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AMAdea Records interviewed Jonas Kroon
21 February 2011 15:14
AR: Are you a fulltime producer/composer?

Jonas Kroon: Yes, I have been working full-time as a composer and producer for film and television since 2008.

AR: What do you do when you are not Producing or Performing? Do you have any hobbies or other artistic pursuits?

Jonas Kroon: I spend most of my spare time on good food, travel and social life. I like to get out of the city now and then to relax and gather some inspiration. Oslo isn't that big but life in urban areas can be just a little too busy for my creativity. It is a good thing to escape from time to time. Luckily in Norway you never have to travel far to get fresh air and beautiful nature. I like outdoor activities like trekking, skiing and sailing - I should spend more time doing that kind of stuff. Another form of entertainment I have enjoyed lately is video gaming. My Playstation has saved my life on many occations. It's a great way to relax.

AR: Who has been your biggest musical influence in your life?

Jonas Kroon: For the kind of music I do on Melo, I would say the biggest influences have been Michel Sanchez and Eric Mouquet of Deep Forest, Michael Cretu of Enigma, and perhaps Vangelis and Hans Zimmer. These artists made me appreciate the blend of electronic programming, exotic vocals and the grandness of the orchestra.

AR: Do you listen to other genres besides New Age/World/Chillout?

Jonas Kroon: Sure, I listen to many different genres. Lately I have been enjoying JГіnsi, A.R. Rahman and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. For uptempo 'weekend' music I love Parov Stelar, The New Mastersounds and David Holmes. For downtempo I like Vincent Gallo, Bon Iver and Raz Ohara & the Odd Orchestra.

AR: Was there ever a time when you were ready to throw in the towel and give up on a career in music? If so, what kept you going?

Jonas Kroon: I realized early on that life as a full-time artist was going to be hard. There are so many talented people fighting for attention and the majority will never make enough money to support a life-long career. So I wanted to make sure I had an alternate profession to fall back on, something that people would be willing to pay for. In my case it was sound engineering. It was closely related to writing and performing and I had always been interested in the production of music. Lately this safety-net career - the one that is actually generating my income - has grown to include composing for film and television, so I'm lucky in a sense that some of my songwriting is producing money.

AR: If for some reason, you could no longer produce music... what do you think you would do with your life?

Jonas Kroon: I think I would become a sailor. Travel the world and eat culture for breakfast. Eventually I would settle down and spend my last days at a winery somewhere.

AR: If you could work with any one artist, who would be it and why?

Jonas Kroon: Actually I cannot think of one specific artist that I would like to work with, but I would love to collaborate with exceptional singers from all over the world - you know people who master their traditional folk traditions and carry the whole history of their people in their singing. I'm very weak for the kind of wordless ethnic chanting you can hear in the work of Deep Forest and Enigma, and I will always be looking for new ways to capture that type of performances.

AR: What do you think about the current status of the music industry?

Jonas Kroon: It is tricky. We are facing dramatic changes in the way people consume music. It is getting increasingly difficult to make money as an artist. Some people see that as a good thing, but I know too many great musicians that struggle to make a living even though there is market demand for their product. Now I don't think there is much we can - or even should - do to impede the way things are changing; the development is organic and natural in a world where everyone can access everything with the touch of a fingertip. I think the most important thing is that we teach the younger generation that music costs money and that good artists are worth supporting. You know kids today have never experienced a reality without the Internet. I'm a little concerned that these brothers and sisters grow up and feel that it is a human right to have unlimited access to free music. It is not their fault - it is easy to forget how much blood, sweat and labor goes into making music if you live in a reality where it has always been available for free. We should tell our kids that being an artist is like having any other job; you have to put your heart and soul into it. It is my view that if you manufacture a product that other people demand, whether it is music or sneakers, then you should have the right to take money in exchange for it.

AR: How important is the internet as producer for you?

Jonas Kroon: The way internet lets me market my music is unique. I'm very excited about the way social media has grown to be a powerhouse platform for musicians to promote their product, and to interact with their fans. This is one of the things I love about the new ways we consume music - listeners are closer to the artists now, the major label animal stands no longer between me and my heroes. I can talk to them on Twitter!

AR: Tell us about your new album "Melo", could you tell us a bit about the process involved in the creation of it?

Jonas Kroon: I started making Melo in 2005 without actually knowing it. I was into producing other artists at the time and I had an idea for a solo project. The purpose was to create a space where I could put the music I wrote when I was all by myself, the me-music. The songs for the project were to be composed without taking any external factors into consideration, like trends and taste and the expectations of my surroundings. I was living in world where I was often expected to please my clients by copying the sound of a famous band or analyze the production aesthetics of the hippest acts of the time. I didn't mind doing that, but I developed an urge to sit down and just be brutally honest with myself. What kind of music will come out if I allow myself to just be me? The first songs were Zanzibar and The King. I thought for a while that the project would only spawn epic music, but other pieces came along. Her Er Eg was made during the first sessions at the cabin in Sweden. I recorded birds on the lake to capture the magic that was going on there. Later on, in 2007, I did a showcase based on the songs I had come up with so far. It was a grand concert in a great hall and it took a lot of preparation. It had a 13-piece orchestra that brought the music to new hights. At that point I knew I wanted it to be an album. Four years later it is here. Melo is a beautiful thing; human, quirky, melodic, dramatic, and best of all - completely honest. For this type of genre I like it when the music sounds like it comes from a different place or time, like a parallell universe created by the imagination of the composer - you get sucked into another world much in the same way as when you are reading a novel or watching a movie. I tried to compose Melo so that listening to it would feel like opening many small windows into another world. The great thing about this world, this imaginary space, is that there is so much music in there. All I have to do is enter, listen, and bring something back. As long as I don't outline my findings in too much detail, the listener can add the power of their own imagination and the experience becomes unique. I listened to Deep Forest and Enigma this way and I loved it.

AR: Do you have any upcoming projects/collabs to expect?

Jonas Kroon: I have been discussing a few collaboration opportunities with artists that I admire, but there is nothing official yet.

AR: Anything else you would like to share with us?

Jonas Kroon: I'm very excited to be releasing Melo on AMAdea - it is a great record that I'm proud of, and AMAdea is a label that treats their artists exceptionally well.

AR: Thank you Jonas. We appreciate your time and effort to respond to our questions. We hope your fans will know more about you now and especially after this detailed interview. We wish you a good luck.

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