Since the early 2000s, Norway’s Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has been perfecting his bright and bouncy combination of disco, pop and prog sounds, but the past few years have seen his solo output slow to a trickle. This month, however, he’s returning with the cooly confident Windings EP, a record which proves that the man hasn’t lost his touch. In this excerpt from his conversation with Shawn Reynaldo on this week’s episode of RBMA Radio’s First Floor, he details what he’s been doing during the past few years and shares this thoughts on the “space disco” tag that’s been following him around for the past decade.
Listen to First Floor on RBMA Radio here every Thursday at 1 PM EDT.
You have this new EP coming out called Windings. Does the title mean anything?
Basically, I was just looking for a title. English is not my first language, so it’s not always about the meaning – it’s more about the sound. As far as I know, “windings” is some sort of technical term for a coil thing, but in my ears it sounds like wind, in a way. I’m more after the feeling that the word is giving me as opposed to what it actually means.
In 2012 you put out two full-length albums, Six Cups of Rebel and Smallhans. Since then, you had the “Home Tonight” single and the collaborative album with Todd Rundgren, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of new Lindstrøm material. What have you been doing for the past few years?
We spent a lot of time on the Todd Rundgren collaboration. I don’t know if you heard it, but those who have heard it would probably agree with me that it’s kind of a complicated piece of music. It’s not just something you make in a day or two. We spent a year or two, maybe even three years, finishing that thing. To be honest, I was actually going to make some kind of EP or album with vocals – something maybe in the style of the “Home Tonight” track with Grace Hall – but I wasn’t really happy with how it turned out. I scrapped everything and started again. That’s basically how I started doing the Windings EP. So, I’ve been working, but I don’t want to release something if I’m not 100% happy with it.
When I listen to the new EP, it sounds really comfortable and confident. The songs have a simplicity to them. Did they come easily when you were making them?
The new EP was the start of something – that I’m actually feeling comfortable working with music again. I think I’ve been kind of tired of music and haven’t really been listening to a lot of music for the past year. I’ve been watching a lot of movies and trying to get inspiration from other things, but I’m actually really inspired now. I’m pretty sure that it won’t be too long before I do another EP or album. I would rather wait until I’m ready.
You’ve been making music for over a decade now, and people, for a really long time, have tagged your music as “space disco.” Even in the announcement of this EP, I saw it labelled you as “space disco king Lindstrøm.” How do you feel after all these years being labelled under that umbrella?
I’m okay with it. I was maybe more unhappy about that in the beginning, or a few years after people were labelling me that way, but I don’t really care how people label my music or my style. I realize that’s the thing that people like you really need when talking or writing about music.
So, from this “space disco scene,” the big names still are you, Prins Thomas and Todd Terje. What’s the relationship between you guys like? I think people might have the idea that you’re all hanging out together and trading songs and collaborating, but is it like that?
I’ve known those guys for 10 years or so. We are basically still sharing the same studio – or at least the same floor, in the same building, with separate rooms. We can knock on each other’s doors at any time. To be honest, I don’t really listen to either Todd Terje or Prins Thomas’s music. I don’t really listen to electronic music at all. When I listen to that kind of music, especially music that is kind of similar to what I’m doing myself, I end up getting too inspired, in a way. I’m like a swamp – absorbing all those musical ideas I hear. What I’ve been doing for the last year or two, especially while making this EP, is trying to listen to music that’s as far away from what I’m doing as possible. I ended up listening to Henry Purcell, Edvard Grieg, Vivaldi – classical music, basically. I really respect Prins Thomas and Todd Terje, but I don’t listen to their music. I shouldn’t do it. I’m too fragile. I’ll just absorb all their ideas into my own music.