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02 August 2003
NRK TV interview with Lene Marlin
Source : Nrk
Per: What do you say, Lene, have you been reading...?

Lene: Yes, oh yes, I got to browse some...

Per: Did you get stressed?

Lene: Not stressed, it's just general nervousness; after all, it has been so long...

Per: I have to eat some strawberries...

Lene: Wait a minute, I have to drink some water first...

(Lot of preparations for the interview with low sound - unable to hear what's being said).

Per: How great! I really like the artwork, and the pictures, and...

Lene: It feels so right; I haven't felt a single moment in this process that...everything have gone so nicely. We have agreed and cooperated with the record company, and it's been incredible...

Official interview begins

Per: It's been three years without you being on the front pages, then suddenly during three days you're on the frontpage of every tabloid. How is it, are you stressed out by reading about yourself?

Lene: It's a mixture of nervousness and much delight, and some horror, in a way, because as I said, it's been such a long time. And you don't know, right, what is it that people want? It has just been a period where...I was totally put out the first day at Virgin, when I came to do the interviews the first day, and there was this huge crowd of people. I'm somewhat overwhelming by the interest when you think about the actual long time that's passed.

Per: In one way, that could be the ultimate dream; I mean, you're doing the opposite of what everybody says, by waiting this long, but then it still works!

Lene: Yes, I feel it was the right thing to do. I just couldn't release record number two just because that was the smart thing to do in relation to..."just because if you don't do it then you'll be forgotten, blah blah blah..." I just thought that that's one chance I have to take.

Per: Now that you're giving many new interviews in connection with the new album, don't you feel that the music only gets to be a backdrop just because of your long absence?

Lene: Yes, it gets to be...but now I have this eager to let people actually listen; I'm just waiting to have the last pieces into place before it gets released. I notice that I have this incredibly longing to let people hear it.

Per: Did it take a long time before that longing returned?

Lene: It was...what am I to say...I have been writing songs all along, after I had been "gone", so I have tried to work out something, and some songs I've been thinking "Yes!", and others "Oh, my God, this I can't...". So this was a process as well, but I had to spend quite some time convincing myself that I was about to do this all over again.

Per: What was the worst part of what you went through; what was it that made you decide "no, I'm out of here!"?

Lene: It wasn't exactly...it just had to happen! It just had to happen. There and then, I had no other options. In as far as the album was released in England later on, I thought "My God, why, you have this incredible opportunity, and you're just not there!". However, then it just wasn't important. I just had to let it go; let things just pass along as they would. It wasn't important back then.

Per: What have you changed now then; what is the new plan of action to avoid having to resign again this time?

Lene: I feel I have a more relaxed relationship to it now, I'm a bit more prepared that way. But you can never be fully prepared for what's about to come. I have no idea whether this album will succeed or not. Surely, when I sat down and tried to think about how many people actually buying the last record, it gets to be...you can't even imagine who they are. You can see the figure, but not each and every person buying it; it's such a lot of people! It's so...I had to spend some time just thinking about this, kind of, get a feeling for it, how it was.

Per: Did you use the music as therapy?

Lene: Yes, I'd have to say that, yes.

Per: According to the songs I've heard, it seems to be a lot of therapy; it's a lot of "I'm okay" and...

Lene: (Laughs) That's true, but it's not certain it's about me, you see.

(Both laughing)

Per: But anyway...?

Lene: Yes, actually, everything you do, really, is colored by the timeframe you're in, and the things you've experienced. Obviously, it will reflect upon what you do. My lyrics are...yeah, some are about me, and some are about others, and some are about various things.

Per: You found a collaborator in Mike Hedges in England, how was that?

Lene: No, he was...it was an incredible funny experience, when we were starting up and realized that this could turn into something, it was a strange feeling. I thought "shit, now we're actually going somewhere, we're going to record this album!" When I started to see how things were going, and how incredibly fun it was to work, and how inspiring it was, then you just want to do it.

Per: You had attempted with others before?

Lene: Yes, I had attempted with others earlier, it hasn't really been dependent on that. During the time of my absence, I haven't just been in my "winter lair" hiding away, I haven't been in a cave, not going out. I have been trying things and doing things. There have been these parallell processes, in fact, both on the personal and musical level. It became important to locate a person that could understand what I wanted.

Per: How great! Mike Hedges, compared to other people you've been working with; what is it that he possess?

Lene: It's a bit strange, because when I met him the first time, he was so smiling, he said the right things and you just know you've got to have a good chemistry with a person you're going to work with for a long time ahead. It has to work in that regard. It was the way he did things, "okay, now we're just going to play; let's get the band in, and start playing! Then we'll see!", kind of. And for me, it was a great way to work.

Per: You didn't have a plan of action, that you were going in a particular direction, or did it just happen...?

Lene: It wasn't a plan, I just wrote the songs that came naturally. I could have attempted to think that "now I have to write this and this", but usually it comes out as very little of a success.

Per: Where do you write, then?

Lene: Where I have something to write on. It could be anywhere, as long as I can write it down, or trying to remember it until I can get to a place where I can write it down on a piece of paper.

Per: The last time we saw you on NRK TV, on the Spellemann-awards, you used one of the speeches after one of the awards to reprimand the media. Has that gotten any better?

Lene: (Laughs) Of course, there's a part of the media that has done a few things that I deny accepting. Well, it's done, but there are some that have done some violations that I just can't comprehend. Like, what was the point in doing that?

Per: Can you do something about it?

Lene: Can I do something about it? No, I can't just walk in and...I have this naive thought now...(laughs); incredibly stupid but, it must be allowed to say 'no'! I don't understand...well, I do; I have to reserve the rights to say no, I can't be available at all times. "I can't do this right now; I don't want to!" There are some things in life that's more important, and I have this thought that this will be respected, in a way. Like I said yesterday in the interviews; to sit in a car or two, outside my house, my home, I feel that's just incomprehensible. I don't want to have any part in it. I had finished the day yesterday, and I got home after been sitting all day and just thinking...well, okay, now I'm going to go home and relax, and then I got home, and there...somebody was in a car! I can't control it or anything, but I must be allowed to voice my opinion on that, and that's just not any good!

Per: Is this a change in the media; is this how the media has become? Is this how things will become now?

Lene: If you just signalize strongly that "I don't want this". If somebody ask to take a picture of me, and I say no, then let that be a no, that's my thinking. It's just a matter of showing a human fellow some respect, and have some civility. I can't see why that's out the window because you get more public. However, this is not a general thing, it's a part of the media that can do some of this.

Per: Ruining for others?

Lene: Ruining for others (laughs).

Per: I was thinking, the focus in the newspapers, when you read about yourself, is it representative?

Lene: Are you thinking about a direct interview, or when they just write...?

Per: Well, the last few days, I've been browsing to find out what you're talking about, is that what you want to talk about, or is it what the journalists want to...

Lene: Obviously, I understand that some of the questions are bound to appear. Certainly. I have no problems...some I want to answer, some I don't want to answer. Like today, I'm glad for that time period, you learn a lot from it, as long as you come out strengthened, as they say.

(Both laughing)

Lene: People have been very cute, there's been this good "vibe", and then I get very delighted, and relieved.

Per: Is it heavy when you select to withdraw, and still get the frontpages of the tabloids?

Lene: I tried to disappear totally, but it just didn't work. Of course, sometimes it isn't much fun, you get very sad, but then you have to not focus on it. You'd think, "it's not true", I know, as long as the people around me know what's true, then just...

Per: Yes, the people around you. You have had a good team around you all along, and some you have lost along the way. Is that something that weighs heavily?

Lene: Of course, it is, it breaks...it gets to be...yes, of course.

Per: Do you get disappointed?

Lene: I believe that whomever you've had relationships with, and when you realize things take a different direction than what you'd expected...it's the same for all relations you have, when somebody you've had relations with is lost, if something happens, it's not the most fun you've had.

Per: Now you have total control?

Lene: Total control I don't have, and that I won't have!

(Both laughing)

Lene: Really, it would've been...I feel I get to be involved, I'm allowed to come up with thoughts and ideas, I can say that I want "him to take the picture, or he's going to make the video". It's always a cooperation. Nobody wants to do something that the other part would dislike. It's discussion all the way, and conversations, in a way.

Per: What's success for you now, then, with this album?

Lene: I'm so happy with it, it's the best that I could make when I made it. It's something I look forward to playing for people, I feel. And, when people who have heard it say that "suddenly I was just thinking about that song, and suddenly it was that song", I feel I get signals that this is an album that will live for a while.

Per: So you don't measure it in money?

Lene: Money? To put it this way, if not the desire of sharing the music with others hasn't been the more important thing, then it would in no way...it would've been totally wrong. Of course, I'm not going to sit here and say, "no, that's not an issue at all". Because, obviously, it gives you, economically, an incredible safety. Of course it does; it would have been insane to state otherwise. However, that's not what's on my mind at this moment, absolutely not. One might think I ought to have a plan about what do I want and the like, but right now I'm just go by one day at a time, and just see. And then suddenly you get a message like "MTV is going to live your video 65 times a week", and then it's just this incredible joy! And then I'm thinking, shit, I was hoping I could find back the joy I felt when I got into Hit40 for the first time. Then I just got...(sighs)...my body just tingled all over!

Per: And that didn't arrive before now?

Lene: Yes, it has been there, but in a different way; now it's a different thing, because it's not until now that I have a song to play. It was also a relief to say "here is the song, make up whatever opinion you want, but here it is in any case!". It's a relief for me to finally just get it out!

Per: So it's correct when the frontpage says "Look, she's smiling"?

Lene: Yes, that's correct (nods).

Per: (Laughs) But you have always smiled?

Lene: Yes, I do have always smiled, right? I have laughed much at it, though. People are just calling me, wondering "I haven't seen you out in 3 years"! I haven't just been sitting in a corner hiding and stayed away! I have been out walking, I haven't been sneaking around corners. It feels incredibly good right now, it feels totally right!

Per: Cool! Done; sorry we got a bit overdue.

Lene: That's okay!

Translation by Tef Johs


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