To a decades-long lineage of folk singer/songwriters, lyrics are everything – try listening to a song by Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan without focusing on the words. Other creators in the genre, like Jonas Lundvall, focus on crafting intricate narratives through sound, with lyrics adding to the overall atmosphere of the songs. Such an approach to songwriting is better represented by figures like Brian Wilson or George Harrison, two of Lundvall’s biggest influences.
This doesn’t mean that this Swedish musical polymath intends to adopt a decidedly retro attitude in his own compositions. Recording artist, producer, songwriter and composer are just a few of the titles you could pin on Lundvall. Music is at the center of his creations, working with lyrics as instruments in his ensemble. We caught up with Jonas to ask him about his music and view on the music business as an upcoming artist.
Who is Jonas Lundvall?
I am a singer-songwriter from Gothenburg. I started writing music in my teens and have been writing and self-releasing music for a number of years in different projects (Klifton Filente for example). My main instruments are piano and guitar. ‘Signs of Life’ is the most ambitious project I have done so far and I am very happy to release it through Rexius Records.
You recently released the album Signs of Life, how would you describe the record?
It is a record that I have been working on for a long time – The songs have been written over a period of seven years. Musically I would say it is an album inspired by pop and singer-songwriter music from the late 60s / early 70s which to me is a golden era for melodies and arrangements. Some songs came quickly and some took a long time to finish but I am proud of every song on this album and that I actually managed to finish the project.
What do you address in your lyrics?
The record does not have a consistent lyrical theme. For me, each song has its own mood and feeling. Generally, I like the lyrics to continue the feeling which is already there in the music. There are personal songs about love, friendship, self-doubt and stress as well as stories about childhood friends growing apart and heartache.
The most important thing is to be free to follow where the creativity takes you both musically and lyrically.
There are many interesting musicians, artists and instrument being part of the Signs Of Life.
I started recording a couple of songs on my own in the bedroom and soon it grew to a project where I picked twelve of the most interesting songs I had written and decided to make an album out of them. It took me some time to figure out the arrangements and record the barebones of the songs. I then invited other musicians to add drums, strings, wind instruments and pedal steel which I think added a lot to the general feeling of the album. After all the instrumentation was done I engaged Magnus Stenbäcken at Riverking Productions in the project and he did a fantastic job mixing and mastering the album. The cover art for the album and the singles was done by a Spanish artist called José Luis Ferrando Vinola whose style is really inspiring to me.
The playlist that inspired Signs of Life:
What’s your view on the current music business?
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to the current music business model. As a music lover, it is amazing to have access to so much music through streaming sites. As an artist, I try to focus on making the best music and arrangements I can. You can make great recordings with small means these days and I am glad that my music can be easily accessible to listeners throughout the world. If you follow your instinct it will hopefully lead to new artistic meetings and other great things. However, it’s hard to make a living out of it for sure.
What can we expect from Jonas Lundvall in the future?
We are rehearsing with the live band to perform the songs and planning a show. As far as the next album is concerned I am writing new songs but chances are it will take some time before the next one is released.