An interview with Loney Dear
Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:10
Last week, Swedish singer-songwriter Loney Dear released his sixth album, Hall Music. Exited to learn about what went into the album, WPCD talked with Emil Svanängen (ES) about Hall Music and the songwriting process behind the release.
WPCD:How is the tour going so far?
ES: I've been having a really great time in New York. I've been doing a few really small shows here, warming up and getting people excited and getting myself excited about things. It's fun.
WPCD:Tell me about your new album, Hall Music.
ES: I'm really happy about it and I think it's a special record for me. I'm thrilled to have it out. I've been working on it for such a long time. It's been pretty close to what it is now for almost a year, so it's so much fun finally getting it out and getting people to hear it.
WPCD:What was done differently this time around?
ES: I worked a bit more with what it was going to be like to tour and to play those songs a lot live. And to make them be more connected to myself and feeling really great about playing them on stage. Giving myself some more space for improvisations.
WPCD:A description of the album reads that Hall Music joins together joy and darkness. Would you say that there's more joy or more darkness on this release?
ES: I think there's a bigger darkness over it, but I know that there's some sort of hope in it still. But I would say the darkness takes over.
WPCD:What music were you listening to at the time of writing and recording the album?
ES: I was listening to a lot of very great orchestral music and jazz music. A lot of Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer. A lot of jazz music from the 60s from the modern times. So, a lot music recorded in a room without anything else but just the players and the compositions, so I guess that's what I was doing.
WPCD:Do you have a personal favorite track on the album?
ES: That would be either "Young Hearts" or "Durmoll," major minor (laughs), the ninth track. I really like those and I really like track six, "D Major." "My Heart..." There's a few of them I'm really happy about.
WPCD:Do you have a particular favorite to perform live?
ES: When I'm doing this little weird solo thing when I'm playing bass pedals and using my feet and hands and singing, I really like playing "My Heart" right now. And I think "Young Hearts" is fun to play because I'm singing that song with the audience so it's something extra for me. I'm starting to shift my focus from album producing to the concert being the forum for my music. And that's a bit of a relief, every night you can be better and put together the perfect set list in a way so I think that's really exciting.
WPCD:Do the lyrics come first or does the music?
ES: I wish the lyrics came first. Sometimes they actually do, but still from the start I'm a composer. There's a lot of struggle with the lyrics, but I'm not really embarrassed by that anymore. I used to think that it meant that I was a poor writer, but I just know that music is my home field and the lyrics appeared.
WPCD:When did you figure out that music was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
ES: I think I've always wanted to do it, but I was really wise about "It's impossible to do it, you can't do it as a job, it's too tricky, it's not something you can do." I still chose that track maybe eight or nine years ago and just gave it half a year. It was very rewarding and I'm starting to realize that there's nothing I do better than music, so it's probably a good thing for me to do. It's so much fun. It's just really tricky to get everything together, but it's amazing to be able to do it.
WPCD:What do you want the listener to take away from your music?
ES: It might be a weird answer, but it's really the music itself. The whole essence of music and the magic of it. I think that's what I'm struggling with to communicate. I want them to feel comforted by the music and realize that there might be a little hope still left and don't worry, things are going to go well.