Written by: Jen Dan
What is it about Gothenburg, Sweden that makes it such a fertile ground for melancholic avant pop? Little Dragon, Jose Gonzalez, The Knife – they all honed their own sound there before venturing out in the world.
It could be the weather, or the long nights in the winter or, perhaps, the proximity to nature which contrasts with the city’s industrial-inflected design. Whatever it is, it definitely works wonders on the music.
And judging from the latest release by Swiss outfit Bleu Roi, a concept record tilted Dark / Light, the city can also rub its magic off on others. The quartet, consisting of singer Jennifer Jans, guitarist Axel Rüst, keyboard player Imogen Jans, and drummer Stefan Rüst, decided to record their material specifically at the legendary Gramoffon Studio in Gothenburg.
The result is a collection of seven epic songs with elaborate, sweeping arrangements and hypnotic, ornate vocals. It’s what you could call music for introspectives, but it will touch just about anyone who needs a minute off to ponder the intricate patchwork of life.
Band leader and vocalist Jennifer Jans offer details about Bleu Roi’s music and outlook:
Hello Jennifer! Dark / Light was recorded in Sweden. Why did you decide to work on the production there?
We were lucky enough to have been able to record our first album, Of Inner Cities, at the same studio, together with our producer György Barocsai. It was a friend of ours who suggested that we should go there. We instantly fell in love with the atmosphere there, and felt very much at home. I think this is very important for the artistic process, and I also think that you can really hear it in our music. Generally, we love Gothenburg, and Scandinavia, [and] not only for the music that comes from there…
Why did you decide to split the record into Dark and Light sides?
It was during the process of writing the songs that we decided to make the subject of contrasts and nuances the main focus of the album. So “Dark / Light” is basically the concept. To have an attribution of each song to “Dark” or “Light” was a really wonderful process, and kept it very fascinating along the way.
What I find really interesting is that the “light” songs are also quite dark, mainly lyrically, where as the “dark” ones have the opposite effect. Would you agree?
I think the fascinating thing about attributing something like “Dark” or “Light” to music is that it is something very personal. A lot of people have given us this feedback that they would have decided differently. But for us the attributions are very much connected to the feeling we had while writing the songs. Although some of the “Light” songs are dark lyrically, they have a very hopeful connotation for us.
There is a strong presence of the natural world on this record, in terms of sounds being evoked and imagery used. Is nature a big influence on you?
Nature definitely has an influence on our music, and our creative process. It’s very important to us to have this combination of the electronic world together with something more natural; these earthy sounds. This clash is what makes music interesting for us.
What can we do to save Mother Nature, since she is in such peril these days?
That’s a very good question. I think it mainly starts with awareness. So, if we as artists have a platform to make this happen, then I think it’s really important for us to use it.
In closing, will we be able to catch you on tour anytime soon?
We are playing several shows in Switzerland over the next month, and will hopefully be coming to other European countries very soon.
Keep up with Bleu Roi HERE