posted by Lu
May 2023

There is a range of stories we hear of how the city of Berlin has the ability to change one's perception of music thanks to its vibrant scene. Among that long list, you'll find German musician, singer, and producer Jan Blomqvist. In his early years, Jan played live (guitars and drums) and was immersed in the rock and grunge scene, after he moved to Berlin however he dived straight into producing techno and electronica - that forever changed his musical trajectory.

Throughout his career, he's not only become infamous for his distinctive blend of melancholic melodies, hypnotic vocals, and ethereal soundscapes that feel cinematic but also his prowess as a live performer. He's played at Coachella (3 times), Burning Man (5 years in a row), and he continuously sells out venues across the globe when he performs. After a crazy touring schedule in 2022, Jan is back with his first single of the year which features Malou who had her big break thanks to the hit "Breathing" with Ben Böhmer. "Alone” is a stunning slice of indietronica that meshes Malou’s breathtaking melodies, vocals, and lyrics with Blomqvist’s driving electronic production. In this interview, we had the opportunity to speak to Jan Blomqvist about the single, alongside his creative process, and come up.

What were some of the moments you cherished the most when you were still young and producing music in your bedroom?

Looking back, I can definitely say that it was amazing to be this free and to have this much time to actually work on music. Also, I was still learning so much with every moment spent making music. It was constant progress and it felt like everything is possible, the world ahead of me, every door still open. I just don‘t remember if I was able to cherish these things already back then.

Judging from what I've seen from your interviews, I can tell you've believed in yourself and your craft for a long time. Although at which point in your journey did the people around you (family and friends) begin to really see and believe that you'd make it in the music industry?

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This was the hard part about the beginning. It took some time until people started to see what I already knew. My close friends were always taking me and my music seriously, but I remember that not everyone did.

For some not-so-close friends and acquaintances and also parts of my family, it took some time to trust that everything will be good in the end. This sense of not being seen is a much more present memory from those days than the positives from the previous question.

What were some of the lessons you learned and utilize to this day from your sessions creating your last EP Carry On?

Carry On actually is a remake of a really old track sketch from back in the day. We stumbled upon a video of me playing the rough outline on the guitar. And we thought: This one deserves a second life on stage.

This is something I have done already in the past, but I feel I could do more often: Recycle some ol’ goodies.

For your new single "Alone", what were you initially looking for in a vocalist to bring the instrumental to life? And what was it about Malou that made her the ideal vocalist for this track?

The first time I heard Malou’s voice was on Ben Böhmer’s track "Breathing". I was blown away by the quality of her voice and the emotion that transpires when you hear her. Ethereal might be a good way to describe it. I instantly knew that I wanted to work with her, too.

Malou mentioned that she wrote the track while she was feeling alone in LA. Since you travel often how do you usually deal with moments when you're feeling alone and far from home?

Being alone is not a problem, feeling lonely is. The former can even be nice. I sometimes need the stillness of being my only company. But I also get lonely, even when there’s a lot of people around me. Traveling with someone makes this definitely easier. Luckily, I do now have people that accompany me even if the band is not on stage with me anymore since the pandemic.

What was the most challenging part about creating "Alone"?

As I’m traveling so much these days and my base is no longer in Berlin, we needed to find ways to work on music without actually sitting in the same room. This has been really challenging. With "Alone" there was one more person involved which turned out to be even more challenging. On top of this, we were filming a documentary at the same time, and "Kaleidoscope" was released. Everything is possible with an experienced team but it needs much more organizing and feedback loops. I prefer to not do this remotely.

Something that is quite consistent through your records is your love affair with texture. Your use of white/pink noise and rough sounds is quite ubiquitous. I’m curious where this fascination comes from and your belief on how it amplifies the music?

What I love about texture - I like that word in this context - is that it creates an atmosphere and adds the experience of music being a room that you enter with the first sounds. You could also describe it as a dimension that is added, by making the sound less smooth and flat. For me, it’s perfection in the imperfect.

What does a flow state look like for you?

If by flow state, you mean getting lost in something you create in a positive way, forgetting time and space while doing it, and being completely in the moment, then this is the answer. :-)

My favourite example of shared flow is one that you might have already stumbled upon in previous interviews. Being on stage with Felix and Christian can sometimes be such an experience. We communicate through the music and sometimes this leads to amazing new ways of playing a track. This is not something we can achieve on purpose. It happens when the circumstances are right. I guess this is always the case with the flow.

If there is one thing you think novice artists should sacrifice in order to reach the next level, what do you think it should be and why?

It’s hard to give advice as not every newbie is the same person and I just have one perspective to draw knowledge from. From this perspective, I’d say: Unless you’re a crazy talent, you can’t skip the work. It needs to be done. So spent as much time as you can learning and making music.

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