Photo by Evans Vestal Ward
Katharina Stenbeck is a prolific Swedish artist who creates thought-provoking electronic music as Galleriet, a solo project she launched in the spring of this year. Stenbeck’s impressive DIY approach led her to self-engineer and produce her debut album Romantic Gestures, premiering today on Audiofemme.
The record is informed by Stenbeck’s varied background in the performing arts. She studied acting in adolescence, experimental and classical theatre in Stockholm and New York City as a young adult, and then broadened the spectrum of expression when the band Folding Legs was formed with friends in 2009. After six years of performing together in New York and honing her skill as a frontwoman and musician, she uprooted herself to Los Angeles where she painted, cleared her mind, and ultimately birthed a solo project with the purpose of presenting a different perspective of what it means to be a “female artist”.
For each of the record’s first three singles, Stenbeck created a music video accompaniment combining dance, theatre, and at times symbolic imagery, like in the video for “Right Wavelength,” to confront themes of gender, death and rebirth. She most recently released a stop-motion video for “Allting är som Vanligt,” a song in her native tongue, that explores the depths of female sexuality.
Audiofemme had the pleasure of speaking with Katharina about the making of Romantic Gestures. Listen to it below!
Audiofemme: Galleriet is Swedish for “the gallery”…what is the significance of this word to you and the art you are producing?
Katherina Stenbeck: I came upon the name “Galleriet” while reading works by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. “Galleriet” is the title of one of his poems and the name stuck with me. It also felt fitting, as I aim to marry several different art forms into this music project, turning it into a gallery of sorts. I felt passionate about having a Swedish name, as I’m born and raised in Sweden and wanted this project to connect to my roots.
AF: How do you typically write and record your ideas? What is your demoing process?
KS: An idea for a song can come to me at any given time, which I’m sure most creatives can relate to. However, sometimes the vessel just feels more open, and several ideas can come through at a rapid pace. I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to hum a melody into my iPhone if I think it’s a keeper. Sometimes those hummed or garbled sketches will be the beginning of a song when I sit down at my computer. Other times, I’ll just start playing around on my keyboard with a clean slate and see what comes out. For Romantic Gestures, I wrote everything on a midi keyboard and my laptop, in GarageBand, as I didn’t want to wait to learn Logic while I felt the ideas were coming through.
AF: What is the process like of taking your demos and sketches into the studio and final stages of production? Who do you like to collaborate and produce with?
KS: For this recent album, which is also my first as a solo artist, I worked in a very solitary environment, at home. I self-engineered and self-produced, as I think I needed the autonomy to find my own voice and sound for the project. For future albums, I would definitely be open to exploring a collaboration of some kind.