story / ANNE WALLS
photography / ERIC RAY DAVIDSON
Sondre Lerche is known for being a passionate singer/songwriter/all around hot dude, but who knew he’s also a comedian? Sample Tweet: @SondreLerche: “I just tattooed ‘Yo, banana boy!’ on my chest. Should I not have done that?”
Ladygunn spoke to the Norwegian artist about songwriting, his fantasy vacation, and achieving his childhood dreams…and no, it isn’t getting that banana tattoo.
What was the first fantasy you remember having as a child?
SONDRE LERCHE: Hmm. When you’re a kid, fantasy is pretty much all you have. I have to be honest: my fantasy was that I’d be a songwriter. I really feel sometimes like my wildest imagination has come true because I get to have this crazy life where I follow my passion and travel and share it with the world.
Yeah, you’ve definitely accomplished your dream. I read in an interview you did a few years ago that you said you’re “not much of a collaborator” – do you think that has changed?
It has, yeah. Back then, I wasn’t much of a collaborator with songwriting. I really enjoy collaborating in the studio and rely on it, but as a songwriter I sort of only rely on myself. But in the last year or so I’ve done a lot of songwriting collaboration. I’ve done a song with a Norwegian hip-hop artist who also happens to be my cousin named Lars Vaular. He’s the biggest hip-hop artist in Norway and raps in Norwegian. Our song is the first time I sing in Norwegian. It’s a song we wrote together and it was really fun. I’m sort of slowly opening up to the idea of other people.
Totally. Speaking of collaboration and fantasy: you’ve played with a bunch of idols like [Norweigian supergroup] A-Ha and Elvis Costello. But who – alive or dead – have you not collaborated with yet that you’d love to?
Oh wow, there are so many. Among the not-so-alive, I’d have to say Charles Mingus or some of the jazz greats. I think maybe it would be even more fun to meet them or just have a conversation. Definitely Cole Porter.
It proves how across the board your music is because when you could choose from literally any musician and you chose jazz artists. Do you feel like stuff you’re writing now is jazz-influenced?
I’m really interested in how people make music that I don’t understand how to make. I hear a lot of music that I really love but I understand what they’re doing, what’s behind it. So I’ve been getting into a lot of stuff I have no idea how it came to be. I guess that’s in keeping with your Fantasy Theme. Some music seems like something you can dream of, but how do people actually create it? The process becomes really exotic. I hear reggaeton tracks from cars passing outside my window and am like, “What is this music?” I’ve been trying to approach music differently because of this.
Did you start recording a new record at the end of July? What part of the process are you at now?
I did but it’s still very early. We’re just messing around and having fun and exploring all the different ways we could go. I’m very motivated. I want to record all over the place – Brooklyn, Norway, maybe even go somewhere else.
If you went on your fantasy vacation, where would you go?
I’ve never been to India and would love to go there. I want to go somewhere where you feel far away. It would be mind-blowing. [Pauses] I can’t leave that as a fantasy for too long.
Lerche’s new live CD/LP, Bootlegs, is out now. Vinyl reissues of his four previous albums are out now. More info here: http://www.sondrelerche.com