The Silence and the Darkness

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, darkness must be present” -Francis Bacon

It has been almost a year since the release of the Svartna Ep and I’ve been feeling so empty. Not in a bad or sad way, nor in a desperate or uncomfortable way. But I’ve just had nothing whatsoever to say. The Ep got really good response from the audience and even though I tend to be overly critical of my own work, I’m still very happy and proud of what we accomplished.

…But I’ve had nothing to say, nothing to write, nothing to sing about.

I found nothing to grab a hold of and that frustrated me for a while. That however got me thinking of new beginnings and starting anew, from nothing. How there really needs to be absolutely nothing to give room for something. ‘Cause if there already is something existing, that something will inevitably have an effect on and even form what’s taking shape and in the becoming.

So I start anew. In music that nothing is of course silence and in photography nothing is darkness.

…And so I wonder, if silence could be drawn on paper what would it look like? If darkness could be heard what would it sound like?

 

-J

Rumour has it..

“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear, may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret.”
-Sigmund Freud-

… that there is a tasty bit of a treat to be found. Why don’t you check it out for yourself?

Enjoy !

-J

The Love of Music

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” -Friedrich Nietzsche-

In the last post I talked about facing your fears and challenging yourself to go outside your comfort zone, after all outside the feel-good-zone is where the magic happens. The studio has never been outside my comfort zone. Sure, I’ve been a shy rookie, silent and withdrawn. Once somebody actually asked me in the studio if I just had been singing cause he couldn’t hear me. I must have been red from head to toe after that.

However awkward I was the first time I stepped in to do my thing, and however unsure of myself and my thing I still feel in that first moment, the studio for me brings a certain peace to my soul. I love the part when you get to lock yourself into the singing booth, to just let go. I’ve danced, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve screamed both silently and out loud. It’s fun, it’s painful, it’s all the reasons in the world to do music. The love I feel for the craft is a love so powerful, that when the boys first called me and asked me to join my first band ever (like 100 years ago!) I ended the conversation with a lump in my throat. I knew it was something I had to do, I was scared as hell, but I was pretty sure of what would follow, no that it would take me to where I am today, but that it was a path I would walk.

In school I would envy the violin playing girl who seemed to be a multi-talent what came to music. She was an awesome violinist as 9 years old already, and I mean mind-blowing awesome. On top of that she could sing as well and then one day she sat down at the piano in the gymnastics hall and played the most beautiful classical piece my ears had heard. I was baffled and in love from that first second. The sound of the piano, the flow, even the movement of the fingers. I used to watch her play and track her fingers and just hope that I would catch even a tiniest bit of what she played and to one day be able to play like that. To me it looked like she just put her hands on whatever instrument she could find and it would obey her. I wanted that. Now years later I still have no idea of what the piece was, but I can still remember where she put her hands when she started.

-J

WHY?

“Remember, one shitty life! ” Nadi Hammouda

On a lecture yesterday, we talked about the self and ones own impact on learning and on the learning process. On the train ride home I started to think about how I motivate my students and get them to want to learn new things. Too many times I’ve heard too many stupid excuses, from my students from my friends and specially from myself. The fact is however that there really isn’t any excuse to not doing or not learning something. If you want to do it, you will. Eventually. It won’t be easy, and it won’t always be fun, but it will be worth your best try.

What used to hold me back, maybe more than anything else, was fear. I used to be afraid of not being good or talented or smart enough, I still very often am. The difference now however is that I try to look my fears in the eyes and not to let those fears control me anymore. On the contrary I now try to use them. It is really uncomfortable to face your fears, and by nature it’s supposed to be that way but no matter how comfortable we are, we should never let that come in between our learning and experiencing. Never less become lazy about it. What the heck are we here for if not to take the most out of it? To experience the most, to learn to see, to feel, to hear, to taste.

With Svartna it has so far been one long, ongoing re-writing, re-recording, re-shooting, re-booking, re-editing, re-making process. However painful and agonizing this whole thing has been from the very beginning, I wouldn’t change a second. I very much would have wanted it to be easier at the time, but all the same I’ve learned indescribably much about myself and my workflow and inner world. How and what I want to do and most importantly why. It’s not even about the finished product anymore. Of course it’s the goal of it all, but it’s more about the making of it, the process, the journey, the feeling. As much as I breath life into this, just as much I need to breath this to live. Extremely liberating!

About a year ago, when I felt the world fall apart under my feet a friend of mine told me not to be afraid to start over. “Who ever puts their whole heart in it, whatever the project or target of desire is, will receive more than they ever thought achievable”, he said. Nothing will matter more than the love for what you’re creating or feeling, the highs the lows the lot. Where there is a will there will be a way and passion is the thing that will always fuel the will.

-J

A King Worthy a Crown

“My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy” -William Shakespeare-

In my life, as probably you in yours too, I’ve seen kings in many different places. Kings who think they rule over their own lands, kings that actually rule over their lands, kings searching for their queens, kings that prefer the maids, kings who have sworn not to rule at all and kings who are still searching for something to rule over. Whatever the kings rule over and wherever they might be ruling, they sometime during their life come across one an other, dance together for a while, and then wander off to rule over new lands or kingdoms.

I won’t explain my self any further now, in time it will all become clear. I will sincerely say however, that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know some of the finest kings in this world, and I’m finishing the crowns for the kings of my life.

-J

Svartna

“Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.” -William Shakespeare-

Me writing music, I’m still trying to get used to the idea. I’ve never before seen myself as a musician. Singer maybe yes, but not a musician. In my opinion a musician needs to be emotionally available and open, willing to share the most fragile thoughts of oneself, at least in some sense. I on the other hand am very private and reserved, tho fully capable of showing of a very outgoing side of myself too. A dear friend of mine once told me that it’s really hard to get to the bottom with who and what I really am. I remember being almost stunned by the idea, by then we had known each other for nearly 20 years, so I couldn’t believe that he felt like there was stuff about me he didn’t know. Adding to that, that I’ve always thought of myself as a really see-through person finding it really hard to hide my emotions from my face, one can see where my amazement came from. But as I started thinking about it I found that excluding my closest family members I really didn’t like for people to know what I was thinking. My main thought here was that the less they know about me, the less they can hurt me.

This became something of an obstacle for me to overcome when I started to write music. First I was indescribably scared that someone would see or hear who I was from what I’d written. After all I wrote out of my life, my lies, my experiences, my feelings, my thoughts. It was so hard to show people what I had written, that not even to the closest of friends could I do it with out almost breaking down into tears. If somebody wouldn’t critique it instantly I would feel like I’d die out of shame. Why did I think that way? Why did I show them that? My playing was so bad…etc. etc.

It wasn’t until somebody gently reminded me that my feelings or thoughts wouldn’t be any less my feelings or thoughts if I didn’t talk about them. I didn’t have to talk about them of course, but if something is, you can’t unmake it by not talking about it. Others might not know, but what does it really matter if anyone else knows or doesn’t know, if you yourself still do? It is after all you who have to live with your own thoughts, others can just walk away, but you’re the one stuck with yourself. For as long as you live. If you can’t deal with you, you’re the one who’s fucked, no-one else. I was so concerned about how I would be received if somebody found out who I really was, that when I finally wanted to show someone a little piece of me, I had to almost throw up or break down before I could do it. How curious isn’t that.

Anyway. This reflected in my way to write lyrics as well. I wrote and re-wrote several verses and choruses for my three songs, multiple times until I was finally ok with them. I couldn’t deal with them if they were being too straight forward. This is also why I feel that a visual world is so important for Svartna. What I can’t tell you in words, I will try and show you in other ways.

-J

The Beginning and the End

“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” -Pablo Picasso-

While the year 2013 in many ways was a year of more or less total destruction for me, it was also the year of great new creation. The creational part had actually started as early as 2011, but as with most processes in life it took me a while to realize where I was going. During a train ride home from a gig, at 7 am in the morning, while feeling really sorry for myself I remember sitting down and writing the first few lines for a song. At the time I didn’t really take myself all that serious, I had no plans what-so-ever on where to use the lines, I just wrote. By time however the lines multiplied and during late 2012 I realized I should do something with all my lyric material. After a little encouraging wine, I picked up the guitar, and soon (or to be frank, quite a lot later and after many, many, many tries and re-recordings) I had my first try of a song demo.

During the spring of 2012 I also started to find myself back to my love of crafting. I’ve always been a bit of a granny, knitting socks and whatnots for everyone around me, not to talk about the jewelry boxes and homemade necklaces I’ve enriched my beloved ones lives with.. I’ve sown my own clothes both for the stage and for everyday use, but what has always bothered me a bit about it is, that the sock-knitting hobby never seem to build up to anything. One sock ready, two socks ready, next.. I wanted something bigger. Something more long-lasting.

The third and maybe most obvious thing that I carry with me is my love for photography. I started out in 2008, I think, with a really crappy borrowed camera. Shooting gigs and other happenings or just ripping down the curtains from the windows at home and making myself pretty little princes dresses out of them, then shooting them in my living room and editing myself into various fantasy sceneries. How endearing… Later it grew to shooting friends and soon I found grounds to found a company around my hobby.

Since I had all these elements I started to try and figure out a way to combine them all. I got frustrated when I had so many different projects going on all the time, but not one, for me good enough, goal to focus on. During my songwriting I also realized that I use a lot of mental pictures and everything builds up from there. One song was out of a scene in a desert and an other is a story about all the ghosts in my life wandering around in my world and so on. I managed to sink myself pretty deep in these creational waters of mine and that sinking, my friends, is what this blog will try and tell you about. Still unsure of how far I will be able to take this I’m just following a thread I found in me somewhere and I’m still nestling it up to see where it takes me.

Janica Lönn