“What the fuck am I doing?” It’s the question that rang in Matilda Lyn’s head the most often after graduating from one of the most prestigious music schools in Sweden. The Gothenburg-born, LA-based musician once feared her musical identity was lost; with the release of her EP ‘A Bowl of Unripe Fruit’, it turns out there was plenty of talent to discover in her alt-pop portraits.
In fairness to Lyn, there’s a fair bit of pressure when your school rakes in super pop producer, Max Martin, as a guest lecturer. But at Musikmakarna (‘Musik Makers’), Lyn became frustrated writing and producing for other people. “I kind of lost that spark,” she admits. “After that I was like, this is not my thing. I need to express myself.”
Her prayers would be answered; shortly after graduating, around early 2022, Lyn was flooded with a wave of creativity that tapped into everything she was going through at the time. ‘A Bowl Of Unripe Fruit’ thus symbolises the wasted potential Lyn felt moving through life: looking enviously at bigger better parties, and more exciting lives.
“You get to the realisation where I’m living life and it feels like I’ve already reached the next step,” she says. “After a while, you come to the conclusion that I’m never gonna be satisfied – I’m always gonna want the unripe fruit that stands on the table of the other room that everybody’s looking at, but they don’t want what’s served in front of them.”
Growing up listening to the likes of Taylor Swift, Lyn writes with a similar pop poetry ‘Tennis’. Here, she likens the fluid, carefree conversations of her friends to the sport: “They’re so easygoing / Don’t cry over nothing / If they do, they look stunning / It goes without knowing”.
“It’s always important that the lyrics are genuine and true to me,” she tells me. “Otherwise, if it’s not, I don’t like it as much – even if it’s a good song. I really feel like the most important ingredient in a song for me is that it’s triggering some kind of feeling.”
There’s also echoes of indie rock on ‘Dead Ends’, which sees Lyn vulnerably open up about her current relationship. “It’s that typical thing where if you don’t feel like you’re in a good place in your life, no one can ever save you from that,” she explains. “You need to solve your shit yourself. I felt like I was dragging this person down, but saying: I promise that I will fix this. And I promise that I will do everything I can because I feel like I’ve treated you badly and I promise I will make it up, it’ll be worth it.”
Lyn, who produces her own music, also mixes her sticky-sweet melodies with the mangled murmurs of Bon Iver. You can hear this especially on ‘Fooled By September’, which compares the lost hopes of a relationship with the cold, harsh reality of autumn’s beginning. Lyn sings: “Don’t get fooled by September”; underneath a waltzing piano and trembling guitars, a distorted voice dares to destroy the idyllic soundscape she’s created. “I want to have those small things that makes songs interesting,” she explains. “That’s what I find so fun when I’m producing: adding small sounds and weird things to the production.”
The EP contains a strange contradiction for Lyn; growing up in Sweden, she says people are typically “very, very private”: “I think absolutely that has been put on me as well.” But Lyn also admits that “I can’t hide any emotion,” adding that friends are easily able to tell when she’s upset. The result is a collection of songs steeped in tenderness and intimacy, one where Lyn’s hidden feelings of dissatisfaction and anxiety can finally rise to the surface.
“Hopefully someone relates to the lyrics,” she says. “I’d be so happy if people connect with it in whatever way that is. It doesn’t have to be exactly my experience, just… you’re not the only one that has those thoughts or feelings. That would be very, very awesome.”