Prove your humanity

Humid as hell, and on a week-long escapade in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an opportunity arose to chat with Danish electro-pop sensation Lydmor (AKA Jenny Rossander).

Taking place during soundcheck in the corner of a small beer garden at a venue called The Bee, part of a larger shopping precinct called ‘Publika’ it was no surprise to have the gig venue in a large, air-conditioned shopping mall – a staple of leisure for many across Asia.

‘I started playing out in the local scene, making electronic music when I was 18 with only a stationary computer,’ Rossander said.

‘Slowly over time, it got bigger and bigger and bigger. There really hasn’t been a point where I felt like I instantly made it, it was more gradual.’

At the time of interview Rossander was just about to start show five in Kuala Lumpur as part of a seven date Asia tour starting in Beijing, China and finishing up in Bangkok, Thailand, Rossander said the transition to international touring ‘was really organic’.

‘I got a little bit of a taste for it, I got more of an opportunity to learn as I went. It’s really nice because now I know what I am doing when I’m touring.’ 

However Rossander conceded that touring wasn’t always so easy as with many musicians when they tour internationally, they can be subject to great amounts of stress.

‘It also got too much for me. I needed to push away and I lived in Shanghai for half a year and wrote an album.’

‘Its super hard to balance because the thing is when you go on tour, it’s so good – the experiences you have, you play in a new city every night.

‘But you have to learn to do what I’ve done over the past few days, switch off, try and forget I’m in a cool city and just sleep.’

In the midst of what seemed to be a bit of a career crisis for Lydmor, with a weird relationship with her music and everything ‘muddling up’ back home in Denmark, Rossander opted to relocate to Shanghai, China for six months.

‘I needed to do something, I could feel the need to make a change.’

‘All the big cities in the world, all the stories were already written. Musician goes to LA, Berlin or London, we’ve heard it so many times. I didn’t want to go and be someone else’s story, I wanted my own.

‘Because I had been to Shanghai once, the city was so weird and big and I had no idea with what was going to happen if I moved there.

‘Overtime it just became a better idea, the city was exotic and international and I could lose myself there where people didn’t know me.’ 

Rossanders’ time in Shanghai allowed her to figure out what and who she was an artist by disconnecting from Danish scene and exploring who she was as a creative.

‘It was nice to completely get away from that and allow me the opportunity to explore what kind of artist I wanted to be.’

‘I felt like I was a different artist after I came back. Now I know my visual concept, what kind of stories I want to tell and what my sound.

‘Disconnecting from home gave me the opportunity to see who I was, which is the classic story of someone.’

With latest single Money Towers, a track inspired from Rossander’s time in Shanghai, feeling like the first ‘confident’ move by Lydmor, its no doubt the overseas experience had an effect.

‘In Shanghai, I knew what I was doing, I spent so much time making music and I collaborated with so many different people.

‘I now know the craft, and that gave me the opportunity of what do I want to make. I came up with the concept and I listened to a lot of different music and thought ‘this was it’.

Rossander has also found fans to be much less shy when touring in Asia when in comparison to Europe with Asian fans never reluctant to approach a performing musician.

‘I’m a party person, I’ll go out in the venue in Scandinavia, having a glass of wine with my light tech and no body comes up to me. They are so scared of me.’

‘[In Asia] it’s the opposite, I have girls run over to me, throw themselves in my arms and tell me how they love me so much – it’s insane and I get really moved.’

When trying to maintain social relationships when on the road, Rossander says whilst difficult she has a tight group of friends back home in Copenhagen.

‘I’ve learned over the years to have a small group of very trusted friends in Copenhagen. I also have friends all over the world that I test with sometimes – who are really close when I don’t see them.’

Also in a relationship with another musician, Rossander says her boyfriend understands the situation.

‘Luckily he’s a musician as well and tours as well so he knows and understands. It would be super hard to be with someone who didn’t understand because he knows I can’t text him when doing soundcheck.’

‘I tell him I’ll call him when I’m in Kuala Lumpur and he understands, its all a part of it.’

Rossander says when touring a need to be open and be able to ‘expect anything’ is required.

‘I had a month where I wasn’t playing any shows, it annoyed the shit out of me so I put a video on my Facebook page that I wasn’t doing any shows but my set-up could allow me to plug into any speakers anywhere.’

‘I did a tour of 26 shows mostly in people’s homes over the course of a month.

‘I tried everything from a single dad who’s two kids were fans and his entire family, and these really old conservative people, I was playing electro-pop in their living room to a teenage girl who had only invited her two best friends, so I sat on one side of her bed and her on the other.

‘I’ve tried so many different things that now I can easily shift into any situation.’

Going abroad has ultimately changed how Rossander creates music, saying the heightened competition means finding something you’re really good at.

‘You’re competing with Grimes and Coldplay, you have to find that thing you’re really, really, good at.’

‘For me, that was finding about storytelling, that’s something I love, making people feel something.

‘It wasn’t the international touring that made me do story telling, but it was what made me realise that I was good at it.’

Lydmors latest single ‘Money Towers’ is out now – here’s hoping she performs in Australia someday.