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Karin Jansson talks about Charms and Blues Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 October 1990


A Time of Change for Karin Jansson
by John Tingwell
Drum Media 16 October 1990

(Karin appears on the cover of this issue, lying back on a reddish-orange plasticky plant bed thing.)

"All of this makes me feel so small", says Karin Jansson as we walk through the maze of corridors of her record company. The walls are garnished with other people's gold and platinum records and their autographed life-sized poster greet every passing visitor with a crude and almost insincere stare. Karin's modesty and humility is greatly emphasised by these walls of glittering prizes. "It would be nice to be up there with those people... One step at a time though," she says laughing as she glances at one of the many posters. Karin is as humble and modest as the walls are colourful with their boastful idolatry. She would be excused if she was boastful because apart from her Curious (Yellow) project, she also has the distinction of co-writing with Steven Kilbey "Under The Milky Way" - the song that really put the Church on the mainstream international music map.

"When you write a song you don't really think about what it will do commercially. If you do, it probably won't work for you. I was quite surprised Under the Milky Way did so well. I remember the day when I read in the paper it reached number twenty in the American charts - I couldn't believe my eyes! I asked myself: 'am I involved with all this here?' It was such a nice feeling - like a dream."

Karin was brought up in Stockholm, Sweden and lived there until she moved to Australia with Steven Kilbey four years ago. While still living in Stockholm, she was an integral member of Pink Champagne - a celebrated all-girl band who's success was confined within the boundaries of Scandanavia. That was four years ago and Karin says she moved on in terms of her musical and personal attitudes. Since moving to Australia she has been afforded the luxury of being able to experiment with her song writing talents, citing the change of environment as an important source of inspiration.

"Pink Champagne was primitive mainly because we weren't very good musicians. It was very much a live rock experience which was good at the time but it was something I felt a bit limited by. When I came to Australia it was like stepping into a dream world. It was like starting all over again and I could begin by doing whatever I liked. I could allow myself another niche or direction where I could be much more independent."

Like a rebirth, perhaps ?

"Yeah, and I think that change, or re-birth, shows in my lyrics."

Many of the lyrics featured on Curious (Yellow)'s forthcoming album, Charms & Blues, delve into the darkened surreal world of dream sequences, taking the listener on fantastic journeys through the streets of a deserted city, or a sea voyage with a calloused sailer and a mermaid. Karin uses vivid yet simple words to paint her pictures. "In dreams you can be anywhere and anything and everything can happen", says Karin. A majority of the lyrics on Charms & Blues, were written by Karin, except for the tracks Insomnia and Empress which were co-written with Mr. Kilbey. Juding by these two tracks and Under the Milky Way, there seems to be a certain chemistry between the two.

"Yeah, it's a very spontaneous thing. It's not as if someone has put us together to write a hit song. It's more like sometimes when we write together, a song comes knocking on the door."
'Steven produced the songs he and I wrote together and he helped me to choose which songs to put on the album. We work well together on all levels I would say."

The Church were touring Scandinavia in 1983 when Karin Jansson met Steven Kilbey. The Church were playing at a venue in Sweden the same night Pink Champagne were doing one of their many club gigs. After the Church played their show, they just happened to stroll into the very same club Pink Champagne were playing and ... bingo! The rest as they say is history. "We ended up talking to them after our show and then we went to see them play in Stockholm, which is when Steve and I established our friendship."

Charms & Blues, the album's title track, deals with the changes Karin experienced within herself when she first arrived in this country: "I'm slowly coming back from the out back of eternity..." She was surprised at the large differences she saw between the lifestyles of both countries. She obviously feels very much at home in her new country.

"Life seems less complicated here. I guess in Sweden they have different work ethics. Here you can spend your life with your head stuck in the clouds and nobody will question you about it. In Sweden you barely get away with a holiday before someone asks you to justify your existence. In a way that's a relief for me buti is also difcul ecausI am used to being pushed to achieve certain goals. Sometimes now I feel I have no purpose because I'm not doing 52 things at once!"

Karin sees Curious(Yellow) as a concept project rather than a fully fledged touring live band, although depending upon the reaction to Charms & Blues, she may take the concept further - presumably the stage. Right now, however, she is more than happy promoting the album her own way - concentrating on promotion through the media rather than the stage. "What a great opportunity to talk about myself!" She laughs. Her need for live exposure, it seems, has been fulfilled during her Pink Champagne days. A sign of the times, perhaps.

"I'm not really launching this as a band. I had a band when my first record, I Am Curious, came out, but I got tired of the idea. I loved the guys I was working with - they helped me to get out there and do it in the first place. I just want to have more freedom than a band can offer.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 January 2005 )
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