Friday, June 26, 2009

Tak for Det

Well, I've slept off the jet lag, and it's time to update you good people on the state of VK things. This trip was harder on a few levels, easier on others. But overall- the results can't be disputed.


I arrived in Copenhagen with all my goods about me since I checked NO baggage this time- I packed light, and was able to carry on everything I needed. J & A bustled in just as I was wondering where they were. J said "You were starting to get worried, weren't you?" as if no time had passed, and, remarkably, it seemed like it hadn't. We dropped A at work in Copenhagen, then headed for Vordingborg.

I told J how I've been learning Danish- I found a podcast on iTunes that gives weekly lessons in conversational Danish, so I've got a few phrases under my tongue by this point. (Such as "Tak" (Thanks), "Tak for det" (Thanks for that) and "Selv tak" (You're welcome)

J said that he needed to stop at the baker's to get a loaf of bread, and I realized it was Wednesday.

"Onsdagssnegl!", I shrieked.

J looked at me like I just threw up and asked how I knew about onsdagssnegl? As luck would have it, one of the podcasts is about Danish pastry, and one of the pastries described is the onsdaggsnegl, which is round and only made on Wednesday, or "Onsdag". (Coincidentally, they are also the size of my ass, but I am unmoved by this fact. I'm starving, and inside the bakery looking at a chocolate-iced onsdagssnegl.)
It was the best 11 kroner I've ever spent.

By the time we got to the house, I'd eaten half of it, and then I inhaled the rest of it while J made his lunch in the kitchen. I was going on hour 23 with no sleep, but I'd gotten my third wind, so we went into the studio to hear what J had been up to while I was gone. He played the tracks I hadn't heard yet, and I was...surprised? Carnal Crucifixion, which had been something akin to a dirge when I first played it for him, had become a sassy New Orleans blues number. And Find Me...let's just say, it was not what I'd anticipated.

However, as the week wore on, and I stopped talking and started listening, I realized what J was doing. The last time I'd been there I'd talked- a lot ( I know, can you imagine?), but I'd wanted to make sure he got a sense of who I was, so he'd have some frame of reference for where my songs were coming from. I needn't have worried- J was listening, even when I thought he wasn't. But he was hearing not what I said, but what the things that I said, said about ME. He listened to my lyrics and listened to my voice, and created a sound based on them, rather than the narrow,obvious sonic ideas I lobbed at him. A sound that I hadn't heard before.
The sound of VK Lynne.


I saw more of the countryside this time, maybe because it was a bit warmer, maybe because there was sunlight so much longer. I went outside and shot some video with my little Flip recorder for Sean at 11:00 pm. It looked like 8:00 LA time.

There was maybe 2 hours of relative darkness, then the sunrise, which was so beautiful, it seemed a shame to sleep through it. So I didn't.

I walked into town- ( lured mostly by more pastries) - and as I did, I was amazed at the fields of poppies. On my last trip, there had been daffodils growing wild and rampant, which were gorgeous, but as a girl who loves her red, nothing could compare to the glorious scarlet flowers waving in the breeze along every street and pathway.

A explained that when public grounds are TOO maintained, the wildflowers have no ability to re-seed. So in DK, the common lands are trimmed to a point, but then let to grow as they will and so there are fields everywhere of brilliant wildflowers.

This emphasis on the aesthetic quotient I found to be in keeping with the things I'd learned about Denmark on my last trip. Quality of life here is based on different values and principles than are often touted in the States.

However, A also told me that churches in DK will not draw more than 10-20 people on any given Sunday, even though they are officially a Protestant nation. I found this puzzling- but perhaps the church that I attend, that draws some 200 per week, does so in part BECAUSE our beliefs aren't mandated. Conscientious or contrary? I didn't know, all I knew was that the ideas in my head that had begun to develop 2 months ago, were taking a new turn. A also talked about Europe's optimism that President Obama would turn things around.

It's easy to see the US's shortcomings. Especially in a country where many of our issues seem to be irrelevant. However, I began to see our good qualities as well, and the responsibility we have to other nations to use our power and wealth wisely and thoughtfully.

As beautiful and peaceful as Scandinavia was- be it ever so humble, there's no place....


One piece of home I did manage to take with me was Joni. My dear friend Joni Nichols is the perpetrator of one of my favorite CD's of all time, and I knew it would be right up A's alley. So I burned it for her, and took it along. After dinner Thursday night, we put it on while I washed dishes and A finished some work from the day. Everyone enjoyed her, and for me, having Joni's sweet voice there, was a reminder of why I'd come in the first place.


I missed Sean more this time- maybe because this time I was familiar with the people and the place. Sean and I experience things together- that's how we've done things for 12 years now, and without him, I could only really see part of the picture, taste some of the sweets, smell a bit of the flowers, because I was missing half of me.

Particularly with A & J planning their upcoming wedding, I was aware of my uncoupled-ness all week. When I walked on the beach, or browsed the shops, or rode A's bike to the castle, I caught myself turning to the left to comment.
This trip it was clear to me- he must come along next time.


But regardless of my revelations about home & Sean, we had a record to finish, and only 5 days to do it in. One of the musical discoveries we'd made last time was that I have a much warmer lower register, so why am I shrieking everything like a harpy? This time J told me to just "sing less". Don't push so hard, just "tell the story". This led to some of the best vocals I have ever sang.

A track that we are particularly excited about is a duet with Scandinavian artist, Høgni: He recorded his 3rd record with J last summer, and since then, the first 2 singles from it have gone to #1. He was one of the first people I contacted when I was deciding to start this adventure, and he was incredibly gracious and helpful.

As we were working on a song called He Rolls, we started throwing around the idea of Høgni sharing the vocals, and I contacted him about it. Not only did he do so, but he played harmonica on the song as well. The song is like nothing I've heard; Høgni sounds like a cross between G.Love and an Indian shaman, in the best possible sense, and we trade lines in this slow burn blues jam. It's wild.

One of the things he told me was that his record with J came out nothing like he planned...and that it was a good thing. So keep an open mind.

Forget everything you know about VK Lynne

We finished just in time for me to catch the interminable plane ride back home, and now it is in J's hands to finish the mixing, supervise the mastering, and call it done.

And so we should have the CD ready to go by summer's end.

This record doesn't sound like I planned...and it's a good thing.

For everyone who has asked me what the genre is: Forget everything you know.
For everyone who thinks they've got what I'm about and where I fit: Forget everything you know.
And for everyone who thinks a sound is based on a look: Forget everything you know.

I did.:)

No comments: