In August, I traveled to Norway and Sweden for six days. Along the way, I had the privilege of interviewing Jens Lekman in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. Below is the story, written as the cover of Paste mPlayer's international issue. I also took the photos for this piece as well.
There isn’t really a direct route from Atlanta, Ga., to Gothenburg, Sweden. It takes a 4,400-mile Transatlantic flight from Hartsfield-Jackson International to Amsterdam, followed by another 500-plus mile plane ride to Oslo. After a 30-minute train ride to get to the heart of Norway’s capitol, Gothenburg is just a mere 290-kilometer drive down E6.
I’ve traveled almost a quarter of the way around the world to capture a sense of the Swedish songwriter in his hometown. As I drive through downtown Gothenburg in my compact Japanese rental car—careening through Little London’s narrow streets, making my way past flocks of teenagers on their way to Slottsskogen, a huge city park that’s hosting Way Out West on this particular weekend—this goal seems entirely reasonable.
The annual music festival is one of Sweden’s largest, featuring international artists such as Wilco, Blur and Feist alongside Swedish acts First Aid Kit, El Perro Del Mar and Miike Snow. The music from Way Out West’s mid-afternoon lineup reverberates well beyond the festival grounds. From Lekman’s residence, you can faintly hear the echoes and might just be able to recognize who’s playing—maybe it’s Ane Brun or The Afghan Whigs.
A few minutes after Jens and I first exchange pleasantries, my gracious hosts invites me into his abode and offers to brew a pot of French press. Not long after we settle into the kitchen, I learn that there’s one slight problem with my assignment—this isn’t Jens Lekman’s home. He doesn’t really have one. (Read the full story here).