My Swedish Career

‘There’s such a demand for live music in Sweden’

'There's such a demand for live music in Sweden'
Gothenburg-based musician Rosie McClune. Photo: Simon Forsythe
Scottish artist Rosie McClune, 33, tells The Local about how her Gothenburg-based venture MusicMakes is trying to bring more live gigs to Sweden's music scene.

Sweden is one of the biggest exporters of music in the world, so the Swedish creative industry already has plenty to smile about, with modern success stories such as Max Martin, Icona Pop and Avicii played on stereos and iPods all over the world.

But despite its international success, the Nordic country's live music scene is comparatively small. After almost a year living in Sweden, Scotland-born Rosie McClune says one thing she still misses from her old home town in the United Kingdom is the vibrant concert scene.

“In Glasgow you can't go anywhere without hearing live music. There's practically a gig every 50 feet – you can't escape it. That's not the case in Gothenburg where I live,” she tells The Local.

McClune knows what she's talking about. The former The Hedron guitarist has toured with and supported world names such as The Rolling Stones, Alice in Chains, Sex Pistols and many more, rocking it up at festivals and in venues all over the world – including Sweden.

Having already established a network of connections in Scandinavia, the challenge-driven punk rocker did not have to think long when a friend one day asked her if she would consider relocating to Sweden's second biggest city to open a music venue.

“I've played lots of gigs here over the past two or three years and I just love it. I've been to Stockholm a lot but I find Gothenburg to be a lot warmer in terms of the people. It feels more like a community,” she says.

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Almost a year later, McClune now runs the MusicMakes studio and live hub in central Gothenburg. Her aim is to offer a space where up-and-coming as well as established artists can record and showcase their music – bringing live music to the people.

“Something a lot of people told me was that although there are a lot of musicians in Gothenburg there is nowhere to play. I'm trying to change that. Anyone who wants to come in here and play can. I think it's important that people have a space where they can build their confidence on stage,” she explains.

McClune by and large operates an open-door policy to recreate the missing link between audiences and musicians. Despite Sweden's huge large-scale music export industry, there is a hunger for the smaller, more intimate venues and frequent concerts that is not currently being met, she says.

“A lot of people have told me that it's hard to get the Swedes out of their house to go to live gigs, but I've actually found that there is such a demand for it if it's only being offered. We sometimes put on gigs on the outskirts of Gothenburg where you wouldn't think you would attract an audience, but everything we have put on has sold out,” she says.

And the Glaswegian is full of hope for the future of Sweden's live scene, saying that in many ways it is easier for young musicians to make it in the Nordic country than in many other places in the world.

“I almost can't believe how much the government helps to fund musicians and I think that's amazing. You don't get that in the UK, because whenever there are government cuts the first thing to go is always the arts. In Sweden, creativity is encouraged,” she says.

The Local speaks to her as she is right in the middle of planning a series of summer gigs. McClune leads a busy life, but not one that she is planning on giving up any time soon.

“No, I love it here. And what I love especially about Gothenburg is that I always discover new things. You get off the plane in Stockholm and you're immediately bowled over by how beautiful it is. Gothenburg is not so much about the beauty; you have to look for it, it's not in your face,” she says.

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