Out with: Filipe Karlsson

For the second iteration of “Out With” we had a chat with Filipe Karlsson, solo artist and co-founder of the Portuguese indie rock band Zanibar Aliens. Filipe invited us to his garage/recording studio, where we discussed his first national tour as a solo project, his relationship with surfing and skateboarding, and his approach to style.

Filipe is wearing our Merino Crewneck Light-Blue.

FN: Music is your full-time job, is being on tour the best part?

FK: It’s one of the best parts for sure. Traveling around the country. Listening to people singing my songs. Enjoying the journey. That’s why I make songs (laughs)


FN: What’s your drive to keep doing it?

FK: My life is making music, it’s what I know and it’s what I feel good doing.


FN: You’ve been playing with Zanibar Aliens since you were 12, but 3 years ago you decided to start a solo career. What motivated you for this change?

FK: I remember we came back from a tour with Zanibar, and I started thinking to myself: “I want more than this”. At that point, I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my life and I wanted to take things to the next level. I naturally started to put more focus on my personal career. I have been writing songs since I was kid, and naturally, I ended up having a lot of ideas piled up that weren’t fit for the Zanibar project – plus I wanted to sing in Portuguese. So, I decided to start working with a manager to figure out how to structure this personal project. Since then, things have worked out really well and I’m happy with where I’m at now.

FN: We’ve been skating together since we were kids and I know you recently started surfing. What’s your connection with skateboarding and surfing?

FK: I started skating when I was a kid, and it’s something that has been always very important in my life. Our group at Zanibar was very close to São João’s skateboarding community, and a lot of people got to know us through it. In the skateboarding world, I think I showed more my punk rock side because of the Zanibar and Beez projects, where we used to play in pools while people were skating.

On the other hand , surfing is more natural. It’s about getting up early, getting in the water, and your connection with an element – nothings artificial. Having a good surf sesh is way more fulfilling. You go for a sesh when it’s sunny, with the boys, it’s just something very different. Skate is way more rough, like: let’s get wrecked, let’s get hurt! Surfing is more: let’s have fun and chill. Surf can also be rough I guess. I like surfing with friends, or when it’s not crowded, or even alone. But surfing a crowded spot just to get one wave, I feel this is when the bad part of surfing shows. Here is the contrast with skating. If you’re skating in a crowded spot, everyone is there to help you out and cheer for you. However, the ramp is always there, the wave isn’t.

I guess it’s just a different dynamic.


FN:  Zanibar Aliens is more skateboarding. Filipe Karlsson is more surfing. What’s your say on this?

FK: Yes… (laughs) Definitely yes!

FN: Since the start of your music career there has been progress in style, from 70’s metal/rock to casual wear and now to 90’s disco fashion. How do you explain this evolution?

FK: Honestly, with Zanibar we’ve always connected with older references, in terms of style and music. Personally, I draw inspiration from the classic but I always try to do things my own way. I don’t like to be stagnant, so I try to not focus too much on the past.


FN: Do you miss those, long hair, grunge days?

FK: No, not really… Maybe in 30 years, it’ll come back.


FN: Real drums or drum machine?

FK: Drum machine


FN: Album or EP?



FN: Last EP was in 2022, what do you have saved for 2023?

FK: I’ve been working on a lot of music, but I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to be the strategy. I’m keeping it calm and steady. Maybe at the end of 2023.

I’m starting to enjoy the concerts and figuring out what the audience likes to see. Releasing new songs now is maybe a little too soon. Now it’s the time to deliver to my fans all around the country. I wanna go to their hometowns and get them talking to each other about it. So for now, that’s what I’m planning.


Interview by João Duarte

Photos by João Berberan

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