A Choir of Ghosts Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer: I’ve been asked about the genre thing and to describe myself so many times, but I think I’ve given a different answer each time. I mean, it all depends on what I’m listening to most at that time that affects my playing style, or how I ask my band to play, or which band I have playing with me. If I have my swedish band with me, it’s more indie/pop/americana/rock but when I have the guys from Canada over it’s a bit more atmospheric and cinemascape indie/pop. If I play by myself, it’s more folk/indie. I don’t even think this answered the question…I guess I would say if you like Bright Eyes, or First Aid Kit or DeYardmond Edison, you would like my music. A bit of a weird mix of indie, pop, folk, americana and rock.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Answer: The last year has been ok! I have been quite quiet really, I haven’t toured as much as the years before. I guess I needed a rest, in the past 3 years I’ve done 7 european tours, 1 UK tour and a scandinavian tour. Last summer I recorded the album out in the forest with my producer. There has been a lot of work with that, and doing videos and stuff.
Lamitschka: You did a duet with Ellen Sundberg. How did that happen to come about?
Answer: I was on tour with Ellen a couple of years ago and we came became good friends. I figured her voice would be a perfect match and add that something extra. So we asked to come out to our studio and recording some vocals for Better Off Alone and An Ounce of Gold.
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Answer: I seem to have a way with making men cry. It’s happened a few times recently, but I think it’s just one of those things where one of your songs really speaks to whatever that person is going through at the minute. It’s one of the most satisfying things as a musician knowing that you actually connect and make a difference for the audience.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?
Answer: That’s a really interesting question actually. I was raised in England where the homegrown scene is a lot bigger, people go out to shows of small local bands, and those bands grow in to great musicians most of the time. I live in Sweden now and it’s completely opposite. There isn’t a great scene for bands that don’t have a following, but how do you get that following without having that space to develop? I’m lucky in the respect because I got to experiment and grow in England, and when I moved here I was already a pretty decent live player. I don’t think I would be the same musician if I didn’t have that time growing up in England.
As well, you see that the way musicians and artists make it today isn’t the same as it used to be. You can be in your bedroom, record one decent song, get millions of streams and then go on tour. When I was a kid you had to play all the tiny shows in basements and dive bars. Now with spotify and soundcloud you don’t really have to do that…but then, what kind of live musician does that make you?
Lamitschka: As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Answer: I actually aren’t the keenest of touring musicians, I find it quite difficult being away from home. The first few weeks go alright, but after that I find it really tough and kinda lose my love of it. I think my favourite has to be recording, I work with an amazing producer who coincidentally became a best friend during the process. So I’d have to go with that, hanging out with a friend, drinking beer and recording.
Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?
Answer: I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I take elements from so many different areas of music and we always aim to make the music a bit different from the run of the mill indie-folk. We used a lot of synths and pads in the A Choir of Ghosts stuff and I don’t see so many folk artists doing that at the moment.
Lamitschka: Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?
Answer: I’m definitely my own biggest critic. I have a hard time believing some times that so many people listen to my music. I wonder if any artists are their own favourite artists? I rarely listen to the genre of music I play actually. Whilst I’m doing this interview I’m listening to Deicide.
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
Answer: I’d love to go to the US and play at South by Southwest!
Lamitschka: Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?
Answer: One of my fondest memories is when we were in our tour bus on the way to England. We were going to take the eurotunnel (a train that goes under the sea and that you drive your car/bus in to). One of the people on tour couldn’t grasp this, and after about 600 attempts at explaining how it worked she said, “so…does this train go underwater or what?”. I just lost it and that I was gonna explode.
Christian Lamitschka (Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de) for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Foto (c) Robert Höglund