Name: Per Störby Jutbring
Occupation: Composer / Podcaster / Musician
Current Release: The Thief Bunny Society on Hoop-Records
Recommendations: The Gorillaz’ old websites Kong Studios and Plastic Beach. A fantastic and creative project with lots of great visuals, music, games, films, videos, lyrics etc. A parallel universe. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to exist anymore. Or, maybe they’re out there …
Website/Contact: You can dive into Per’s world online at www.perstorbyjutbring.com
When did you start composing - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
As soon as I started to paw the piano in my childhood home I understood that I could make music. At 5 I started to learn easy pieces from my older sister. We played pieces for four hands. I remember I sat in the sofa behind her, impressed, with big eyes, and just loved the music she was playing. It might have been ”Für Elise” or ”The Moonlight Sonata” and I couldn’t understand how she did it, so beautiful, and all those keys! Later, I found my sister’s Kiss-album, Destroyer, and was so fascinated by the costumes and the makeup and the burning cities in the background of the painted picture on the cover. Kiss became my favorite band even before I listened to it.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
For me, music is an ongoing experiment of sounds, I’m still learning. I hope I’ll never stop learning. Music is, and has always been, a constant flow of ideas between artists, it’s important to inspire and get inspired by each other. If I want to decorate my home, get inspired by other homes can be a good start, and I pick a little thing from here and another thing from there, and the creativity will start to flow, and that combination of all things will create my own home.
Nowadays, to develop and take care of my own voice, it’s important to combine inspiration and ideas from everywhere, not just music.
What were some of the most important creative challenges when starting out as a composer and how have they changed over time?
In the beginning, to open up to the thought of even becoming a composer was a challenge in itself. Nowadays the biggest challenge is to deal with the puzzle of life.
Tell us about your studio/work space, please. What were criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence the creative process? How important, relatively speaking, are factors like mood, ergonomics, haptics and technology for you?
Right now, all my gear is packed down and minimized to a laptop with ProTools and Reason as my basic DAW, an Apogee Element (sound card) and some Neumann microphones, the piano is in my home. I’ve been on parental leave for seven months, and soon I’m moving in to a new studio space. I’m longing to unpack all my things again! To have a nice cozy, everyday work space is very important to me. I need to be surrounded by things that can inspire me: books, records, paintings, furniture, coffee.
But, I also love to be flexible and record music in different rooms and studios when I need to. It’s great to have the opportunity and ability to record the grand piano with a specific sound and use the mics you normally can’t afford.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
As mentioned, I’ve been on parental leave for my youngest kid (I have got three kids), but the last weeks I’ve started to work part time. If I’m lucky, I don’t wake up until 6.45am. The morning chaos starts – the typical procedure all families with small kids are going through – making breakfast, clothes on, arguing about brushing teeth, clothes off and on again, pack their bags, don’t forget the clothes for gym class, make a plait, the soyghurt on the floor Jim-Jim just stepped in and is smearing on the sofa, etc etc. At 9am, when I’ve walked them to school and pre-school, I start to work and I drink my second cup of coffee. This is very important. The working days all looks different from each other, I do everything from recording, playing piano, rehearsing, writing sheets, composing, trying to find my creativity (take a walk, meet friends, read etc), meetings, phone calls, emails, videos, cover art. At 4pm I pick my kids up, visit a playground, get home, and the afternoon chaos starts, making dinner, laundry, house-holding, put the kids to bed. At 10 pm I hopefully sit down on the sofa with my wife. Despite the chaotic three-kid life, the music and inspiration is always there.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
The typical distractions are when the everyday is poking for attention. Problems. Bills. Things you must do. So, I need to keep that away. I need to focus. I need to separate the composing from everything else. And then, I’ll take time to open up myself and connect to my spiritual channels.
Could you take me through the process of composing on the basis of one of your pieces that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
For this album, I’ve more or less had two ways of composing. When I’ve reached this “state of mind”, I’m ready to start improvising, and I record everything. Every composition starts as improvisation. Some of them are first takes, such as “Floating”, ”Faraway Forest” or even ”The Thief Bunny Society", to which I add the string quartet or other instruments afterwards. The other ones I refine, arrange them, slowly carve out what I want to achieve, record them again. For “The Lynx…” I recorded on four different pianos before I was satisfied.