Name: Johanna Knutsson
Nationality: Swedish
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current release: We Come In Peace, a split EP by Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg is out via UFO Station.

[Read our Hans Berg interview about his creative process]

If you enjoyed this interview with Johanna Knutsson, visit her on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud. We also recommend our earlier, more expansive Johanna Knutsson interview.

Over the course of her career, Johanna Knutsson has worked with various other artists, including Mathew Jonson, Sebastian Mullaert, and Karen Gwyer.

[Read our Mathew Jonson interview]

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

I create to be able to deal with life. I’m easily inspired by human interactions, my own thoughts, the pain that is living in these certain times.

Change is inspiring to me. Even if I’m a big fan of routines I certainly need to make physical changes in the studio and change my setup around to expand my way of thinking and creating.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

I write lists. I always carry two notebooks with me to write down ideas that come to me when I’m not in the studio. I never have a concrete plan, but a day in the studio usually goes like this:

I make coffee and read through my notebook to see if I’ve written anything good down since the last time I was there. If I have, then good I’ll start with that. If I haven’t, and I’m stuck, I start modifying one of my found samples and finally turn it into a midi clip to run through my synth. There, I modulate it until I’ve made a sound that I like and go from there. It always works!

I find that if I plan too much I loose myself. The studio is the only place where every hour isn’t scheduled.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I always make sure to have plants and flowers around me, nice fabrics, a nice cup to drink out of and make sure that I’m dressed in something that feels good.

It’s a whole process, but most important is not to have any distractions that bothers me

What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note? Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?

That I can’t answer actually, it just goes on by itself. If I get completely in the zone I don’t have to think anymore, it just happens.

There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?

Absolutely, when I listen back to my music I don’t understand how I actually made all of that. (laughs)

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

I can feel when it’s ready.

If I’ve started to change too many things in the process I throw the whole project. Then I know it wasn’t right from the start.

What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?

I can mix other people's music but find it hard to mix my own. I prefer to leave it to Matt Karmil for mastering and some time mixing it too when I can’t figure out what could sound different.

I trust his ears completely, same with Hans Berg, I like to send my tracks to him for feedback.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

That has changed a lot since I started making more and releasing more music, I don’t really care anymore if it gets hyped or not. I don’t aim to be accepted by a scene, I just do it for myself and my audience.

It was more stressful when living in Berlin and having this pressure that you had to get DJ-bookings after a release and having that as your main income. I don’t want to do long tours away from home anymore. I want to spend my time in the studio making music!

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I am lucky enough to not have mundane tasks taking much time from me, I only work in creative fields.

I feel inspired and creative most of my time awake luckily enough. Even when I’m sad I get something out of it.