Following the release of his superb album Unbelonging, we were blessed with the opportunity to interview long-time artist and songwriter Rasmus Fynbo to find out more about his creative journey so far and his plans for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Rasmus – thanks for the chat! How has 2019 been for you so far?
Great, at least in terms of creativity. I have delivered music for a great Danish documentary and I am currently working on no less than two full length albums.
You’ve been making music for many years now – what first prompted you to start, and what are the main lessons you’ve learned as an artist over time?
Originally I started making music on my Amiga 500 computer in the 9’ties as a kid. A few years later I got my older brother’s guitar since he couldn’t really play on it. I was pretty terrible at playing famous songs, so I had to make up my own – that way no one could say I was playing them wrong. The first year I wrote more than 100 awful songs.
What can you tell us about your latest album – what do these songs represent for you, and how did you come to collaborate with everyone featured on it?
Unbelonging is both my first and latest album. I wrote the songs back in 2004 and recorded a version that was never digitally released. When a friend asked if I wasn’t going to release it digitally, I started what ended up as a complete re-recording of the whole album. I rearranged and rewrote a lot of the songs to fit the passage of time. In the end it felt I gave the songs the polish and attention that they really needed. The songs represent a period of my life where I struggled a lot with a complicated relationship. The songs were a farewell to that relation. Ironically, I went straight into an even worse relation shortly after. At least I wasn’t lacking inspiration for years!
The recording is split between 2004 and 2018 and for the new recordings I relied heavily on session musicians from all over the world that I found on Fiverr. Getting inspiration from people with all kinds of different musical backgrounds has been a real eye-opener for me and is something I am exploring to a much larger degree on my coming albums.
What inspired the song Grease Monkey?
Really it was the 90’ one hit wonder Your Woman by “White Town”. I wanted to make a song with a similar feel in the bass.
Your work is notably eclectic. What’s your main instrument of choice, and how do you decide which direction to take each song in?
Yeah, that is one way to put it 😊 I think being slightly genre blind is both my force and my weakness. When people ask me what kind of music I make, I kind of look tired and say “uhm, well look, it is complicated”. Most songs are created on guitar, but some songs starts with a beat and a bass-line or a synth, like Grease Monkey.
Usually I split the process up in a creation phase and a production phase. In the creation phase I create the backbone of the song – maybe I give myself an one hour constraint, and after that hour I have to start creating another song. That can work really well for creative bursts. After that I start fiddling with each song and try to figure out where this song should go. Sometimes I give the song a silly genre tag to work from, like “Reggae for people who hate Reggae” or “Apocalyptic Disco” and try to use that as a guideline. But mostly it comes down to “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny with…”
How have you honed your songwriting style over time, and what do you think are the main qualities that make a song truly connect and last in the long-run?
I think the song itself should be so simple that anyone can play in on guitar. If it works on an acoustic guitar you are probably on the right track. My arrangements are sometimes overly complicated and has a lot of layers but I strife to keep the song it self as simple as possible.
I don’t think my core song writing has changed in many years, but the choice of instruments and genre elements keeps on changing. When it comes to lyrics I have moved from writing about my self and my own relations to what is going on the world on a broader scale. That happens as you grow older I think – the “me” becomes less important.
How did the song Good To Go come about?
Good To Go was written as a hopeful song about what I thought the future would bring. Even though the present might look grim and dark everything will just be better if you believe that the future looks shining bright. The song was a lucky fusion of a verse with no chorus and a chorus that didn’t fit its verse. When I brought the two pieces together that had just been lying around for years, it all came together.
What do you want people to get from your music?
Firstly I want them to sing along, then I want them to find new details and then maybe I want them to listen to the story 😊
Is live performance an important part of what you do, and if so – what does a live show look like?
Not anymore. I did a lot of live performances earlier on, but it took up a lot of time and left less time for creating new music.
What do you have planned for these songs in the near future, and what are your next steps as an artist?
I plan for them to be heard by as many people as possible.
If you could sit down to lunch with anyone at all, who would you invite, and what would you ask them about?
I would invite all the musicians from all around the world that helped me create the recordings. The great thing about the internet is that I can work with anyone I want, but I never get to meet them in real life. They enrich my music and I don’t know anything about them. I want to hear their stories.
What’s the best thing that could happen for you in the next twelve months?
The best thing I could hope for is a bigger and wider audience. I think my music deserves that. Not me as a person, but my songs.
Is there anything else we should know?
I am far in the process of recording 20 new songs. I plan to have them released as two full length albums in 2020. This time the music will have a clear Balkan/Western/Middle Eastern vibe.
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