December 26th, 2011
And then one day, you discover the movies by Aleksandr Petrov.
December 25th, 2011
A Christmas Skype conversation between me age 17 and me age 30
30 - Hello, hello, can you hear me ?
December 25th, 2011
I constantly have to explain this. Smalltalk is not a blog. People are suggesting I'd turn it into a tumblr or blogr or whatever it's called or at least insert links to each entry. But no my dear friends, that's not what I'm doing here. Smalltalk is meant to be one long scroll. Like the Bayeux Tapestry.
December 10th, 2011
Sometimes my friend Stefan Sporsen calls me up and asks if I would like to sing with him. If my schedule is free I always say yes. You don't say no to Stefan Sporsen. He's the sweetest man in Sweden.
This time he asked me about Musikhjalpen at Stora Teatern this upcoming thursday, with his band Augustifamiljen. I flipped the pages in my calendar and found an empty page that needed to be filled. So yes, I'll see you there my Gothenburgian friends. I'll be singing two songs. And the very lovely Anna Jarvinen, Anna Ternheim and Maria Andersson will sing too as well as the always charming Jose Gonzalez, Jonathan Johansson and Moto Boy. And it's for charity!
December 6th, 2011
Sometimes my friend Magnus Carlson calls me up and asks if I would like to sing with him. If my schedule is free I always say yes. You don't say no to Magnus Carlson. He's the sweetest man in Sweden.
This time he asked me about New Years Eve in Stockholm, with his band the Moon Ray Quintet. I flipped the pages in my calendar and found an empty page that needed to be filled. So yes, I'll see you there my Stockholmian friends. I'll be singing some of my own songs too. And the very lovely Britta Persson will sing too as well as the always charming Ebbot Lundberg.
December 6th, 2011
Photo by Josh Elliott
Coming back from tour is like coming out of prison. A very fun and colourful prison but still a prison. Readjusting to society takes a while, I keep waiting for a vehicle that I can start loading stuff into, or the echo of a snare drum lingering in the backrooms and corridors of a smoky theatre.
December 4th, 2011
Also, regarding that Steven Millhauser story that I mentioned, there's another story in the same book that I like. If you've ever watched an episode of Tom & Jerry and thought "poor guys, why can't they realize that without each other they are nothing"
December 4th, 2011
Regarding the obsession with details in songwriting that I talked about in comparison to microminiatures earlier: I found a poem by Jane Hirshfield that really put its finger on it. It's about a person walking through the woods, picking up a branch and moving it to the other side of the trail. The person says "There, that's done now". The poem is called "Changing Everything".
November 4th, 2011
If you're in Gteborg you should join this torchlight procession and march against xenophobia. It goes from Gtaplatsen to Gustav Adolfs Torg, this wednesday the 9th. I will be singing a few songs at the end.
October 1st, 2011
Yes, that's Goofy, standing on the eye of a needle. He was sculpted by artist Hagop Sandaldjian who kept it for himself until he died. I wanted to go see the exhibition of his work at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA, but it was closed.
October 1st, 2011
Currently I am on the road and I won't have time to reply to e-mails. But I made a little FAQ for the most common questions:
September 25th, 2011
Addison in the picture here is my new drummer. It's the two of us who will be touring the American and European continents the next couple of weeks. We've been rehearsing next to this little cemetery, nice in the daytime, terrifying at night. With the howling coyotes in the distance.
September 18th, 2011
September 18th, 2011
I'll be picking tunes on swedish radio P3 Musikguiden Sept 26th - 29th, on a couple of different themes including australian favourites, heartbreak songs, songs I've found in the 1 kronor bin at the fleamarket and songwriters who can tell a story with a sense of humour. Find it streaming
September 17th, 2011
September 14th, 2011
The Secretly Canadian headquarters would like to inform you about where the EP is streaming, where you can win vinyl and where you can pre-order. Turn your paraboles over here
September 10th, 2011
02. Waiting For Kirsten
03. A Promise
04. New Directions
05. So This Guy At My Office
September 10th, 2011
(which is very fitting considering that they've raised the price so much that a lot of people now can't afford public transport)
September 9th, 2011
Today on our porch, a mouse head. Not even a whole head, just the mouth and nose. Chopped off.
September 8th, 2011
I picked up Belle & Sebastians green album yesterday for the first time in a long time, and heard Stevie Jackson sing "What's the worst job yooouu've had?". And I thought : now there's a topic of the month. Thanks Stevie, I was kinda struggling.
August 26th, 2011
the shows in Europe is a beautiful voice. Does this voice have a name?
Yes, the voice is called Lia Ices. Does this Lia have some music I can
listen to? Yes, here's a song called Daphne for example. Should I show up early to see her? Yes, you should.
August 26th, 2011
time of year is the saddest time of year. It is the end of the summer, the
time when your boyfriend or girlfriend is moving to Berlin or New York or
London and says "I just don't want the responsibility that comes with a
relationship, I really need to be free right now".
And you hate the future, you want to throw
rocks and empty beercans at it. You hate the changes it brings. You're late for uni, your first class of
the semester, and you wish you hadn't cut your own hair two days before
you started. And you think of the days getting darker and on your way
home you kick the gold out of the leaves on the ground. You ride the buses and trams and trains in circles. You put chewing gums on elevator buttons.
At night you can't sleep so you go out and
it's a starlit night so you sit and watch the constellations up there,
and then a meteor divides the sky in two and you think of one thing to
wish for but there are so many things.
I am reading your emails and I may not have
time to reply to all of them, but I just wan't you to know that I've
been there too. I'm there with you right now.
August 26th, 2011
Let's do the Gothenburg show at Nefertiti.
Let's do a show in Bristol too.
And let's change the venue in Copenhagen to Koncerthuset, Studio 2 since Jazzhouse got flooded.
August 17th, 2011
Let's do a show in Vienna. Let's do it at the Odeon Theater on the 26th of October.
Let's also do a show in Göteborg and add a third show in New York, dates coming up.
Let's announce all this through the newsletter before the tickets are released.
August 17th, 2011
used to have a webshop a few years ago. I started it because my sister
needed a part time job, she was working at Burger King at the time and
it seemed like a shitjob. I mean we all need those crappy jobs to teach us
that life is hard and you gotta work to get somewhere but I came in
late one day and saw her flipping burgers and the big brother in me
just felt like it was time to do something. It was a fine webshop but
when my sis started school we had to abandon it. A few days ago the
guys from the recordlabel brought it back from the grave, they made it
better, updated the stock and they're shipping a lot faster than me and
my sis ever did. Check it out.
August 16th, 2011
Opening the shows in America will be Geoff O'Connor, lead singer from The Crayon Fields / Sly Hats / currently doing his thing solo.
I would've loved to tell you more about Geoff since he's a friend but I think he did it
best himself in this Rose Quartz interview. Especially in the last question.
August 5th, 2011
And they said "let there be picture disc". And picture disc there was. Pre-order here.
August 4th, 2011
In the case "Jens Lekman vs. Jens Lekman", we
will look closer at the evidence presented - the photo I had carried in
my breastpocket for a whole year, the pressed honeysuckle, the wind so
rich on summer and so sweet - how are these things connected and why
are they relevant?
August 4th, 2011
Picking a fight with Europe
14 oct 2011 Nijmegen, NL - The Vereniging
For questions about tickets etc, please
contact the venues / ticket agent / shady guy on the street. I have no
more info than you do I'm afraid.
August 3rd, 2011
Picking a fight with Itunes.
I was in a video store in Melbourne last year,
looking for something to eat my popcorn to, when I stumbled across the
shelf called "Foreign". In this shelf were all kinds of genres -
comedy, drama, thriller, you name it. Mostly good stuff too. Only
common denominator was that the movies were from a non english speaking
country. I decided that since my music is all comedy, drama, thriller, you
name it, mostly good stuff too AND from a non english speaking country,
my music should be filed under "Foreign".
But Itunes have their preconceived conception of what music is and should be. I am only allowed to choose between a number of the most common genres. So please, do me a favour and manually re-label all my tracks "Foreign" when you get them, ok?
August 3rd, 2011
Alternative topic of the month: "Breaking up a fight"
Sitting on the stairs to the opera house (the
Gothenburg one, not the Sydney one), eating my lunch. This was three
years ago, I was going through the beginning of a break-up. My nerves were jingle jangled and I hadn't slept much
but my heart was full of compassion as it can be when you're down on
your luck. I spent my days walking around aimlessly.
In front of me there was a scene going on, a
man and a woman, they were arguing about a phone. I think
the phone was secondary to something bigger, earlier, but this was what
they were shouting about. - "Give me back my phone, it's my phone". -
"You're crazy, you know that?" - "Just give me back my phone".
Because of the way the operahouse is
constructed, we found ourselves in what resembled an amphitheatre. The
man and the woman were actors down there. The rest of the crowd were
businessmen, they had finished their sushi and now they seemed equally
bothered and amused with the play that took part in front of us.
Someone picked up a camera and filmed a bit while snickering to
The tension built up quickly when the man, who
was much larger than the woman, grabbed her arm and shook her. This wasn't funny
anymore, someone was going to hit someone. In my mind images flashed
by, stories about people being assaulted while no one intervened.
Stories like this.
I had promised myself to not be a bystander but breaking up this fight
would also mean I would have to walk onto stage and enter this play.
Why me? Why not the masculine guy in the shirt and tie to my left? He
looked like an authority figure. That's when the hand hit the face and
I ran up to them.
What came out of my mouth was the voice of a
twelve year old, desperately fighting back the tears - "Stop it you
guys, just please... stop it". It was the most pathetic sound ever
uttered. It was so pathetic that I could instantly hear people leave,
as if physically trying to escape the awkwardness of the situation.
Months later someone would show me the famous Leave Britney Alone clip when I told this story and I would think "that's the voice, oh my god, that's what I sounded like".
It was so pathetic that it worked. The fight stopped, the man and the woman just stared at me. For a few seconds we just stood there, then a swift move and the woman ran off with the phone. The man, making an angry face, walked off to the water. I walked off too, with my voice echoing behind me. That voice, it would take years to get it out of my head.
August 2nd, 2011
The topic for the month of August is "Picking a fight".
Walking through Vasaparken I was reminded of an
evening seven years ago, sitting under a tree with some friends and
discussing whatever was the talk of the town at that time. The usual
punks and drunks were forming little islands here and there, scattered
across the parks lush interior. I was reaching for my thermos when two
guys appeared in the distance, setting a wobbly course towards us.
Words came out of their mouths but they were slurred and
incomprehensible. They were giggling as they reached for sticks that
they started beating us with. Someone said - "Aw, c'mon, stop it".
Someone else said -"What!?". They stumbled off towards one of the punk
islands where they found some beer - to sit down and drink you
would think, but no. They wobbled back to us where they started pouring
it over us, all this time while giggling hysterically.
Deep down I could feel something I hadn't felt
in years, something stuffed down my throat like a rag stuffed in a petrol
filled bottle. I stood up and pushed one of them to the ground. The other guy started
walking off with my friends bike so I ran after him and pushed him too.
My friend noticed her CD player was missing from her bike basket so I
went after them, followed them back to the punk island where they had
seeked refuge. "Give her back her CD player" I shouted but they were
just giggling at me. I wanted to beat these guys up so bad. I wanted to
smack the drunkenness out of their heads so that I could sit down with them in a quiet room and
explain to them what assholes they were. I wanted to take them back to
school, my right fist being their new teacher.
Then one of the punks spoke up - "Hey, aren't you that guy? In that video?". Someone else filled in - "Yeah, you're that cheesy singer in the knights armour, aren't you?". I said - "Yes... yes I am". Someone picked up their phone and said - "Hey guess who's here, that Don Quixote guy from TV, and he's all mad and stuff". My mushy red face paled a bit and I turned and walked back. I said to my friend - "I don't think they had your CD player anyway".
July 23rd, 2011
July 21st, 2011
4:02 - From Siberia to the end of the world and back again
Thank you Evgeny Z
July 19th, 2011
An Argument With Myself EP
1. An Argument With Myself
While working on my upcoming album, I found
that a few songs were disrupting the order, fucking up the flow. They
were juvenile delinquents, they refused to fall in line with the
others. I had to isolate them on this EP as a little taste of what's
not to come.
To be released Sept 19th in the UK and Sept
20th in the rest of the world
July 19th, 2011
Performing with just a drummer for these shows.
July 16th, 2011
July 15th, 2011
July 5th, 2011
need a nice thought to focus on when I go to
sleep tonight, it will have to be The Self Transcendence 3100 Mile
Race. Every year in Queens, NY, a group of people set out on a race
that goes on for weeks. They run almost two and a half marathons per
to complete the 3100 miles that the race consists of. But they stay
within one city block in which they make 5649 laps.
I imagine what it would be like to run a
hundred miles, only to realise you have three thousand to go.
July 1st, 2011
June 19th, 2011
I'm in Colorado
This is todays venue
Thanks so much for the houseshow in Denver on
June 12th, 2011
friend Emma loves the smiley face plastic
bags you get in New York as much as I do. You know the one with the
smiley that looks only slightly happy, that says "thank you, have a
nice day" but should say "thank you i guess and have a somewhat nice
day". Problem is you bring one home
but it breaks. It might be recyclable, but it should be reusable. So
she made these totebags, perfect replicas. I love mine.
June 11th, 2011
June 6th, 2011
I am listening to the final mixes for a new
EP in the first rays of sunshine, a member of a marching band is
rushing by the window, on his way to celebrate the day of yellow and
blue. Happy birthday to you old elongated country from which soil I
Beside me on the table is "Enormous Changes At
The Last Minute" by Grace Paley. I discovered her
last year and it was a voice I'd been
looking for. Warm, funny, compassionate. Someone who sees the world
outside and her part in it.
Maybe you'd like her too. Hopefully. Cause I'm
making her the topic of this month, the month of June that is. And no,
reading her wikipedia isn't good enough. I want you to have read one of
her stories if you're gonna write to me. That's right, I want you to
put on your boots and march
down to the library and pick out one of her books and read. Yes, I'm
giving you homework. Stop whining.
June 5th, 2011
May 17th, 2011
Date: 17 maj 2011 20.04.47 CEST
May 16th, 2011
photo by Emma Harling
was your weekend? I had a good one, finished up my work for the week,
went to vote in the landstingsfullmäktigevalet and then got on the
train to Stockholm.
I'm finding my way around the capital city a
little better now than in the old days. I navigate by events in my
life, I know I'm crashing on a couch that is inbetween the bridge where
I learned to never tell a lie ever again and the piano bar where I
learned a little storytelling can get you far. Halfway between truth
and fiction, that's my home for the night.
I went to a danceparty allnighter which was
the best time ever. Danced until six in the morning with my old friend
Jens (a different Jens) who collects records for a living and would
shout at every other song "oh my god, this single only exists in five
copies". It was good to release some energy after sitting with my mixes
for several weeks, I feel focused now, monday morning and back to work.
A friend took this photo on Friday before I
left, when I got back the blossom had fallen, the tree was almost bare.
But the feeling was still there, waiting for me to come home to it.
May 11th, 2011
May 5th, 2011
May 4th, 2011
My landlord Elin is doing a festival in the
Gothenburg archipelago called Knarrholmen.
They've rented a whole island for a weekend of good music and fun. Me
and Henning Fürst will be DJ:ing. Last time I DJ:ed, on a boat -
Styrbord Babord, the boat almost sank when I started playing. Sad of
course since the boat is now out of
business, but it's definitely going in my curriculum vitae. And I'm
telling you this as a hint. There are more ships to sink, maybe even an
May 4th, 2011
May 1st, 2011
Topic for the month of May: Jealousy
April 30th, 2011
Just twelve more days now until Chris Lilley's
new show Angry Boys premieres. If you haven't seen his two
earlier shows, the touching and very very funny We
Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High,
there is now just about enough time to squeeze them in so you can be
updated and ready. I started watching Lilleys shows when I had just
moved to Melbourne, when people were retelling last nights episode over
an afternoon beer in the park. His characters (he plays all the main
characters himself) are often even more life-like than the people he's
portraying, and like in all great comedy he shows compassion for them.
The very last episode of Summer Heights High, when the troubled Tongan
teenager Jonah gets his revenge, had me fighting against the tears.
April 21st, 2011
Come down to Styrbord Babord tonight. It's
Maundy Thursday and I'm the DJ.
April 19th, 2011
April 9th, 2011
was over at my folks place digging through my old tapes and cd's and
found a bunch of recordings
I made in San Francisco christmas 2005.
It's just piano, completely instrumental. I have no idea where I was
going with it, I can't even play piano. I play piano like E.T - two
But it made me think back on that trip and
how weird everything in my life was around that time. And I thought
maybe someone else could relate to it somehow. Or maybe just enjoy the
"Du Gamla, Du Fria" is the swedish national
anthem. I have no idea why I recorded that. But I've always liked the
The tracks were recorded by Gary Olson, who was
sitting in the basement drinking whiskey and reading a book,
occasionally mumbling something encouraging through the floorboards. I
set up a mic by the piano upstairs and dropped the cable down to him
through the window.
April 1st, 2011
Topic for the month of April: Parsnip
You know how this works
March 24th, 2011
Stockholm today. Been rehearsing with a new drummer all afternoon, her
name is Cissi and she normally plays in Those Dancing Days. Question
all drummers should ask when applying for a position in my band : "Is
it ok if I dance while I'm playing?" (the answer to that would be yes).
March 22nd, 2011
delightful ! My dear friend Matt Wolf's new movie "Teenage" about the
history of the teenager, is now up for a little sneak peak. Matt's
previous movie was the Arthur Russell documentary "Wild Combination"
which is one of the greatest music documentaries I've ever seen. I'm
very excited about this one.
March 21st, 2011
Everyone around me is talking about night bus.
Night bus, night bus, night bus. I download the now somewhat famous mixtape
and listen and like it. Rainy and sad like a night that promised more
than it could hold. But the
one track on the mixtape that I LOVE is a different kind of
nightbus. My kind of nightbus.
March 20th, 2011
I'd barely touched ground in London friday night before someone had nicked my phone and wallet. Luckily I was hanging out with the lovely promoters of saturday nights show, a group of cheerful indiepop enthusiasts. I don't think the Westminster police station has ever been that cheerful - "So Jens, what's your favourite band ?.. and what Morrisey quote would you have as a tattoo?"
So I'm in London with almost no money and an old spare phone with a dead battery, but the sun is shining and I'm discovering London from a side I've never seen it from before - the daytime! I didn't know you guys had parks here. Why hasn't anyone told me?
The event last night was sold out and the room
was full of love. I know a lot of
people wanted to go and I'm sorry all the shows I'm doing right
now are so small and few, I don't mean to exclude anyone, but I don't
have time to go on tour at the moment and I don't have time to put
together big shows for big venues. I really don't want to do big shows
at all really, it makes me think of a chapter in Steve Martins "Born
Standing Up" where he mentions dealing with a heckler in front of a
baseball stadium (everyone can hear Steve, but no one can hear the
heckler). Friday night I did a show in a warehouse for maybe 40-50
people, that was fun. The people there had fun. I had fun. Even the
hecklers had fun.
yes, and then the purpose of saturday nights show: a library benefit.
Nearly a thousand libraries here in Britain
face closure in order to save money. I don't live here but there are
other worrying things happening in Sweden right
now, with talk about privatizing libraries
to make them more efficient, replacing quality with quantity. Libraries
are always worth fighting for, but right now a little bit extra. Keep
them open and free please.
March 16th, 2011
I think there's roughly 30 songs circulating in
my head at the moment, thirty songs to be juggled and constantly kept
in the air. When one doesn't work you move to the next, and so on. And
each one is a little diamond that I put under my pillow when I go to
sleep. But there's a problem when you put them together, it's the
dramaturgy isn't it ? I send them to a friend - yes, something's wrong
with the albums flow.
So what do you do? You open the window, that's
what you do. The friend offers to take a look at it, offer some new
perspectives. I trust and admire him enough to give him free hands -
"tear through it like a lion through a zebra" I tell him. "Send it
back in reversed stripes"
It's a good time to take a break and run
through some songs for the London show this weekend. Try to memorize my
own lyrics which I usually forget. Bad body memory, that's why I'll
never be a dancer. I remember a speech therapist telling me about the
right side of my brain and rappers who overcame stuttering. The singing
on some of the new songs is kind of rhythmical like rapping, and those
songs don't stumble or disappear when I sing them. They come from the
The window's open, and there's a sound -
a house sound - I've been trying to figure out what it is. It's always
at night, and it's too dark to really see what curtain is flapping or
what board is creaking, I basically live in the woods right now. So I
reach my head out as far as I can and it's not a house sound - it's a
deer trying to get into our compost. Flap flap, creak, flap.
March 11th, 2011
the recent light of the charges being dropped against Blackstaby
pigfarm here in Sweden, and instead turned against the people who
filmed the horrible abuse that went on in there, it feels like a good
time to do a benefit show for Djurrättsalliansen / the Animal Rights
Here's the info:
March 10th, 2011
From Mark Schweikle:
this scrawled in the muck on a Chicago bus stop and thought you might
want to see it"
March 10th, 2011
Today I smelled manure
in the air which is a good sign. The smell of shit always travels on
March 1st, 2011
I woke up today and thought of Shirley
story "The Lottery". I wondered if they perhaps had made a movie
adaptation of it. And they had.
And while we're at it, why don't we make that
the topic of the month. Sorry about the absence of topics, let's get
the smalltalk happening again.
February 18th, 2011
The tree where old formats go to die
February 10th, 2011
Support the libraries.
January 31st, 2011
The sweetest thing. Thank you Tove.
January 5th, 2011
I'm writing this on the train from Bergen, Norway. I had a lot of emailing to do and I thought I could just as well do it on the night train there and back. By the time I get it up on the website I'm guessing it's 2011. So happy new year to all of you.
I'm still working on my next record, I know it's been a while. It's taken a long time because it started to take shape only a few months ago. Up until then it was a cluster of everything. As if you would have dug your hand down your pocket and just thrown the contents on the table - sort of like my three last albums and there's nothing wrong with them but this one's an Album. It's been trying to tell me that the whole time.
It's been trying to tell me that I don't have much say in this, that the process is not like building from the ground up, but rather like unfolding from the top down. I set out to write about anything but myself and ended up writing only about myself and maybe 3-4 other people who really don't serve any other purpose than to reflect myself. It's been trying to tell me that a self portrait is not just a dialogue between you and yourself, but it's also a dialogue with a third person - the beholder. Or in a larger perspective - society. Yeah right album, whatever you say.
I set out to write about anything but heartbreak, and ended up writing almost entirely about it. I felt like a war correspondent, wishing for a small column about gardening. Putting on my helmet and my bulletproof vest one more day. It said: You're doing a good thing, remember all the people who write to you with their stories. All they want is someone to tell them theirs so they know they're not alone. I said : Yeah yeah yeah.
But we seem to agree on the sound. I said "aerodynamic". It said "cool".
I'm gonna keep my mouth shut now because we still have a long way to go and I have no idea where it will lead me eventually. But my plan is to get this and an EP out this year.
Over and out.
Old Talk 2010
Old Talk 2009
Old Talk 2008
Old Talk 2007
Old Talk 2006
Old Talk 2005
Old Talk 2004