Like/Dislike with Nicholas Sjostrom, musician

Nicholas Sjostrom, a Baltimore music producer, is stepping outside the studio and in front of a microphone.

Sjostrom, a Chicago native who lives in Hampden, grew up playing music and studied sound engineering in college. The 34-year-old songwriter and sound designer (he does post-production audio for TV and radio in Baltimore) has worked on projects with local musicians Caleb Stine and Ellen Cherry, but has now decided to debut his own original tunes.


"Working exclusively on music projects really wore me out," said Sjostrom. "But now, I get to work with music and sound at my day job while retaining creative energy for my own projects." Sjostrom will perform Saturday at the Creative Alliance with Stine as an opening act. Sjostrom talked to us about performing in parking lots, dining during a tornado and more.

Worst pet peeve? Bands that play too loud. I do sound at a few places around town and when a band is playing too loud, you can tell they aren't listening to each other. I like music that sounds like the musicians are listening to each other.


What song are you loving right now? I've been enjoying Randy Newman's "Sail Away" record lately. The variety of subject matter and his approach to those subjects is really refreshing and the high level of craft that goes into his songwriting is inspiring.

Last concert/gig you went to? I'm lucky enough to play in Caleb Stine's band, the Brakemen, and we had a fun show up at Andy Nelson's BBQ joint. Great fun playing old songs in a parking lot with some good friends and great food.

Your worst habit? Bad puns.

Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan? I think most of them have.

Last movie you liked/disliked? "20 Feet from Stardom" — still not sure if I loved or hated this one. I think there's parts of the narrative that felt a little weak, but I'm a sucker for footage of great musicians in great recording studios.

TV show you can't get enough of? Since I work on TV as part of my day job, I try to avoid it on my time off. But in hotels, I often find myself watching the "all 'Law & Order' all the time" channel.

Favorite and most loathed fashion statement? Pants. For both.

Last great meal you had? [My wife] Magnolia's beans and rice with bison jerky on the motel bed at the Badlands Inn in South Dakota while a tornado blew outside.


Favorite place to get a drink in Baltimore? Any place that has good milkshakes is fine by me.

Best advice you ever got? Keep the rubber side down.

Favorite new Baltimore music act? It's terrible, I know, but I don't really keep up with new music. There's so much great old music that I haven't heard yet.

Best part of becoming a solo artist? I'm not really a solo artist. Even though my name is on the record, it wouldn't have happened without everybody in the band.

Favorite thing about Baltimore? Falls Road. It's like a secret passageway from downtown to all the way out in the country.



If you go

Nicholas Sjostrom performs and Caleb Stine opens at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Highlandtown. Admission is $15; $10 members.