Jonas: I think that when you first play an instrument, I don’t mean a category of instruments, I mean a specific instrument, there’s always time that you have to spend in order to get used to it, to learn it, to get comfortable with it. And as soon as you switch to another instrument, you have the challenge to know it. I mean, it’s like a women. When you’ve been with a woman for a number of years, you know what you see and you like— that’s it. Once you start with a new one, it’s kind of awkward, and it’s the same thing with an instrument. It takes some time to bond, and to really be able to totally express yourself. And you want to forget about the instrument…that’s really the main goal, to be so comfortable with it that you don’t even think about the fact that you’re playing an instrument anymore.
Jake: Tell me about your project, Art Metal.
Jonas: I started working with Mattias Elunda a while ago, and he has a very extensive background. Earlier on, I used to listen to a lot of metal—Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and the like, kind of the first wave of metal. I always thought that sound could be linked to more challenging music. And following the aftermath of these mathematical metal bands that came up in the last decade or so, I thought that the Indian influence could be really great there, fusing the Indian music to the metal sound, and that is what that project is about. It started out with some very traditional Indian style compositions, rhythmically, and then we dressed them up in a metal uniform and expanded on them.
Jake: Is this the most recent project you’re involved with?
Jonas: No. But that was a specific project in the sense that we included the Johansson brothers, and it was more of a record thing. Now I’m once again working in a trio format, and it’s going more in the direction of what I used to do, more of a fusion trio, and we’re working on a new record. We’re also talking about doing the Beethoven thing again and making a DVD or a record.
Jake: Final question here, and you’re welcome to go wherever you’d like with this. How do you feel about the state of music these days, in your opinion?
Jonas: Once again, being a little bit contradictory, I think there’s just too much music out there. Too many people want to be producers of music…there’s just too much production and consumption of music these days. At the time when you couldn’t buy records and music was something that you experienced live, or you played in your home, I think that was a much healthier time for music in a sense because I truly feel that everybody needs to play music—I think it’s as essential as eating and sleeping. Music is part of the need of the human organism. Consumption of music doesn’t satisfy you as much as playing music, and it’s hard to navigate nowadays in the enormous ocean of stuff that gets released and produced. But even having said that, I cannot deny anybody the aspiration and the right to make music and express themselves. I think that’s a good thing. I live on both sides of that issue. I think it’s important, and great that people pursue music. Let’s look at it this way…it’s become too much of a career orientated thing. People have this idea that you have to make a career out of it, and I never thought about music that way myself, even though I do have a career and make my living playing music. But I guess that aspect is not really important to me. If I couldn’t make a living playing music, I’d still be playing music, and I’d probably run a café or something. It’s like what I told you in the beginning of the interview, I play Bach, and Mozart, and Beethoven for myself in my living room because I just love it, I just enjoy it. And I don’t care if people here it or not. I don’t have a need to go out and show it to people…it’s just for the pleasure of it, and that is where music should be. You play music as a meditation, as a spiritual exercise—something to release you, to focus you, to make you healthy…that’s what music is.
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