Unedited Kristoffer Ragnstam interview

Here’s the raw version of the e-mail interview with Kristoffer Ragnstam.

September 3, 2008

i) You’re frequently compared to your countryman Jens Lekman, and you are both known for sweet indie-pop. Do you think there is a ‘Swedish sound,’ or is it just that only certain types of music are picked up for the US market?

I dont think we’ve got special sound.and why Jens and I play in USA are probably more that we found people who belive in US and constantly give us great tours etc.so more luck than sound.

ii) Earlier this year, the choice of Sebastien Tellier’s song “Divine” as the French entry in the Eurovision contest met with controversy, as the lyrics are almost entirely in English. His response was that he needed to use English for artistic reasons: “To explain the vision of French people of sexuality and of life and so, to be understood, I need to sing in English.” What factors influence your decision to sing in English?

Thats easy.I grew up with english music and I only been listening to english music. So when i started to do my own stuff did english felt best.allthough it can be strange sometime to write in a language thats not my mother tounge.but hopefuly do the record buyrs understand what Im trying to say:-)

iii) How do you feel that your artistic process changed (or didn’t) between “Sweet Bills” and “Wrong Side of the Room”?

I had a vision together with Joel(co:songwriter) and Chris.We would like it to sound home made and pure. thanks to the vision did we have a very simple process making the Wrong side album.Plus that we had been touring a lot so my band and I knew each other much better this time

iv) You famously talk about recording ideas for and bits of songs in your cellphone. What comes next? Is songwriting a slow and iterative process for you, or is the cellphone recording just a mnemonic to help you remember a fully-formed idea?

Maybe in the future would you/I be able to record a full song at a decent quality.that would be fun.I use it more like a scrapbook.

v) Can you cite some of your influences? And who among your contemporaries are you a fan of?

I love musicians who play music like there is no tomorrow.People who make me thing they do it very much in a solid honest way.I like bands like:queens of the stone age, Slayer, The roots, Kings of Leon. Daniel Lanois etc.

vi) I really enjoy your witty, wry, and self-deprecating lyrics (and it would be great if they were posted to the Internet!). They definitely focus closely on the personal – entanglements and disentanglements, attractions and apologies. How do you decide what to sing about? Do you ever think about singing about more ‘serious’ subjects, or are you committed to singing about the personal?

Oh the lyrics should get posted any minute.My web page are pretty new new and need some minor changes.but when it comes to lyrics do i think my weapon is to sing about my normal life.cause alot of weird stuff happend there.and it maybe sound forced to sing about something else.Sometimes it can be very serious to me but end up like a normal thing on the lyricpaper.

vii) Can you talk a bit about what it was like working with engineer Chris Brown (Blur, Radiohead, Supergrass)?

Wow! Its a dream to work with him. His been a part of many of my favorite albums.like RIDE.
I love Chris and he´s one of the people in the music Biz that i respect the most.not only thanks to his CV.but probably more cause he’s constanly honset and only say wha he thinks.no charade or theatre.just 100% Chris Brown.and thats very inspiering.

viii) Besides your New York shows, any upcoming plans to tour in the US?

I will tour all over.Europe, Japan and back to the United States.plus take care of my new born son

One comment

  1. […] was kind enough to respond to some questions via e-mail (his responses have been lightly edited for clarity and […]

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