Interview with Dylan Mondegreen :
S: How and when did all begin
I got my first guitar when I was eight or nine. It was a present from
my parents, as I finally managed to say the letter
“s”. I didn’t really start to play before
I was fourteen-fifteen and we started a band, called "Tears For You". I
started writing songs almost immediately. Since then I’ve
been in a couple of bands, always as a guitarist and songwriter. I
decided to try singing my own songs five years ago, and it
didn’t take long before the first Dylan Mondegreen record was
S: Where is your stage name
Mondegreen means misheard lyrics, and well, a Dylan mondegreen refers
to misheard Bob Dylan lyrics. It wasn’t my intention that
people should believe it’s a person’s name, but it
seems like most do. I think the name says something about the beauty of
pop music; that it doesn’t need to be understood or analyzed.
S: What are the positive and
negative sides of being a musician in Norway?
We have some really nice grant funds, which make its easier having
enough money to tour and to record albums. Still, Norway is a small
country, so the number of potential fans isn’t that big,
which makes it even more important to reach a foreign audience.
S: Do you feel anxious before a
No, not really.
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
The Smiths were my first big discovery, and what made me start writing
songs. There are bits and pieces and small details in many songs by
many artists that have inspired me. One big influence, though, has been
the films of Hal Hartley, I always want to write songs after seeing one
of his movies.
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
Yes, the first CD I bought was some sort of 60’s collection
that they sold where I bought my first CD player. I remember it had "Summer in the City"
The Kinks on it.
S: Do you think the emotion is
different between a song in English and in another language?
No, not really.
S: How could you define the
music of Dylan Mondegreen?
It’s pop music. It has chords and chord changes that few can
really figure out, still it can present itself as intuitive.
It’s honest. And I strive to make it sound interesting even
after many listens.
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
Perhaps. Melancholy is a bit scary, though, as it can keep you from
getting what you really want.
S: When you write a song do you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand ?
One doesn’t work without the other, I guess.
S: What is your favourite song
of Dylan Mondegreen and why?
That’s a difficult question. I think I’ll say "Wishing Well"
‘cause that’s the song that
the whole Dylan Mondegreen project. It was the first song I demoed for
my debut album, and it was also the first single. It was sort of a
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
I think it kills music, and I think it creates music interest.
It’s a paradox that I think it’s hard to find a
solution to. I think it makes us less patient as listeners. I
feel that having endless choices make it hard to choose.
S: You know a very nice success
in Japan, how can you explain it?
Well, that’s hard to explain, but I sell more albums there
than at home. I think my music somehow suits the Japanese way of being.
They are patient listeners, and there are many music fans that
don’t seem to care so much about trends and hypes, but are
willing to spend time on finding the music they like.
S: You worked with The
Margarets, Madrugada and Ephemera, how were this collaborations?
Well, I’ve only worked with some musicians who are in or have
played with these bands. I don’t feel their connection with
these particular bands had such a great impact on my music.
S: What are your hobbies aside
None in particular, music tends to be quite time-consuming. I like to
cook, watch dvds, travel, read etc. Nothing out of the ordinary, I
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
are so many places I would like to play. Actually I’d say
France is on my top list. My album was just released in Korea, it would
be exciting to play there as well. And I would love to go to New
Zealand and Australia. And to play in New York again. There are so many
places, the list is endless, but money and time is limited.
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music?
That’s not really up to me to tell, but I think
it’s best to listen to while you’re alone, perhaps
on your iPod while you’re on the train or out walking.
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
: I think
I’d prefer to keep none. If I’d pick just one album
I love, I’d probably end up hating it pretty soon, and I
wouldn’t want to do that. But one album I don’t
seem to get tired of hearing is Dusty Springfield’s "Dusty in
– the deluxe version with lots of
great bonus tracks.
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
: The last
song I listened to before this interview. I think it was "Heaven’s on Fire"
The Radio Dept. And I wrote to my friend
Naoki, who runs my Japanese label, saying it reminded me of Japan. We
listened to the previous Radio Dept album as we were driving his little
yellow Toyota heading for the spectacular samurai castle in Himeji.
The next song I’ll listen to, I think will be a b-side by
Tracey Thorn, "Taxi Cab"
I’ve just ordered her new album.
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
are so many French artists I like, I wouldn’t know where to
start: Francoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Air, Phoenix, Claudine
Longet, Tahiti 80 and more obscure ones like Taxi Girl.
I played a concert with French band Syd Matters in Brighton two years
ago. They did a really great performance.
S: And say something in French
or in "Broken French"?
I never had French in high school, so I only know phrases like
“sil vous plait” and “j t
aime”. I learned some more when I was in Provence, but I have
forgotten, I’m afraid. Time to go back …
S: What are your plans for the
Right now, I’ve just started writing songs again. It will
probably take some time before there will a new Dylan Mondegreen album,
if there will be one at all. I don’t know yet, all I know is
that I’m enjoying the writing process and time will show what
that leads to.
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
: My wife.
She’s a ray of light.
MANY thanks to Børge for the interview!
More informations about Dylan Mondegreen:
- on his site:
- on his Myspace:
- on Facebook