Linnea Olsson: „Nice to be a pony“

Singer-songwriter Linnea Olsson speaks about Frank Zappa’s shoulder and being a pegasus

We met the Swedish singer-songwriter Linnea Olsson before a show in a Viennese Gürtellokal. She told us why everybody loves the ocean and about being a musician in times of the World Wide Web. And she explained her wish to be a pony. How are you feeling today?
Linnea: I’m good, I’m happy. We are here on the tour and it’s a really nice tour. It’s me, Jenny Abrahamson, who is one of my favourite musicians, and Johanna, who’s my friend since I’ve been fifteen. Is it your first time here in Austria?
Linnea: No, I’ve played at the B72 twice before. Once with Ane Brun and once with Nina Kinert, if I remember correctly, I’m really bad at remembering places – I toured so much.

Foto: (c) Alexandra Gritsevskaja

Foto: (c) Alexandra Gritsevskaja Do you like Vienna?
Linnea: I haven’t really experienced this city that much, but I always enjoyed playing here – it’s a nice room. We drove here from Munich which took us a while and then I went straight to a radio station. I like the colours here. When I think of this city I think of pastel or pink and yellow. I also like the architecture, it’s fancy, really fancy, you think of old times. The first single of your album Ah is called Dinosaur. Why have you chosen this exact title?
Linnea: For reasons that I don’t want to explain. Tell us about the making of the video for Dinosaur?
I just got this idea because I think the whole song is like a flirt with the 80’s – for me it is. I think it’s like a mix of: (singing) „I am the one and only“  but maybe that’s 90’s – that’s a 90’s song – never mind – and also (singing) „I wanna dance with somebody“. Oh I think that’s a 90’s song too, anyways, it was an 80’s vibe in the song and so I started watching clips on YouTube with all this old aerobics classes. Like Call on me?
Linnea: Oh yeah! I thought about that one too when I saw this video the first time. It was hilarious. That was definitely an inspiration. I asked my friend Elena da Silva, who is a great video maker, if she wanted to film it and she did it. So we filmed it in two days in Halmstad, my hometown. An important part of your music is the cello. Isn’t this instrument mostly used in classical music? Why have you chosen this instrument?
Linnea: Well, I have practiced it for twenty-three years. Have you played in an orchestra?
Linnea: I’ve never worked in an orchestra. I did play a lot of symphonies and string ensembles during my education at the music college in Stockholm. When I started freelancing as a musician, when I was finished with studies, I quit playing classical, I immediately started playing with other artists and their bands, like Ane Brun and Nina Kinert and a lot of different more pop orientated music. Which five records will always be in your collection?
Linnea: Oh so hard to say … Graceland – Paul Simon; This is England – PJ Harvey; Björk – Post; Radiohead – In Rainbows; The Beatles – The White Album. What’s the music scene like in Sweden? Are bands friendly with each other or is there a rivalry among the various musicians?
Linnea: I would say it’s friendly. We like to collaborate. It’s also a small country, so we kind of need to help each other out. What role do you think the Internet plays for a musician like you?
Linnea: It’s almost the biggest part of building a career and it’s great because it’s like a window. You can reach so many people. YouTube is superb and music blogs too. It’s important and it’s good. You are a very creative artist. Why have you chosen the album title Ah?
Linnea: I chose between Ah and Dinosaur. And the word dinosaur gets so many associations so I chose Ah.  „Ah“ is kind of a weird word, especially the exclamation mark makes it pretty weird and I thought that would be funny and I asked myself how people will pronounce it. (laughs) If you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?
Linnea: I think I would like to be an eagle because then I would be able to fly. I also think it would be nice to be a pony. You can run around on the fields. Maybe I would like to be a wild pony. So a pony with wings would be perfect for you?
Linnea: Yeah a pony pegasus! (laughs)

Foto: (c) Alexandra Gritsevskaja

Foto: (c) Alexandra Gritsevskaja The ocean is a major theme in your whole lyrics. It’s also on the album cover. Did you ever go skinny dipping in the ocean?
Linnea: Of course, many times. I suppose that all people feel the same at the sea. I mean it’s so nice and after a dip you feel much better. It’s just so nice and I also grew up very close to the sea and I have spent many summers by the sea. It’s important to me and I always tend to go near the water. Is this why the ocean is on the cover of your first debut album?
I supposed so, yeah, and also it looks good. (laughs) If you could spend your whole day with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Linnea: I would actually like to spend a day with my grandfather. He died when I was three. That would be cool. I would also like to spend a day with Frank Zappa. That would be awesome. We would drink espresso and I would talk as much as I could and he would smoke a lot of cigarettes and I would like to watch him work and stand behind his shoulder. Is he one of your inspirational artists?
Linnea: No, I can’t say that but I love his music. I like his brilliance, his … madness … No it’s not really madness, it’s just a perfect mix of humour, seriousness and great music. I love when you can feel a sense of humour in music. Do you have male groupies?
Linnea: Oh, actually Jenny and I received a letter yesterday. I don’t know the name and if it’s a guy or a girl but we got photos and they asked us to sign them and send them back. But no, I don’t have groupies. I haven’t met them anyways. What do you want this evening to be like?
Linnea: I hope that I will be “in the zone”, the more gigs you do, the more present you are. In the past I was so nervous all the time. Now, after I have done a few live shows I feel I can reach the audience and connect with them and that’s nice. What are your plans for the future?
Linnea: I’m going to do a lot of writing this summer. I don’t play too many gigs. I play a few festival shows in Holland but I’m going to focus on writing because I try to record another album and I will swim in the ocean as much as possible. (laughs)

Interview von Daniel Frick
Titelbild: (c) Alexandra Gritsevskaja

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