With a post-punk sound, mesmerising vocals and an edgy style all her own, it’s no surprise 25-year-old Nicole Sabouné is being hailed as the future of Swedish rock. We caught up with her before she headed out to electrify the stages of this summer’s festivals.
In Aniara, Harry Martinson’s classic book of 1956, there is an all-knowing computer that has stored the entire history of humankind in its memory. Almost viewed as divine, the computer, called Miman, is worshipped by the characters in the book. Nicole Sabouné chose to name her hit album of 2015 after it, which puts the music in a great context. The eight tracks on the record portray humanity’s shared history and are accompanied with an atmospheric, grandiose sound. The result is as compelling as Miman itself.
“I chose Miman, because it is a very strong, symbolic character in the book, with nice features and force,” says Sabouné, whose own force and drive has seen her creating waves on the music scene since she was 21 – veteran members of the music press talk of her powerful voice as “taking no prisoners”.
Through Miman, Sabouné has learned more about herself as a songwriter and producer. She worked with the same band as she did on her debut album of 2014, Must Exist, which has been described as being full of “gothic darkness”. Each member of the group contributes to the sound with their own personal touch, but the last word is always Sabouné’s.
“I’m building a stable foundation to stand on, a way to work,” she says. “I hope I will stay brave enough to keep on evolving and take risks. Right now I am in a flow where I write by myself and experiment. That is how songs [from Miman] like Lifetime and We Are No Losers came to be, while a song like Rip This World was written from the start with Niklas Stenemo. Sometimes I write without understanding anything. Sometimes I write and understand way too much. Sometimes I write and think it’s worthless and sometimes I think it’s totally okay.”
Creating by herself and with others is something Sabouné does outside of her music as well. She has worked with in-demand brands such as Nand and her presence is just as captivating when it comes to magazine photoshoots. For ours, the rebellious spirit of Dr Martens seemed a perfect match for her style and music.
“I’m not always comfortable with modelling,” she says. “I enjoy it more when the concept has been created by me and my friends, or people who inspire me, where I am in control and can co-work in a different way. But it’s always a challenge and you learn a lot from doing things outside of your comfort zone.
“I don’t dress in the latest fashion, but try to find clothes I feel comfortable in and look good in. But I do like clothes that I wouldn’t wear otherwise, and it’s interesting how a garment can look completely different in a photo. Of course, there’s a limit – sometimes, people want you to wear something based on the assumptions they’ve made about you, but they might not always get it right. That can get tricky.”
As for the summer, Sabouné has several big festivals coming up, so there’s lots to look forward to – for her and her fans. “This summer is going to be fantastic. Stockholm Music & Arts is the show I’m most nervous about, but it’s also the one I’m most looking forward to. I’ve wanted to play that festival ever since it started. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”
Miman is out on Woah Dad! Sabouné will appear on the Trädgårdsscenen stage, Stockholm Music & Arts, on Saturday, July 30
Words by Filip Lindström
Photography by Jasmin Storch
Styling by Josef Forselius
Special thanks to DR. MARTENS
Make-up: Josefina Zarmén / LinkDetails
Photographer’s assistant: Cornelia Wahlberg
Pascal 8-eye boots & Core Polley T Bar by Dr. Martens
Katarina Bangata 15, Stockholm
2 Dress by Ida Klamborn
5 Shirt and skirt by Josephine Bergqvist
6 / 7 T-shirt by Ida Klamborn