Sassy 009’s latest mixtape ‘Heart Ego’ is a hypnotising display of other-worldly electro-pop music. “It is my most ambitious project yet” she tells me, excited to finally have her mixtape out for the world to hear.
Sassy 009 is the solo project of Sunniva Lingard. She grew up in Oslo, “living in almost every corner of it" she says. Her parents were both classically trained musicians, she admits to me that she grew up with them wanting her to play an instrument. “I’ve been exposed to pretty epic music since before I was even born” she tells me. She learnt her fair share of instruments, however eventually took a sonically different path from her parents, diving into the world of electronic music.
She tells me one of the biggest and first influence for her music was Swedish transcendent rapper Yung Lean, inspiring the music she would upload to SoundCloud. Using the handle ‘Sassy 009’, a throwaway name originally, has now stuck. She starts to laugh, “It’s funny because my mum is very into classical music, but she doesn’t know anything about any other music... when I show her my music she is like “ooh wow this is really... different!” my dad is a bit more of an all-around music lover.” She explains to me how as of recent, a major influence on her sound has been for her love for strong vocal melodies. “I’d say three or so years ago I was not as into commercial pop music as I am today. Today I am loving it.” she admits to me. “Three or four years ago I would have thought it was boring, and now it has been a major influence on my own music.”
The eight-track project is emotive and hypnotic, with a perfect blend of Sassy 009’s glistening vocals dancing over hazy techno-infused composition - it is a true transcendent trip from start to finish.
How are you feeling about the release of Heart Ego?
It feels so great! Some of the songs are actually pretty old... October 2019 was when I started this project, so it just feels very good to finally release it. But there is always this bittersweet feeling when it comes to releasing music, I’m very excited but I’m also scared, once Friday comes around and it is out... then it’s out! I am happy though.
If the mixtape could be one texture, what would it feel like?
Oh wow... hmm... I would say the texture would be like carpet... but not the very fluffy and soft kind, it’s more like shorter carpet, a little harsher but it feels great to lie on. You know? That’s the texture of Heart Ego.
What kind of environment did you record the album in?
First, I was recording it in my mum’s apartment, I lived there for a year or so. So just in my room with my headphones, my computer and me! And then I moved into a studio to finish it.
Has your upbringing and environment inspired your sound?
It is hard to know in a way. I am a pretty simple person when it comes to environments. It needs to be clean, and I like to have a candle and a cup of tea... once I have that I am very much vibing. When I lived at my mum’s place, we have a cat. It’s basically my cat but it lives at my mums, and she was always laying on the bed next to me looking at me while I made music.
"You could potentially go on forever with a song, and it will eventually sound like a new song if you work on it for too long. That is my case a lot of the time. I have to sit back and ask myself if I have a problem with the song... If the answer is no then it is done. That can be a very hard question to ask yourself."
What was the hardest part of creating this mixtape?
Deciding when it is finished, I think. You could potentially go on forever with a song, and it will eventually sound like a new song if you work on it for too long. That is my case a lot of the time, I want to change things so much that it eventually turns to something else. I have to sit back and ask myself if I have a problem with the song... yes, or no? If the answer is no then it is done. That can be a very hard question to ask yourself.
Did you come across any new inspirations?
I think one of the biggest things that I've been inspired by lately, that I have not been as inspired by with my earlier records is strong vocal melodies. I’d say three or so years ago I was not as into commercial pop music as I am today. Today I am loving it. I always saw it as too available, but now my references have changed over time. Now I love Dua Lipa! I am not ashamed. Three or four years ago I would have thought it was boring. That has been a major influence on my own music.
Do you ever look ahead and think of places where you eventually want to take your music?
Oh yeah, I’ve had some very intense phases lately, I am more into rock music than I have ever been so that is something I want to explore. I’ve also looked back on someone who was my biggest idol when I started making music which is Yung Lean, I am very inspired by him and have been again lately. The first ever demos of mine that I posted to SoundCloud in 2016 or something, when I listen back, it really gives off such Yung Lean vibes! I’m also much more aware of minimalistic soundscapes, I have for so long just added layers on layers on layers on layers on layers, and now I am asking myself, if I only had three instruments, what would they be?
What mark do you want to leave with Sassy 009?
Oh wow, that’s a good question... I’ve never actually thought about it, or at least not in that way. When I think about it, it’s more on a personal level... I just want the world to know that I am existing in a way. Music is my way of putting my stamp in history, maybe someone will remember me. I haven't really thought about it! With the title of the mixtape ‘Heart Ego’, that’s what I’m interested in... there are so many aspects of life where I feel split or ambivalence to something. I feel a huge amount of ambivalence to being an artist and releasing music, I don’t always ask myself what mark I want to leave, but I do ask myself why am I releasing music? or why does the world need this? I have to be a little selfish in a way, because I am releasing this because I want to.
Listen to Sassy 009's latest mixtape, 'Heart Ego' on Spotify below:
Words by Oli Spencer
Photography by Oli Spencer, shot over FaceTime