During their tour last year, Swedish House Mafia officially announced their break-up. After four fantastic years they performed a series of farewell gigs in Stockholm last November. In an appropriate if surprising development a remake of one of their earliest hits Leave The World Behind was released a few weeks ago. Filmed by Volvo cars in some of Sweden’s most scenic locations it features the band rambling around mountains and coastline. Linnéa Martinsson, aka Lune, provides the ethereal and breathtaking vocals on the 4 minute long film. We spoke with the 24-year-old former ballet dancer about her friendship with the group and the recording of her awesome debut album, Music & Sports, on the wilds of Gotland.
I understand you are originally from the countryside. When did you move to Stockholm?
I moved her when I was 16 because I was accepted into the Royal Swedish Ballet School. People often ask if I am from Iceland because of how I look. But I’m originally from Söråker, a small village with just over 2000 inhabitants in Västernorrland.
How did you get into music?
My father and sister are into music and I have always enjoyed singing. When I was 18 I moved to Brussels in Belgium for about a year to continue ballet dancing. It is a nice city with a great dance scene. During that period I began to write lyrics, play the guitar and record soundscapes. I was thinking about using my recordings as accompanying music when I danced.
But you developed this idea further?
Yes. Although I had a lot of friends in Brussels they were often busy during the daytime and so I felt a bit lonely. So I focused on making these recordings more and more. I used a music recording program called GarageBand to record loops. Over a few days or sometimes months I would build layers on top of these loops.
Why did you write in English and not Swedish?
I wanted to be understood! Haha. Almost everyone, more or less, can understand English and I was speaking it every day in Brussels so it felt natural to record in a language my audience would understand. I like to leave my lyrics open to interpretation but I also try to conjure up or propose imagery. As time progressed I took it more serious but kept the same approach to recording vocals and building layers upon layers of loops and vocals. When I was introduced to Adrian Lux (Swedish producer and DJ) I realized we had the same approach to recording. It felt natural to work together.
How does gigging compare to dancing on stage? Do you get nervous or feel vulnerable?
I have been working onstage since I was a teenager so I actually feel quite comfortable performing in front of audiences.
What can people expect when they see you perform live?
Lune the Center is a theatrical performance or art piece I am working on right now where I sing different interpretations of songs from my new album, Music & Sports. Mårten Spångberg is accompanying me on stage. He makes some special effects and helps create a good energy with the crowd. It’s a really dynamic approach that keeps our gigs interesting for the audience.
How did you record Music & Sports?
I recorded the album in a big rented house on Gotland with my producer Carl-Michael Herlöfsson and Adrian Lux. Carl-Michael had to move his recording studio from Stockholm. It wasn’t easy but we went to Gotland for practical reasons. We spent a couple of weeks in relative isolation recording the album. I recorded my vocals in an upstairs bedroom while Carl-Michael worked his magic downstairs. It was a great experience and the results are really atmospheric. It was such a beautiful environment to work and so easy to concentrate.
What inspired the album?
The album is about life in general. More specifically it’s about nature and relationships. Some of the older songs I reworked for the album. My relationship to the songs, and how I interpret them, changes over time. I try to propose a feeling or a mood and hope that the listener will identify with what I’m trying to evoke. After all, the version of any song that makes any album is just one variation. When I perform live I propose we hangout inside this music together. My interpretation and performance of the songs constantly evolve and change. I really enjoy taking the audience on that creative journey with me.
What do you think when people compare you to Björk?
In a way I think it’s awful and in another way I think it is awesome. I don’t dwell on it and I don’t really agree. Although we do look a bit similar I don’t think we sound that similar.
What are your musical influences?
Since I grew-up in the 90s I listen to a lot of playlists and mix-tapes as opposed to albums. I listen to everything from unknown rock to pop hits – it all inspires me. Right now I am listening to Girl Unit a lot. The Ensemble (club mix) EP is great music to jog to!
How did you get introduced to the Swedish House Mafia?
Sebastian Ingrosso is head of A&R at his label, Refune. After he heard the songs Teenage Crimes and Fire which I co-wrote with Adrian Lux he wanted to meet me. He was interested in my voice and learning about what else I could do. Ultimately I got signed to his label. We don’t see each other regularly but when we do its really fun.
How did you end up recording the soundtrack for the Leave the World Behind video?
Volvo asked the boys to do this project and they asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. It felt natural for me because they wanted a version of a song that was a bit deeper and an alternative take on the original. I think the result is great. A lot of Lune comes through in it. Most of the time we are working on different planets. The Mafia are huge! But we met somewhere in the middle and it was really interesting how we collaborated. We didn’t compromise and yet managed to create something that complements one another and that we could all be proud of. The result is phenomenal.
It looks like you are wearing Thai boxing shorts on the cover of the album. Should I be afraid?
Yeah you are right! Sports and music dominates everything that I do. I Thai box, and have trained as a gymnast and dancer. I also really like to work out. So, yeah I guess I am a bit of a sports fanatic.
What do you have planned for the future?
I perform at Hultsfredsfestivalen on June 13 in Sigtuna. I am constantly working on new songs and hope to record again in Gotland later this year. We also have a gig planned for Skeppsholmen on June 15 and 16. And later in Autumn we hope to embark on an extensive tour. Check out my website or Facebook page for up-to-date info.
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