Olai releases EP: What Are You up to

The artist and songwriter Olai is releasing the EP ‘What Are You Up To’ consisting of two self-written songs with a strong musical presence and emotion.

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Origin of the Songs 

The songs on the new EP were written by the artist in different stages of his life. The first song, ‘In My Head,’ was written in 2019 when Olai had just returned to Sweden after living in Spain for a while, and his life had undergone significant changes. Having said goodbye to several close friends, ended a relationship, and not knowing exactly what he wanted to do in life at that moment, it led to some anxiety and doubt about the future. But at that very moment, the song came to him overnight when he had trouble falling asleep. Olai sat down with his notepad and a guitar, and the first line almost wrote itself: “I’ve been staying up late trying to separate right from wrong.” The chords naturally fell into place, and the song was essentially complete. 

Creating Wuu2, however, was not as straightforward. The song started as an idea after the artist received a text message from a friend in England. The message consisted of only five characters: “Wuu2?” When he asked what it meant, the friend replied, “Wuu2 = What Are You Up To.” He thought that “Wuu2” would be a good name for a song, and he had an idea of what the song would be about. During this time, he felt frustration over how easy it seemed to spread lies as facts, even for those with the most power in the world.

He wanted to write about this, but he had only decided the name of the song at first. He needed inspiration for the verses, which he found in George Orwell’s 1984. You can for example find a few lines from George Orwell’s novel in the song: “Now here come the thought police claiming war is peace”. The chorus came to Olai a few months later while riding a tandem bicycle with his family on Gotland. After a few hours of cycling, they were all very tired, and he started singing the words “carry on, carry on…” so they wouldn’t stop pedaling. The words took the form of a chorus, and he combined it with the verses, and the song became a reality. So, a text message, a book, and a tandem bike ride were what inspired “Wuu2.” 

The Process and Sound

The genre of the EP is folk-rock, and the artist describes the sound as conveying the feeling of sitting around a campfire and singing to a lone guitar. The melodies are both happy and sad at the same time. 

Producing the songs was a demanding process. The artist had tried to record them with different sounds several times before, but it never quite fell into place at that time. It wasn’t until last year that he made a new attempt, this time intending to make the songs more stripped down. It took several tries to get it right, but eventually, Olai felt that the songs were complete, bringing a sense of joy and relief. 

What the artist likes most about his release is the sound itself. He says, “For the first time, I’ve found a sound that I think suits the songs well. Without sounding too cliché, it feels like I’ve found Olai’s style.” Previously, the sound was more electronic and rock-oriented. Now, the music is more stripped-down, with a greater focus on vocals and lyrics, making it feel like “third time’s the charm.” 

Olai expresses, “What I look forward to the most about releasing the songs is being able to share them with others. Additionally, I look forward to performing the songs live and feeling that my live performances don’t differ too much from the studio version”.


Artist: Olai
Text & Music: Olai

Mixing: Filip Killander
Mastering: Filip Killander

Recording: KMR Studios
Mixing: KMR Studios
Mastering: KMR Studios
Year of recording: 2023

Dolby Atmos
Technician: Filip Killander

Studio: KMR Studios

Olai: Song and instruments

Filip Killander: sound producer, programmering

Executive production
Graphic Design: Erik Almqvist
Editor: Erik Almqvist
Release: KMR Studios, 2024 02 23

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Mixed and Mastered in Dolby Atmos

This production has been mixed and mastered in Dolby Atmos. KMR Studios is one of the few studios in Sweden that's actually certified by Dolby. This means that both the studio room and the technician working on the music meet international high standards.

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