I’ve been wondering lately on the creative process. So many art forms are solitary acts. And nothing more than music draws together multiple forces to create. There is something truly magical in the chemistry of a band. So what if the chemistry moves far beyond the writing and the playing and into the heart and the bedroom? Does that make for better music? Does magic equal magic?
Bjorn and the Sun will remind you that it feels so damn good to feel good. A two piece hailing from our fine streets of Los Angeles, their new EP is the perfect road trip soundtrack, and feels like a few love filled months than anything I’ve heard on this earth. They drove across the country to record in Nashville and along the way filmed this video with 8mm film and a whole lot of gusto. Members Amanda Bjorn and David Donaldson met in college and enjoyed each other, for four years before they started writing music together. Their harmonies and soulful melodies are born and braided with the magnetic energy between them. The two got out of LA to record their album and headed for the Bomb Shelter in Nashville to work with Andrija Tokic (who produced the Alabama Shakes and Hurray for the Riff Raff). They were in search of the particular sound and vibe which only comes with recording a full live band to tape – and my god I think they found it and a lot more along the way. I’m calling it now, these kids are going to be a very big deal. Enjoy xoxo.
LF: You dated for years before you started making music together. What triggered the shift?
B&S: We were both individually invested in our own art for the first few years we dated. David has been a musician since he first picked up a guitar at age 13 and was playing in several bands when we met. I had grown up singing in the choir and doing musical theatre, but had abandoned it to pursue visual arts, particularly photography, more intensely. While in grad school, I was unhappy and began looking to music again as an outlet so I started teaching myself guitar and writing songs. I finally got enough courage to play one of my songs to David one night and he was super supportive. He told me to keep practicing and eventually, he recorded a collection of our songs at my boss’ dance studio in Lincoln Heights. After those first recordings, we were both hooked and wanted to keep working together. Looking back, I’m realizing how important it was for us to establish ourselves as independent artists before coming together as a duo. It’s a real opportunity to create music with someone you love and I think timing played a significant part in the magic of it all.
LF: Is it complicated making music and really running a business with your lover? What if you break up?
B&S: It’s a lot of satisfying hard work! I’ve learned the key is to put more of our time into writing songs, creating visuals, and saving the business dilemmas to work out with our manager. I’m happiest when I can focus solely on the daily creative intention and not when I start asking big self-destructive questions like “where is this all going”? It’s about baby steps and trusting one another.
LF: Finish my sentence… Music has the power to _______.
B&S: I believe music has the power to bring you present. It heightens all my senses and brings self-awareness and stillness.
LF: How do you feel before a performance? Any strange rituals?
B&S: I get nervous and quiet, while David runs around fixing things, tuning, chatting people up. haha it’s a good balance though…hmm any rituals for us? a good hug and kiss.
LF: If you were to make a time capsule for your older self, say in twenty years, what would you put into it?
B&S: Oooh I love this! I’d put my grandfathers 1950s rolleiflex camera, my Guild guitar baby, a portrait David took of me when we snuck onto the Biltmore Hotel roof, my hat collection, our EP, my sheep cape coat to give to my future daughter, and my endless collection of notebooks so I could reread all my confusion and just laugh.
LF: Do you think being in love, makes for better music?
B&S: I asked David and he enthusiastically and immediately said, “Yes!” Haha I’m not sure if it’s necessarily “better” but I think there’s a natural curiosity to know and see other people living and loving. Maybe that’s what people find fascinating about what we do ? I think being able to make music with someone you love brings you both to an open, honest, and often, vulnerable space. Sometimes, it becomes a therapeutic session for both of us. Without having to speak, we can play and sing together and just fall into that rhythm of mutual understanding… “Ah, okay.. I know what you’re getting at now..” It’s that kind of thing. Perhaps being in love breaks you open to expressing yourself to that person, which can fuel songwriting, melody, etc… Either way, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
LF: How fast do you live?
B&S: Right now I can’t stop moving! I’m currently riding this wave of creative energy that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. It seems a bit unusual for winter, but this last year was a lot of hibernating so I’m ready to throw my heart out there. I try to stay balanced though and fit in my yoga, mediation, and chamomile tea.