We were recently introduced to a super talented artist from Sweden called Melanie Mohlkert, you may well know her as CRONICLE and may well be familiar with her 2018 debut single Head Up And High.
She previously fronted the punk-pop band Tantrum to Blind - who found themselves thrust into the limelight of touring and performing on MTV. This new solo effort firmly puts her on the map as an artist to watch.
Ahead of her dropping her second single ‘Fools’ on Thursday April 25th, we caught up with her for a chat about her musical past, her yodelling father and the state of the music scene in Sweden….
You're from Sweden, you go by the name 'CRONICLE', you used to front a punk band called 'Tantrum to Blind', tell me something about yourself that not many people would know?
I did a lot of acting and musical theatre as a kid. My first stage performance was when I was 'Annie' in Annie the musical at age 5 and I did my first TV show and movie when I was 7 years old. Everyone thought that that was the road I was going to take, I don't think many people know that!
Why the name 'CRONICLE'? was it a nickname you were given?
It was actually my friend Becca who came up with the name. She's the front singer in the band MARMOZETS and when my band split up I stayed with her and her brothers to escape reality for a while. Then I, Becca and her brother Josh started working on a side project just for fun. She has the wildest imagination and came up with a bunch of really cool names like 'The Defenders', 'The Chronicles' etc... We decided to stick with the name 'The 17th centuries French playwriters', haha, but Josh's laptop crashed and the songs we'd written were gone and life moved on. Later when I started thinking about my solo project I remembered 'The Chronicles' and thought what about if I just use 'Chronicle' and lose the 'h' to make it unique. It was pretty cool when I realised that it means 'chapter' because CRONICLE is my next chapter in music.
I have listened to your latest track 'Fools' which is to be released on 25th April, it's a great track with a really anthemic feel to it, what made you want to create music like this in the first place?
Thank you! Well, I come from an alternative rock background and I still love that genre so much. But when my band split up I was completely heartbroken and I didn't ever want to start a band again because I was scared of ending up in that same situation. Also, my band meant the world to me because they'd been my best friends and pretty much my family for the past 6 years so I didn't want to try and replace them. So it automatically made me dive into the world of electronics, thinking about what I could do myself without a real drummer. I feel like 'Fools' represents my passion for alternative rock but also what I've picked up from the electronic world and what I can produce myself.
“We all know the meaning behind the expression ‘love is blind’. This song is about passing the point of being blinded by love - being a fool over someone. It’s about realising that no matter how crazy in love you are with somebody, it’s not always enough of a reason to stay. All your heart wants is to stay, but your mind knows it’s time to go. So you’re still there asking yourself, can we be fools again?”- Cronicle
Having fronted the punk band 'Tantrum to Blind'. did you find it difficult to move away from this style and into your new music?
Other than really missing the members of my band and how great we worked as a team it's been really exciting. Yes, I've found it super difficult to work on my own. I never pictured myself as a solo artist and it's so much harder on many levels than when you're in a band, but the buzz you get from creating and achieving things on your own is priceless. In terms of style of music, I don't feel limited at all. Every single element in my songs is there because I want it there and right now this is what it sounds like. But if I get super into hip-hop someday and learn to master the art of rap I would totally let that influence my music. It's only up to me what I wanna create now and I love freedom in that.
Tell me about some of the bands/artists that have influenced you musically along the way?
Pre and during the Tantrum days I was a proper emo lover, I still am, but the influences for CRONICLE are coming more from the pop and electronic worlds. I would say Ellie Goulding's Halcyon Days album, The XX, CHVRCHES, Twenty One Pilots, K.Flay and Robyn have been great influencers when shaping my own sound. Taking Back Sunday is still my number one favourite band though.
I read that you have performed and toured with MTV, firstly, how did that come about and how did you find the experience?
Yeah my old band got some attention from MTV on a few different occasions actually. They picked up two of our self-produced music videos at a really early stage, simply from us sending them on some sort of VHS tape to their office haha. Then we did a commercial for a new mobile phone that was only shown on MTV. That came about because the photographer who was gonna film it knew about my band and just asked me if we were interested. The last thing that happened was that we were chosen as MTV's 'artist of the month' and we were broadcast every day at every hour for one month. It was pretty surreal!
Will you ever go back to fronting a punk band or are you now set on your new style of music?
Hmmm. If I would do that I would only do it for fun. As said, I still love that type of music, and I would totally love to experience those sort of shows again when the whole room lights on fire from people moshing and crowd surfing. But hopefully I can experience fired up rooms again with CRONICLE, created in my own way, that's totally where my heart is at now.
Are you from a musical family? if so, please tell me who in your family played which instruments etc...
Not really. Nobody in my family is specifically musical or can play any instrument properly. The only other musical talent in my family is probably my dad, he can yodel... lol.
There are millions of bands and artists out there right now, please tell me about 3 that we should be checking out?
How would you describe the music scene right now in Sweden?
The live scene has always been pretty dead over here, in my opinion, it's not comparable to the UK at least. If you're lucky you come across a cool event with some great live music and we have an awesome festival scene over the summers. There's an insane amount of talented artists and producers though but it's really a shame that there's no proper space for them to build their names from playing live in the same way that you can do in other countries. That's the reason my band moved to the UK and why I stayed around when working on CRONICLE. I value the live scene more than anything in music.
You mentioned that you moved to the UK, have you any plans to move anywhere else in order to further your musical career? If so, where would you move to?
I've actually just started spending more time in Sweden since moving to the UK in 2012. Right now I'm kind of in between Stockholm and London 50/50 but I'm hoping to start touring again and live out of a suitcase 100% of the time. I love that music can take you places you've never been and where you probably would never go if it wasn't for it.
Are you going to be performing at any music festivals over the summer?
I’d like to have more of my music out there before I start to play festivals, but I'm not gonna turn them down if they come my way last minute. I love festivals and I'm always ready to pull off a show if I get the chance!
Have you ever met any of your musical heroes? if so, what happened? were they as nice as you thought they'd be?
I'm actually insanely lucky to have met some of my biggest heroes in music already. It's usually been at festivals and aftershows. I've met Taking Back Sunday a bunch of times and Adam Lazzara is super humble and sweet. I've also supported K.Flay, Lights and Enter Shikari who are all huge role models to me, they've all been super nice and down to earth. My biggest starstruck moment though was when I met Linkin Park. I got to watch them side stage at Download festival and Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda came up to me and my friends and introduced themselves as if we wouldn't know who they were already haha. It's interesting that the biggest stars out there are the most humble ones, from my experience that's always the case. They have nothing to prove, right?
We’d like to thank Melanie for sparing the time to chat to us and we wish her all the very best for the release of her new single which lands on April 25th. I’m sure it won’t be long until she is appearing at festivals all over the place and becoming a household name!