Johanna Wadensten aka JoJo
Johanna is the singer and bassplayer in the Swedish punkband Belta 53!
Her voice is as amazing as her bassplaying is : EPIC!
With her studded vest and mohawk Jojo looks awesome in anyways possible.
Shes a Swedish Riot Girl with a mission!
You`re saying so kind things about me 😀
Actually I don`t have a studded vest, but I have at least three studded jackets 😉
So heres the interview!
Can you remember when your interest for music started?
My mum sang a lot with me when I was a child so I guess that was how it all started.
and what made you wanna start playing music/sing?
Music has always been a natural part of my family. I guess my parents in some way taught me that music brings a lot of joy and can also help you to manage all kinds of emotions.
What made you choose the instruments you play?
When I was 7, I started taking piano lessons. We had a piano at home and as a girl at that time it felt natural to choose that instrument. But when I was 9 I also began to take guitar lessons because mum and dad had one guitar each and I wanted to try it too (even though my piano teacher didn´t like it).
When I got a little bit older, 13-14 or so, I discovered punk music, so I wanted to learn how to play the electric guitar and play in a band. But I always got the feeling that it wasn´t for me because I was a girl. Then I got an electric guitar from my boyfriend on my birthday. I tried to learn but I thought it was a little bit too hard so I tried the bass instead. And when I got started I at once felt that this was something for me!
How did you learn to play your instrument /sing like you do?
I learned how to play the bass pretty much by myself. I listened to records and tried to play like they did. Later when I was around 20 I took lessons for one semester. That was nice because I learned some stuff about scales and fingering.
Regarding the singing I am a trained classical singer and I had to work really hard to take away that «fine» sound from my voice. It is not until this last year I finally feel I`m satisfied with my voice and I think I maybe actually found my own sound.
Do you remember the first song you learned to play/sing to?
The first song I learned on guitar was «Hönan Agda» a Swedish ditty (with sort of explicit lyrics about a hen and an impotent rooster) by Cornelis Vreeswijk. I actually didn´t have a clue what the lyrics were all about, so for my mums 30´th birthday party, I gathered all the children around me and proudly played and sang it to them,
Which musicians has had the most impact on you ?
Joakim Thåström is the one musician that has had the most impact on me both musically and lyrically. His music has followed me through all my different styles and phases I´ve had in my life. I love the sentimentality in his sound and his lyrics.
Apart from that, I look up to musician girls with an attitude, who refuse to be sidelined just because they are girls. Bands I especially look up to at the moment are Matriarkatet, Beyond Pink, Tiger Bell, Klartgrabbenskahaenepamedsilvertejp&Uffe (EPA) and Fuck Frankie.
Do you have any musicians you have learned from?
For some reason I usually learn a lot from the drummers I have played with in different bands and projects.
What does playing music means to you?
To play music and sing is life to me. All emotions fit into the music. Several times, it has been the rescue for me. It also gives me a rush to play. You spend all your energy but at the same time you`ll be filled up again.
Can you remember and describe your very first instrument ,
and what it ment to you?
My first very own instrument was a semi-acoustic Landola guitar. I got it for my 16th birthday and it has been my savior since then.
Are you ever influenced by old records & tapes?
I think I get influenced by all the music I listen to. I even get influenced by music I don`t like.
Who are your favorite musicians?
My favorite artist through all times is Joakim Thåström and my favorite rock band is Guns `n` Roses. Besides that, there are a lot of punk rock bands I kinda love. I listen to music pretty much in periods. Right now, my favorites are the bands I mentioned earlier but also Lastkaj 14, Invsn and The Baboon Show.
When did you know that music was one of your missions in life?
Ever since I was about six years old, I wanted to be a rock star like Europe and Twisted Sister. In some way, this is still a dream I have. Maybe I`m just a little bit more realistic now.
How and when did you get your band together?
Belta 53 was formed in 2012. I had a blog back then and wrote something about how I missed playing in a band. Jonathan replied to that post and asked when we were going to play together. We decided to meet and one afternoon we sat and played almost all my songs on two guitars. He seemed to like them and we decided to find a drummer and start a band. Anders said that he could play the drums until we found someone else. But he`s still in the band and now we don`t want him to quit.
Which bands have you played in / Are you playing in?
In the 90`s I played the piano, guitar, flute and sang in a kinda different band called UDDA. We played some sort of folk pop and changed instruments and members pretty often as I remember.
In the early 2000`s I played the bass in YOURS TO KEEP (some sort of emo), and I played the bass, sang and wrote the songs in kAjA (pop/rock).
Right now, I play the bass and am the singer in BELTA 53 (punk/rock) and play guitar and sing in DECEMBERÖVERENSKOMMELSEN (country punk).
As JOJO I am a singer/ songwriter and do gigs with my guitar, either with my own material or covers.
I also have a new project afoot that I don?t want to say too much about yet. But I have good feelings about it.
How would you describe your music style to other people?
In my heart and soul I am a punk rocker. Whatever I do, you will always find some punk in it.
I know you have played alot of gigs , does it ever happen that you get nervous before a show?
I always get nervous. Sometimes it helps a little to do pushups but still I`m always nervous before gigs.
What advice would you give to beginners who wants to start a music career?
Always be yourself. Find your own style so you can put your heart into what you do. Surround yourself with people who can encourage you, but who can also give constructive criticism. Of course you have to rehearse if you want to control your instrument, but you also have to establish contacts with organizers and with people who will want to come to the gigs.
What kind of concerts do you like to go to yourself?
I like to go to punk gigs mostly but I like rock and metal too. Gigs in small places are the best, but every summer I go to Bråvallafestivalen to listen to bands from different genres and broaden my horizons haha.
Have you ever gotten rejected by venues because of the kind of music you play?
Not that I can remember.
As a girl , have you experienced beeing underestimatet musically?
I`m pretty tired of hearing that it is so fantastic that I am a girl and actually play the bass!!!
Is it difficult for you to balance your music-career with your personal-life?
Right now it`s not a problem. But I think that if I hadn`t had a family I would`ve focused harder on the music, rehearsed more, and been looking for gigs more actively.
What is your best music related memory?
It has to be when the Swedish punk rock band KSMB reunited for one gig at Bråvalla last summer. The whole concert was epic and there was this happiness both on stage and in the audience. I think I felt all the emotions in the world at that single gig.
Listening to your record (Belta 53 ) , i can hear you have your own sound , is this something you have worked hard on to achieve?
I think we got that sound because we all are pulling in different directions. In the process it can be really annoying but in the end it turns out pretty good, I think.
As mentioned earlier , you are the singer in Belta 53,
What is the best part about it?
The best part with Belta 53 is that I have a place to use my own songs. I also love the feeling of being on stage and playing my own songs to an audience.
And last but not least , what goals do you wanna reach with your music?
I love to play and I love the feeling that someone else can get something out of my music. I also want to encourage people, especially young girls, to be who they are. Not just to go with the flow. To think for themselves and know that they are fabulous just the way they are. All of them.
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you Anette
Be sure to check out her band!