Brace yourselves, sir Was – AKA Joel Wästberg – is about to release one of the most innovative records you’re likely to wrap your ears around this year. Combining hip-hop, soul and unorthodox electronica, debut album ‘Digging A Tunnel’ is the perfect introduction to Wästberg’s experimental world, informed by the Swede’s formative years as a classical saxophonist and member of José González’s band. With the LP due for release in March via City Slang, we spoke to the Gothenburg-based artist about his inspiration and plans for the year.

We’re hooked on ‘In The Midst’. How did the track come about?

“I was at my friend Damien’s place. He has a very nice organ and I was sitting jamming there and found some chords that I liked, and recorded to my phone at the same time as he was talking to me about something from the kitchen. If you listen very carefully to the recording you could hear his voice. Then I went to the studio with that and turned it into song.”

How did the sir Was project start?

“I have been making music for many years, but never really showed it to people – then I came to a point where I felt “It’s time to go online!”. So that’s what I did. And here we are.”

What inspired your name?

“Well, it’s a part of me and my surname so it felt right. And I didn’t want a too “serious” name, so it made sense to call myself Sir. I mean, Sir, Lord, Highness, Royal – shit like that – can never be taken seriously anyway, right? So I made a serious decision and named myself Sir but with a small s.”

Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?

Palestrina, Pantera, Pharoah Sanders, Paul McCartney and Pedro Santos.”

Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?

“If you want to listen, how about the band Musette from Sweden?”

And finally, what does 2017 hold for sir Was?

“Hard work, resulting in extreme success by the last day of the year.”