The Night Agent Shows Us The Stars Above Us

”A clash between synths and angry guitars” was how composer and lyricist Jacob Hirdwall, described the music from the trio The Night agent, and their debut album Stars Above Us is a total proof of that.’

In 2020, playwright and author Jacob Hirdwall launched The Night Agent, a musical project that featured the guitarist for ABBA, Bob Marley, and Ted Gärdestad Janne Schaffer and singing actor Christopher Wollter.
The album adds eight more tunes that are as appealing and melancholy to its explosive pop with roots in the 80s New Wave. The lyrics reveal Hirdwall’s talents as a dramaturg and author.

In an interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh, Jacob Hirdwall disclosed his stepfather was a music critic. When he was younger, he also played saxophone with artists like Stan Getz. And this really helped him to broaden his musical style, not being limited into one small box.

The album carries 9 songs, and spans over 35 min 12 sec with explosive songs which get stuck on you after the first listening session. The Night ASgents produced the album with the intention of reminding us what we are, and who we really are. It is a catchy and moody synth pop drama. The band plays under the record label The Future Sound of Stockholm
Get the full story below while enjoying Stars Above Us

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What is your stage name?

The Night Agent.

Is there a story behind your stage name?

We love the night, I guess. The stillness in the city just before the busses starts their daily journey. We´re not really referring to undercover agents, even if that’s quite fun. The English word agent also means agent, i.e. an active force, for example in connection with a chemical reaction.

So we have tried to mix a lot of night and darkness into this test tube. I think the chemical reaction that took place fits well with the somewhat dark core theme of the genre.

Where do you find inspiration?

The singer Christopher Wollter and myself mainly work in the line of theatre and musical, unlike Janne Schaffer, who is a legendary guitarist in Sweden and played with huge artists like ABBA back in the days.

People that know us is truly surprised to discover that we have created these songs and starting this band. But we like to do the unexpected, that is very inspiring: to challenge yourself and to start something brand new.

What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
I was a teenager in Gothenburg in the 80s, which was then a scene for all kinds of music. There was almost nothing to do at that time other than going to concerts; Cortex, Twice A Man and local bands like that.

Also, my stepfather was a music critic at that time for Dagens Nyheter – the main daily newspaper in Sweden – and he took me to a lot of concerts in all genres. It was Mireille Mathieu and the Scorpions one month and Nina Hagen the next.

Since there was a lot of jazz at home, the interest in electronic music became my fairly quiet revolt. Vinyl´s with Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Visage and Japan was spinning around the clock for a while there. Something genetic happened to my taste in music during that period.

Are you from a musical or artistic family?

I guess in a way you could say that. My stepfather was as I mentioned a music critic and he played saxophone with Stan Getz among others when he was young. We had a grand piano in our living-room that took too much space really.

He was a complicated man but he always encouraged me to keep an open mind to all kinds of music. He didn´t care much for writing notes and stuff, although he knew the trade. So, I´ve always felt that “don´t tell me what is right or wrong when it comes to writing music”.

Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?

I don´t see myself as part of an industry. I just play the music I like and hopefully someone else will like it too.

How did you learn to write and play?

I´ve written novels and stage-plays, poems and articles so it felt very natural to write lyrics. Making the music is the main challenge for me. During the pandemic I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and that gave me the space I needed to dig deeper into the craft of making music.

What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
Ultravox in Gothenburg in the 80´s. It really changed everything for me in terms of musical taste. I have always loved the clash between synths and angry guitars since.

How could you describe your music?

A clash between synths and angry guitars.

Describe your creative process.

I always start with a sound that I like… And then comes some notes. The mixing is as important as the music itself, it´s a very parallel process. Janne does his thing: challenging lead-solos, and Christopher always provide very useful input on the lyrics which I write as the last component. They start with a title, then follows the words.

What is your main inspiration?

I listen to Automelodi a lot. When I hear “Feux rouges”, “Châteaux brilliants” or “Aléas, Dernières Chances” I feel like 18 years old again. A Swedish inspiration is Karin Park, I like Kårp, Kite and The Knife too. Gary Numan’s “Savage (Songs From A Broken World)” and “Intruder” is simply great albums and I like Icelandic music, for example Hatari and Sigur Rós.

The last concerts I went to were with Gary Numan, Gesaffelstein and Hatari. After gigs like that I’m high for three days afterwards, no drugs needed, really.

What musician do you admire most and why?
Gary Numan, without question. He is constantly developing his music, he´s not “a tribute-band to himself” as some bands that were big back in the days are today, on the contrary: he´s pushing boundaries all the time and releasing new, exciting music. It´s very inspiring.

Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?

I started from scratch in 2018, not much to change – yet!

Who do you see as your main competitor?

I don´t think about that much, frankly. I don´t think that anything good will come from that mindset. You have to challenge yourself, that´s the main competitor. Do better – next time.

What are your interests outside of music?

My family and friends. Theatre, art, novels, film. I love to travel.

If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?

I´m in the line of theatre and I work professionally as a playwright, dramaturge and theatre director.

What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?

Trying to understand the possible difference of the sound of analog and digital synths.

If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?

There is a problem with digital platforms of music and film, television, books: they want to own your material for ever at a very low cost. I do like the idea that many artists share channels for their creativity, that it is no longer very exclusive and sole for huge artits, but at the same time then general tendency is to pay very low wages for content.

But you know, creating new content is hard work. It only seems easy when it already has seen the light of day.

Why did you choose this as the title of this project?

“Stars Above Us”? Just a reminder how small we are, and how short our lives are.

What are your plans for the coming months?

Composing music and finishing a new novel about scientists in Iceland.

Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?

Christopher want to make a club-version of “Forget About Me”, I think that´s an interesting idea – but someone else should do it besides me.

What message would you like to give to your fans?

Stay tuned for more music from The Night Agent!

Mister Styx
Mister Styx
Entertainment freak || Facts only || Mechanical Engineer by profession, i guess i can do blogging part time right? Right, there we go, thats where it all started

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