Free Spirit

Free Spirit

Words Paul Watson

Swedish songstress, Jennie Abrahamson, is a tremendously talented artist. She’s also a bit of an eco warrior (or should that be warrioress?) Her focus is on planet Earth, the people she loves, and everything musical... And she’s ‘a bit spacey’, too...

Tell me about your love of music..
You know, recently, I actually thought music wasn’t fun for me anymore, and I honestly wasn’t sure it was what I should be doing. When I released my last album, it was a very hectic period. I was doing a lot of administrative work and very little music. It was just work, email, computers, organising... I’m quite skilled at that, and a certain part of me enjoys it, but most of me wants to be creative, and when you only sit answering emails, you kind of lose what you’re doing. I’d been touring on my own for quite a while, but mostly organising everything for the releases, because I have quite a big part in the [record] label work. Everything kind of came into place when I went on tour [for the third time] with Peter Gabriel recently; I found the love for music again, and everything felt right. I realised that aside from music, I’ve never wanted anything else from my life.

What’s the Swedish music scene like?
Touring as a musician in Sweden is a very social thing, and the crew is always very integrated in the band. You’ll never see a crew go in their own bus or their own car; it’s very much a team thing. When I tour, I always make sure I have great people around me, though I have also done a lot of solo touring, which can be lonely; the older you get, the more you question if it’s a good idea, not being with the ones you love, and travelling alone. The plus side is, I do enjoy being in new cities, and not having anyone to care about, heading out with my camera and taking photos...

Are you tech-savvy, or is it all about the performing for you?
I love just having a solo concert with me and a grand piano; when you have your voice and piano in a wedge, it’s a very simple way of playing. When I play with the band, we tend to make things a little more difficult for ourselves! I’m not much of a tech geek, but I learn the tools that I have to, because it makes stuff easier; but Johannes Bergland, who I have a studio with, and have been working with for a very long time - he has a solution to everything. We have had this place for 10 years, and we’ve just renovated it. We have a small control room and a rehearsal space attached to the control room, and then a big storage area, as I have a lot of gear. I never want to sell stuff, ever! I’m moving into a little writing space this week, which will be really cool, and I won’t have much gear there, so it’s just going to be me, my Genelec speakers, and my computer, and we’ll see what happens...

What do you like about Genelec monitors?
I have the 8020s, and I love that you always get a very honest and straight sound out of them. We had the larger Genelec speakers as reference in the big studio, and we mixed the last album on those, in a room that wasn’t particularly well built, yet it still worked out, so that says a lot. For me, I find that the Genelecs do exactly what I want them to; they’re everything you could possibly want from a speaker, as they reflect what’s been recorded in a truthful way. Also, I love Genelec’s take on sustainability, which perhaps isn’t so well documented. They really think about the environment and the future, and everything is built in Finland in this tiny warehouse by a lake, which is just great. Everything by Genelec can be recycled, and they want to have as little negative impact on the planet as possible. I’ve actually heard that the first hour of their big meetings is always about the environment; many companies would be promoting the shit out of this, as it’s a selling thing, but that’s not the Genelec way. Everything is locally made, and they care about every aspect of their speakers; and they take good care of their personnel, too: they put gymnastics on three times a day for the people in the warehouse! That to me is sooo cool! It’s also a big issue for me, the environment, as I care about these things in my daily life, and it’s been hard bringing that into the music business. When you print an album, maybe you want to use paper that you can recycle, but it’s much more difficult to get your electronics to be eco-friendly.

What’s been your perfect musical moment todate?
Touring with Peter Gabriel has been a definite high point in my career, and that first tour with him was a total life-changer, but sometimes, just playing a gig at a club when everything’s aligned is absolute perfection...