Sound & Vision: Noah Gundersen on His New Album Lover

Sound and Vision
09/04/2019
Emily Fox

KEXP's Sound & Vision airs every Saturday morning from 7-9 AM PT, featuring interviews, artistry, commentary, insight, and conversation to that tell broader stories through music, and illustrate why music and art matter. You can also hear more stories in the new Sound & Vision Podcast. New episodes are out every Tuesday. Subscribe now.

 

Noah Gundersen’s music is often personal – even confessional. In Gundersen’s latest album, Lover (Cooking Vinyl), he again turns his focus inward, but with more self-awareness. Sound & Vision host Emily Fox spoke with Gundersen about his new album and how aging has affected his music. 

On the themes of his latest record:

This whole record is, I think, the most personal thing that I've ever done, trying to not have any filter on what I was feeling about – my place in my career, place in my life, expectations and then also just like the uncertainty of the music business and how much everything has changed. How much has changed so fast and acknowledging my own insecurity in that and not knowing what's going to happen.

On how he views Lover compared to his previous work:

My music has always been really personal and kind of confessional. But I think some previous records, there was this sense of romanticizing my own pain. There is this tradition of male singer-songwriters being self-involved in their own self-imposed pain. Where it's like, I have these issues and isn't it kind of romantic? I started to become cognizant of that a few records in and just felt like it was kind of trope-ish and didn't want to pursue that direction again. But I didn't really know how to break out of that, so the last record I did was at arm's length because that's what I thought it was to be different than that. But I think I missed out on some opportunities for vulnerability. So, with this one, the intention is to be vulnerable and open but without being self-indulgent in your own bullshit. 

On the working title of this album, I Hope You Meet Everything You Fear:

[It] would have been a little less confusing to the Taylor Swift camp. I think part of that was just because I felt the direction the record was going – in this like reflections on disappointments but how those disappointments help us grow. Which does feel kind of trite to say, but getting broken to a certain place is really important for growth. I think the ego is a big hindrance in our growth as people. 

On the themes in his song “Older” and turning 30:

That song in particular, there was very much a season where I was almost at the end of my 20s and I think I was subconsciously raging against that. So, going really hard and kind of partying a lot and seeing that kind of unspoken existential sadness in everyone around me who is also experiencing this feeling of like okay, we are getting older and things are changing, and the world is also changing really fast. And it just becomes easier to try to distract yourself than to have to be with that.

 

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