Swedish Indie popper Jens Lekman's witticisms and his penchant for melancholy has won him a comparison with the British front man of the Smiths, Morrissey. And when it comes to speaking his mind the 29-year-old singing-songwriter can be as scathing as the Brit rock's elder statesman. Lekman talks to The Jakarta Post after a concert in Bandung on March 27.
How was the concert in Bandung?
I've never played in front of such a big crowd before. It was the biggest crowd I have played for. And I've never played to such an enthusiastic crowd either, so it was amazing.
In Bandung you played a new song, The End of the World is Bigger than Love, are we expecting a new album coming out soon?
Um, it's probably going to take a little while longer, I'm constantly writing songs, albums are something that happens when I have too many songs. And the people around me say *you have too many songs, you have to put them out', but I don't think in terms of albums at all. I have loads of new songs, I haven't found the, how you say, the golden thread, you know? What links the songs together, and that is something that I'm waiting for.
Maybe a single?
Uh... yeah, a single, that could be nice, but still you have to find that golden thread that runs through the songs. And I'm always, like, writing one song that is over here, y'know and one song that is over here, and another song that is over here, and it's really hard to link them together, one day I want to be a disco star , the next day I'm a country singer.
I understand that you are good friends with Erlend and Eirik, can you describe that friendship?
I know Erlend from about six or seven years ago, I met him at a party in London, and ever since then he's turned up in the strangest places, without telling me. I remember I was playing in Boston once and he just jumped up on stage and I didn't know who he was because sometimes he has long curly hair, sometimes it is shorter, sometimes with his funny glasses on, and he kept doing that. He showed up in Rio de Janeiro and all these different places.
So he's been following you?
He's stalking me... (laughter) but he's a really nice guy, he'll always takes me out to crazy parties and we always had a good time together. And I love playing with him as well. Eirik is a little bit more, a little bit harder to get to know him. I haven't met him as many times as Erlend. Eirik likes to stay at home in Norway. He is married, I'm not sure, but that might have something to do with it.
What do you make of Erlend's DJ-ing?
He is better than me (laughs). Nah, he is great. He taught me a lot about DJ-ing actually. He taught me that DJ-ing is not so much about skills, not so much about mixing and all that. It's more about picking great songs that people would want to dance to and having a good time.
A lot of Swedish indie bands have influenced Indonesian bands. How is the scene these days?
Well, the interesting thing that happened was in the early 2000s. The 90s were very influenced by England and America, I would say way too much. People were sending their vocalists to London so they could pick-up the accent right. Sweden has such a low self esteem, they would have columns in newspapers that say it's good for being Swedish, which basically saying we know it's crap but you know, it's good for being Swedish. It was pretty bad. In the early 2000s, people got so fed up with the influence from Britain and America. So they decided to shut off the whole outside world and just do something completely new, looking at their own backyard, creating something new. That's when things started getting interesting.
The Eggstone (seminal Swedish pop band), they we're pretty big in the late 90s. Are they still around?
They don't make music, they produce these days. They are really nice guys. They are big, right? In this part of the world? They did some really cool stuff. I don't think they make music anymore.
Your favorite Swedish band, The Tough Alliance, what are they up to now?
There has been rumors that they broken up. I have no idea what they're doing. I still play badminton with Henning, the guy from Tough Alliance every time I'm in Sweden.
- ANDI HASWIDI