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2005-12-12


Jens Jansson: drummer, squirrel. Don't you just want to poke him with a stick? Of course you do.

So far the drums we've been using on the record have been, well, unconventional. 

Christoffer is our stand in drummer when our real drummer isn't here. And what a drummer he is—or isn't! On "Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye" he stomped his foot, hit a nearby acoustic guitar with one hand, and used his other hand to hit a remote control. 

And on "So Glad That You're Not Here" we quickly arranged a joke drum kit made from a drum with blankets on it, a garbage can, and a cow bell. We recorded it right in the control room with headphones on. 

I was holding the cow bell and then I asked him if we shouldn't get a proper stand. He insisted, "Absolutely NOT. You are not allowed to use a stand. It's MUCH, MUCH funnier if I make you stand here holding the cow bell the whole time I have to record!" I had to admit, he was right—it was hard to not break into laughter at him hitting the garbage can, me holding the stupid bell. We're making art!

We constantly experiment with other instruments—hoping to replace the sounds we've grown so bored with. Bass, drums, guitar—they all sound so boring after so many years. We're trading them in for strange old synths ran through antique tape recorders, toy pianos, pipe organs, flutes, wood blocks, and smacking shoes on the floor. And, it's been working well. The result is something that sounds like no music I've ever heard before.

Not that we've completely given up the old stuff. For example, today we're leaning back into the world of pop and recording drums. 

Jens Jansson is playing the real drums on my record, and he arrived today. It's always great work with Jens. He's about the best sloppy rock drummer there is. He's the perfect European rock drummer—his feel is great and he doesn't bother with being technical and "perfect". American drummers cringe when they hear him, of course. In the USA all drummers seem to only care about millisecond timing and playing cock rock fills to show of their chops—but they forget FEEL. SO BORING.

Jens has played with all sorts of great artists—Per Gessle, Roxette, Florian Horwath, A Camp (Nina Persson's other band), and of course his own band Brainpool. And, he played on my last album. It's an honor to work with him again.

And he's so nice—friendly, funny, easygoing. Even the most difficult person can get along with him. And he's just stupidly cute. He has a face sort of like a squirrel—the kind of squirrel you'd hold hands with and kiss if you were an 18 year old girl.

That's the problem. He's so talented and cute and nice that it's impossible to not want to torture and tease him. Just like a squirrel—poking sticks at it.

Christoffer laughed when I told him. He said, "Yes. It's true. Everyone wants to do that to Jens. You can't help it. But, I think that's the problem—he's always on the receiving end of being teased. Of course it's because everyone likes him so much. But, I think he's getting tired of it after 15 years of nonstop torture from the likes of us. He might explode." Of course I don't want him to explode.

So, yeah. Tonight we're going to start laying down tracks of the songs that will use an actual drum kit. I'm interested to see how the more "straight" songs will integrate with our other totally twisted versions of my simple pop melodies. Shouldn't be a problem, though. I'm sure we'll find some way to fuck up the pretty songs.

That's the thing. There's this beautiful balance between ruined and beautiful that we're working with—a tug of war, really. The point is to keep them pulling against one another always—and not let either side win under any circumstances.

Enough talk. Now it's time for Jens to hit some drums.


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