Jay Jay Johansson
It seems to to me that you spend much of your time
outside of Sweden, Mr Johansson?
I tend to be in France more than in Sweden thesedays.
You are not the first person to have mentioned that.
But it's nothing about Sweden. I have a new home in
Sweden but I lived there for only two weeks in 1997.
I spend much of my time in France, I find France very
cool. I like it's environment.
What do you appreciate in the French
The first thing, ignoring all the rest...
And I think we'd agree that would considerable..
...are the women. Compared to Sweden, they are cool.
Then there are the records that I've found here but
not in Sweden..
You funny man. You have lots of humour. In Sweden we
say humour is very like football...
We have much the same view in England..You see,
like football, joking and laughing needs supporters.
The ball goes in, everyone cheers, the ball starys out....
And we all get up and hurl sharp coins at the ref?
Not in Sweden, no. The ball stays out, the joke not
funny. But living in France it is also the possibility
of meeting people that I admire, that I appreciate.
In fact I spend the good time in France.
You spend a good deal of time in France.
Do you now find you are recognised as an
artist outside of France?Yes, in Portugal,
in Spain, in Belgium, in Switzerland. The album has
just been released quickly Argentina and Russia. In
England, B.M.G. finally comes to decide to publish it.
Have you recently noted changes with regard
to the public and how it views you and your music?
Yes, a thing that I noted compared to public, it is
that during October, the public we had was anywhere
between 18 and 30 years, whereas in the last few months,
there are far more 14 year old girls out there in the
audience. I don't know why. I don't know why I have
40 year old women in the audience either.
Any other age groups you'd like to name-check for
us? What about the 30-35 yeard olds? Twenty-somethings?
I don't like to push it, but I really think we are on
to something here.
Well, there are also couples coming who are around
fifty. It's excellent.
new reactions from the audience may also be a response
to the new sound of the music. It's much more more scenic,
more " live " to play, with more guitar accompaniment.
The songs are easier to carry out. There is more rage,
a more intense feeling coming through...
So you're not miming anymore. And have you discussed
these intense feelings with anyone? O are you feeling
calmer now, would you say?
On " Whiskey " there was a calmer environment, so we
are adapting the songs off Whiskey with the live environment
I take it that's a no, then?
The public moves much more compared to the preceding
There are far more 14 year old girls out there in the
Has it been lonely out on the road?
I always work with same the people, but I have more
people now because we have more instruments. There's
me with my keyboard, Eric
You have a keyboard called Eric?
No funny!, Eric plays of the keyboards, the piano.
Eric also deals with the preprogrammed sequences; and
then there's my guitarist who also plays quite low on
a few pieces.
Ever considered turning him up?
I play myself of the guitar some time.
Only louder I imagine.
Finally my D.J. which plays of the percussions and
ensures the rhythmic one as well as the samples. In
fact, one is always that 4!
Well it's always good to have the rhythmic one
ensured. But I'm not sure about the last bit. What
are your musical references, and how do you qualify
your own work?
I will use a metaphor compared to painting.
That's a fair warning.
As for a table which consists of multitudes of small
elements of color, my music concerns this principle.
One can distinguish there the whole with the many different
colour elements....which is an indication of my many
A painter by integrating styles of other painters he
appreciates, develops by this method a clean centre?
A clean centre?
I do exactly the same thing with the music. What influences
me is the jazz of the 50' s as well as the hip-hop of
the early 80's
Now I'm with you. You've often cited Chopin as an
Yes, the guitars reflect the traditional pianists like
Chopin thanks to Eric
Was Chopin's guitar playing an inspiration on yourself?
What chords did you get off Chopin?
I can sample Chopin for one of my composition and then
with my musicians have diferent arrangements and the
whole things sounds slightly different. Sometimes it
happens and I keep the samples, but not often. It's
all a question of feeling.
Feeling whether or not you can get away with it?
It's a question of royalties.
Well not for Chopin, I imagine.
In my mind, when I develop and write my songs, it is
with the manner of the type-setters of the old school
jazz. I erect scaffolding and the structure of my music
with words. The arrangments comes from whatever results
of the playing. It is at this time there that the influences
join and that one manufactures a estampillée music that
is great for the modern era. There are too many styles
to name thesedays, and it is always the fashion categorise
and define. All is ā.la.mode now. The 60's revival,
then 70' S, soon 80' S, but also 40' S, and the 1730'
With guitarists like Chopin, yes?
If one wants. There all are ā.la.mode, hard to know
what occurs exactly.
Hard to know what you're talking about exactly.
In the stores, I am classified in the racks as " pop-rock'n'roll
" or " alternative " or I do not know what of other.
I like the idea that one can put my discs where one
What do you think of the electronic groups
such as Depeche Mode? We think they're crap..
I like many kinds of music, the electronic music forms
only part of my influences during the Eighties, but
I was very taken with the new romantics especially.With
regard to Depeche Mode, the albums are very dark and
there are more and more guitars, which is interesting
to me in particular. In connection with " Ultra ", I
find it good.... but it could have been better. And
I like much these tattooings (NB: those of Dave Gahan).
Tattoos are great, aren't they?
I like them very much..
Tough but vulnerable..all at the same time..
I like them very much. Yes.
Do you think that there is " a scandinavian
touch ", I think of Björk, Gus-Gus, Brandi Ifgray, Jimi
icelandic. Gus-Gus are from Holland and Jimi Tenor is
from Kettering. But I do know what you mean..It is impossible
not to have a scandinavian in Sweden.... even if I cannot
hear it myself. It must be easy for the others to detect
it. It would be completely strange that my environment
does not affect my music, but I do not hear what is
Scandinavian in my discs. There is inevitably something
of commun run to the music of people like Björk, Jimi
Tenor, and the others...
Perhaps that is explained by the fact, at least in
Sweden and that must be the case elsewhere, which we
live in small countries. It is strange but there is
a long tradition pop-rock'n'roll, but that remains especially
between us as for the sport, we practise many sports.
One is obliged in our regions very early toset oneself
apart,, to break the barriers, it is a kind of " fighting
spirit " but different from the U.S.A.. It enables us
to be creative. There is, at the same time, the competition
and the will to support itself, and that in all the
Right. What do you think of Neil Hannon of
The Divine Comedy or of Perry Blake, with which you
are often associated?
It is in France, when I started to give interviews
which I discovered Neil Hannon and The Divine Comedy.
My manager gave me a cassette last summer. It is the
album with the orchestra that was his last...
Arrangements are sumptuous. With regard to Perry Blake
I know his compilation, but not specific albums. Of
course I saw that he is presented like new Jay-Jay Johanson,
but I believe I am still and always will be the new
Jay-Jay Johanson!!! (laughs)
Sorry I wasn't listening. What did you say?
I believe I am still and always will be the new Jay-Jay
Jay Jay...you couldn't have said a truer thing....