Sweden’s Kristal & Jonny Boy are Kristina Hanses (vocals, lyrics, dance) and Jonny Eriksson (guitar, drums), they have just released their new LP “It’s My Heart” on La Tempesta and it’s accompanied by a couple of wonderful videos that show off their striking visual style and choreography to stunning effect. The songs themselves are beautiful, ranging from the pulsating ear-worm “In The Morning”, the acoustic chiller “Swedish Winter” to my personal favourite, the frenetic “I Forgot What Love Is”. We caught up with Kristina to find out more and their nearly 3-year old daughter Pim Hanses did a painting for our gallery – making her the youngest (and by far the best) contributor thus far.
I love the new album, how long was it in the making?
We were one week in Genova in Green Fog studio and there we worked together with Mattia Cominotto for recording and Fede Dragogna as producer.
Are you happy with the reception it has received so far?
Yes, very happy! Though I would have hoped someone in Sweden would write about it too 🙂
La Tempesta is one of our favourite labels, how did you come to sign for them?
It’s because we got in contact with La Tempesta at the dance and circus festival Brocante in Frisanco outside of Maniago, they wrote to us and said they liked our show and then we replied and asked if they would like to work with us 🙂 Really nice!
I was a fan of new romantic bands back in the early eighties and love your image, which reminds me of some acts from those days, tell me how did that develop?
Thank you 🙂 Well, I have a dance background and I have always looked for ways to express myself. And I started to put everything I like to do into one performance – dancing, choreography, and the music I compose and then of course costume becomes a big part of that. After some years doing Kristal and Jonny Boy, I also thought it was nice to paint the face as well. To be kind of transparent and asexual and give more place to movement and music. Maybe that’s not how you perceive it but it was my thoughts behind it. 🙂
Does your image give you a sense of detachment when you are performing or does it affect the way you write/perform in other ways?
In a way I feel freer, more asexual, I can do sort of sexy movement without the feeling I look too sexy haha. So I guess the point is that movement-wise I don´t feel limited.
Kristina, I love the choreography in the recent videos, are you a trained dancer?
Thank you! Yes, I have BA in Contemporary dance which I studied in Amsterdam.
How do you approach songwriting, does it come naturally to you? Do you generally start with the words or music?
I think it comes quite naturally, the words and melody are suddenly there, and then, of course, I get a bit stuck in the second verse haha. I never really saw myself as a musician to be honest, because I can hardly play any instrument. So, I never get stuck because I don’t have any pressure on myself, like in dance sometimes, I know more of the rules, then I can suddenly get totally stuck.
When did your musical journey begin?
I guess in church when I was a kid, I lived next to the church and everybody was singing in the choir so I was also there 🙂 Then I tried to get my girlfriends to form a band but they were not as into it as me. My big brother had a band and I wanted to be like him a bit. I gave up the band. And then when I was 16 I moved away from home and my mother gave me a guitar so I would not feel so lonely and I started play on my own.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
It was a Sam Phillips song called “Signposts”, I found it in my dad’s record collection. I was around 10, coming home from school dancing and singing this song in front of the mirror.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
I think it is “It´s My Heart” because it sort of made me realise what I felt. I could not admit to myself it was about me and what I truly felt. Or maybe this was my saddest one. I Think “Maybe we can make it right” is my favourite cause I like the way I perform this one. Begging to get someone back in angel wings, is nothing I would do in real life. haha but on stage you can do that kind of stuff 🙂
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
I guess Sam Phillips for making me start to sing and dance and write poems and also Lucinda Williams for her poems and melodies that made me learn to play the guitar. I covered her a lot when I started playing the guitar.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Oh God, there are too many beautiful songs out there… so I never really thought like that. I am happy I can dance, laugh and cry to everything that is out there.
Why does the caged bird sing?
You mean what does the caged bird sing? They do some backing vocals of course. 🙂
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you recently?
I became a mother, might not be so recently, it’s almost 3 years ago now. But it’s a big thing and kind of weird because I feel I need my mother so much, and it hits me now how important I am. And I´m finding myself feeling this unconditional love for my child I only heard about before, and it’s amazing but also frightening.
What’s exciting you on the Swedish music scene?
Not so much into that at the moment, because Italy is totally more exciting 🙂
What’s the best phrase you’ve picked up in another language?
“Scrivi una mail”, I heard it in Italy and I was like aha that’s cool cause it sounds almost the same in Swedish haha.
I try to learn Italian a bit but on this last tour, I still said “Buona sera” in the morning and “Buongiorno” in the evening haha.
What’s your idea of success?
I would like to be able to live on my art, then I would feel very successful. Because I love to make music and dance and I feel like I am not really good at anything else.
Which of these activities are you most likely to be found doing: (a) making a soufflé, (b) tinkering with a motorbike, (c) doing the ironing, (d) putting up shelves?
To be honest, I don’t do any of them. Though I do ironing if there is a special occasion.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what would your answer be?
Not sure, I feel I am not so good at doing interviews, I prefer to ask the questions 🙂
Does the path of excess lead to the palace of wisdom?
In my case, I think I think too much, and I noticed most of the time it doesn´t make me wiser haha.
and here is the painting from Pim Hanses, class innit?