Christian Kjellvander, best known swedish singer/songwriter with a long recording and performing history, issued his new album “The Pitcher” in October 2013. A big and overwhelming production, featuring the Gothenburg orchestra, brought out the best of Christians songwriting art. From the beginning back in the nineties with his band Loosegoats up to now he produced a number of solid albums – never compromising or facing the zeitgeist. His unique and remarkable voice can easily be found out, his songs are surprising and – at least on “The Pitcher” – kind of grand and exalted. Christian can be named as one of the most interesting european singer/songwriter. entertaim.net had the chance to interview Mr. Kjellvander right before the start of his european – especially german – tour….
By Martin Hannig / Photos by Dennis Dirksen / Tapete Records
entertaim.net: Christian let’s talk about “The Pitcher”, your new album. First thing I was aware of looking at the song list: every song begins with a “the”. What was your intention behind that?
Christian: It was kind of a thought about how to write and to record simple songs. Today so many things are going on and you can change things back and forth endlessly, so I wanted to make it precise and keep it simple.
entertaim.net: Listening to that album I found it very big and with deep feelings. Like “The Woods” for example which I see as something like an ode to the trees which are just standing there and watch times go by. So do you like to be in the woods up there in Sweden?
Christian: (laughs): As a matter of fact I do. I have a wired need for the untouched nature….
entertaim.net: …oh you have plenty of that….
Christian: … Ya we do!! But we also have the cities. It’s more of a prospective thing. I get lost in the new world. I get lost in things coming out, and in money and capitalism – all that crap (laughs).
entertaim.net: In Germany we have that special feeling about the woods. Like something mystic. We are loving our woods romantically – that dark romantic german feeling. You know all the fairytales came from that place…
Christian: Yes of course! It’s a beautiful room. For me it’s the world’s own room. Yes, we have plenty of woods here, but the same in the south of Germany! And also in other regions in the middle and north. So beautiful, I love it.
entertaim.net: There was pretty much blood in the video of “The Woods”. Was it your idea to do it that way?
Christian: Yeah I wanted to do it. The song is about how we … you know, we bath in blood every day! If you get up on this side of the world and go for a coffee, and a newspaper and maybe a little toy for your kids – you basically -step on the grave of somebody else on the other side of the world – without even thinking about it. And I think we need thinking about….
entertaim.net: On this song – beside others – you brought the Gothenburg orchestra in. I imagine it quite difficult to produce an album with a big orchestra. Am I right?
Christian: Well it took some time to get all the pieces together. We don’t wanted to have all together in the studio at the same time working things out for a month. There was a bunch of pre-work with my arranger Martin. And then the actual recording went very fast!
entertaim.net: So you got some help for the orchestral arrangements?
Christian: Yes, I had a friend of mine, Martin Schaub. He’s an orchestral arranger. We would talk about where we wanted it to be. I maybe had some small things I wanted him to do, so then he would do the rest of it, and then we would send it back and forth to each other. He’s very good! That’s why I wanted to work with him. I did a concert with him where he arranged some of my old songs… His musical language is so different from mine. He’s the first one I’m able to kind of trust. It’s like somebody else is going to translate your lyrics.
entertaim.net: You’ll be playing a big tour in Germany, it’s more than 20 gigs. For a usual german band it’s hard to get 20 gigs in a row, and than there comes Christian from Sweden doin’ it. So why is Germany a good place for you?
Christian: I don’t know! I’ve always done pretty good tours. In Germany my touring is kind of different. Like a house concert 2 days in a row, and then do a club show, then maybe do a theatre, maybe do a youth center…
entertaim.net:… so there’s many different places…
Christian: Yeah many different types of places. Tapete, my record company is very good at finding these locations and I’m very opened for playing anywhere. I just like to play you know, I go crazy for doing this!
entertaim.net: I mean – you’re a musician!
Christian: Right! (laughs).
entertaim.net: On the first branch of the tour you’re gonna play with your band, and then after that you announced a duo show. What can we expect from that two different outfits?
Christian: The set will be different! With the band we’ll play all the songs from the new record of course. With the duo it will be a little easier to vary during the actual show. We’ll try to play different songs every night but it’s still gonna be more different as a duo. We have a pretty nice duo thing going on, just two guys with a guitar! (laughs). You know, I’m trying to disband the singer/songwriter thing. When it happened I never really understood that it was a trend…
entertaim.net:.. yes you were one of the first I guess!…
Christian: … yeah, but I never understood that, because for me it was just a natural way of making music and I have never really thought about myself as a classic singer/songwriter. I mean I love pop, I love folk, I love country, of course I love the singer/songwriters like Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, but I also love jazz and avantgarde….So every song I want to be something different at least I’ve never heard in any song.
entertaim.net: Two years ago I was wondering about an surprising album from Loosegoats, your old band. Will there be any Loosegoats activity with your old mates in the near future?
Christian: Probably not. That was really a reaction to my brothers passing…. I don’t know – I just wanted to have a project. That was one of those things…
entertaim.net: It was a nice one. All right, Mr. Kjellvander, thanks for talking to us! We are looking forward to see you in Cologne at the Blue Shell!
Christian: Can’t wait! Bye!