Lovelorn and longing center the musical compositions of Amsterdam via East London artist Szjerdene. There’s a feeling of loss, a frustration of not quite being able to catch someone at the right time that follows the lyrics of latest EP ‘Paragon’. “Are you here, are you there, where are you?” “Don’t worry, you will find me”, calls out Szjerdene on the tracks, in the hope that they will collide once again. It’s an EP with different textures and timbres, in part due to working with three different producers on the 4 tracks (Lapalux, Glen Nicholls and Quays) and also to the varying mellifluous vocal tones and octaves that Szjerdene plays with, aided by the lessons in classical Indian singing that she has undertaken.
‘Paragon’ is by no means a debut or introduction to her musical sphere though; she has been working on music from a very young age – tracks both released and unreleased stacking up on the internet since 2011. At the age of 17, Szjerdene had already compiled a bank of over 30 songs which “mostly ended up being live gig material” when she was starting out.
It was long before then though that she first got her taste to expand her musical talents. “Growing up, music came naturally to me,” she notes. “Whether recording my own radio shows onto cassette, or impromptu living room concerts to my Mum and sister, I was always creating music. When we got our first computer I figured out how to record using headphones and from then on I spent hours writing and multi-tracking songs after school in my bedroom.”
It was this inbuilt drive and ambition that has led her to release on Ninja Tune and to continue working with prolific producers such as Lapalux and Bonobo, both on tracks and on tour. She equally works alone but that’s an entirely different process. “I create things in a different order and place the pieces together slowly, it takes more time but the finished product becomes a direct translation of the ideas conjured in my head.”
More recently, Szjerdene’s musical output has been very close to her heart. “All of my (recent) music has had a great deal of relevance to my personal life,” she explains. “I've experienced so many life changing situations in the past few years since the last record that it was almost impossible not to use them as inspiration. 'Paragon' tells a familiar tale of self-discovery and each song presents a stage of personal development that ends in a stronger sense of purpose, focus and balance.”
“It’s all about feeling for me,” she continues. “Most of my songs don’t necessarily follow pop form or structure. I focus on where the sounds take you – how the melodies and tension escalate. I also close my eyes and if I can picture the sounds or song being used in an epic motion picture soundtrack, I know I’m on the right path. I always like to think big but be able to covey that minimally.”
Szjeredene's EP 'Paragon' is out on November 6th.