Emil Svanangen, the primary member of summery pop act Loney, Dear, has recorded all four of his records in his parents' basement. But his music can no longer be confined to a room in his native Sweden.
The multi-instrumentalist's latest, "Loney, Noir," is his first stateside release, thanks to distribution by Seattle's legendary Sub Pop label. The Boston Globe recently said the album has a "brilliant simplicity." Similar acclaim scored Loney, Dear, which balloons from a one-man show into a full band in concert, a slot opening for Of Montreal on a recent U.S. jaunt.
Still, Svanangen says he doesn't have a clue about his popularity in America, which is sure to rise as people gravitate toward his intimate and irresistibly sweet songs. After a show in Leeds, England, Svanangen told us about his pop influences and how he matches up to some super-successful Swedes.
Is there truth to the stereotype that all Swedish people look like supermodels, like Victoria Silvstedt and Marcus Schenkenberg?
It might be true. It doesn't count for me, that's for sure. But maybe some other people? I mean, I'm no model.
When you're walking down the street, are you really swarmed with tall, blond beauties every five minutes?
Yeah, that's actually how it is. I don't know if that's good or not. Some people might think it is. I don't know what to say about it.
Are you just used to it?
No, you never get used to it.
You've said the best thing anyone ever said about you was that you're good looking. What's the worst thing that anyone's said?
Any time when someone writes a review about the non-existing band Lonely, Dear--the misspelled one--it's often a bad review. Maybe someone called our music drowsy, like you fall asleep because it's so boring. That was a pretty harsh thing to say.
You sound pretty calm now and on the album. Do you ever get riled up?
I think that's what's happening when we play live with the whole band. There's a different loose vibe to it, I would say--a bit rougher when we play live. That's what I like about playing with the band. You can shout a little more. I guess I shout 100 times more when we play live than I do recording, but that's because I'm always disturbing someone when I'm shouting at home, so I have to be pretty quiet. I don't want to disturb any neighbors or whatever.
Some of your song titles, like "I am John," "Hard Days 220.127.116.11." and "I Will Call You Lover Again" sound like Beatles songs. Are you a fan?
Yeah, yeah. I'm very inspired by their pace of working and how they were working on the music. Of course, I love what they were doing as well. But it's more of the way they lived with the music and really loved what they were doing they were being so fast and I think that's what's inspiring me the most.
Who's your favorite Beatle?
McCartney, of course.
Why "of course"?
He's the natural songwriter, in my opinion. I've discovered the other persons as well but for me he's doing the magic.
What's the deal with the song, "I Am the Odd One"?
Many people [think] it was the low mark of the record and think it shouldn't have been on the record, so I kinda start to think that way myself. But I think it's got a pretty good chorus to it. Actually, our manager thought it sounded like the Muppets singing. [Svanangen sings like Kermit the Frog.] He just came to think about it like Kermit singing it.
Well, another Muppet, the Swedish Chef, is your countryman.
I've heard about him but I haven't really seen him. I know he's extremely famous in the states.
Do you think Americans are more familiar with him than they are with you?
I would bet on it, yeah.
Maybe someday you'll be that famous.
Yeah, that's a pretty good goal.
Matt Pais is the metromix music and movies producer. email@example.com