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Jay Jay Johansson Interview

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.Jay Jay Johanson

What do you appreciate in the French culture?

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..

French records?

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.

It is

Jay Jay Johansson Jay Jay JohansonThe 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 in mind.

I take it that's a no, then?

The public moves much more compared to the preceding round.Meaning?

There are far more 14 year old girls out there in the audience.

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 influences.


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 influence?

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' s!

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 wants.

(Crud silence)

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 Tenor?

Jay Jay JohansonBjork's 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 field events.

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...

If only....

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 Johanson!!! (laughs)

Jay couldn't have said a truer thing....

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