Swedish duo, Tobi Danielsson and Sam Brandt aka NOTD, got their start by making official remixes for pop music’s elite such as Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, and Rihanna. Today, they’re behind some of the catchiest songs in the world—I Wanna Know, So Close and Keep You Mine. From going on tour with Zedd to their own headline tour earlier this year, this is just the beginning. During lockdown, they’ve been keeping busy by making music and skateboarding. Here’s lockdown life with NOTD.
Hi Tobi & Sam! Firstly, how are you?
Hey! We’re doing as well as we can be, given the situation. Thankfully, we’re healthy and so are our friends and families. It also feels really good to have new music out and see people reacting so well to it.
Where are you spending lockdown?
We’ve both been at home in Stockholm, Sweden since early March.
How’s the weather there?
It’s been really weird (haha). We’ve had some warm weather, but then a few days ago it was below zero and it snowed which is unusual for this time.
What are your top lockdown songs?
If You’re Too Shy (The 1975), Daze Inn (Carlie Hanson)
What’s been your go to lockdown meal?
We’ve been eating a lot of burgers.
What’s been your go to lockdown drink?
Wine. Check out @swedishwinemafia on IG for some of our favourites.
How have you been passing time in lockdown? Any new hobbies or skills you’ve picked up?
We’ve been working on new music 24/7. Skateboarding has become our new hobby—going to the skatepark is a great way to clear our heads after being inside working for long periods of time.
What are the best skateboard tricks you can do?
We’ve been doing a lot of vert skating and haven’t focused a lot on tricks, but ollie or shuvits are probably the ones we can do now.
How are you feeling about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 getting a modern re-release?
That’s so exciting, we played that growing up so it’s gonna be nice to see the re-release and get to play it again.
The first place you’ll go when this all ends?
What’s the screen time on your phone at now?
Too high (haha).
What’s the story behind your first tattoo?
Tobi: My first tattoo was so spontaneous and I just thought it looked cool with a compass. My style has changed over time though and I have a lot of plans to get new ones when the lockdown is over.
Sam: My first one was an Avicii tattoo, since he is a big inspiration and will always be. I’m also planning on getting new ones, when it’s time for it again.
How has the lockdown impacted the way you create music?
The lockdown hasn’t really changed our creative process, but it has definitely allowed us to focus all of our energy on creating. 2018 and 2019 were filled with promo and tour travel, so in that sense, it has been nice to settle down and work in a focused manner. We really feel like our upcoming singles open a new chapter for NOTD, and we can’t wait for the fans to hear it all.
Before the lockdown you were on your first headline tour. How was that experience?
The headline tour was really fun, and a great learning experience (while it lasted). We got to meet some of our biggest fans in Amsterdam and Cologne, and we’re really grateful for that. Understandably, it had to be cut short, but we can’t wait to get back on the bus again when the situation of the world permits.
You also went on tour with Zedd. How was that?
The two runs with Zedd (first in the U.S. and then in Europe) were crazy. It was our first time properly touring with our hybrid live show, so it would have been crazy no matter what. But to do it as support for Zedd, who has been one of the biggest inspirations in our own creative journey was so fun and such an invaluable learning experience. He works so hard, and the attention to detail he has for every element of his live show inspired us to get better every night as well.
Your collab with Bea Miller I Wanna Know recently went platinum in the U.S. How does that feel?
It’s totally crazy. That song will always be so special for us, and to celebrate this milestone with Bea who is one of our best friends is a dream. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to celebrate this particular moment with her in person as we were home in Sweden and she was in LA, but we called her to surprise her with the news and that was pretty special.
Congratulations on the release of I Don’t Know Why with Astrid S. How did this collab come about?
Thank you! We originally heard the topline from one of our favorite writers/collaborators Jason Gill about a year ago and immediately connected to it. In less than 24 hours we had a demo version produced. We’d been meaning to collaborate with Astrid for a long time, and she was the first vocalist that came to mind as a dream feature for the record. We were thrilled that she loved the song as much as we did and wanted to be involved. When she cut it, she nailed it and we’re so excited it’s out now for people to enjoy.
During Grammy week you partied with some iconic people. How was that experience?
We spend a lot of time in LA, but that week was something else. We had so much fun going to some of the events surrounding the awards, seeing some of our favorite artists play live in intimate settings, and hanging out with our fellow artist friends (Loud Luxury included—those guys are the best).
Would you move to LA?
Moving to LA is something that we’ve discussed as a possibility for the future, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shape out with this global situation first.
What else can we expect coming up from NOTD in 2020?
When we announced the release of I Don’t Know Why, we also teased that we have three more singles coming before the end of the year. We feel they take the NOTD sound into a fresh, though recognisable direction, and we can’t wait to release them.
Lastly, any message for your fans?
We just want to say thank you for the support, and we can’t wait to come meet you and play for you once the world gets back to normal.