Emblematic of the new wave of hyperpop artists bringing new life to pop music, Namasenda is no stranger to creating the signature electronic bangers that fans of the genre know and love. From sugary sweet, nightcore-like vocals, to boisterous breakdowns, the Swedish pop performer’s debut mixtape has it all. Featuring a star-studded collaborators list and action-packed inspiration, Namasenda talks to us about how her fearless first project came to life.
Before we get into the big things you’ve got going on today, I wanted to take you back to when you first started making music. What inspired you to take the leap to becoming a popstar?
Honestly I’ve always seen myself as a star, even when others haven’t seen it. Music is just something that I have to do, because it makes me really happy.
In 2016 you launched your career with your debut single Here, a titanic electropop number, followed by your debut EP hot_babe_93 a year later. Would you say your approach to making music has changed since then?
I think it has, I’ve become more fearless in my writing and in life in general.
As part of the PC Music collective, it stands to reason that your upbeat and cheerful electronic efforts are some of the first songs that come to mind, as the hyperpop genre is closely associated with the label. Although your work remains faithful to the upbeat and euphoric sound featured on tracks like Donuts right through to Banana Clip, you’ve recently released some experimental songs like Finish Him, which are more dangerous and bad ass in their own way. What inspired you to try out these sounds?
Just life, I mean you can't keep doing the same thing over and over again. [I] always have to suck the life out of things and then move on and try out other new things and so on.
The visuals for your new mixtape (out today, 28th October) Unlimited Ammo revolves largely around action film aesthetics, particularly in the music video for your recent drop No Regrets. What inspired you to choose these types of visuals for the mixtape?
I love action movies, it's honestly my personality trait. I watch a lot of movies, especially action movies, so I guess that has an impact on me. Quite obviously, since I made this mixtape (laughs).
On that topic, what are your favourite action films? Were there any in particular that you pulled from for the project?
I love all films that are less talking more action, I’m like that with most things. I took a lot of inspiration for the visuals, like for example the cover for No Regrets is inspired by scene in die hard where Bruce Willis hangs from a fire hose and the mixtape cover is inspired by a sea of different action things and movies but mostly meme culture.
Tell us about the storyline for the No Regrets music video. Why did you decide to feature that struggle between alter egos? At the end, it seems like Snow triumphs over Star, what should fans make of this? Or are you hoping to keep viewers guessing?
I'm always in a constant battle in my head and Will, my creative director, thought it would be a really interesting take to show that power struggle between me and myself. not really knowing who’s the bad guy - no one really is. The message is obviously that I always win (grins).
Featured on your upcoming project is a list of five credited artists. What was the collaborative experience like on this project compared to your debut EP (which had no credited features)?
It was a lot more fun and interesting to make this mixtape, I wanted to try out new ways of doing things and we wanted to have a really collaborative project, not just when it comes to features but also with producers and writers. It was very clear to me at the beginning that it had to be with people whose art really inspires me, not just a feature because its the 'right thing to do' or what the fans think they want. I'm really the biggest fan of all my featured artists and it has been such a pleasure to work with them all, I'm extremely grateful to have them all on my project.
With Hannah Diamond having contributed both music and artwork, and Mowalola being an established fashion designer, how have your collaborators helped to bring your vision to life?
I feel like we’re all on the exact same wavelength, everyone just understands the assignment. A+ every time.
Other than the collaborators on the album, are there any artists (musicians or not) that you’re particularly into right now? Who else inspires you amongst your contemporaries?
I'm really into @loose_rap, their paintings are wow.
Although it’s natural that what fans might immediately tune in for is your experimental, signature sound, I wanted to take a moment to discuss what the writing process for the album has been like. From the boastful Demonic, to the warning you send out in No Regrets, what’s been inspiring you lyrically?
Real life situations are always the biggest inspiration.
On a slightly different note, I wanted to ask you about how it’s been promoting your work with the whole pandemic situation going on over the past year and a half. Having performed at virtual parties like Appleville, A.G. Cook’s 7G Launch Party and Club Quarantine with Sega Bodega, it certainly seems like you made the most of it. What was that experience like for you?
It was really fun and exciting at first, but after a few months I honestly started to hate it. It doesn't matter how much we try, nothing ever beats the irl thing in my opinion.
Your current promotional lineup for the mixtape is looking great! With performances scheduled for Pitchfork Music Festival London, Mowalola’s Boiler Room event, and Primavera Sound, what can fans expect from you at these shows?
Me in my true form. All the new songs that I'm really excited to play live and perhaps even some even newer unreleased ones.
Seeing as you’ve just finished up your first mixtape, I wanted to ask you to reflect a little bit. Is this where you saw yourself when you first dropped Here? Where do you see yourself going now?
I guess so, I wasn't really expecting a pandemic to slow things down but it’s been a good year writing so I'm definitely happy about where I am. Me and A. G. are going to Atlanta.