Lottie Brazier speaks to Soho Rezanejad, whose recent Six Archetypes album marries philosophical lyrics and evocative electronics and post-punk values.
Six Archetypes draws inspiration from your Iranian background - are there any records in your parents' collection that have influenced your own work?
There were often big gatherings and dinners in the house—not a single day went by without a visitor. Music filled up the living room and a circle of people were always dancing or telling jokes. With my parents residing in Denmark, I grew into both Eastern and Western cultures. Their collection was everything from 90s Euro dance music to traditional or modern Iranian. This has shaped me, wherever I am. I am always looking in from the outside and I appreciate this, because it has given me a place to view the world from either end. My parents fled Iran because the regime threatened their freedom. If it was possible to count, I bet I’ve written more freedom songs than love songs. And maybe they come down to the same thing.
BRAZIER Your new album is influenced by Jung's archetypes and the fragility of one's sense of self - do you think that this loose sense of self is a good or bad thing?
A loose sense of self doesn't cause a lack of understanding of oneself. We can study ourselves our whole lives, but we can never fully grasp ourselves because we are constantly evolving. We are loose versions of ourselves whether we like this or not. It's our dreams, what holds us together, that determines us.
What did you use to record the album? Where was it recorded?
When I work on something, I take it with me everywhere I go. So it's difficult to recollect what I was using that year. I recorded Six Archetypes in my studio to begin with, and later took the skeletons to Miccel Mohr’s studio where the space is more concentrated. I cook in my own studio and sleep there too, so when it comes to executing a project, it's helpful to go out and take the work to another environment.
BRAZIER Am I right in thinking you crowd sourced lyrics for this album - how did this turn out?
Yes, I involved anyone who came by my studio. I'd just play them the demos and ask them to write down what they thought I was singing. No word was clearly graspable, and from their transcription I found these beautiful sentences, pieced together when the writer’s not in an obligated place.
BRAZIER What's your background in singing? Your vocal range is really fresh and exciting.
REZANEJAD I like to study voices, people’s speech and the way they choose to start and end their sentences, in which range they wind up. I find it more descriptive about a person than what they're saying. When you listen to someone speak, you are immediately invited to their inner world, whether the content has matter or is impersonal. I think what makes it intriguing is that there is a non-verbal connection when you hear someone. They too have been influenced by other people’s voices, ways of speaking.
BRAZIER What do you make of the Danish/Copenhagen music scene at the moment - are you part of it or do you tend to work outside of this?
I like to be that thing that happens in between switching off the light and switching it back on. A community holds a vision together and strengthens people as a collective — it means you can develop a movement. I want to be a part of its celebration, but I like to contribute at my own pace. This means I usually go about my work without conforming to a particular entourage, and when I collaborate, I work with people who inspire me and have a shared sense of understanding.
BRAZIER The album cover for Six Archetypes has a metallic female figure on the front of it, which kind of reminds me a little of the Maria robot in Fritz Lang's Metropolis - is there a science fictional influence coming through here as well?
I always thought of it as a reptilian figure conceived from an egg, which cracks once there are enough memories gathered inside. The creature initially came to me while I was writing The Idealist, and its six fingers represent the archetypes on the album: The Guardian, The Orphan, The Seeker, The Prostitute, The Idealist and The Russian. In the song (The Idealist), it says “I find life has lost its shine, not even the memories are left” — The planet this creature comes from is a place where all memories go. It's a place made up of our vanished days.