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Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique – an interview

Last week, sassy reporter Niko interviewed Robyn and Markus Jägerstedt about their new project under the name La Bagatelle Magique. Listen to the first track “Love is Free” below.

Robyn, you are very well known for your highly-acclaimed solo work. It got you many grammy nominations. Why did you decide to do this completely new project?

R: It was something that happened over time. I just started hanging out with Christian (Falk) about two years ago. We were listening to music and we just hung out as friends and we started making music together again. We worked together many times over the years. Christian had a break from making music and I just came off tour for the Body Talk album and I wasn’t sure what I was doing. We were just hanging out, talking about stuff and he played me some things that he was doing and I really loved it and then we started working on it. I then asked Markus to be a part of it after like a year and we kept working on things and sadly Christian passed away while we were making the album. We took a break last Summer and we finished it this year.

How would you describe the sound of the record? Is it a lot different from your solo works or is it the same?

M: It is absolutely not the same. It would be pretty boring if it was the same. And the way we’ve been working has been different from before. We had studio sessions together but most of the time we used those files that we’ve recorded and did different things and sent them back and forth. We did remixes of different versions and sampled. It’s like we sampled ourselves. I’d get something from Christian and Robyn would do some vocals and we put it all together.

R: It was a very open process. Very unorthodox in that sense. So we were sharing ideas and lots of the time we weren’t even in the same place. We had some recording sessions together but a lot of it happened in separate places too.

What was the biggest influence on this album and also you already talked about Christian (Falk) who sadly passed away. What was his influence on this record?

R: He was the starting point in a lot of ways. Almost all the songs started from his ideas and then we developed them and they changed a lot as we went along. I think his energy and his approach to music influenced a lot of this album. The way he worked was very much collaging things together, all kinds of references from different places. He consumed so much music and was very educated and he knew a lot of music. That kind of set the platform for the sound of the record, I think.

Markus, as a composer and producer, you are usually more behind-the-scenes. You are part of the act now and are also in the spotlight. Do you enjoy that? It must be exciting for you as well.

M: Yes sure, we’ll see. We haven’t really started yet but I’m sure I would like it. It’s not like I’m just the producer. We’ve been doing everything together.

You’ve been in the music business for so long. You stay refreshing, even after all those years. You keep me excited, you keep other people excited. The fans just love it. How do you do it? How do you stay so refreshing, music-wise?

R: It’s great that you think that. For me it’s about doing something that feels interesting to me and hopefully to other people as well. I’m curious about things, you know. It’s easy to get bored but there is so much to discover, I think. It’s not a strategy. It’s just a way of making it fun for me and for us.

M: You try out a lot of different stuff and perhaps if it sounds too much like something you’ve heard before or something you’ve done yourself before, you’re probably going the wrong way.

What do you want people to feel when they listen to the record?

M: I definitely don’t want to tell anyone what to feel about the music but it’s not a memorial to Christian.

R: No, it’s definitely not a nostalgic thing in which we’re trying to make a soundtrack of Christian’s life. It’s music that he made with us when he was very much alive. I don’t want to tell people what to feel either. Whatever you feel is good.

Are you already planning to go on tour? You already have some gigs announced but do you have a proper tour planned in Europe or the US?

R: Yeah, not a proper tour. I mean, we’re not going to tour that much but we have shows booked and we’re doing festivals and club shows in the autumn.

How has the music business changed over the years in your opinion? You’ve been in the music business for a long time so you know what it’s like. Is it harder to sell records now because of all the streaming sites. Taylor Swift for example pulled her music from various streaming sites for lack of compensation for the artist. Do you feel that, because there are so many ways of listening to music for free, it is harder to sell records? Is that how the music business has changed?

R: It is obviously harder to sell music nowadays but I think that people listen to a lot of music and I don’t think streaming is something that you can ignore. I think it’s part of how it is now and we’re not going to be able to go back. It’s just about embracing the new way. But I don’t think that there is just one solution that is going to take over and become the one thing that everyone’s doing. Everything’s changing all the time and there are lots of new formats that are going to come into place. There is not just going to be one thing that’s going to replace everything else.

Swedish pop music and dance music is very popular around the world. What makes Swedes so good at making music? It seems to come so natural to you.

M: It’s more about what we don’t have. It’s pretty cold in Sweden so we just stay in and make music. No, I don’t know. It’s really hard. I have so many friends who make music and it’s really inspiring to be around and to listen to each other’s stuff. I don’t think there is a special Swedish thing.

R: I think that there is lots of music that’s being made all over the world that is really good. I think maybe Swedish songwriters and producers have had lots of success over the years and that has to do with other things than the music. It also has to do with the industry and structure of people in Sweden. It depends what kind of music you’re into. I listen to a lot of British music.

On a different note, Robyn, you’ve been an inspiration to many people. Fashion-wise, music-wise, how do you come up with all those crazy fashion ideas?

I think I am just curious. I like clothes and I think everybody thinks about what they are wearing. When you work in music and having your picture taken all the time, you start thinking about it a little bit more. It’s an extension of what you do as a person but I also think that what I do is not so special. The things I use have been used many times before. Everything goes in cycles and I kind of dress the same way now as I did twenty years ago. There were people who I was inspired by then who dressed the same way twenty-five years ago. I just do what is fun, so it’s good.

Lastly, do you have anything to say to your fans?

R: Thank you for listening. I hope that they’ll enjoy the music. They are the ones that make it happen and I’m really grateful.

niko robyn

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Ingrid is the twenty-something owner of The Sassologist, who loves everything that has to do with pop culture. While she is one of many who is in the process of writing a novel, she is also currently in denial over not being a witch. Her Hogwarts letter has yet to arrive. In the meantime she writes about pop culture and dreams about unicorns.

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