Slanted Press decided it was time we had a chat with NOTD. One phone call from Sweden later, I had the chance to ask them all about their growing success and their goals as producers.
NOTD (pronounced noted) are a Swedish duo made up of Samuel Brandt and Tobias Danielsson. Sam and Tobias have quickly grown in popularity due to their slick production style and creative take on pop music. While the producers met on SoundCloud, I ask them if there was anything else that drew them together. “When we first started making music together, it was like a perfect connection and our styles really fit together,” Tobias tells me, “it was just that perfect bonding in both music and relationship-wise since we’re both best friends. Just a perfect fit for our music”.
Despite their glowing stats on Spotify, the Swedes are very grounded in their approach to their music and fame. Sam and Tobias might’ve met online, but later found out they attended the same college. Although Tobias has now graduated, Sam is still studying (which, funnily enough, resulted in our first interview getting cancelled – Sam got stuck in class!). Besides school, I ask whether either of them realised when NOTD had become more than a fun project. “I think it was when we met the manager for the first time, through SoundCloud, and he gave us the opportunity for remixes,” Tobias tells me. “So, we made an Alessia Cara remix, ‘Scars to Your Beautiful’, and then our second remix was Stanaj’s ‘Romantic’. When that took off it was like “there’s something about our music that works”. We just started making more music and getting more and more hungry to get to new places.”
When asked about their age, Sam and Tobias were very open about how new they are to the industry. “Being young always shapes things. We try to be as experimental as possible and find new sounds, because we want to find a break and a fresh sound,” Tobias says. Given the success of hit songs like ‘I Wanna Know (ft. Bea Miller)’, I ask if they ever feel forced to create something that sounds a particular way and will sell. “It can kind of feel like you’re being pressured,” Sam admits, “now when we have a big song, we want to have another big song. We don’t want to make super commercial music”.
From meeting on SoundCloud to creating remixes for Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara—I ask Tobias and Sam what it was like to have that opportunity. “To make remixes for artists like Alessia Cara and Ed Sheeran was super crazy. We always feel like two young kids just doing what we love and then we get support and opportunities to put out songs like that - it’s just incredible,” Sam says.
As producers, Sam and Tobias are quickly establishing themselves as artists to watch out for. Just by listening to NOTD, you can immediately tell why their music attracts so much attention, but I wanted to know a little more about their work from a lyrical standpoint. Sam is straightforward with his response, “we have someone else do it because I don’t think we’re good enough yet,” he says, “I think we would both like to get better so we can write our own songs in the future, but now to get the best songs possible it’s better to have someone do it.” Agreeing, Tobias also builds on Sam’s point; “Also, we relate so much to the production because that’s where we put down our feelings at the moment, but we’d both like to get better at writing so we can be a part of the creation.” Despite currently having writers, both boys agreed that they can seem themselves writing their own songs down the line. “At least being more involved in sessions with other artists, writing with good songwriters,” Sam agrees.
If you thought NOTD were aiming to be a one-hit-wonder, you’re quite wrong. Just speaking to the boys over the phone gave me enough insight into how driven they are towards making NOTD the best they can. When talking about the dedication they put into their project, they both mutually agree that hard work is an important factor for them. “Hard work is the key. If you don’t work hard, you won’t get anywhere, and I’ve been working for so long now and it’s because I love making music but I also wanna get somewhere in the industry,” Sam tells me. Tobias is equally honest with his response, “If you don’t put in the hours, someone else will. We’re trying to really work as hard as possible and be the best person I can be. You can always get better, both in music and personally. In the music industry it’s really hard to get somewhere if you don’t put in the work, so we put in 110%”.
With our chat drawing to a close, I ask Sam and Tobias a couple questions about what they see in the future of NOTD. With all the talk of hard work and dedication, Tobias admits he’d love to see a “a Billboard Top 100”, but also opens up about some new music in the future. “An EP can be expected,” he tells me, “we’re talking about new music and how we’re gonna release it, but we’ll have more singles first, but in the summer maybe an EP. It’s in talks.” Last of all, I ask both of them who they would love to work with next. Temporarily stumped for an answer, Samuel answers first: “we’d love to work with Shawn Mendes. Production-wise, I think it would be really cool to work with him.” Tobias agrees but also replies saying “Halsey would also be amazing” and that “it’d be cool to work with Ed Sheeran”.