We’re very proud to say that we’ve been fans of Len Sander from the very beginning. When we first heard their debut record – ‘Phantom Garden’ – we knew that this wasn’t just another indie group. Their music was so full of emotion, and not that overdrawn cookie-cutter type, but the complex, layered and very often contradictory and confusing – messy and, hence, so utterly human.
It’s been great to watch them evolve and grow. Their emotional landscape seems to only get more nuanced with every release, and the production tighter. We’re very happy to be one of the first to announce their forthcoming full-length, ‘The Future of Lovers’, which will be released via Mouthwatering Records in early 2018. If it’s anything like ‘Woman on the Run’ (their new single, see video below), we should brace ourselves for something very, very special.
We caught up with Blanka Inauen for a short interview, and here is what this powerful lady had to say:
We’re loving the new single! Like a lot! It kind of reminds of Little Dragon, their earlier stuff, of course – have you guys been listening to them?
Thank you! Oh yes, I listened to ‘Ritual Union’ and ‘Nabuma Rubberband’ a lot and it’s definitely something that kind of got over into my DNA. I also really admire Yukimi Nagano’s vocal style a lot and how the vocals are mixed, they always sound amazing.
Since you’ve released the “Phantom Garden” LP (the debut), which was very moody and sort of cut out for home-listening, your sound has been getting progressively tighter and clubbier – what happened?
That’s right! A lot has changed. First of all, for this record, we wanted to put more emphasis on the songwriting so we changed our whole working process. When earlier we pasted together different ideas and sounds in one song, this time we really sat down together and started the song completely from scratch. I think to work like this was a really pleasant experience. Also the aim was to write much more songs than then what would end up on the record, so we produced around 30 sketches from which we then chose the songs that we wanted on the album. Oh and secondly, of course, a lot of stuff changed in my private life as well. Things have gotten much lighter for me and I’ve been in a very happy and relaxed phase lately. And I guess what is going on in your life and in your music is always very much interconnected.
Maybe it’s too early for this question, but with your upcoming record (set to drop beginning 2018) – what can we expect?
This album just feels so right for me. We took all our freedom to materialise a vision that had been developing in our heads over the last years. And this vision was to create something sensual and beautiful, smooth and easy but with no restrictions when it comes to being experimental, doing something strange or even awkward. More than one time one of us asked the other: “Can we really do this?”. And the answer was always: “Of course, we can do whatever the fuck we wanna do”. So we did it.
And lyrically? As far as I can remember, Phantom Garden was emotionally volatile and dealt with heartbreak and the troubled end of relationships – where are the song’s protagonists now?
Haha, yeah. The whole album ‘Phantom Garden’ was kind of a messy break-up album. ‘The Future of Lovers’ is about the arrival of love, feeling secure and being hopeful, but of course not without reflecting on the doubts and fears related to this state. So, I’d say, the protagonist is in quite a good place right now.
If I’m not mistaken, a lot of the new material was written in Berlin, correct? How has this unique city affected you and the music that you make? Any funny anecdotes from your time there?
Yes. This was another thing we always wanted to do: Go to a foreign place and fully concentrate on writing new music. So when a friend of ours was looking for someone to take over his studio in Berlin for a while, we didn’t hesitate a second. And besides, I always loved being in Berlin. It was a great experience, we were incredibly productive, which is, I think, a little unusual for Berlin. We were really nerdy and concentrated on our work. So there was absolutely nothing funny happening. Just the bliss of working with focus. And now I’m back in Berlin, staying a little bit longer and fully absorbing the city’s vibes and also finding out how it will affect my work.
Tell us a bit about Woman on the Run – what’s the story there?
I always think a lot about how our lives are influenced by things that happened in our past or even in the past of our families. It is something that interests me a lot. So in this song I’m asking which are the things that we can control in our lives, and which are the things that are just given or that define us so much that we can’t really escape them. What can we do with what we get?
And the video?
We did this in a really short time and with the help of many friends and people that were so motivated and incredible and just wanted to work with us. It was very high-energy and I’m still thrilled by the result. Janic Halioua, the director, did an amazing job. For me, the video shows so well that human connectedness – being close to each other, feeling, touching – is on the one hand a very basic, inevitable need. And on the other hand it can make us feel awkward and uncomfortable, even restrained. I love to think about this dynamic in human relationships and the video pictures it perfectly.
In closing, since we’re approaching the end of 2017, can you tell us what records were on heavy rotation in the Len Sander world this year?
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound’, The Internet: Ego Death, Bon Iver: 22, A Million.