The Island

It must have been a Monday or a Tuesday. Anyway it was a freezing February night, and I was walking back and forth on the platform at the south station. I'd spent a day and evening in the studio, and was trying to keep the cold away. Since the south station manages to be both outdoors and underground it's permanently the coldest spot in Stockholm. There's a small heated cabin in the middle of the platform, but it smells so much of urine, that you can only go there for 30 seconds while holding your breath. There are only commuter trains leaving from this station so probably I was going to sleep somewhere outside the city. The apartment situation in Stockholm is notorious. I moved thirty times in ten years before I could get my own space. I've stayed in everything from studios without windows to garrets, and in every part of the city. But now I was on my way to the outside. And I wished It was somewhere much warmer. Like an exotic Island.


After hours in the studio my brain is like a beehive. Sounds are looping and I'm constantly humming. Suddenly I realized I wasn't humming something we've worked on. And neither it was something I've heard on the radio. It was something new, and as I started to be aware of this I managed to step on the wrong train. A few stations later the lines split to different destinations and I had to get off, go back one station, and wait for the right one. The melody was now complete, and I started to hear some lines. ”Oh we ran out of time... oh we were much to young...”  Words that might have it's roots in a swedish pop classic.

Finally I was on the right train and made it back to the apartment. I have a rule regarding new songs. They should survive the night without being figured out on an instrument. So I slept, and when I woke up it was still there. I took the train back to the studio and played it for the first time.

Six months later it was released with Ane Brun on vocals and produced like an exotic island dream from an icy train station. The name, was Koop Island Blues, and the following years it made a remarkable travel. First it went to a relatively new invention called Youtube, and saved us from drowning in the record industry crisis. It were in the accoustic guitars of young musicians and it went to the weddings and the fashion shows.

Then it made a trip to Jamaica honoring us with a reggae version. It went to the Polish version of Idol and it we're in the finals of an american dance competition, choreographed by Mia Michaels. After this it  went #1 on the Billboard electronic chart. It were under the skates of Elisaveta Tuktamysheva when she won the european figure skating championships. It became some kind of favourite among pole dancers, and I'm pretty sure it were in strip clubs as well, although Youtube can't tell.

It was bought buy Coca Cola and Playstation, so I could finally get an apartment. And regarding under what circumstances it came up, this makes me believe in miracles. And so finally last summer, after 6 years apart, I played it live again with the Koop Oscar Orchestra. And this time I'll never let it go.

Stockholm, March 2016

Oscar Simonsson

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7 Comments on “The Island

  1. The girl in the pole, just wow, I’m pretty sure she won…This song means so much to me, it’s great to get to know the story behind. Thanks

  2. I actually recall that being my favourite song for quite a while. I found it so very sad, but I was into sad music. I guess I still am. I wrote you my thoughts about the song, I guess it was on myspace – it was 2009 and you replied and also came to a concert here, in bucharest that year. I was there at the afterparty, took a pic with you, it was a very nice evening. still have the photos (bad quality though) on facebook.
    I was also in the audience yesterday, with my husband and my friends, had no idea that Bucharest was the last koop concert. 🙂
    koop island blues remains one of my favorite songs from all time.

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