July 6, 2022

Final month, Jens Lekman held a funeral for his hottest album. When 2007’s Evening Falls Over Kortedala was faraway from retailers and streaming platforms on March 21, Lekman marched into an open subject close to his house base of Gothenberg, Sweden and ceremonially buried the document, a key launch in his ascent to hopeless-romantic twee indie-pop royalty. It wasn’t the primary Lekman basic to be discontinued by his longtime label Secretly Canadian; Oh You’re So Silent Jens, a 2005 compilation of early EPs and stray tracks, vanished in 2011.

Lekman and his label can now affirm what onlookers have lengthy suspected: The data went away because of authorized conflicts over uncleared samples. However fairly than let the music stay tucked away in previous CD wallets and the darkish corners of the web, Lekman has determined to provide it new life. At this time he launched {a partially} re-recorded model of Oh You’re So Silent Jens beneath the title The Cherry Timber Are Nonetheless In Blossom together with a video for the revamped “Maple Leaves” by administrators Jesper Norda and Kristian Berglund. A equally resurrected Evening Falls Over Kortedala will likely be out on Might 4 beneath the title The Linden Timber Are Nonetheless In Blossom. Every of the brand new LPs options bonus materials together with “uncommon, beforehand unreleased songs, in addition to different contemporaneous materials corresponding to cassette diaries.”

Along with the pair of reworked LPs, Secretly is publishing two new episodes of its Secretly Society podcast about Lekman and this endeavor. The primary of these podcast episodes is out at present, and it’s effectively value a hear, whether or not for Lekman speaking about taking inspiration from Beat Occurring and the Avalanches’ Since I Left You or discussing the time he created pretend stay recordings to persuade the Secretly Canadian braintrust he was a seasoned performer. Hear it right here.

However first, learn my current dialog with Lekman, which touches on the impetus, course of, and philosophy behind this challenge, in addition to Lekman’s spring tour performing with kids’s orchestras throughout North America and different upcoming tasks.

When Oh You’re So Silent Jens first went away a few years in the past, streaming was nonetheless comparatively new. What was your preliminary response to the album disappearing from shops? Did you ever suppose it might come again?

JENS LEKMAN: That was the factor. Streaming wasn’t actually a factor again then, and it felt like folks had been nonetheless buying and selling CD-Rs with one another and switching MP3s on Soulseek or no matter. It was unhappy, it was tragic, however I believed it might stay on. After which because the years glided by and streaming took over, it was simply — it wasn’t even a niche within the discography, it was simply gone. And I bear in mind just a few years in the past, there was a younger man who got here as much as me after a present and mentioned, “I like that new tune you had been taking part in. I feel it was known as ‘Black Cat.’ When are you placing that out?” And sooner or later I noticed that these songs have change into new once more in some way.

I feel in some sense that’s true for any older music if you’re a teen coming and discovering an artist, however I suppose it might be very true if one thing is simply type of tucked away on YouTube. And that was one thing I’d questioned about. The music has been on YouTube and possibly file sharing, but it surely’s not the place folks suppose to search for it. Have you ever loved in any respect that you’ve got this launch that was considerably elusive — this hidden treasure that individuals must work to hunt out? Or was it extra like, no, I need my music to be as accessible because it might presumably be?

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LEKMAN: Effectively me personally, I feel there’s a price in some issues not being accessible. I’m unsure if it’s as a result of I’m of an older technology or not, however this complete factor that all the pieces is offered on a regular basis — there’s one thing about that that simply makes all the pieces really feel a bit stale, you recognize? I’m not in opposition to the streaming providers or the know-how behind that, however there’s one thing about the best way we eat music at present that makes it really feel a bit like a museum. I simply all the time felt just like the songs really feel a bit like butterflies dipped into chloroform. They’re pinned to the wall, however they’re additionally useless in some way. However I imply, it’s in all probability as a result of I’m from an older technology. I feel in all probability the rationale why the music feels useless is due to commercialization and the truth that music has to undergo these portals, by these gatekeepers like Spotify and so forth. I don’t suppose it has do with the truth that it’s accessible. Music could be very alive however nonetheless be accessible in every single place. So I feel it has extra to do with that.

I type of agree with what you’re saying there. Do you suppose it has to do with the interface? What makes the present expertise so museum-like?

LEKMAN: I feel it’s simply due to these streaming providers supplying you with the phantasm that all the pieces is there. It’s important to be there to exist. I feel there are issues occurring now, I really feel like the entire group round Bandcamp and all that, it has grown and adjusted through the years, however for the final decade it’s simply felt like it’s a must to be on these platforms as a way to exist. And I really feel like that takes away any type of company from the music. Such as you don’t exist by yourself phrases. As a result of after I was making these data, it was a really completely different time, and I really feel like that point has been forgotten in some ways, or not skilled by individuals who had been too younger again then. However the web was actually an anarchy. It was a very completely different place. And if you didn’t have these web 2.0 platforms with all of the social media and all that as a body across the work that you simply’ve executed, you had been actually in a position to create your personal nook on the web, otherwise.

The place did the thought to re-record or revamp the albums come from? Is that one thing you had been engaged on even earlier than you took down Evening Falls Over Kortedala, or earlier than you even knew Kortedala must come down? Are you able to give me a timeline?

LEKMAN: I began engaged on Oh You’re So Silent a few 12 months earlier than the pandemic hit. After which through the pandemic it turned increasingly apparent that Kortedala was additionally being taken down. So I began engaged on that concurrently. In order that’s the timeline.

The place did you get the thought to convey this music again on this manner?

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LEKMAN: I had been enthusiastic about it for just a few years and I stored pondering that — each time I entertained the thought it simply felt like, “Nah, that may’t be executed. That shouldn’t be executed.” After which I feel it was possibly when that man got here as much as me, he mentioned, “I like that new tune, ‘Black Cat,’” I feel that was the second after I realized, “Hold on a second. It’s a little bit bit unhappy that these songs aren’t accessible in any respect.” After which as I began engaged on the youth orchestra tour that I’m doing in Might that was presupposed to be executed two years in the past, simply when the pandemic hit, there was one thing about — as a result of I’ve all the time felt like my music ought to be capable of change. It must be emotional in some way, and never one thing that will get pinned to the wall in a museum. It was one thing virtually provocative in a manner that I loved about taking these songs and re-recording them. It was just like the query was, “Are you allowed to do that?” And I believed, “Why am I even asking myself that?” I’m nonetheless seeing the data not as replacements, actually. I see them as portals. I need it to be apparent that these are re-recordings and that you’ll be able to dig and that you simply’re in a position to undergo these portals and expertise the unique recordings by digging. As a result of they’re nonetheless accessible. It’s not like they’re going to vanish fully. And I feel that they result in an fascinating time in music historical past.

If you had been redoing the songs, had been there any distinctive challenges that you simply didn’t anticipate? Or possibly you probably did anticipate them and also you knew it might be laborious getting in. What was the laborious half?

LEKMAN: Effectively, the laborious half is that I’m a significantly better musician lately. And loads of the fantastic thing about these previous recordings got here from me being an beginner. I’m not a fan of constructing issues sound shitty or making them sound previous, including tape hiss to all the pieces. I’m not a fan of that complete factor. So I didn’t wish to re-create one thing and make it sound as lo-fi and amateurish because it was after I was recording these songs. I wished it to be: In case you hearken to the previous recordings, then you definately get that half. So I made a decision {that a} tune like “Maple Leaves,” for instance, would have to be executed in a very completely different manner.

And so I recorded it with a string quartet. And the inspiration for that got here from Joni Mitchell’s re-recording of “Each Sides Now” that she did when she was 57, I feel. I actually wished to seize one thing in that tune that I’ve all the time felt has been there, however from a extra mature perspective. I’ve all the time liked the best way that Joni Mitchell sings, “It’s love’s illusions I recall/ I actually don’t know love in any respect.” And the way when she sings that when she’s 57, it simply has a very completely different weight. It hits you in a very completely different manner. And I wished it to the identical with “Maple Leaves,” which ends virtually the identical with “I by no means understood in any respect.” I feel that tune, despite the fact that it was a tune I wrote after I was 21, I nonetheless really feel prefer it captures one thing about love that I’m pleased with nonetheless at present. Love as a misunderstanding, a misheard phrase. Which remains to be what I feel love is. You’ll by no means know what the opposite particular person likes about you, and that particular person doesn’t know why they such as you both. We by no means know why love sparks up or why it dies down. And that’s one thing that I wished to seize with the brand new recording of “Maple Leaves.”

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After which “Black Cab” for instance was laborious as a result of that tune actually has this lo-fi feeling within the authentic that’s marvelous in a manner, and I simply determined to re-record that within the band model that we’ve executed stay for the final 15 years. After which I’ve additionally executed this acoustic model, so I made a decision to include that too. There have been loads of tough selections to be made after I made the recordings, to make certain.

Did you retain the previous vocals for these songs, or did you redo them?

LEKMAN: I stored all of the previous vocals apart from “Maple Leaves” and “Black Cab,” which needed to be recorded from scratch. I had recorded over the four-track recordings for these songs.

After Evening Falls Over Kortedala you switched to not utilizing samples anymore. Was that simply since you sensed that it was turning into extra legally murky, or was it extra like, “I wish to swap it up, I’m uninterested in utilizing samples, I wish to attempt one thing completely different”? What was the impetus for that?

LEKMAN: Yeah, each. There was a sensible cause, however there was additionally an aesthetic cause. I felt like Evening Falls Over Kortedala was each colour within the universe on the similar time, and that’s what I wished to do with that document. And the songs I wrote after that had been principally impressed by a horrible breakup that I went by, and I felt like they wanted one thing extra black and white — one thing extra minimal, I suppose.

And that’s what turned I Know What Love Isn’t?

LEKMAN: Yeah, precisely.

Notably, Once I Mentioned I Needed To Be Your Canine has not been taken away, and also you haven’t re-recorded that. Why not? Is {that a} matter of there’s no stress from pattern rights holders to take it down? What’s the rationale there?

LEKMAN: I really can’t reply that query. [laughs]

I used to be actually within the story from the podcast about the way you created pretend stay recordings to persuade Secretly Canadian that you simply had performed stay reveals. At what level did they discover out the recording was not actual and that you simply had doctored it? Was it a query of months? Years? How did they discover out?

LEKMAN: I feel they came upon as a result of I talked about it in an interview someplace. However that was years after. I feel by then it was too late for them to alter their minds. And likewise I’d change into a fairly good stay artist by then, so that they wouldn’t have to fret anyway.

Not too long ago probably the most well-known re-recording challenge is Taylor Swift going again to re-record her albums, however she’s doing it so she will personal her grasp recordings. Is that one thing you have got included on this challenge? Did you personal the masters on the previous recordings? Do you personal the masters on the brand new ones? Is that even part of your pondering on any of this?

LEKMAN: No, probably not.