story / LOGAN BRENDT
photo / FRODE & MARCUS
“Spring feels almost like a total revelation,” says Swedish songstress Sarah Assbring, better known by her musical moniker El Perro del Mar. “Because of the [intense] darkness during the winter, you get a chance to go into some kind of hibernation,” she adds about the polarity of the seasons in her native Sweden. “With every spring I feel like there’s a chance to start over and I think that has a very deep impact on how I write and what influences and inspires me.”
In the case of her fifth album Pale Fire, Assbring found herself influenced by the darkness that was her father’s death and the ongoing distressing circumstances of the world. “The album was set against a bleak and hopeless atmosphere,” she says. However, occurring simultaneously, she found herself involved with her first real, deep love. “I almost felt like I was resisting it because I was so surrounded by this hopelessness,” she adds about fighting with the contrasting feelings. “[Pale Fire] is about personally being overthrown by the light of love and the hope that love brings.”
Recently, she has also been experiencing a new kind of love in the form of motherhood. Not yet sure about the creative direction that this might lead her in, she has nonetheless always been a child at heart herself. But with a self-proclaimed “goofy sense of humor” often veiled by her public persona, she reveals, “You really need to get to know me quite well before I show that side.”
Somebody that knows her that well is her good friend Lykke Li. “There’s this very sincere, instant open heartedness between us,” she says. “It’s such a good feeling to have that kind of relationship with a person. For me, it’s like having a sister, not ever having had a sister.” It’s also been a benefit to Assbring in having someone in the industry that she can share inspirations with and additionally vent her concerns to.
Disenchanted with how hard the financial crisis has hit the music industry, Assbring later comments on the freedom of independent labels. “Music really suffers from being limited,” she says. Then wistfully recalling the past, she adds, “It felt like we were moving towards an interesting place a few years ago.” But as she mentions prior to me when discussing the moods of her current album, “Life comes with both darkness, light and hope at a time when you least expect it and you just have to surrender to it.” It seems there is nothing truer when looking to the future of the music industry and the world.