EXCLUSIVE | Cronicle's Melanie Mohlkert decodes new single, feels vulnerable after split with Tantrum To Blind
As Cronicle, Melanie has already released four singles after her Tantrum To Blind days, with her new dark, glistening bop 'Need You To Want Me' showcasing her raw and honest songwriting
Cronicle is the solo project of Swedish songstress Melanie Mohlkert, a talented artist who first began her music career in a punk-pop band in Sweden called Tantrum To Blind. The band proved to be a hit with international audiences and they embraced the spotlight as they began touring and performing on MTV with their infectious energy before they called it a day in 2015. Melanie's latest project Cronicle explores new ground in future R&B and trap while maintaining her love for rock stylings and electronic music. Her debut single 'Head Up And High' was released back in 2018 and she recently released her latest song 'Need U To Want Me' in May via Humble Angel Records (as the followup to 'Self Sabotage'). The glistening dark pop bop showcases Cronicle's raw and honest songwriting, and was described as an "anthem for one of the hardest actions someone will ever have to do for themselves... cut all the strings, burn everything and fall back into self-love.”
As Cronicle, Melanie has already released four singles, besides being featured on Finnish electronic artist Alisky’s single 'It’s Okay', which she helped co-write and MEA Worldwide (MEAWW) recently caught up with this rising star for an exclusive chat.
What's the inspiration behind your new single 'Need U To Want Me'? We're really digging the beats on this one, can you talk about who you collaborated with on the production?
I’m really happy with it too. It’s about someone who is special to me. He’s the only one in my life that fits into the ‘storyline’. I do produce bits and pieces myself, but I’m a bit too impatient to learn all the skills I need to make it sound as ‘big’ as I want. I love to work with producers who give me space in the studio and really listen to what my vision for a song is. It’s frustrating to work with producers who don’t and who care too much about what the ‘now’ sound is, that they use it as an argument against you. I can’t see how you’d ever create something original, that you’d be proud to call your own that way... And it’s pretty much what being an artist is all about in my opinion. Chris Zane produced this one with me, he was a dream to work with. Chris is not just super talented, he’s amazing at embodying the vision of a song and what it’s about. He’s a super genuine, funny and sweet guy who you feel comfortable talking to about anything. I feel very confident, appreciated and true to myself when I’m in the studio with him.
Sweden has a long list of amazing female entertainers. What do you think is the reason for this bottomless well of creativity?
In terms of amazing women in music, I think it helps that Sweden has been one step ahead in terms of gender equality for a while. I’ve always felt really motivated since I was a kid to express myself creatively and question everything from social norms and history from a very young age. It was just a part of school and learning in my case, but I don’t know if I was just lucky to have incredible teachers like that or if it was a proper national thing back then. It seems like the education system in Sweden has been pretty good at not forcing kids to fit into specific ‘boxes’ and encouraging people to express/live their individuality more so than other countries at least. The stories I hear about what kids in school here learn today make me really proud to be Swedish and I hope it can inspire other countries to follow in our footsteps.
Your music runs the gamut from pop and punk to R&B and trap. Who are some of the contemporary artists who inspire you?
There are a few artists and acts that never disappoint when they release new material. K.Flay is a huge inspiration of mine, mostly because she’s so amazingly original and genuine in her writing and image. Then BANKS, FKA Twigs, Broods, Grimes, Apparat, Moderat and Twenty One Pilots are a few other acts that have inspired me hugely over the past few years.
In view of the coronavirus putting life on pause, can we expect a new full-length Cronicle album soon? What are your future plans?
The pandemic has definitely turned my world pretty upside down. I’ve had to move back to Sweden after eight years in the UK and I have no idea when I’ll be able to play a live show again. I’m actually taking some time off over the summer to focus on my and my close ones' health and happiness. It’s been a heavy year so far on several fronts and I feel it’s currently really hard to plan anything for the future. I’ll keep writing songs because I love it, but it’s pretty hard to say when I’ll next release something right now.
What are some of your favorite memories from those touring days with Tantrum To Blind?
I share so many amazing memories with those guys. We got to experience so many highs and lows together. Everything from flying off to Vietnam to headline a festival as the only international band and playing at the afterparty at the World Cup for Wakeboarding in Holland (Tantrum to Blind is named after a wakeboarding trick). All of us, plus the crew, once squeezed together in one tiny hotel room in the UK cause we couldn’t afford to get three rooms. To me, it didn’t really matter where we were or how fancy or grimy our different experiences were because we always had so much fun together. If we got to stay in a five-star hotel we made fun of it as much as when we had to sleep in our tiny van.
In terms of live shows, I have two specific shows that I’ll never forget. One of them was when we played Sweden's (at the time) biggest festival Peace & Love and although we played at the same time as The Strokes, Soilwork, and a big Swedish act called Maskinen, we still pulled a big crowd. It was like our biggest fans from all the different cities in Sweden were all in the same room together. The energy was unreal and it was so special. And I’ll never forget the show we did in Nottingham on the RJA tour. Although the crowd probably wasn’t bigger than about 300 people it was the most mental show I’ve ever played. People were crowd surfing and moshing throughout our whole set. They sang along to our songs so loud I could barely hear myself at times. I remember having to sit down right away when I came off stage to suck in the experience and calm down from the adrenaline while the guys were shouting and high fiving each other.
After your band broke up, you said you were scared to end up in a similar situation again if ever you started a new group. Has working solo been an exciting experience so far?
Yeah, that’s right. I’m not actually sure it was a good decision to move on solo, as I don’t really enjoy the process of being a solo artist, to be honest. I work really well in a group and I feed off other people’s energies a lot in general. Cronicle has been a huge challenge for me on so many levels and I think the one thing that has been enjoyable has been to be completely in charge of my sound and writing. The fact that my music represents me 100% is definitely special, but it also makes you extra vulnerable. Whenever I achieve something big, I feel incredibly proud on a different level than when I achieved something with the band. But then when I was in the band I took things a lot lighter and less personal in terms of setbacks and ‘negative’ feedback. You need to have a very rough skin to be a female solo artist in this industry, especially if you’ve got a lot of integrity that you’re not willing to diminish to reach success.
What's the biggest challenge a solo artiste such as yourself faces during this strange new era?
Just being okay with the whole situation is definitely challenging. Not knowing when we can play shows again and how much harder it’s going be to travel to places for tours and sessions is worrying. But I guess the best thing we can do is look at how it impacts the environment positively. Hopefully, we’ll keep finding creative solutions to still connect and make it work. I just love real-life interaction and I think it plays a huge role in people’s well being. I can’t wait to go to a great live show again.