a great impression on the West Coast scene. Did you expect this success? And what has changed for you?
No, I had no expectations but I thought it was good enough to publish. What is so great about this genre is that the ”fans” are really very supportive and enjoy buying physical records which makes it possible for guys like myself to make an album and get it out there. I wouldn’t say that so much have changed.. but I do have twice as many friends on Facebook than three years ago ;).
Your new album “Running Out Of Time” is full of strong West Coast melodies with light jazz and R & B influences. How would you describe your musical development on this album?
I think I landed in a more mature kind of writing this time around. I didn’t have the same need to write advanced parts and crazy chord changes. I wanted a more straight forward classic west coast sound and I think I got it.
Your wife, Rakel Sikström, supported you on the new album. What influence does she have on your music?
Together we came up with the melody for her track ’Better To Love’ and it’s definitely another vibe and I really love that. She also plays violin on ’Never Too Late’ which turned out amazing. She know exactly how I want it to sound and makes it happen, I’m really thankful for her voice and understanding of west coast music.
You’ve once said that your top 5 artists and bands are Pages, Al Jarreau, Ole Borud, Marc Jordan and Airplay. You are 23 years old – where does this love for West Coast AOR come from?
West Coast was all I ever listened to when I was a kid. My dad had many tapes that we used to listen to in the car, my favorites when I was 8-12 years old was Casiopea ”Mint Jams” and Larry Carlton ”Strikes Twice” and many more of course. Been listening to a lot of CCM and gospel as well which also have a west coast vibe.
You were born into a Christian family, some of your lyrics have two sides. How important is this spiritual approach for your music?
You can best expresses the spiritual aspect in the lyrics and since I didn’t write much lyrics it wasn’t that important in this project as in my previous album. The fact that I have the opportunity to write and record music and live in a country where that’s legal is a blessing and I’m so thankful for that. I try to stay as humble as possible and thank God for the gifts He has given me. In fact I have wanted to write some CCM inspired music, like Bruce Hubbard and Roby Duke, two of my favorites.
Do you have a passion for Christian AOR of the ‘70s and ’80s?
Yes of course, that’s some of the best west coast music. In my head God is the creator of west coast. I’m closest to God spiritually when I listen to some amazing chord changes over a beautiful harmonized melody and lyric 🙂
There are many West Coast music lovers across Europe who want to see you live. Will there be a tour in 2018? What are your plans?
I’m sorry there will be no live performances, it would have been so much fun though.
A last question. Your opinion as a physiotherapist: Does West Coast music help against neck tension?
Haha absolutely. In fact, I play Pages for all my patients and I have a 100% success rate 😉
This interview was first published on June 13, 2018.