Name: Jenný Kragesteen
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer
Current release: Frum's new single "Again and Again" is out now on hfn Music.
Recommendations: The music in the Swedish film "Ronja, the Robber's Daughter" from 1984 and the book "Karitas" by Krístin Marja Baldursdóttir.
If you enjoyed this interview with Jenný Kragesteen of Frum, visit her on Instagram and Facebook for updates and a more personal look at her life and work.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I have written songs since I was a little girl, but it wasn't until I moved to Copenhagen for studies in 2014 that I started writing songs as serious as I do now.
I think it was my fascination for films and film music that drew me into making sounds and write songs.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
I feel it is still developing. And as I change, my own voice does as well.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
Life itself influences my creativity. How I identify my self reflects in my lyrics, melody and visual universe.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
I didn’t always trust my creative choices in the beginning, but I have learned to trust in myself and what I create.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
I grew up with music that only was played by “real” instruments, so I wrote songs on the piano or guitar. It wasn't until I got a bit older that I was introduced to electronic music, so then I started producing a bit on GarageBand. But that program's software sounds and possibilities are limited.
So working with different producers has given me insights in terms of the endless possibilities in sounds and I think it’s really cool that it's possible to make songs out of all these edgy software sounds.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
A synth bass. When I discovered it the first time I felt I found something that really moved something in me.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
I really like collaborations, I love hearing other people's ideas and getting inspired by them.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
At the moment, I am home with my son, so there is no fixed schedule. But the morning starts with a cup of coffee and being a mom. I work on music, planning visuals and the practical things around music every opportunity I get.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I think it started with the first release I had with the project Frum called “Birdstone”. I felt right from the start that what I was creating something special. I started with it in 2016 while I was studying in Copenhagen.
I think my restlessness was the biggest motivation, and I found a lot of inspirations in art installations.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Sometimes I can get an idea while I’m in the middle of something. If I, at that point, have an opportunity to work on the idea, that’s the best state of mind for being creative. If not, I try to quickly write it down and work on it when I can.
And I need to be alone when I do so, family and friends are my biggest distraction. Also, when life is challenging is when I am most creative.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
It’s a love hate relationship, but mostly love. When something doesn't work out the way you want, it really haunts you. But, on the other hand, using this feeling to create music you really like can heal every wound and almost make scars invisible.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
I think it’s important that if you use things from other cultures you have to be aware of it and respect what it can mean the people in that culture and their history.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
To activate all senses is an exciting factor for me. I am very aware of doing so in my work and live performances. I have worked a lot on my visuals and that is something I did from the beginning of Frum, because I wanted the music to be part of something bigger.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
My studies in philosophy have influenced my approach to being an artist. It has given me a wide view on how to approach social and political subjects.
Art is a beautiful way to express your thoughts on everyday life and society. At the moment I focus on using only recycled or environmental clothing and fabric for my music videos.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
The feeling of infinity.