An interview with Sophie from spring 2003. It has been tranlated from French.
Instead of stunning your listeners with so called trifling eternal truths, your way of communicating seems to ask questions. Let's reverse the role: how's your heart doing?
I mean: in your songs, you ask, you don't answer. Why?
Yes I ask, I don't answer.
I write songs when I want to ask, and I get no answer. Because... [laughs]
Your biography says that Lars and you rearranged your music into " stunning musical results and, unfortunately, less fortunate personal consequences ". What happened? Have you been that sad? Is it since that very first experience that your songs have become so melancholic?
What do you mean?
I just wondered what happened. What were these less fortunate personal consequences?
"Less fortunate personal consequences "? What was that? Where are you reading from?
From your official biography!
I don't know about that... what do you mean with less fortunate personal consequences?
I just try to understand! have you been that sad?
Hum... maybe it just means that I write when I'm feeling down. But now I'm really happy. It's not like I feel sad all the time. When I am, it's good to write. And I feel very much better after that.
It's the same for us. We feel much better when we listen to your music.
[Laughs] Thank you.
Quite all your songs are intended to a mysterious "you". Is that "you" somebody of your (family) circle, or didn't you mean to talk to anybody in particular?
Sometimes it could be you, sometimes I'm only talking to myself.
You mean that you say "you" when talking to yourself?
Yes, because "How do I feel" doesn't sound good... I prefer "how do you feel", that sounds great. [Laughs]. It's easier to think to a "you". It's almost always a person you are thinking about when you write. But sometimes it means about he or she. Sometimes...
When you start writing your first record which was published in 1995, you didn't even have a record collection. Having almost no musical influences, I guess that the physical environment in which you have grown in Sweden had a lot to deal with your music. As a matter of fact, is it the peaceful and calm sides of Sweden that one may find by listening to your music?
No, I don't think. It does not matter, where you are or how it looks around you. It just comes from inside. It's from inside that people makes you feel, ant that's the same all over. Once, I thought it would be the atmosphere that had to deal with your mind. But it doesn't matter whether you are outside of the state or here. The atmosphere has nothing to see with it. It's just the mood inside.
Have you bought records since 1995?
Yes. Before I was to record my first album, I was only listening to the radio. But once, Lars, my guitarist and producer, brought me some CDs. The first one I got was one of Neil Young , and I just discovered... Now I do have some CDs.
So you get your music thanks to your musicians...
Yes. And now, I've got the basis!
Have you been influenced by these records?
No. I felt that that was the kind of music I would have missed, I didn't know that it existed. So I was happy to discover that. Because all I knew is that I wanted my music to be acoustic. I wanted to have real musicians.
You have great music in Sweden...
Yes. In all the Scandinavia.
Regarding the intimate side of your songs, could you imagine singing these songs in giant stadiums. Don't you think that your songs will lose their sense and their intimacy if they were to be sung if front of a very big audience.
Yes, it feels quite frightening. I prefer to be closer of the audience. But sometimes, it works anyway. I did it once, it was in a festival outside, and it worked, in a different lane... I got a good feeling, but I didn't choose to do it! I'd rather be in small places.
You played yesterday night in Zurich, in a club where the atmosphere is usually quite noisy. And when you began to sing, everybody suddenly became very calm and silent. Is it a part of your music?
It is not always like that, sometimes it's really noisy, and then it's hard, because I can't hear myself. It's really nice when the audience listens to the music, but you never knows what to expect. I've always preferred to have calm instead of noise... [Laughs]. We enjoy the most when it's quiet, but we really don't know what the people gets.
Are you shy?
I used to be. And I'm still shy in certain situations. But I'm working against my shyness.
I read that you used to say no to interviews. What are you doing now and there?
I didn't say no from the beginning. But after a little while, I had so much interviews, I got all year talking about myself, that I was to become crazy quickly. Then I said to myself that I couldn't do it. But now it's on a good level, I can choose whether or not I want to have interviews... And I know it's necessary.
What was that pretty special recipe, which helped you to gain such a prominence in Switzerland?
It's strange how it was coming here. I was really surprised, it wasn't supposed to! It's a good surprise.
Is it the first time that you come in Switzerland?
Yes, it is. I should have been here before, I like it very much
What's your goal by doing music?
It makes me feel good. But I don't have any ambition, any dreams to do this or that. At some point to start you long for a recording, to write songs is something I need, so I just do it. But to record is what I'm longing for, because it's so fun! My goal is to continue, to be allowed to do it. Music for me is a kind of therapy; in a certain way, it's like my best friend. That's what I recognize the best. It's when I write songs, and moreover when I introduce the songs to Lars, when we start to arrange the music, that I stepped more and more music. The first is just to express things, and then I just have the guitar and the melody, it gets bigger, more intimate. And only then I begin to enjoy the music.
Do you feel like a rock star?
No, I'm not a rock star. [Laughs]
Do you feel like a sex symbol?
Sure. [She roars with laughter]. No, I feel more like and old man.
How old are you?
What is your greatest dream?
What is my greatest dream? Hmmm. For the moment, everything is quite fun, so my only dream is that I hope to survive, not to die, to live long. To see the kids go up and just enjoying a glass of wine or something like that.
Is it because that fear to die, that you and your songs are so melancholic?
No, because I don't feel that every day, it depends on what day it is. It's quite depressing, just wanting to live. But I'm not always like that. I can wake up and feel, that's strange, and the songs comes out, and then I feel good. When I feel good for six months, then there's no songs: writing is for me a bad thing tool!
So we have to wish you not to write at all...
Or you may try to make me unhappy... [laughs]
Are you a romantic person?
Yes, I am. But not this kind of roses, etc. Maybe I'm not. I'm not that sure. [Laughter]. Well, I'm more realistic.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll, do you agree?
Well. I haven't accepted, and I won't ever accept drugs. And I can't feel respect for drugs, I don't know why. That's the way it is. What was the sentence? Sex, drugs and... rock'n'roll. Hmm, sex? What do you think?
We are asking the questions, you try to answer those... What is the last record you bought?
I think it was Solomon Burke . It's so blues, so black...
If you were to go all alone on an island and could take with you one book, one album, one movie and one of your personal objects, which would you choose?
The guitar, if I can bring a person, my daughter, if I can bring to... The CD will be... it's really hard to choose. At the moment it would be David Gray 's White Ladder , otherwise it would be some Bob Dylan . And for the book it would probably be a simple romantic book.
Do you like romantic books?
Well, you are really realistic, that's why you like romantic books. You are a romantic reader...
Yes! [Laughs.] I like most simple books, fast relationships books that ends happy.
And for the movie?
The same there, some American love story, a romantic one that makes you crying. I haven't read those heavy books, so why not in a movie?
Will you try later to convince your daughter to play music?
No, she must do what she wants. Is she wants to be a songwriter, thats okay, but I'd rather her to become an architect.
Which question wouldn't you like to be asked?
Tell me a little bit about yourself, that's the worst question.