Interview Still Woozy: “It always has to satisfy the heart; the buck stops with the heart”

After years of drip-feeding singles, the self-sufficient Portland musician’s long-awaited debut cements the arrival of a prodigious talent.

“I never planned on making an album because I was in projects before, and we’d labour so long working on albums, and then the first three songs would get all the attention and the second half of the album would be neglected,” explains Portland musician Sven Gamsky, candidly. “It felt like at least half of the work we did didn’t get the attention it deserved, so [this time] I didn’t want to release an album before I had a following. I wanted to give every song its day.”

You can understand why Gamsky - who now operates under the moniker Still Woozy - wants to make sure his work gets its dues. A record full of lush, melodically-rich, innovative pop, last month’s debut ‘If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is’ was a labour of love - written, played, produced and recorded entirely by the multi-hyphenate talent, with the input of friend and co-producer Lars Stalford primarily there to “organise [his] brain”.

“When I was in the band before there was a lot of compromise, so when I started this project I thought, ‘Fuck that - I’m just gonna make every decision’,” he nods. “That’s why it’s taken me so long to finish an album! That’s the whole reason!”

That band was a math rock outfit which served to show Sven what he didn’t really want to be doing anymore. “[That was] very calculated and heavy, with different time signatures and that’s not really what I like in music. I want to connect with it emotionally and that’s hopefully what I’m trying to do [now],” he says. “I just want to make pop music. It always has to satisfy the heart; the buck stops with the heart. If it doesn’t work emotionally then it doesn’t feel good, and no matter how good of an idea it is, it’s not gonna work with me.”

‘If This Isn’t Nice…’, thankfully then, is an album that shoots straight to the heart. With the aim of creating a “360 degree encapsulating experience”, its 13 songs are light yet full of warmth, layering sweet pop melodies, subtle intricacies and Sven’s inviting vocal to enticing effect. Building on years of steadily-released singles, collectively with hundreds of millions of Spotify streams, it’s also set to come good on his hope of reaching the audience it deserves.

“I just hope that it can be whatever [people] need it to be - if they want it to help them emotionally process, or they just want to have a good time, whatever they need,” he decides. Whatever the desired outcome, Still Woozy’s debut should be on a need-to-listen list regardless.

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