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15 Questions to Jens Gad

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi there, well, a bit stressed today, sitting in the studio like always. 

What’s on your schedule right now?
I'm in the middle of the new - quite experimental - sandra album production, trying to find my way through this trilingual, mainly spoken but pop - record..., but as every production: another challenge!

What does music mean to you?
Music - creating it is the most natural and intuitive thing in my life, it even comes out easier than speaking to people, my way of communication - my passion - the gate to my dreams.

Your album "The nine worlds of Viking Myth" has just been released and it combines many different styles, among them Classical and Pop Music. What were the difficulties in reconsiling these two very different genres (if any)? Are you an enemy of musical categories in general?
These categories are just a fact in peoples minds BUT are there to break them like every "rule" in life. Actually, in my head and in view on music there's no such thing as genres. I listen with great joy to van halen, ac/dc - keith jarret or louis armstrong and consider it all "music" - so achillea was created very intuitively. I felt this beauty in helene's voice, just let her sing for hours to all the music she wanted, even without, just straight from the heart, and then picked the parts i liked and composed the music around it. I definitely wasn't thinking "is this going to be pop or ambient?" - all i hope is that it's an emotional piece that touches somebody out there.

Helene Horlyck is a wonderful singer, but there’s not much to be found on the internet about her. How did you get in touch with her and what made her ideal for the position as the singer of ACHILLEA?
She was sent to me by producer manager steve budd from london. Nobody seemed to be able to put her talent into an appropriate musical frame, so he thought that i might be the right producer for her after years and years of experimenting with all the musical elements we put together during the enigma productions.Wwe immediately had a connection and created pieces from the first day on.

In another interview, you mentioned that the current situation of the music business is in some ways better than it was ten years ago. Could you elaborate on this interesting and unexpected remark?
Yes - i get that many times because everybody is so frustrated in the moment and i also must admit that i earn less money that some years ago - but i feel very entusiastic about all the new possibilities of the global networking and the breaking up of limits in styles and formats. Through the net or maybe the future form of it, it someday should be unnecessary to physically drive/ship/fly records around the globe, but just transmit all the files requested. The part i like about it is that a big part of the music business structure could be eliminated one day, all the physical distribution organization could be done electronically with no costs, which means then that the final product will be much cheaper, but authors would earn the same. If we think about a mere "streaming" solution, the "product" would be eliminated entirely... all quite exciting i think. We all know that there's loads of platforms out there and payment of rights is a huge problem, but for example the itunes shop or musicload are phantastic developments!
Regarding limits in formats i feel much freer in my productions compared to 10 years ago. After tracks like Madonna's "frozen", Apollo 440, The Prodigy or Massive Attack everything is allowed as long as it's good or cool, no matter if it's wild guitar, distorted drums or voice, or just a weird song structure with completey different parts in it. 10 years ago a guitar solo was a problem already in the radio, now nobody cares, really..

Your music (and that of the other project you’re involved in, Enigma) always has a distinctly positive and optimistic vibe to it, apart from being mystical and relaxing. Is that something you want to bring across as an artist?
Yes - of course - my mission is to bring out emotions in people, make them feel a vibe, get a special feeling when they hear a certain song, switch off from reality for a while. If i manage to do that - even just for a minute - i already succeded.

We haven’t as yet heard of any live dates from any of your projects. Do you see the live-experience as something that’s not that inspiring to you personally or do you think that your music is not suited conceptionally to performing live?
I really push the live topic, it's such a real aspect of this business. Helene should be perfoming in some time, also my other projects should be on stage whenever they can. The Spanish project with Luisa Fernandez - out very soon - will definitely go on stage. Also sandra for sure.

As you’re a producer we just had to ask you this: How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
Well - i'm a sound freak, can spend days and weeks to give a track the impact i see in it. Nowadays the sound makes the compostition i think. If you read trevor horn interviews, he tells that masterpieces like "owner of a lonely heart" or "crazy" are put together of 100s of puzzlepieces to create this final sound and song vision. Of course there are melody masterpieces like all the keane tracks for example, but the main part of great tracks on the music market consist of special sound or production stamps. And here, of course, i still see endless possibilities.

Imagine a situation in which there’d be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions – would that be an improvement to the current situation?
Well - the right situation would be a nightmare of course, authors would go bankrupt and disappear, and of course also all the new inspiration they give everybody. But the musical quality would not improve at all i think, you can now already sample whatever, reverse it or perform a resythesis - BUT - with all the possibilities we have now, you finally realize that you're completely lost without a good and simple initial idea for a piece of music.

Some feel that there’s no such thing as any genuinely “new” music any more. What do you tell them? Is “new” an important aspect of what you want your pieces to be?
I feel the complete opposite: with a permanently pushed computer revolution and an explosion of possibilities, there's an ongoing challenge to invent new things. Believe me - there's so much still undone, you'll realize always after the things are there, but i always tell myself that it could have been me inventing them. look at Madonna's cut country guitar, will smith's 'switch' groove or back in time 'we will rock you'...  there's no reason to give up!!!

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a poltical/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
I never looked at it that dogmatic, i think it's the simple small things that touch people. In fact everything can be the topic of a great song lyric. Of course you can go pathetic and big, but it's mainly the 'between the lines thing' in my view, well - honestly mainly about love and it's 100 problems. I don't like it too moral in the lyrics, i'd prefer to leave everyone with his opinion.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Wow - with no budget limits - we'd go on a rock journey through musical history, beginning with Deep Purple, The Who and The Stones. Then there would be a session between them, especially the guitarists. then Eddie van Halen and Lenny Kravitz join in, followed by a set each.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?

It sounds arrogant, but i try to make that big thing everytime I finish a production, giving everything and making it perfect.

When was the last time you listened to a CD with Gregorian Chants?

On traditional cd's i listen to them regularly, love that sacred vibe. i've just put Spanish gregorian chants on some tracks on my new Luisa Fernandez production. It's a pity that Michael doesn't want to use them anymore, i think they have a timeless warm and strong atmosphere and i will always stick them in when they fit to the production.

As a Producer, Solo- and Project Artist:
Andru Donalds - "Snowin´under my skin", "Let´s talk about it"
Double -  "Captain of her heart"
Enigma - "Voyageur", "LSD", "Remix Collection", "Screen behind the Mirror"
Trance Atlantic Air Waves - "The Energy of Sound"
Angel - "Welcome to the Soul Asylum"
Q - "NRG"
Achillea - feat. Helene Horlyck: "The nine worlds of Viking Myth"
The Secrets of Obsession: "music for seduction moments"

Jens Gad
Jens Gad at Enigmamusic

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