After hearing Jon Magnusson’s current release, Psalms for Sinners, you will understand why music enthusiasts have described the Swedish-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and audio engineer as an indie folk-rocker who has the ability to touch listeners in a certain way. A multi-linguist, on his 2015 EP, Dina drömmar, Magnusson released a Swedish translation of Leonard Cohen’s “The Partisan.” But Magnusson’s music does not stop there.
Available on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play, one of the standouts from the four-track EP Psalms for Sinners is “Ode to a Friend.” A heartfelt tearjerker, this is Magnusson at his finest. With a sweeping keyboard intro, the artist delves into deeply personal territory when he sings, “I can still remember knocking on your door, just to say goodbye, my friend; your father took my hand and said you had already gone away.” The lyrics and the music clearly convey the artist’s poignant inspiration regarding the memory of a lost friend.
More ‘Psalms for Sinners’ Music
Another favorite is the 3:38 “Your Dreams,” an upbeat original which rocks out with some tasty electric guitar riffs that emit just the right amount of warmth and distortion, while the title cut has an addictive acoustic-driven Rembrandts’ pop rock quality. Did we mention Jon also is a professional social worker? He surely has a thing about connecting with people in positive ways.
Music Interview Magazine caught up with Jon Magnusson for a discussion about Psalms for Sinners, his songs, creativity and more.
Interview with Jon Magnusson
“Your Dreams” has quickly become a personal favorite from Psalms for Sinners. All the songs on the EP are well-crafted, performed and produced. Do you play all the instruments and sing? How about the programming and production? Where was the album recorded?
I either play or program all of the instruments on the album. I mostly play guitar and sing while laying the groundwork for the piano, organ, bass and drums on my midi-keyboard before programming it all to fit with the music. But for my new project I hired a co-producer and musicians to play what I can’t play myself. The vocals [Psalms for Sinners] were recorded in Studio Ljudriket in Stockholm, where I plan to record the new EP as well. The rest of it was recorded in my little home studio.
What do you draw upon for creative inspiration? What was the inspiration behind Psalms for Sinners?
I try to take inspiration from wherever it comes, including reading books, listening to other music and just talking to people. Lately, a lot of inspiration has come from listening to independent artists from different genres.
When it comes to Psalms for Sinners, the idea for the melody in the verse comes from a Swedish hymn, hence the name. I’m not religious, but there are some hymns that have stuck with me since I was a child and this is one of them.
Do you think being multilingual adds to your creativity in general? How about as a song writer?
Definitely. I actually learned Spanish as an adult after I met my wife whose parents come from Chile. Learning a new language really expands your way of thinking and adds to your creativity.
“Ode to a Friend” shifts from happiness to sadness and back again. Tell us about the song.
This is my most personal song so far. It’s a tribute to a childhood friend who passed away when we were 15 years old. I still have quite a lot of contact with his parents and siblings, so this song is really special for me.
As a music artist, what’s next and where do you go from here?
This is a really good question. I actually have a lot of plans going on, maybe too much to be able to focus. But primarily I’m going to record my new EP during the summer and early autumn. During August I’m doing a mini-tour in the UK playing gigs in London, Crawley, Brighton and maybe Bruton. I also do a lot of work connecting with artists and folks in the independent scene while trying to get my own music out there and promoting other musicians. This has been successful both in terms of me getting more exposure, but maybe most of all getting me a lot of new friends.