Embracing change

The relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema most importantly - has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?

Music is a direct source to your feelings. It bypasses the brain and touches emotions underneath. That’s why we put music in film, to make you feel a certain way to help the story along. Happy music at the happy ending, sad music at the sad ending. Good music can give you a visual side to it. An inner film created by the emotions the music will stir in you.

There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?

I think both ways are important. We live in a digital world, and its important that we can use the online media to get new music and see our favourite bands. But that makes the physical products of the vinyl LP very important. For those who care it is an important way to feel close to the music and the band to have those physical samples.

The role of an artist is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?

I admire artists who have something relevant to say about our society today, like PJ Harvey for instance.
But our role as artists can also be to make the world less two dimensional and help other people become more nuanced in their view of the world. Wars are made of one sided and narrow minded views, and peace is made by trying to understand your opponents' views. Not necessarily to agree with them, but to put yourself in their place

Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?

For one thing, the younger generation will consume more music and listen to way more than earlier generations, and I find that a good thing.
You can't roll the times back, and we had better embrace the new world with file sharing and YouTube. I like that anybody can put up their own music on a site and upload a video. The diversity of music on the internet is amazing. Good and bad music though.

How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?

Through the internet!! God bless the day it was invented.

Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the artist to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?

I find that if you have made the trouble of coming to a concert, you are very inclined to be positive towards the musicians and the music. If the musicians are not able to play music that convey and share emotions then you might loose them no matter how much the audience came with a positive mind. Music is a forum where we share a little bit of ourselves, both as the musician and the listener. Both need to be in it and present in order for magic to happen.

Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?

PR is mostly a good thing, it helps you reach out to an audience. It can have a tendency to be very stringent and cut out some of the nuances and details that you as an artist would love to show. But communicating is an art form and a good public relations team can help your music.

Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.

The Danish/Finnish band called Afengin. I love their crazy Nordic music. It is demanding for the listener but you are rewarded if you spend time with that music.

Laura Gibson is another of my favourites at the moment. I love her voice and compositions.

Read and hear more Maggie Bjorklund at maggiebjorklund.com

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