Tor Lundvall: beauty is everything in a hostile world like this.
Tor Lundvall (born 1968) is both a visual artist and ambient composer from Wyckoff, New Jersey. His early works were collaborations with Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus, and much of their artwork came directly from Tor.
Tor Lundvall started writing and recording his own material around 1988 when his brother let him borrow his Tascam 4-track. Tor Lundvall soon learned how to push the machine to its limits, enjoying the simplicity it offered. He has always preferred primitive recording methods and equipment over elaborate computer based programs, and his basic recording setup hasn’t changed much in all this time.
His first self-produced album, “Passing Through Alone” (1997) could be categorized in the Industrial music genre, as it shared little in common musically with subsequent releases. At the time “Passing Through Alone” was only available at Lundvall’s gallery showings, and has since been taken out of print. Lundvall’s music came to prominence with the release of “Autumn Calls” (1998), a collaboration with Tony Wakeford released on the now defunct British record label World Serpent Distribution. Three solo albums followed, continuing the seasons-themed concept: “Ice” (1999), “The Mist” (2001) and “Under the Shadows of Trees” (2003).
After the demise of World Serpent in 2004, Tor Lundvall released his recordings through the American label Strange Fortune until November 2008. His releases for Strange Fortune included “Last Light” (2004), “Empty City” (2006) and the “Yule” EP (2006). “Empty City” featured Lundvall’s first attempt at an instrumental approach for an entire album. All of Tor Lundvall’s recordings are mastered by his brother Kurt Lundvall.
- How did you get in touch with music?
>By listening to distant lawnmowers, chainsaws and other strange sounds echoing through the woods as a child.<
- What would you do if there wouldn’t be music, starting with tomorrow?
>I’d realize that the Gods had finally given up on the human race and I’d pray for the birds to start singing again.<
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
- Tor Lundvall sounds absolutely Swedish, how come that you were born in the US?
>My grandparents on my father’s side emigrated to the US from Sweden.<
- You have a special relationship with nature. How do you manage to build it in your music so vigorously?
>I absorb Nature and it flows through my work. My microphone is always close to an open window which always helps.<
- You also have a great past in painting, where does all this inspiration come from?
>Nature, childhood memories, dreams, ghosts, lost love and solitude.<
- Both your paintings and music have the same mysterious strain, your style is written all over their texture. Is this something you do consciously?
>It’s instinctive and I never question or analyze it.<
- What kind of equipment do you work with, how does your studio setup look like?
>Apart from a digital 8-track recorder I purchased in 1998, I’ve basically been using the same synths, sampler and sequencer for almost 25 years. It’s best if I include a photo of my working space:< (click on the image for larger size)
- What’s your next plan music-wise?
>My latest album in progress is inspired by a local park.<
- Who would you like to collaborate with the most and why?
>I’m not a big fan of collaboration, however I’d love to record an album with Robin Storey someday. I think we’d come up with something unique together.<
- Who would you like to collaborate with from the US?
>Asher Thal-Nir. He’s one of my favorite music makers in recent years.<
- What kind of music does Tor Lundvall listen to at home?
>Lots of things that have become permanently tied in with the seasons. For example, I only play Rothko on rainy Spring days, Daniel Lanois in the Summer, Flying Saucer Attack in the Autumn and the first four OMD albums in the Winter.<
- What is your opinion about music piracy?
>It’s become so rampant and commonplace that I don’t waste my time getting angry about it anymore.<
- Is there a band/music genre you can’t stand listening to?
>Certainly, however the thing that annoys me the most in any genre of music is when a singer adds a contrived “sh” sound to certain words. For example, “so sad” becomes “shhho shhhad”. Hearing this affectation makes me shudder in the supermarket. OK, now I’m hoping I haven’t done this myself!<
- Is there some music you like – but ashamed to admit it?
>I love the Thompson Twins. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but they’re probably not the first band I’d mention as an influence… even though they were! Great synth-pop from my youth. I also still love various songs from my childhood like Mike Batt’s brilliant “Wombling Song” and some Partridge Family tunes.<
- The beauty of silence or the chaos of noises?
>Silence please… unless someone’s playing an early Coil record.<
- What’s your favourite album ever?
>That’s an extremely difficult question to answer, however in recent years it would be “Melancholia” by William Basinski followed closely by Slowdive’s “Pygmalion”. Pink Floyd’s “Animals”, Bowie’s “Station To Station”, OMD’s “Architecture & Morality” and Thomas Dolby’s “The Flat Earth” are some long-time favorites at the top of my list.<
- …and your favourite album cover?
>Coil’s “Horse Rotorvator” LP. It’s the most effective and unsettling album cover I’ve ever seen. I think you have to be in touch with certain childhood fears in order to sense the apprehension and quiet terror this restrained image transmits. Growing up in the 70’s helps!<
- If you could be a rock star, who would you be?
>David Bowie circa 1976 or Adam Ant during the “Kings of the Wild Frontier” days.<
- Do you have a role model?
>No, however I greatly admire Roedelius and his approach to life and music.<
- Where do you see yourself 30 years from now?
>Painting, recording and probably living alone but hopefully not suffering from any ailments.<
- Who would you like to meet the most?
>A funny, kind, insightful, sensual and independent woman who understands me. In other words, a Goddess.<
- What are your favourite movies?
>The Shining, Blue Velvet, Sling Blade, Dumb and Dumber, The Big Lebowski, Waiting For Guffman, Blade Runner, most Woody Allen films and the original Star Wars I saw in the theatre as a kid in 1977.<
- If you had to direct your own movie, how would it look like?
>Open landscapes, unfamiliar architecture, strange figures and no plot whatsoever.<
- Which language would you like to speak most and why?
>French because I love Paris.<
- How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
>Humorous, Guarded, Aware, Angry, Misunderstood.<
- What are your vices?
>I sometimes get too distracted by cleaning and doing yardwork and household repairs.<
- What is the most unusual comment anyone has ever made about you?
>A former gallery owner once told me “I really see your paintings in one of those New Age shops!” Actually, that was more insulting than unusual.<
- What does beauty mean to you?
>Everything in a hostile world like this.<
- What would you do today if the world would end tomorrow?
>I’d take a long swim in the bay and make a beach fire in the evening. Then I’d go back home, lie in the hammock and pray that I’m transported to my dream world before the black sun rises.<
- What’s your favourite flavour?
>It’s a tie between Lime and Mint Chocolate Chip.<
- Three things you could never get rid of?
>My art supplies, my 4-track and my bicycle.<
- Your three favourite websites?
- What’s your favourite picture about yourself? (click on the image for larger size)
>Probably this photo my father took of me with my trusty “bug catcher” at Sterling Forest, NY in September 1974.<
- What’s your most favourite picture you made? (click on the image for larger size)
>”The Years #2″, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″, June 1999.<
- What is the question you always would have liked to be asked but nobody ever did? (Ask
>How did a sensitive soul like you manage to survive and persevere in a world like this?<
- How did a sensitive soul like you manage to survive and persevere in a world like this?
>I’m protected by fragile buffers which maintain my sanity and keep the worms at bay.<