|24 March 2009
|Ravi's discussion with Lene at NRK 'Landeplage'
|Source : Nrk1 TV
A string quartet is playing "Unforgivable Sinner" as an introduction.
Ravi's introduction: There's something that's not right here. On one hand, a wonderful melody, and a beautiful young girl. On the other hand, the darkest recess of religious depression. A lyrics about a sinner that has sin so horribly, that no forgiveness ever will be made. An 'unforgivable sinner', is it an Angel singing about Satan? Why does this combination of juvenile innocence and ruthless condemnation work so well? We are going to figure it out! Despite all the gloom, this is a world format hit.
Conversation in the church
Ravi: This adventure started a beautiful day in Tromsų, when Lene was sitting on the tram, and was thinking that perhaps...
Lene: Hey! There is no tram in Tromsų!
Ravi: This adventure started a beautiful day in Tromsų, when Lene was sitting in a cab, and was thinking that she perhaps...
Lene: Hey! We do have cabs, but I didn't sit there! I sat in a bus!
Ravi: Well, if you know this so well, why don't you tell it, then?
Lene: I'm happy to do that! What do you want to know?
Ravi: How did the song get made?
Lene: As far as I can remember, I was sitting in my bedroom at my parents' place. I was picking a bit, playing all sorts of things. Then suddenly it came.
Ravi: How much time did it take to create this song?
Lene: When I'm writing a song, I never think about how short or how long time it would take. All I know, is that if it takes too long, I just stop! Then I can't be bothered to be writing anymore, so it couldn't have taken that much time. We could say an hour or so.
Ravi: An hour? The whole song?
Lene: The whole song!
Ravi: What happened next?
Lene: I was visiting NRK in Tromsų, being allowed to record a demo. On the BUS on my way home, I met a journalist, who was working at NRK. He said "it's you who's been here and recorded a demo?" I said "yes, that's me". Then we sat on the bus together, for about 10 minutes, having a conversation. Before I was to leave the bus, he said "I have a friend working at a record company in Oslo, and I'd like to send him your demo".
Ravi: And this friend was?
Lene: It was Per Eirik Johansen.
Per Eirik: I will never forget it. I was sitting in my office, and there was an acquaintance of mine who had sent me a tape. I was looking at the tape, and I thought "should I bother to listen to it", because at that time, I got 20 - 30 demos a day. Then I put it on, and it took about 50 - 60 seconds before I decided to order a ticket to Tromsų!
Ravi: However, this isn't just a song. It's a movie, and a story, there are things being connected here?
Lene: Erik Poppe, a great director, was at the same time as I was pushing things in studio, making a movie, and he needed a song.
About the videos for "Unforgivable Sinner"
Lene: He did it very well, I'm very pleased with that video.
Ravi: However, it wasn't good enough for the international launch coming up?
Per Eirik: When we discovered that Lene was wanted worldwide, we figured we had to make an international video!
Lene: So we traveled to Toronto, where we recorded the video at night! On a train station!
Per Eirik: Which we didn't believe was all that good. When we later was to launch the song in England, we did another version.
Lene: I have very little to do with that video. I just appeared!
Ravi: Did you start getting tired?
Lene: I was pretty tired, indeed.
Ravi: Now, seen in the posterity of things, which video do you prefer today?
Lene: The first one, totally. It was my first music video! It has something special, so I'd need to say it's my favourite, indeed.
Ravi showing Lene some pictures
Ravi: You were just seventeen years old. I have some photos here. You must have been conscious about being mysterious, almost unapproachable?
Lene: No, as a matter of fact, although I know many think that.
Per Eirik: We were conscious that Lene was to bring forward the image about being herself. Lene was her own image. She herself chose what to be wearing, and how she was to look.
Lene: Making me wear clothes or use something I don't want to is very difficult! One needs to be feeling comfortable.
Ravi: Why didn't you smile in any of the pictures?
Lene: If the situation doesn't call for it, I can't be bothered standing there with a grin! Those are somewhat dark pictures, black & white, a bit gloomy.
Ravi: Have you ever experienced that the record companies have attempted to force you into an image that you don't feel comfortable with?
Lene: I remember, before the launch in England, that I was sitting in an office with too many people having an opinion about what pants to wear. So I said, in fact, "this will not work. If you want to find such an artist, I might not be the right one for you!"
About the meaning of 'Unforgivable Sinner'
Ravi: Lene, you have never said what "Unforgivable Sinner" is about? I thought you could be allowed to do that now for the very first time, in 'Landeplage'?
Lene: Eh...no. I can't say anything. People must be allowed to make up their own minds.
Ravi: Come on, Lene!
Lene: OK, for the first time, I'll tell you what it's about. "Unforgivable Sinner" is about...
Lene: No, I won't say anything.
Ravi: (Hugely disappointed) Oh!
(Ravi and Lene now goes into a little "play", where Ravi is trying to sort out who "you" in the lyrics is. He gets no help from Lene, but she obviously finds it very amusing!)
Lene: I understand it's difficult. I can't help you!
Ravi: Ah! It's you who is the man with the moustache !
Ravi: Is it you who are the sinner, who are singing to yourself?
Lene and Ravi by the organ
Lene: I do feel, of course, that it's fantastic that the song is living its own life. I have arrived at the strangest of places in the world, and have heared myself on the radio. I cannot wish for more.
Transcripted and translated by Tef Johs