Today marks the ten years anniversary of my debut album I’ll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You. Ten years is a long time, and yet I wonder where all the time has gone? What have I done over the course of these ten years?
I have met some truly amazing and inspiring people, I’ve toured Europe on several occasions, I’ve toured the US, I’ve played in Istanbul, at sleeping concerts, in an abandoned mine shaft, in a shopping mall, in peoples houses, in bars, galleries and at regular concert venues. I’ve made music for dance performances in Sweden and abroad, for art-house movies, for a horror film and for installations. I’ve created remixes for a number of amazing artists from around the world, I’ve contributed music for compilations, I’ve made music with people in various constellations, both in real life and over the Internet and I have released albums on record labels in Sweden, Europe and the US.
The last ten years has had its ups and downs. It has been challenging on a lot of levels. But I guess that’s life. Things rarely work out the way you plan. Events spiral out in unforeseen directions, unpredictable and seemingly without any logic. Life becomes something else, something that you just have to deal with. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Ten years ago I was 27. I worked at the warehouse of a computer manufacturer. The job was dull and rather pointless. But it gave me money to pay the rent, and I was able to buy studio equipment and instruments. It was something to do while I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I am now 37 and I still have no idea what to do with my life. I am older and wiser yet I realize, the older I get, the less I know. I’m starting to feel it in my body, the aging thing. A bit more worn and tired, a bit more weary of things and at the same time curious of things. Wanting to settle down, wanting to move on. The sense of not belonging anywhere still there, always. I’ve given up striving for balance, because I do not think there is balance to be found in life. At the end of the day I just want to live my life with some sense of dignity.
A couple of years back I did a retrospective thing on all of the Jasper TX albums over at Fluid Radio. For this I actually shared some insight into the process of bringing I’ll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You into the world. So, here are my thoughts and memories of the making of what was to become the first of many albums over the last ten years.
Ten years is a life time, ten years is the blink of an eye.
Here’s to the next ten years.
The following segment was originally published at Fluid Radio in July 2013.
How long did I’ll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You take to record?
I started recording the foundations for this album during fall 2003. At the time I was studying to become a sound engineer and was just starting to understand recording properly. Although in hindsight I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing… I worked on it off and on during the first part of 2004 and then some more during the first part of 2005 just to get a better flow to the album as a whole. So basically; two years, all in all.
What were your influences at that time?
Musically I was mainly into postrock/rock bands like Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, Labradford, Tortoise, Motorpsycho, The 90 Day Men and of course old death and black metal bands that I kind of grew up with. It was at this point I was starting to get an idea of the whole electronic/drone/noise world that existed, but I really hadn’t heard that much to be honest. I was not what you would call an early adapter…
What equipment had you been using at that stage to record?
The entire album was recorded on a Korg D16 portable recorder. It’s basically 8 mono channels and 4 stereo channels so nothing fancy really. But it has some decent built in effects and I still use it today. It’s excellent when you just wanna fuck up something. And I’ve always preferred working with actual physical equipment, real faders and knobs as opposed to computer generated stuff. It’s not a statement, just my preference. In addition to this I had some good quality microphones (among them a couple of awesome Microtech Gefells), a delay and a reverb pedal (both Boss), an old synthesizer, one electric and one acoustic guitar and a piano. I think that was basically it. The whole album (except for the piano) was recorded in my old apartment here in Gothenburg so there’s a lot of ”unwanted” sounds in there. But I guess they helped with the whole “home grown” atmosphere.
Who mastered this one?
It was mastered by Andreas Tilliander (whom I believe mastered all the Type releases at the time) and I think he did a phenomenal job seeing as how crappy the source material was. Then John Twells (from Type Records) did some editing regarding crossfades and stuff like that. At this point I didn’t own a computer, so I didn’t have the equipment to do these things myself. Feels like a lifetime ago.
What sort of a run did this record have?
I think it was done in 1000 copies all in all, but I can’t remember anymore. I initially sent it to John at Type records and at the time John was dating a girl named Monica who was just about to launch her own label, Lampse Audiovisual Recordings, so she got the release instead. And it turned out really great, I must say. She took care of the whole graphic design bit as well. Originally the tray was supposed to be clear but the pressing plant fucked it up (big surprise) and shipped it with a white tray instead. Which actually turned out really, really well. To me it kind of resembles an old toy or something.
What was the reaction to it, at the time?
The reaction to it was quite overwhelming. I mean, there I was in Gothenburg, I didn’t have a clue about anything regarding the whole “scene” that was slowly starting to form then and I had just been recording an album, for my own sake. And all of a sudden people started emailing me saying how much the record meant to them. It was of course very flattering but kind of hard to handle to be honest. And the reviewers liked it a lot too. I’ll never forget the write-up I got from Aquarius Records. It was just… too much, but in a good way. But I can’t listen to the album. I rarely listen to any of my albums but this one in particular is hard to listen to due to the fact that I was going through a very rough period personally when I was recording and compiling it. And to be honest, I mainly hear the flaws when I listen to my albums. I hear how it could have sounded and what I would do differently if I could go back and do it again. But that’s good, that means you’ve evolved as a musician and artist. And I will never be one of those artists that goes back and re-record older tracks. That’s just the fucking lamest thing to do. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it is what it is and that’s just the way it is. All that said, it’s my debut album and it will always have a special place amongst my releases. It opened up a lot of doors and it is one of the reasons that I am where I am today.