Jens Lekman No Longer Hates New York

06/06/2012 4:00 AM |

How do you feel when you have a record finished and you have to wait a while to release it? Does it drive you a little crazy, do you just like to sit with it yourself a while?
Because this is the first time I feel like I’ve made an actual album—the last ones were more like collections of recordings or just random songs thrown together—I feel really excited about it. When I finished the last record, I just wanted to get away from it, and do something completely different. I’ve actually been sitting around listening to this album myself, which is rare for me.

Well, you’ve only had it since Friday. It’s pretty fresh.

Yeah, exactly, it’s been four or five days.

Last year’s Argument With Myself EP definitely had some different sounds from your earlier stuff, some tropical touches. I was wondering how you went about finding new sounds, you want to use when writing new songs. What’s your process for deciding on new elements you want to bring in
to something?

Well, it’s interesting that you say that, because that EP did have a few new musical directions, but the album is almost the opposite. There’re no new musical directions on it. With the last album, Night Falls Over Kortedala, I created a palette. You know the little wooden boards that you have? I put all these colors on it. Then, instead of adding more colors to it, because there were a lot of colors on that palette, I took half of them and put them on the EP. The other half went on the album. So, the album shows more somber colors.

It’s been four years since Kortedela, so when were these songs written? Are they songs you’ve been working on all along?

I think the first song was written December 2008. The album couldn’t have been finished until last Friday, though, because the last songs I wrote a few months ago, and those were the most important songs for the album. It’s been a long journey, but I’m really happy I didn’t put it out then. It would have been a crappy album.

What instruments are the main thrust of the new material?
The piano is very central.

Did you write on piano, mainly?
I didn’t write on it because I can’t play piano. I play piano like E.T., I only use two fingers. In the end, when I was decorating the songs, I added a lot of piano. It’s really my favorite instrument. You know, the upright piano, not the grand
piano. The shitty pianos that people throw out. They have such a nice kind of broken, wooden tone that I like. It’s not the big, full sound of the grand piano. It’s something a lot more…it’s almost like the sound of an old vinyl record.