fictionalize you life

We can go wherever we please and everything depends upon how near you stand to me

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interviews, conversations

Loney Dear, le projet porté par le suédois Emil Svanängen annonce un nouvel album intitulé Dear John pour janvier prochain. La pochette reproduira le disque embarqué à bord de la sonde Voyager par la Nasa en 1977, avec pour seule consigne d’aller le plus loin possible. Sur ce disque d’or très particulier est gravé sur microsillon un résumé codé de notre monde. C’est le collector ultime de l’univers, l’impossible à atteindre dont on s’approche en rêvant.

Un bon moyen d’affirmer sa volonté d’unir la science et la poésie pour le songwriter qui tient en haute estime la musique pop, jazz ou classique et son pouvoir d’emmener plus loin. Engagé dans une quête quasi chevaleresque de la chanson parfaite, il en fait une affaire personnelle, travaille et enregistre en solitaire, invite aussi des compagnons sincères à faire de la musique ou la fête.

Il y a des chansons enjouées et lumineuses sur le cd noir de Loney Noir, et des morceaux introspectifs, teintés de regrets sur le cd blanc de Sologne. In With the Arms ou Hold Me sont  profondément généreuses. Carrying a Stone lance un terrible défi, l’ouvrir et oser prendre la parole, dans l’ivresse du moment où arrive ce qui un instant auparavant paraissait absolument impossible. Une vraie provocation, l’armure tombe, les remparts intérieurs aussi dans une prise de risque insensée, rare et vivifiante. Une sorte d’hymne national pour l’assemblée éparpillée des grands traumatisés des chansons. Pour aller mieux, ils sont prêts à se laisser bousculer par Loney Dear et les autres groupes qui leur sont chers.

Interview at the Opderschmelz center in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

The new song is called Airport Surroundings, There’s another one called The City, The Airport. Why are airports special to you ?

It actually doesn’t have anything to do with airports. I live next to a small airport and I like that area, I like biking and I like the lights in the night. That’s where I happen to be.

You’ve been traveling a lot. How do you occupy your time while you’re on the road?

That’s a very good question right now. I was feeling so bad yesterday about touring because it’s my first tour in a while now and I don’t like doing nothing. It makes me feel like a bad person. I promise myself to be a better reader, a better movie watcher and a better listener and everything. But still when you’re out on tour and don’t really like it, it’s all about trying to sleep to let the day go. I was panicked yesterday about it but now since yesterday’s show was very nice, I’ve been really happy for 24 hours.

Tonight the venue was great. Everybody was quiet. It felt like you were thinking of more notes than you actually played.

That’s the thing when you play with a small band, you have to point out the arrangements to people … some players like strumming the guitar but I think that just destroys the whole thing a bit. It’s better to play less and let people hear things. I love this building but I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as yesterday because I knew people were going to be very quiet. It was hard to raise the temperature of the room, if you understand the picture. Everything is so cold and beautiful in there, it just kind of disappears. But I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

On the homepage of your site there are two great videos of John Coltrane and Peter Paul and Mary. Why them? Who’s the best musician you’ve ever heard?

It just felt right to put the videos there.

The best singer I don’t know. I’m not really interested because it kind of disturbs me to have someone too obvious to look up to. I’m really into songs. I really appreciate singers but I’ve become much more filled up with songwriters, arrangers and people who put it all together.

I really like to listen to Brad Mehldau, the pianist.

I like complex music. Music that wants to go somewhere else, music that wants something. I hope I can do that myself in the future as well. I like music that’s easy to listen to so I try to find the perfect combination of complex and loving music at the same time.

Do you think there’s such a thing as the blue note in pop music?

No … In good pop music there is. Pop music is so wide so I cannot say anything about it really.

Can you talk about a musical dream you haven’t fulfilled yet?

Coming closer to what I hear, what I want to do. I’m very hard-working and at the same time I feel a bit lazy. I know I should do much better but at the same time I feel « this is what I do now ». I think I’d like to make it richer, more dynamic and not too flat.

I used to dream about making great records. Now I’ve been making records and I like them. Right now I’m trying to find how to turn that music into a concert that’s really rich and pulsating.

I think your songs are about doing the right thing, saying the right thing at the right time, or the impossibility of doing so. Has it happened a lot in your life, perfect moments when things happen the way you wished them to?

Actually there hasn’t been a moment. I can’t really understand how I got to this point. It’s impossible to do what I do, to think « I would like to play my own songs ». That’s an impossible wish, if you understand the idea. Making the last album (Loney Noir), there were so many things that could have gone wrong. I was so worried about my little computer and all the equipment. Now it’s out there in multiple copies and it can’t be destroyed. To me, that is almost like someone was watching me and took care of it. There hasn’t been a moment. It’s more like a straight line through everything. I’m really fascinated by that. I learned how to play the clarinet when I was a kid and on my breakthrough album I started to play again. It all made sense, what I’d been doing. I more and more try to invest things like emotions or knowledge. I try to buy lots of instruments that I don’t know if I need just because things might just suddenly fall into place.

Take the cover picture for the new album, a golden disc from NASA. I love the picture. I’d been watching The Simpsons and Marge was reading an American technology magazine called Wired which happened to be something I really was interested in without knowing. Suddenly watching The Simpsons made me find this beautiful picture. You can’t know in advance what’s important or not. I mean you can guess and you can try to do your best but still it seems like you don’t know anything.

Imagine you could live one day in somebody else’s shoes. Who would you choose?

Maybe growing up means knowing that you don’t want to live someone else’s life. Because I can’t think of a person that I want to change with, even though sometimes you want to have another life. It would be pretty nice to be in the creative flow that Paul McCartney  was in in the mid sixties … but I’m trying to create that myself.

You say « I » a lot in your lyrics. So who’s  the « I »?

I know ! I saw it when I was writing down the lyrics, there are too many I’s. I think I’m pretty egocentric probably but in a kind way. I’m like the eternal seven-year-old. I’m trying to tell a story sometimes but I haven’t really reached the point where I write other people’s thoughts so I write about myself. I’m becoming more interested in writing lyrics. It’s soul developping. You’re writing so you know how you can feel sometimes. It’s something nice.

The record label’s called Dear John. Your next record will be called « Dear John ». Who’s John ?

I don’t know… There’s too much John around. I named the record three years ago. John was the person I wanted to be, to answer your former question. Actually John was a little bit more good-looking than me, he was good at playing drums and he was a bit quieter than I was, not so speaking all the time. He wasn’t a real person for me, maybe an ideal. I thought it was a bit boring to make music myself so I invented a person to put on the sleeves so people would think it was nice if there were more people involved in the record.

Can you describe a perfect day for you?

I don’t know if I should include the day before and the day after. but it would probably be waking up in a pretty cold nice weather. No rain… This is actually what I’m thinking about all the time. What is a good day for me ? I know this isn’t possible but I would want it to be : waking up at 9, reading the newspaper, eating some breakfast, going for a walk, working in the studio for 4 hours and then giving a concert with my girlfriend and my band in the night and having a little bit of party. It sounds like the perfect day to me.

What’s your favourite instruments to play?

Double bass. I would say all big instruments like bass clarinet, tuba, that’s what I like.

Besides playing music, what else do you like doing?

I like bicycling. I like investigating things, trying to figure out how things work, trying to read about city planning and stuff. How do you make people in a city feel good about themselves ? I like to go into subjects and I’m really interested in technology. I like to try to learn things and to understand that there doesn’t have to be a difference between knowledge and arts. It can sometimes be the same thing and that’s interesting to me. I like to read and meet people. I think my perfect situation is working and behind a closed door there are all my friends. That’s probably the perfect day for me, working and having my friends one door away.

Where’s the best place on earth to listen to or play music?

Somewhere where you’re being appreciated. The mental temperature of the room needs to be rising. To get that there needs to be a certain amount of people. So any stage where there’s people is the perfect place to play music really.

Do you have a motto? Some words you say to yourself when you have something difficult to do?

The main thing is you don’t know what’s important, you have to do what you think is important. When I was a bit worried that my record wasn’t going to be good my mother said « did you do your best? » and I said « yes, I did » and she told me « then it’s ok ». This is so obvious but it is a good model.

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