[GUEST POST] Interview with The mOOnbird
I met Jonatan (AKA The mOOnbird) in Copenhagen when I was doing some travelling about a year and a half ago. Airbnb styles. Here is the outcome of a recent sit down I had with him and attached is a link to the headphone mix he put together. Love it. If you could, please get off of your chair and dance around. Transformer Ghetto Beat style. Just try it out. Enjoy.
Jonatan, hello! Life in LA, what’s good?
Very strong things are happening, transformations… new sounds… Inside, and on the outside of course. I’m going through some interesting projects, working with a group in Denmark now… some students helping me out with my ‘social media profiling’ … I got an invitation from this school and I think it couldn’t have happened at a better time because I kind of almost, you know, surrendered myself to the fact that I couldn’t handle controlling that part of it all.
Nice going for you to get students involved and good for you for accepting it. You mentioned you saw Oneohtrix Point Never at the Echo before the interview. His sounds have been thrown around a lot recently… what are your thoughts on the Brooklyn based experimental artist?
I’m very inspired and motivated by the way he’s approaching music in general and the whole way of using the internet… he’s got such a… not only humor but something genuine… surrendering to this crazy big machine that’s just out of his hands and grabbing a small icon for instance, taking it in and then somehow mutating it into becoming almost a human entity, something that speaks to your heart. It’s like he’s capable of making music out of a Facebook chat or a commercial.
Pulling things from everywhere… Are there any other artists that you’re listening to right now that you’re pulling some inspiration from or simply enjoying?
Yes for sure. I’m very inspired by a Kundalini teacher right now called Lux Anada… she’s got a very interesting vibe and sound. I’m also very inspired by a local act called 18+ … I think the most interesting thing in LA music wise for me these days though is Fade to Mind. They some how just… I don’t know! The energy in that group is very strong. It kind of reminds me of an early Flying Lotus feel in LA 5 years ago where it’s like there’s something interesting happening here. With Fade to Mind they have this kind of like, transformer ghetto beat thing going on, yet there’s some kind of spiritual thing to it… the whole sound and the approach… it’s killer. It rips you up, and then picks your guts up off the floor. I think that’s a very interesting vibe they have. LA especially is a place where people can try out different ideas and not really put a limit to it … you can go really big and have things become super stupid or extreme before you start, you know, focusing on which way to take it.
Is LA where you were collaborating with Asger Carlsen?
No he’s based out of New York… He has talked about moving here but when I worked with him I was in Copenhagen… We met in New York a couple of times to discuss the collaboration and it was actually 2 years before we did the album cover.
The new video coming out has a very different vibe. I think it’s more… not naïve, but it’s more easily accessible. I feel it’s straight from the heart to the listener. It’s more about letting go… falling, getting up again, dancing yourself strong, lying in the sun…
That sounds very beautiful in itself… I can’t wait to see it.
And then I have another single coming out after that for a different video while at the same time, another EP that’s been around for a year.
Wow. Sounds like a lot is happening. Is this EP an entity outside of This is Viking?
Yes. The EP kind of fits in with This is Viking though… the artwork and spirit of that record… it conquers the feeling. The title is going to be Still Giddy After Rape. I’m not so sure when that’s going to be out, maybe spring or summer. It depends on a few things.
So what made you choose LA over Copenhagen? You were doing the back and forth game for a while.
That’s a good question. There’s a few ways to answer that… But, artistically, I never felt that accomplished or embraced in Copenhagen or Europe in general as I do here and upon my first show on arrival it was just… super big. The recognition of me and my music… the support... and then I think also it was a matter of just time and luck. I was super happy, met some great artists and inspiring people and grew like a family almost. And of course there is this thing with me being a tropical guy from Copenhagen naturally making me a little different from them. So yeah, it’s nice to feel like you’re needed out there.
You mention the word “tropical” and I feel that resonates with the whole vibe of This is Viking.
I think I’m born with it. I think my best anecdote would be that in my child room I’d constantly grab all of the plants around the house and put them on my floor and crawl under them and lay there for hours. So whenever I’m in the jungle for instance, I was in Colombia last year and the Caribbean… They’ve got this fantastic jungle up there call Tayrona that’s just super diverse. It’s great… it’s a jungle with one of the highest biodiversity rates and just, when I’m in such a place, I feel supported in a way by nature that’s just so intense. You know what I’m saying?
I think it’s some kind of bumping of all of the senses. The sounds, the smells…
In your songs... I feel that maybe some of your samples are taken from outside sources like from the tropics or the jungle. Is that right?
Yeah… that’s a technique and it’s a super important thing. So one thing is that I really like that softness, the wetness of the sounds from the jungle. There’s a certain friendliness in the sound. And for me, naturally it just makes sense to put that right into a song. I mean, if I open up a session on pro tools it instantly creates a vibe that I can work with... One in which I can start adding to and get a groove going. So that’s certainly one thing. I’ve recorded a lot of dead palm trees. I had some days where I’d just travel and look for dead palm trees because they all have a distinct sound to them. So I used a lot of that on This is Viking and some of it was recorded in Bali. With the palm trees, some of them have been there for centuries and are shaped by water and weather and none of them sound alike.
Sounds completely natural, as if each one is its own individual instrument.
Exactly! And I would record as much as possible and have like, a library on my laptop and whenever I had a song I would sort of try and uhm, play with them at the same time and there was always one that would fit in and give some extra support and warmth to the song. You know, This is Viking is pretty aggressive and I felt like it needed this sweetness somewhere in order to balance, right? That’s very much what This is Viking is about.
Yes I feel you. Anything planned for the upcoming months?
Not at the moment but that will change soon though.
All the more reason for people to stay tuned. It was a pleasure chatting, Jonatan.
Thank you and take care.