Erik Hassle is one part of the brains behind Shakira’s collaboration with Rihanna, “Can’t Remember to Forget You.” You might think songwriters for major hits like that are industry veterans who pump them out like clockwork, but it was his Hassle’s first time earning writing credits for another artist. We’d be wise to keep our eye on Erik Hassle in the near future, as he is fixing for a breakout year.
Growth doesn’t necessarily equate to immediate success, especially in the music industry. The Swedish pop singer-songwriter can certainly attest to this theory. He released his most commercially successful single as a solo artist “Hurtful” six years ago, and yet his best days are still ahead of him.
At 25 years old, Erik Hassle is already somewhat of a veteran, one that spent his first three years as a recording artist working on his eponymous debut album Hassle alongside three of his musical buddies. The project yielded impressive results, with Hassle debuting at number two on the Swedish albums chart and earning Erik the coveted P3 Guld Newcomer of the Year award for 2009 in his home country. A year later, his debut album was repackaged for an international release, and the title was changed from Hassle to Pieces, a reference to his rock-infused track “Love Me to Pieces.”
The international response to his album was lukewarm, but that didn’t stop Hassle from continuing to expand as an artist. He released three EP’s between Pieces and his second album We Dance, which displayed his uncanny ability to write pop songs that dealt with love and heartbreak. During this time period, Hassle returned to Stockholm for two years. The move wasn’t so he could hit the reset button, but to experience life he missed out on in his younger years, even if the process wasn’t completely productive.
Following his slight musical sabbatical, Erik Hassle travelled to Los Angeles to work his latest project. Time away from music ended up being a positive for the singer, who soon began to write new records at a steady pace. He also hooked up with a number of incredible producers, including Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, who aided Hassle in pushing his sound to different spaces of pop and soul. The results can be found on his latest release Somebody’s Party, a six-song EP that highlights a matured version of Erik Hassle. It also features guest appearances from Chicago rapper Vic Mensa and rising star Tinashe, two collaborations that sound equally impressive. Along with Somebody’s Party, Hassle is planning to release his third album sometime this year. Stream the EP above, and stay tuned for more from this rising talent.
Somebody’s Party is a reintroduction of sorts for people who may have missed out on your earlier work. Tell us about the growth that has taken place between your first two albums and this new EP.
My first album was a big experience. When I came back to Stockholm about four years ago, I stayed there for a long time and started catching up on life, still writing music, but also recharging. I was really excited to come back here again, to try my chances in America.
I had two really tough years in Stockholm. That gave me a lot of things to write about. I had written more songs than I’ve ever done before. I realized all these songs were written about experiences that I needed to get out of myself, and that’s been a very different process from the concepts I’d done before.
There’s a lot of depth to the writing, and there’s also a very polished feel to Somebody’s Party. You’ve got tracks like “Innocence Lost” and “What is He Like” that display your soulful side, and you’ve got records like “Pathetic” highlighting your pop appeal. What was the main thing you wanted fans to take away from this project?
I want people to feel my music, because I’m so lost in it. And when I’m done, I kind of leave my psychiatrist self. If I can help people relate, that would be really cool for me. It’s also my first embrace of soul music. I’ve always loved soul music so much, and this is my take on it.
You have a few artists Included on the new EP. One of those records, “Innocence Lost,” includes Tinashe.
Yeah, she’s amazing.
That record really came out well. Would you ever consider doing a collaborative EP with her?
With Tinashe? Yeah! She’s a lovely girl. I think she’s great, and I love working with people. I love collaborations.
On the flip side, you have the remix of “Talk About It” with Vic Mensa. That track really shows how dynamic your musical style is. How was it working with Vic on that track?
I’m so impressed with that guy. I think he’s really one of the most talented musicians coming out right now. I was in my car when I heard the song and I almost drove off the road. I love that feature.
Are there any other rappers you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I love Drake, I think he’s amazing. The whole A$AP crew is great. Yeah, there are so many good rappers right now. And they’re so musical, which I think is cool.
You recently expanded your musical repertoire by co-writing the Shakira record with Rihanna, “Can’t Remember To Forget You.” How was that experience for you?
Crazy. We wrote the song a year and a half ago, and it was sitting in a song pile. I was still writing for my own album, and then Shakira wanted to have it. Then they were talking about bringing in Rihanna. But then there was a real long time before anything got confirmed, so I didn't think it was going to happen. I thought I might do it on my album, and then everything went really fast and it happened. It was hard to grasp. I’m just a small town boy.
This is your first time writing for another artist. Is this something you’d like to continue in the future?
Yeah. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop writing, but right now I’m in a place where it’s hard to think about someone else when I’m writing because it’s so emotional to me. But if I didn’t feel like being an artist anymore, I might have some kind of distance to the writing, and if that’ll work I wouldn’t mind it at all.
You recently spent some time with legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier. Tell us about that meeting.
I had two days to work with him while I was in New York. It was a completely surreal experience for me. I was in another place, for sure. He’s a legend. We started writing, and he put a beat on to scratch to, and it was all over. We did a song.
Is that something that will be included on your upcoming project or is that something for him?
We’ll see. I can’t say now because it was done recently, so I don’t really know.
We heard you already started working on your third album.
Yeah. I have an album kind of done. We’re just putting the last pieces together. It’s like chapter two of the EP. It’ll be ready to come out and be released at the end of this year.
What can fans expect to hear on that album? Will there be collaborations, or are you going the solo route? The first two albums, you pretty much did them by yourself.
There’s going to be collaborations. But I think for me, these last two years of writing is like an era in itself. I want the album to be an extension of the EP that just continues the story.