Emo-Noise Superstar | An Interview with Weatherday

Matt Cruz, Media Librarian

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

Among the online DIY music scene around the emo genre, few acts have gained as much critical acclaim and notoriety as Weatherday. Even fewer have gained a cult following. The alias of the semi-anonymous Swedish artist known as Sputnik, they inverted the preconception of emo with 2017’s ambitious and genre-defining “Come In,” completely turning the independent cyberspace on its head with the cathartic, lo-fi and subversive take on a then-tired genre.

In the wake of their online success, they have also dropped several excellent EPs, including the lauded forgetmenot — under the name Five Pebbles — and Weatherglow with Asian Glow. As Sputnik’s output consistently began turning heads in multiple scenes and artistic spaces, they only became more popular among the American underground e-consciousness. Swelling into the cultural and technical zeitgeist of emo, their growing acclaim cemented them as a figurehead, proving Come In to truly be the door into the next wave of musical thinking, as prophesied by The Brave Little Abacus.

That hard work and attention has materialized Sputnik’s hopes and ambitions, allowing them to tour for the very first time. During their DIY Burning Man 2 appearance alongside Michael Cera Palin and Oolong on their North American tour, Impact 89FM was given the immense privilege of conducting Sputnik’s first face-to-face interview ever.

In a noisy lounge with the blare of punk echoing off the walls, we were able to ask Sputnik about their continued success, influences, progression and perspective on the crazy wave of music they find themselves in, along with the world they inhabit.

Cruz: The current blueprint for the shape of DIY and DIY noise pop has seemingly used Come In as a blueprint. Were you surprised at all by the amount of new music that is seemingly delineated from your music?

Sputnik: I personally hadn’t noticed that people have been influenced by me until I’ve seen it written down, when people have told me or when my friends have pointed it out. I’m definitely surprised and very humbled by it. It’s insane. I don’t know if I would call it [Come In] a blueprint, personally. I am in the scene and others are as well, and we’re all influenced by each other. 

Cruz: Your attention to detail in the structure of your work is far beyond many in DIY. What you’ve presented on projects that have followed Come In are much more focused, percussive and experimental. What do you consider about texture and melody when you’re composing a song?


Sputnik: Melody is super important to me. That’s what I usually need in a song for me to enjoy it if it’s something I make myself. If I don’t feel the melodies, I consider the song scrapped. Texture is something that I don’t think about too actively. I just play around with things until I like it. Especially melody is something that I sit with for a while — it’s one of the biggest criteria for my music [during composition]. I find a lot of joy in paying attention to details.


Cruz: Five Pebbles is a shoegaze project you have made an EP of, entitled forgetmenot. Would you care to share any of your favorite shoegaze records or the influences behind that project?

Sputnik: Definitely! luminousorangesuperplastic is a huge inspiration and has been one of my favorites. The biggest influence that many people have picked up on is Astrobrite.

Cruz: Whitenoise Superstar?


Sputnik: I was pulling more from Pinkshinyultrablast. Whitenoise Superstar is definitely a more accurate representation since it has similar drums, like the flutters and stuff [in the production], but that wasn’t intentional. I would say those two are the biggest ones, especially in terms of inspiration. Astrobrite is my favorite shoegaze artist. 


Cruz: Compared to Come In, the lyrics you’ve so far included on projects like Weatherglow and forgetmenot have more abstract, esoteric writing to them. If anything, how or what does this change reflect about your music?

Sputnik: After Come In, I made more memory based albums where I’m trying to capture something specific. [Something] that is like, pulled from memory — and I wanted that to be depicted in the lyrics, so I’m trying to make it more abstract to give it a floaty vibe. There’s going to be more and less of that on my upcoming album, Hornet Disaster


Cruz: I recently listened to an interview about Bjork’s making of Homogenic. She utilized conventions rooted in Icelandic music. Does your own Scandinavian heritage influence how you’ve made music?

Sputnik: I would say I definitely take more from classical music than Swedish folk music, but I do have some references in my songs and some melodic influence, definitely. It’s not a lot though, but it’s there. 


Cruz: Shigesato Itoi’s work on the Mother series has strongly influenced your work. Are there any other pieces of media, be they video games, films or visual art that influence you or give you inspiration when songwriting?


Sputnik: I definitely have taken a lot from visual media. When I was making Come In, I tried to picture how a song from a film, series or game would be. That made its way into how I wrote that album — there’s some similarities to where I got inspiration from Ghost in the Shell. That [anime] has a soundtrack that did not necessarily inspire my research. I thought, “What if I were to make something like that?” so it’s [the creative process] like that for a lot of visual mediums. I’ve been inspired from TV series as well: Everything I’ve consumed I’ve used as a form of inspiration. I see it as using things from my personality and what I like and relating that to songs.

Cruz: A good mutual friend of ours, Gyungwon Shin, told me a while back that Weatherglow was completed in roughly a week’s time

Sputnik: I think 5 Days.

Cruz: Holy shit. Wow. What is it like to not only work towards, but complete a collaborative body of work in such a short amount of time?

Sputnik: It was a wild ride, especially with me having a bad fever throughout the whole thing. I really enjoyed it: I like doing these kinds of [projects].  It felt like an event, where I put all my focus on one thing. That’s really up my alley. I didn’t have time to feel stressed about it. It worked so well because I usually stay up late, so our timezones worked for communication.

Cruz: They [Shin] were telling me that you were finishing mixing 2 hours before.

Sputnik: 2 minutes.

Cruz: 2 minutes?!

Sputnik: Yeah. I remastered the third track, “Center,” two minutes before it was released. I was so happy I did that because that song didn’t make the cut earlier. I worked until I had no time left, and I was trying to fix things. 

Cruz: Conversely, Hornet Disaster has been in development for a while. How does the influence of time during longer periods of creation affect your creative process or vision?


Sputnik: I suppose, in this case, the album has taken different forms. I didn’t like the first stages: I noticed that some sort of aesthetic or mood was appearing, and I decided “This is not at all what I’m going for,” so I was redoing things. There’s some other iteration on there and that eventually matured into “This is the one I like.” It’s not as much that I’ve spent a lot of time on this, as I’ve spent a lot of time on different projects. The one I’m finishing up right now is just the one that’s made it. To me, I’ve been working on the album for a year.


Cruz: DIY has grown increasingly cosmopolitan in the years since the release of Come In. What is your perspective on being an international artist who found an audience in a largely American genre?

Sputnik: It’s wild to me, because I’ve always seen emo music as mostly American. I noticed when browsing through pages online that “Oh, there’s a huge scene in Russia, and there’s a huge scene in Japan,” and seeing that made me feel more optimistic that people would find my music, especially after it started taking off and I started caring about others hearing it. I didn’t expect that when I first released Come In. I feel like I won the lottery with that many people noticing that album, especially [being] from Sweden. We don’t really have a huge Emo scene. My hopes weren’t that high.

Cruz: Are you well known [to a degree] in Sweden?

Sputnik: No, haha — I just recently started getting more listeners. I never had a lot from Sweden. 

Cruz: Do you think the internet is the future of DIY?

Sputnik: I think that’s a portion of DIY. That’s how people market themselves now. In a sense it’s the future, but I think we’ve been there for a while. It’s just that now people are taking advantage of it — something like that.