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Jose Gonzalez - In A Heartbeat

Author: Nina Bertok
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

3D’s Nina Bertok speaks to Swedish crooner Jose Gonzalez about that song and recording with his band, ahead of his return to Australia.

If you feel like you’ve heard that Heartbeats song (written by fellow Swedes The Knife) a hundred times by now, try playing it every night. Being Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez means you get to do precisely that when the crowd demands to hear “the one with the coloured bouncy balls from the Sony commercial.”

Gonzalez confesses true musicianship lies in the creation of a song rather than its continual performance night after night. “When I’m out on tour and playing the same song again for the hundredth time, then yeah, I do feel less like a musician and more just on autopilot. It’s not really a challenge; it’s almost robotic, like you’re a… robot! I know it’s ironic because I’m still talking about music but recording a song and playing it live are two completely different things.”

Not that Gonzalez is bored with his songs – for this Swedish-born Argentinean, as long as the crowd is happy that’s all that matters.

“If the people down in front of me are into the music, I get a kick out of that,” Gonzalez claims. “But my current plans are to make an album with my band Junip. We’re still doing that together and it will probably take up my spring and some part of the summer. After that I am thinking about starting to write my solo songs, but that will be very relaxed and without any deadlines.”

And, as Gonzalez promises, you can bet they’ll be a mixed bag. “My songs are usually a huge mix of personal experience along with other people’s experience and with things from movies,” he explains. “I don’t think there needs to be necessarily truth to the story as long as it evokes strong feelings. With the second album [In Our Nature, 2007] there was a kind of naïve theme to it, like, ‘can’t we all just get along-’ It was all about how it’s in our nature to be self-destructive and to point out differences between different groups and people. That’s all very real. Actually, many of the songs were maybe more about real events and I think it takes guts to play personal stuff. The only thing is that there is a thin line between being very open-hearted and stepping into the cheesy territory.”

These days Gonzalez prefers to spare his fans the self-therapy. “It’s music!” he says. “It’s supposed to be listened to as such and I don’t want to use it as self-therapy. I’d rather talk to my friends about feeling sad instead of singing it to the world. Personally, I would love to make the best music in the whole world but at the same time I hope the world becomes a much more harmonic place to live in. Looking at what is going on in the world right now, I think the world might be getting there.”

WHO: Jose Gonzalez
WHAT: Plays City Recital Hall
WHEN: Friday 6 February