The End: Sondre Lerche | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The End: Sondre Lerche

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Jun 12, 2020 Web Exclusive Photography by Jen Steele Bookmark and Share

To end out the week, we ask Sondre Lerche some questions about endings and death.

The Norwegian-born/American-based singer/songwriter released a new album, Patience, last week via PLZ. Patience is the follow-up to 2017’s Pleasure and 2014’s Please (you can sense a pattern with the titles). It is Lerche’s tenth album and first since he relocated from New York City (where he lived for over a decade) to the West Coast, but the album was mainly recorded in his native Norway. Patience features percussionist Dave Heilman, bassist Chris Holm, keyboardist Alexander von Mehren, producers Kato Ådland and Matias Tellez, mixing engineer Jørgen Træen, and classical violinist/composer/arranger Tim Fain. Van Dyke Parks guests on “Put The Camera Down.”

In a previous press release Lerche said the album was inspired by his newfound love of ambient music and running marathons.

“The inspiration behind the theme and feeling of the album comes from the sense of space and time I associate with ambient music and minimalism,” Lerche says. “Ever since Pleasure came out in 2017, I’ve been running a lot, and I listen to mainly abstract music that helps me lose sense of time and structure when I run, what I refer to as ‘patient music. Performing the flamboyant and intense Pleasure show 140 times in one year got me into athleticism, and made me passionate about running. Before this, I never did anything remotely athletic in my life. After Pleasure I felt like slowing down everything in my life. I stopped touring for the first time since I was 18. I moved to LA, and I just focused on writing. I needed to make soothing music.”

Read on as Lerche talks about what song he’d like to hear on his deathbed, who he’d like to sing at his funeral, his favorite endings to albums and films, his concepts of the afterlife, and the fast food chain he just can’t get enough of.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

All of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops pieces. It lasts for almost five hours, so if things drag on, I could just have the playlist on repeat and drift into infinity as it plays, over and over again. I’ve now run four marathons, all starting with the hour-long “dlp 1.1,” so it’d be nice to hear it again for the end of what I hope is a good run.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

“The Kiss” by Judee Sill performed by Janelle Monáe or Amanda Bergman (from Amason). One of the most beautiful songs I know. Although I’m not religious, it’s the existence of songs like this one that makes me consider all the things we cannot know, but some believe—and how creating beauty maybe is related to believing in some ways. Judee Sill has been a huge inspiration on my new album Patience; she brings me closer to Bach, and perhaps also God. Perhaps they’re one and the same?

What’s your favorite ending to a movie?

My least favorite is definitely Psycho—that movie would have been just perfect if not for the mood-killing explanation at the end. Vertigo, however, has a phenomenal ending. But for such a revolutionary filmmaker, Hitchcock doesn’t always have the best endings to wrap his brilliance up with. I did love the ending of First Cow, which I saw in theaters right before everything shut down. It’s the kind of movie where I am not on board at all for the first 30 minutes, but by the end I am completely fascinated and moved by it.

What’s your favorite series finale last ever episode of a TV show? (Or what’s your least favorite?)

I hardly ever remember how these things end. I could watch it all again and be just as surprised all over! I guess the Seinfeld finale wasn’t all that satisfying or great. Maybe that was the point? It’s the only series finale that I remember, so maybe that says more about me and my memory.

What’s your favorite last song on an album?

A-ha set the bar really high for me when I was five and heard their second album Scoundrel Days, and experienced the abrupt ending of the last track, “Soft Rains of April.” Great windy, desperately longing song, and then it ends with Morten Harket singing, “the soft rains of April are over” in a big, dramatic and chaotic musical climax. Until it all cuts out, the vocals dry up completely, and Morten repeats: “over.” End of record. Made a huge impression on me then, and still does.

What’s your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

Apple Venus Volume 1 by XTC is pretty beautiful. There was a Volume 2 that I didn’t care as much for, but all in all a pretty good way to go. The songs “I Can’t Own Her” and “Easter Theatre” are alone worth it. Dizzyingly beautiful. Huge inspiration, now as ever.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger. When I moved to LA a year and a half ago, I had to learn some moderation when it came to In-N-Out. As a visitor to LA I’d maximize my intake because I didn’t live there, but I may have had five In-N-Burgers a week the first month after I moved here, which clearly is wrong on so many levels. So, I’ve learned to practice abstinence, and also try other burgers. But In-N-Out is my favorite and final meal.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

Starving, at a seminar in a convention center somewhere for a 9 to 5 job I hate. I just don’t like those kinds of buildings or gatherings. That whole scene, it gives me the creeps. So, I’m beyond thankful I don’t have to hang around that sort of vibe—except for when there’s a marathon and I have to pick up my badge which is usually at a convention center, and I count my blessings.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

Joni Mitchell. Would be cool to feel what that genius vibe is like, if only for a moment. Some people throw the word “genius” around kind of lightly, but I think that’s another level of creativity and vision. Most of my favorite musicians and songwriters, I wouldn’t call them geniuses. Joni, however, there’s genius to so much of what she’s done throughout and the impact of it. She’s invented things, ways of thinking and creating. That, to me, is genius, and it’s something beyond creativity and skill.

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

My songs and hopefully making people feel alive and good when I’m around. There’s a song called “Are We Alone Now” on the new record, and it’s trying to articulate and accept as directly and soberly as possible the fact that we enter and exit this world alone. And then we get to fill the in-between with all these beautiful and terrifying things. Which is what the next song on the album, “That’s All There Is,” is all about. The gifts we can receive, share, and never let go of in memory, while we’re alive. But when I go, I believe I go alone. I hope the music will remain and live long after me, because I can’t take it with me when I go.

What would you like your last words to be?

Why would I let you go?

Also read our recent COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In interview with Sondre Lerche.

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