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11 September 2005
In a moment - Interview by Ullrich Maurer
Source : Gaesteliste.de
Norway may not be musically a large nation: The scene is then nevertheless locally surveyable. Everybody knows eachother,and helps eachother out in a mutual way.

And such it's not a surprise that also in Lene Marlin's band, for example, Tor Egil Kreken and David Wallumrod from Maria Solheim's band are to be found - while David's brother, Fredrik, is serving the drums on Lene's album.

'Oh, you know, Tor Egil is playing in very many bands', Lene describes the phenomenon. Musical in-breeding still does not develop, because Maria Solheim and Lene Marlin have very little in common. While Maria, as well known, was discovered for her quite self-willed form of folk music, Lene feasts rather in pop - although also with her the songwriting is standing in the foreground.

At the tender age of 17, Lene published in 1999 her debut album, 'Playing My Game', and took afterwards a time-out to finish up school, and then released 'Another Day'; a clearly matured, rather songwriter-oriented, atmospheric album. The new work, 'Lost In A Moment', is again sounding a little differently - more rock, more optimistic than those rather reflective predecessors - and developed under her own direction, semi-behind the back of the record company, which didn't hesitate, however, to make public the new work in an official manner. (Lene has nevertheless always been a million seller).

'The thing is, those that I co-operated with were the team producers Stargate - three internationally successful, Norwegian producers - and we actually knew very precisely what we wanted', Lene confides, 'it was at first not at all planned to record an album, but we understood eachother so well at the first attempt, that we decided then that it was simply time to try - without any pressure from above. We imagined: If we kept it a secret, it would work for a long time'.

Now it is like that, the new material sounds nevertheless differently from the previous album: If everything there was wrapped into tasteful sound clouds, from which Lene's melancholic voice was coming, the new work sounds more transparently, openly, more simply (however, again also less simple than the very much pop-oriented debut). What was the reason for the renewed change of style? With 'Another Day', Lene nevertheless seemed to had found a passable way.

'As I said, I hadn't planned to make this album at all', Lene laughs, 'it simply happened, and was a surprise for me. This is my third album, and on each album I've been working with different producers. That has to do less with the fact that I wanted to change, than that I would like to co-operate with different people. And if the chemistry is correct, and if one feels that one can make great music together, then this is what counts.'

- Who are these Stargate people?

'They have many Top 10 hits in England and the USA to answer for", Lene considers, 'they have co-operated with Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Blue and many other acts - they are coming, however, from Norway. One of them is a friend of a friend of mine - and in such a way the connection was established.'

- What did the producers contribute to the record?

'Now, I was writing the music and the lyrics', Lene describes the process, 'I gave them the songs I played, and explained what I wanted to do afterwards, and I felt that they had the same feeling as me, when I played them the songs on the guitar. They probably understood immediately, what I wanted, and in the long run we were agreeing on each point - and this was much inspiring. They also organized the musicians and the photographs. As said, the record company should know nothing about it. It is also such that Stargate are songwriters - which probably helped.'

When Lene says that the producers knew what she wanted, then it naturally places itself the question what could have been?

'In addition, I did not have a master plan', Lene sighs, 'that was not necessary. I also needed to explain less myself: If I played them a song, then they knew what should be done right away - a cello here, some e-guitars there, things like that.'

- What is the difference between the beginning and, for example, the last record?

'That is difficult to say, because I think that for me it's actually a natural process', Lene thinks, 'one becomes older and experiences new things. I know that I do not write the same songs anymore, as at the time when I was 17. I do not think much about it, however. Other people can determine nevertheless the differences, or?'

- The new album is a little - as one may say - more positive, more merrily, than the last work, isn't that true?

'Now, that was not planned, but it developed in such a way. Perhaps, because it was so much fun making it?'

As the songs develop, it seems like Lene sings much about herself. 'Oh, most people think that', interrupts Lene, 'however, I do not. If one was to be singing every time about oneself, then the topics would run dry at one point. What is beautiful with songwriting, is nevertheless that you can write songs about practically everything, right? I have, for example, been inspired by my environment - by the people around me - and also by my own life. But not in the way that the people would think that this is obvious. If I put 'I' into my songs, then it doesn't have to be about me. A song is like a discussion with someone. And the largest praise for me is if someone comes over and says to me: 'I know the feelings and what you're singing about.' I try to shift into different situations. And I never explain what my songs are about.'

- Who are the characters that Lene invents in this way?

'If I, for example, was reading a book, then I always imagine everything figuratively. I don't think about it much, however. Exactly the same when I'm writing songs. It may be about a scene from a book or a film, or about something that has happened - whereby I think about how myself or a friend of mine would have behaved in this situation, and converts this into lyrics.'

- What releases the inspiration to be writing a song?

'To be inspired', Lene answers immediately, 'I must in addition be able to write. It is, however, such that that I cannot force it. That doesn't function at all. I can, however, write everywhere - at home, in the airplane - wherever. The most important for me is the joy in the songwriting. I simpy love doing that, and I'm spending three to four hours every day writing or singing. And nowadays, in my position, where I can reach people and get their reactions, it is naturally much stronger than at the time when I began writing. If I can bring to the people joy with my music, to bring someone to cry, or maybe release another emotion, then I'm on the correct way. This is the beautiful thing with music.'

- What is the best part with the musical way of life?

'A lot', Lene says, 'it may be the process of recording the songs in the studio, it may be playing them live, and it may also be promotion and be talking about my music - although there is the usual opinion that one should hate that. With me, however, it's not like that - because I am lucky and proud about my album, and would like to be talking about it. It always depends on how you attack certain things. As soon as there are no more fun to be had, I get fear. And that happened to me with the first album. There, at some time there was not any longer any concern about the music. Thus, I then took a longer time-out. I first finished school, and was traveling about a little, getting some experience, and getting some rest'.

- About what in music can Lene be affected?

'Surprisingly few', Lene hesitates, 'I don't listen to the technical aspects of music at all. I have friends that always says - 'listen to this bass line', or 'listen to how the voice is produced'. I don't. I just listen to the song. Naturally, I grew up with the radio. I never owned a large record collection, however, or such a thing. I know - honestly spoken - at times not why I became a musician.'

- What luck that Lene nowadays knows what she wants.

'Now, the music steers itself', she evades, 'a song almost gives itself how it would like to sound. It happens during the process. If I hear a melody in my head, and write a lyric in addition, it's not usually by any means clear to me what I must do. It simply happens.'

- Okay - on the whole, where to go from here then?

'I see myself definitely as a songwriter', Lene explains, 'my plan is to be writing more songs and music for other people. Simply because there is so much joy in it for me. I wrote for instance a few songs for the Norwegian singer Sissel. You have perhaps already heard of her: She sang the theme on the 'Titanic' soundtrack.'

- Okay - time for another one: On Lene's Norwegian homepage www.lene-marlin.no, some reviews of the new album are shown, all of which fails to be positive. How does Lene deal with the criticism?

'I only sometimes read reviews', she confesses, 'I found out that, sometimes, these people write in such a way that I ask myself whether they have heard the same album as me at all. It's also only the opinion of the respective author. Also, it's not such that I have gotten only great reviews, of which I'm to be measured. Completely on the opposite: I remember this review on my first album, in which one prophesied to me that I wouldn't sell one copy of it outside of Norway - and in the end there was 1.7 million. There I perhaps learned that it shouldn't necessarily interest me what the critics write. Let the fans decide. What concerns the negative reviews on the website: I do not have anything against it, because I would not like to bring only the good reviews up on the table, and the bad ones under the carpet. Thus, I get also feedback from the fans. And it makes me happy nevertheless when they say that they like the album - even if the critics don't.'

- Will Lene Marlin soon go on tour?

'I honestly don't know at all', Lene says, 'I must first complete the promotion, and there's still another small trip to Asia. If I then come on a tour, I can't really say for sure. In any case, once I get on tour, it will be with my band.'


Translated by Tef Johs @ lene-marlin.no

 
 


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