Promise and the monster – Swim (video)
I have been waiting for this record for so long that, when the time is come to review it, I do not know how to start. Promise and the Monster is actually a young girl name Billie Lindahl. I mentionned her in this blog when she had just put a couple of her songs on her MySpace (you remember MySpace, right?). It is kind of weird, but on this very first post I found the need to send her some questions and she answered. Well, four years later, despite her answers, questions remain: Promise and the monster is definitely a mystery. You can write words such as “darkness”, “sweetness”, “shyness” or even “beauty”, you will not manage to define it.
Let’s try though. “Red tide” is the name of Promise and the monster new album that is released tomorrow (Monday the 26th). It could be “Blue velvet” since there is definitely something DavidLynchy in those sounds. Compare to her debut Transparent Knives which was my favourite record in 2007, not much has actually changed: same voice, same dark atmosphere. Just like in her debut, Billie’s music is more cinematic than anything you had listened recently. It is also organic. I mean, call me crazy, but I pretend this is some music to obviously listen to, but also to picture and nearly, with a bit of imagination, to touch. Each song is untitled with one single word, often a first name. Those ghosts are gonna deal with all of your senses. But make no mistake: listening to this album in the subway is pointless, you’d better sit at home and focus on the music. The albums deserves it. It is one of the best of this current year.
AbsNoise : It’s been a while since the release of your debut album in 2007. Why did it take for you so long to come back?
Promise and the monster : I didn’t feel like making music for quite a long time. So I didn’t. Then two years after the release I did feel like it, and starting writing songs pretty quickly.
You told me something about a record you made in between that has been crashed in a “computer accident”. What happened exactely? Is this material you recorded lost forever?
There were a lot of song ideas and sketches that got lost in the computer crash, you are right about that. That material is lost forever, but it was not an entire album. That would have delayed this release for ten years or more probably.
How would you compare this second album to your first one?
The coldness of some of the earlier material still remains, but I think a lot has changed. I wanted the music to be warmer and more intense, and on some of the songs I think I succeded.
First time I listened to you back in 2007 I thought about Stina Nordenstam. When I listened to your new album I thought about your label buddy José Gonzales. To which Swedish artists do you feel close to?
I’m not very interested in those kind of comparisons, I like a lot of Swedish music, but we all do our own things.
Your music is definitely very cinematographic. Would you like being involved in a movie soundtrack? With which directors, if you could chose?
Oh! That is lovely to hear. I would love to be in a film soundtrack. To make music for films have been a dream of mine for a long time. If I could chose director I would probably go for David Lynch, Sofia Coppola, Sally Potter or Jane Campion. The first one unecessary to comment, the second also. The third and fourth because of their visual awareness and great work with films like Orlando and An angel at my table. I would love to work with horror movies as well. But in that area, I mostly like old ones. New horror flicks are way to disgusting and frightening for me. I try to watch them but I always feel like throwing up after a while.
Back in 2007, I asked you what you were doing before to answer my questions and you answered you just had a lecture on philosophical esthetics, about Martin Heidegger. And today, what were you doing just before to answer my questions?
This was a funny one! Well, I went for a walk to listen to some songs I’m going to sing on at my friend Lisa’s gig this wednesday. She is in a band called Lisa o Piu, and she also plays with me a lot. I listened and strolled around town to look for a dress to wear for my shows, but nothing seemed right. There were a lot of people in the streets and a lot of loud music in the stores. Young people in Sweden seem to be very fond of suede jackets at the moment. I talked to my mum on the phone and she told me she was at an auction and that she had hurt her foot. When I walked home Lisa called me to tell me what harmonies to sing on the show. Back home again I had a sandwich and now I am answering your questions.