Sweden’s Jonas Lind has been involved in over a dozen music projects. In addition to being part of jangle pop band the Rhinos he has also explored everything from XTC influenced indie pop with Artychoke to reggae sounds with Dub DK. We caught up with Jonas to ask him about his various musical pseudonyms.
How does performing solo compare with being in the Rhinos?
Well, I don’t really “perform” solo, I just record music on my own. I’ve been doing this since my late teens (I’m 44 now), so it’s become a part of my life, something I do; like some people ride motorcycles, some people grow roses in their garden. I record music in my basement.
Being in The Rhinos was different. It meant interacting with other musicians and leaving my comfort zone now and again. I didn’t write the songs for The Rhinos, and the guy who did was inspired by stuff that I hadn’t listened to all that much – mainly The Byrds and The Hollies – so it also meant I had to learn to play and sing stuff that I normally didn’t play and sing. It was very educational, and a lot of fun too.
What made you decide to post all your music up for free download on your site?
The trigger was actually when my friend Tuvan started The Asthmatics with me. Those are all his songs, he’s the singer and I’m the backup band. And I thought since they were someone else’s songs, I couldn’t just let them collect dust at my house, like I did with my own home recordings. So I created a rought version of lurholm.net, put what few songs The Asthmatics had recorded up there, and just to fill up the web page space I added some of my own stuff. And then it started to grow.
You’ve put out music under several different names with several different styles, did you ever think of doing the different styles under one name?
Well… I think I need all these different names to sort out the ideas in my head. It’s sort of a filing system for my brain. Some people, like They Might Be Giants, can handle all genres under one name, but I don’t think I could. A couple of my monikers are a bit varied in musical style though. Fröken Smilla takes pride in exploring different genres, for instance.
Is there any music style you’ve wanted to explore but haven’t yet?
Musique concrète. I really want to do that someday. I also have plans for a psychedelic, Elephant 6 sort of project in the future.
Is there any style you’d never touch?
Hip hop. I don’t get that genre. Maybe I’m too old and uncool, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t do heavy metal either, mainly because I have no idea how to play it.
You also play a heap of instruments from the tambourine to the glockenspiel, what’s your favorite instrument?
Oh man, that’s a tough one! I love instruments, especially weird and unusual ones. You could say I collect them (not for the sake of collecting – I never buy an instrument unless I have at least a decent chance to learn how to play it myself) and I do own quite a few, some rather odd ones too. But the bass guitar is, and will always be, my main instrument. I started out as a bass player when I was 15 and I’ll probably die playing the bass. So that’s the answer, I guess: the bass guitar.
Is there any instrument you haven’t yet played but want to?
Hell yes! Like the guitaret, for instance. It was a weird electronic instrument designed by Hohner in the 60’s and meant to replace the guitar. They’re very rare these days. Another one is the bowed dulcimer, a recent development of the standard mountain dulcimer. They’re hand made in the USA, so they’re a little too expensive for me at the moment. A theremin would be cool too. And a real hurdy-gurdy.
When you start making music do you have have which alias you’ll release it under in mind?
Yep, that’s sort of how the “filing system” works for me. If I get an idea for something synth pop-ish, I assign it to my synth pop alias and work from there. If I get an idea for a reggae song I assign it to my reggae alias. And sometimes I just decide that this or that alias needs to make some new songs, and I start working in that context.
Are there any new projects to come?
Yes, there are, but I’m not quite sure what they’ll be called yet. I have a great name for the psychedelic project, but I’ll keep that to myself for the time being! 🙂
What are you currently working on?
Two different projects. The first is a split album with an American lo-fi artist called John The Fox, where we make lo-fi reggae. I’m using the A.K.A. Lurholm moniker for this. We wanted to explore what “lo-fi reggae” actually is, and what better way to explore it than making some yourself? The other one is an electronic project inspired by Bruce Haack. I’ll be using my standard moniker Lurholm for this, and I’m actually going to buy a vocoder just for this project. No, I’m not made of money, I’ll be eating noodles for a month, but I need it.
How do you choose the band name for each project?
Coming up with band names is one of the fun things about the different projects. Some of the names are based on some sort of joke or pun, like Fröken Smillas Känsla För Snövit Och De Sju Intellektuella Dvärgarna (Miss Smilla’s Sense Of Snow White And The Seven Intellectual Dwarves) which is a combination of the book title Miss Smilla’s Sense Of Snow and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves plus a pun on “intellectual dwarves”, referring to the stupidity of the lyrics. Tjuvar Knarkare & Kommunister (Thieves, Junkies & Communists) is a reference to Smålands Nation, a student organisation I used to belong to, which my friend’s grandmother described as “nothing but a bunch of thieves, junkies and communists”, which I thought was funny at the time. Others are just names I thought were cool. Like Zapf Dingbats, that funny font – I can’t believe no one used that name before I did.
Across the various projects you sing in a mix of English and Swedish, how do you chose which language to sing in?
I don’t know… I think sometimes the musical style determines the language. Artychoke had to be in English. It was my “90’s indie meets XTC” project, that was on the verge of becoming an actual band back in the 90’s, and since almost all Swedish indie bands in the 90’s had English lyrics, it was more or less a given. It would have sounded lame in Swedish. The whole Zapf Dingbats project arose from a couple of puns and word games in English, so that was a given as well. But it’s hard to write lyrics in English if it isn’t your first language. They’re likely to come out bland and generic and not very interesting, just because you don’t know all the subtleties of the language. It’s a lot easier for me to write in Swedish. But then again, sometimes the music demands English lyrics.
You’ve reworked some of your music under the Dub DK name, have you thought of covering any of your other music from one project in the style of another?
Well, I had Fröken Smilla cover a couple of songs by Broder Willibalds Testamente a few years ago, but apart from that… no. I think I’ll let Dub DK remix some A.K.A. Lurholm songs in the future though. We’ll see.
What’s the Swedish music scene like?
It used to be very lively and interesting, but either the action moved somewhere else (Canada was pretty hot a couple of years ago, maybe that’s where it’s at now?) or I just got too old and lost interest in Swedish indie and so on. I know there are a lot of bands about that people say are great, but I haven’t really listened to them. Yet.
Do you listen to your own music?
It happens! 🙂 Especially when I’ve lost the inspiration for some project, listening to old recordings is a good way of getting the spark back.
Will the Rhinos be putting out any more music?
I doubt it. There was a bit of friction within the band when we finished In Rhi-Fi – that is, between Lasse Hindberg, the führer of the band, and the rest of us. I wouldn’t be surprised if he released some solo stuff in the future though. I had fun being a Rhino – I mean, I got to play The Cavern Club in Liverpool ffs! – but I don’t think I’d want to go back to that band now.
Check out Jonas’s website to hear his various musical projects!