Over six years has passed since I walked off stage from what was going to become the last Koop show. It was at the mighty Sala Palatului in Bucharest, and for the first time I felt satisfied. Ten years of struggle was over. From the first album that no one heard, over the second album that many heard but not so many understood, to the last album that came out at the completely wrong time but slowly worked it's way back through a relatively new invention called Youtube. And then all the touring. Hundreds of gigs around the globe on our own budget. Now we were 100% understood and I was happy, but with a smile of relief. We threw a party after the show were everyone was welcome. We played some more tunes and danced the night away. I remember thinking this could be a perfect ending. And so it was.
After the Koop Islands tour there was a long break, and it was gradually becoming clear to me that this actually was the end. The compilation 'Coup de Grace' was released. A baby came along and then another one. I started to dig in to other things than music. I realised I was coming to a point where I had to decide weather to continue with music or not. There had been many frustrations around it and I had started to emotionally connect those frustrations also with creating music. But new songs kept on coming to my head. I played them on my piano although I had no idea if, or how, I wanted to release them.
A summer afternoon I got a phone call from Torbjörn Steen at my former record company. He asked me if I wanted to meet a singer from Lithuania. Her name was Juste Arlauskaite. She grew up listening to Koop and she wanted some help with her songs. I was no good help, but we became friends, and I asked her if she wanted to try some of the new songs i had. We made several recordings with just piano and vocals, and I felt how much I missed playing together with others. Music is most of all a social thing, and so I decided to gather a band. I wanted it to be an acoustic and mobile orchestra that could perform or rehearse anywhere, and I wanted accordion to be a main instrument. Although I love electronic music it's not what I need more of at the moment. Especially not live. All these people alone on stage with a lap top pretending to do stuff. It will make them sick in the end. When I walk off stage I want to hug a sweaty drummer, not a light technician. After talking to trumpet player Niklas Barnö one call led to another, and a couple of months later Juste, Niklas, Love, Ulrik, another Niklas and I met in my livingroom for two days playing new songs and old music I wrote for Koop. And I was touched by emotions I thought was gone.
Several times during these silent years Giuseppe Laselva, the Italian designer and artist, asked me over Facebook if I wanted to perform at the art festival he and his friends are organising in Apulia. This year I could finally give a positive answer and now there was no return. After rehearsing in Stockholm, and a week in Vilnius (thanks Club Tamsta for letting us) we were suddenly on a stage in southern Italy with a thousand people in front of us.
Though many years had passed I didn't feel nervous at all. I was just back in my natural habitat. Like a fish that managed to jump back into the bowl. I got a second chance with music, and I will return this luck by being completely honest. And I'm not gonna regret anything.
Stockholm, November 2015