I have started to dream again. 10 years of no
It must have been a Monday or a Tuesday. Anyway it was a freezing February night, and I was walking back and forth on the platform at the south station. I'd spent a day and evening in the studio, and was trying to keep the cold away. Since the south station manages to be both outdoors and underground it's permanently the coldest spot in Stockholm. There's a small heated cabin in the middle of the platform, but it smells so much of urine, that you can only go there for 30 seconds while holding your breath. There are only commuter trains leaving from this station so probably I was going to sleep somewhere outside the city. The apartment situation in Stockholm is notorious. I moved thirty times in ten years before I could get my own space. I've stayed in everything from studios without windows to garrets, and in every part of the city. But now I was on my way to the outside. And I wished It was somewhere much warmer. Like an exotic Island.
After hours in the studio my brain is like a beehive. Sounds are looping and I'm constantly humming. Suddenly I realized I wasn't humming something we've worked on. And neither it was something I've heard on the radio. It was something new, and as I started to be aware of this I managed to step on the wrong train. A few stations later the lines split to different destinations and I had to get off, go back one station, and wait for the right one. The melody was now complete, and I started to hear some lines. ”Oh we ran out of time... oh we were much to young...” Words that might have it's roots in a swedish pop classic.
Finally I was on the right train and made it back to the apartment. I have a rule regarding new songs. They should survive the night without being figured out on an instrument. So I slept, and when I woke up it was still there. I took the train back to the studio and played it for the first time.
Six months later it was released with Ane Brun on vocals and produced like an exotic island dream from an icy train station. The name, was Koop Island Blues, and the following years it made a remarkable travel. First it went to a relatively new invention called Youtube, and saved us from drowning in the record industry crisis. It were in the accoustic guitars of young musicians and it went to the weddings and the fashion shows.
Then it made a trip to Jamaica honoring us with a reggae version. It went to the Polish version of Idol and it we're in the finals of an american dance competition, choreographed by Mia Michaels. After this it went #1 on the Billboard electronic chart. It were under the skates of Elisaveta Tuktamysheva when she won the european figure skating championships. It became some kind of favourite among pole dancers, and I'm pretty sure it were in strip clubs as well, although Youtube can't tell.
It was bought buy Coca Cola and Playstation, so I could finally get an apartment. And regarding under what circumstances it came up, this makes me believe in miracles. And so finally last summer, after 6 years apart, I played it live again with the Koop Oscar Orchestra. And this time I'll never let it go.
Stockholm, March 2016
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