He’s one of the most respected video journalists in Trance. A career consisting of over 150 interviews spanning 15 years with some of the most recognizable names in the genre, Viktor Kidson will be the first to tell you that this is all in fun.
I recently had the pleasure to speak with him to delve not into music, but to explore the man behind the microphone and cameras that have racked up more frequent flyer miles than most DJs.
With so much negativity surrounding our daily lives, Viktor presents himself as a free-flowing, strong-willed, empathetic soul that is a rarity in today’s society, and perhaps his vision of becoming an eagle at age 6 translates to who he is now. “I remember my mother, who was a dental nurse, telling me that I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up,” said Viktor as we settled in for our chat. “I’m not sure why I said, ‘an eagle,’ but I think it was soaring, flying high, and going and doing whatever I wanted has affected me as a traveler in my grown-up life.”
As a traveler, one must adapt quickly to unfamiliar cultures, and the slight differences each country presents itself. Viktor credits his father, who worked to counsel those who have been away from society for a time, with the ability to recognize these differences in people. “I have a lot of my dad in me,” proclaimed Viktor. “My dad never judged anyone for their background or from where they came. He looks at everyone the same, and I try to do that as much as I can.”
Growing up in Sweden, Viktor was a basic student. Like most journalists, he excelled in English but struggled in Math. Inspired by America, he wanted to learn the language as American’s spoke it, not the British English dialect his teacher suggested. “I wanted to speak a language that would take me around the world,” and surprisingly credits his favorite American movies Dumb and Dumber and Terminator 2: Judgement Day as influences on wanting to speak the language. “I can recite every line in those movies!” said a smiling Viktor.
After grammar school, Swedish students can choose the direction of their continued education. Viktor, 15 at the time, selected a three-year journalism program. The school was very old – almost castle-like – and his department was situated at the back of the building where he knew no one. After two days of hearing how much fun his friends were having at the other end of the school, he changed his mind and joined them in the general studies program where he could still concentrate on studying English. “Looking back,” said Viktor. “as much as I love journalism now, those three years are where I grounded my friendships. That’s where I made my three very best friends and have traveled the world with them.”
Continuing his fascination with America, Viktor began collecting hockey player cards and memorabilia in his pre-teen years. But, unlike most kids his age, he didn’t stop and continued his hobby until he was 20. “I had all kinds of stuff from signed (Wayne) Gretzky rookie cards to autographs of players.” He also met one of his best friends in the hometown hockey arena at age 15 while taking photos and getting signatures after games. “We went to Stockholm to see an international game where the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs played,” Viktor recalled. One would think he was a huge hockey fan, but he wasn’t. It was the thrill of collecting and amassing the material items that kept him interested. As we’ll learn later, these material things would prove insignificant to him.
His mother always kept the family close. Viktor and his brother, who is two years his junior, have a positive relationship, and lived together for a couple of years. Each Sunday, they all would gather around 3 pm for dinner that consisted of beautifully homemade BBQ or take out. When asked if there were any Swedish cuisine specialties that you wouldn’t find in America, Viktor explained that the food over the years has changed and become more streamlined with most western cultures. Amazingly, he said the only place in his city of Jonkoping for authentic, Swedish fare, including meatballs, is IKEA. That’s right, the furniture store.
As America continued to be the focal point in Viktor’s mind, his mother convinced him and his brother to travel with her to New York, a place she had always dreamed of going. Their first time was in February several years back when it was brutally cold. “New York cold isn’t like Sweden cold,” said a smiling Viktor. “The movies, fashion, everything about New York fascinated me, and being able to see it made me feel like I was in the middle of the world even though it was freezing.” Thus, proving that it’s often not about your environment, rather your state of mind and the people who share your experiences that make the difference.
And, with this attitude, he’s done what many of us only dream of by quitting his job in December 2018, and traveling to Australia to meet his girlfriend, Amanda. What was meant as a two-week trip turned into three months then six months. It’s this melting pot, like New York, that attracted him. “Everyone is open, inviting, and accepting,” said an appreciative Viktor. “I changed my life by coming here, but I didn’t do it out of the blue,” he admitted. “I did it because I met this amazing woman. She (Amanda) changed my life by opening my views of everything, and I’m very surprised by how much I feel at home here. It’s because of her that I feel this way. As much as I miss my family and friends, being in Australia makes me feel like everything is possible.”
Focused more than ever now, Australia has provided a second life for Viktor, and he is anxious to begin this new chapter with the expected birth of his first child. “Before I met Amanda, I never dreamt of having kids,” Viktor honestly said. “But, she’s an amazing woman, and with her, it’s the most natural thing.” With both of them hailing from countries with excellent infrastructure and health care, the couple is very comfortable in now calling Australia their home. “I’m excited,” Viktor said with a big smile on his face. “We’re working on the VISA stuff, and I can’t wait to be a part of the Australian culture.”
I asked him specifically what he’s looking forward to in becoming a father and what scares the living hell out of him. “I know my whole world as I know it will change,” Viktor reflected. “I look at my best friend and brother with their kids, and they’re tired but are putting the work in doing whatever it takes. I’m hoping I’ll be like that as well.” In preparation for the delivery, the two have started building a nursery for their son. “We’ve got a baby changer that is being sanded down and painted, a baby rug, cot, and recently went to a huge baby expo in Sydney, so it’s a good feeling to buy the things we’re going to need.” As for naming their son, he will have a combination of he and Amanda’s father for the middle name, but his first name will not be chosen until they see him, which triggered Viktor in revealing, “I was supposed to have my brother’s name!”
Also revealing is the story of when Viktor, himself, was born. His mother tells the account each year on his birthday, and as he grows older, it becomes more emotional each time, especially now that he’s to become a father. Exiting his mother’s womb, Viktor wasn’t alive. He was rushed immediately out of the delivery room without his mother having the chance to see him. “There was a doctor who ran into the delivery room wearing a leather jacket who had just come off his bike,” he somberly said. “He took care of the delivery, but my mother couldn’t see me for several hours. My name was to be Kristoffer, but since I was victorious in surviving, my mother decided Viktor would be a better name for me.”
Viktor has concluded that he’ll take a note from his mother’s book of parenting by teaching his son that nothing is impossible. His parents provided well for him, including several international family vacations, and as a father, he aims to reciprocate those experiences. He recalls having Chinese newspapers, and although he couldn’t read them, Viktor mentioned how fascinating they were to go through. “Every time my parent’s friends went anywhere, I wanted a newspaper or a coin from that country, so with me being from Sweden and Amanda having a Lebanese heritage, we will bring travel and international flavor to our son.”
Viktor, like a lot of us, saved items as keepsakes from boarding passes to event wristbands to signed music posters. But, when he permanently moved to Australia, he sold or threw away most of his material possessions, including his hockey memorabilia. “It’s just stuff,” Viktor emphatically said. “You would think I would be sad, but it’s such a good feeling clearing out your headspace. It was a part of my life that I went through, and now I’ve changed.”
As Viktor remains vigilant in his new life with Amanda and their mid-April 2020 due son, he hasn’t let go of everything. “I still have my vinyl collection left. I have about 300 – 400 records, most of them signed by artists I’ve met or interviewed. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of those!”