Why his 2003 album “Poetry and Aeroplanes“ is not on my Memory Lane series I can´t tell you. It wasn´t on purpose, it should have been. Teitur Lassen is absolutely one of the more endearing singer/songwriters out there. Beyond his many years of experience he is still willing to give you more than just his music. There is authenticity and honesty in his tunes and live performances, traits that simply cannot be fabricated.
He has released 6 studio albums, 1 of which was recorded in his native language of Faroese, which he is justifiably very proud of. His music and his voice are inimitable.
A couple of days back the man and his drummer Derek Murphy concluded a small tour through the United States supporting his latest release Story Music.
I caught Teitur on one of his days off and we had a fun talk about this and that.
Thanks for talking with us today.
My pleasure, glad you reached out. I am in Atlanta and I have day off from playing shows.
I started getting into your music with your 2003 release of ‘Poetry And Aeroplanes’ and have been following you ever since. Musically how do you look back at the past 10 years?
I think that it has been amazing how much has actually happened in ten years. I have put out 6 studio albums, played over 1000 shows and worked on so many interesting projects. I have learned a lot and I am grateful that I can continue to make music. It feels like I just graduated and the real work starts now.
Is there a particular moment that stands out?
It’s hard to choose one particular moment. There have been so many highlights. Coming to America and getting signed, getting to know many countries, cultures and people. Playing with a lot of great musicians and writing for amazing people.
You´re touring overseas at the moment. How familiar are people with your name already and how is the tour going?
I have established myself pretty well in many countries, although I am not a very famous artist. I used to have a bigger following in the States, but I haven’t been coming over as much as I used to. I’ve been playing and working more over in Europe. In the States and Canada I play smaller clubs, but it’s working out really well. My drummer Derek Murphy lives over here. We have been playing as a duo and sometimes with local string quartets. We just meet up in the day and rehearse, then play at night.
It´s been 4 years since you´ve released “Let The Dog Drive Home“ and “A Night At The Opera“, are you working on any new material, are you already playing new songs live?
I recently put out a new record called “Story Music” and that is the one I am out playing now. We also play a bunch of other songs. There are so many to choose from now. It’s nice when it’s not the same every night. We like to keep it spontaneous too.
What are you up to when you´re not recording or playing live?
I had the misfortune of having my things stolen in Toronto recently, so I have had some catching up to do with laptop, iPhone, music software, communicating. Getting my papers in order. My passport and VISA was lost too. I am also in Nashville for 2 weeks just writing songs with a bunch of my songwriter friends who are based there. Today we went out and bought some vinyl and we’re listening to those now. I bought Joni Mitchell, Elliot Carter, Mark Hollis and John Lee Hooker.
Since you´ve also put out a record in the Faroer language which one is bringing more fun for you? Or do you even think about that.
I think it’s great to write songs in my native language. It makes a lot of sense, even though the global language for songwriting is English. I was surprised that anybody who doesn’t understand Faroese would want to listen to it. I guess it’s a little like world music or something.
You´re playing piano, guitar and all kinds of different instruments. Is there one that you would like to master but simply can´t?
I’m terrible at playing drum-kits! That would be fun to play. I sometimes try, but it does not come naturally to me as other instruments. Also, I would like to play more brass and woodwind instruments.
So, “Story Music”. How does it differentiate from “Let The Dog Drive Home”?, Where did you record it?, What´s it all about?
“Story Music” is recorded on the Faroe Islands. In fact, it’s the only album of mine that is actually recorded there. My best friend and lifetime engineer Jonas Bloch Danielsen made a world class recording studio on the Faroes some years ago, so it was in the cards that I should do it there. It’s the first time there is a studio of that caliber at home. I ran away from the Faroes when I was very young thinking I could not work there as a musician, so this was a way for me to prove myself wrong. Therefore I embraced everything that is up there. The local musicians and musical traditions. It’s another thing playing music with your neighbours instead of hiring some fancy string quartet from Los Angeles. A lot of the music is references to Faroese culture, so it’s maybe not easy to understand everything on first listen. I am very proud of the album. There is an interactive documentary in the making about “Story Music” that should come out later this year.
Please tell us 5 things about Teitur that we hasn´t already found its way online.
I asked my drummer Derek to answer these. This is what he wrote:
1) Teitur tells stupid jokes that are not funny over and over again.
2) Two weeks ago omeone in Boston offered to pay 500 dollars for his sweater.
3) Teitur gets very angry about authorities and rules.
4) Teitur is willing to go to jail in order to protect people’s right to drink beer in the car.
5) Teitur listens to weird atonal music.
Name 3 things on your bucket list.
1) I would like to have children
2) I would like to travel more outside the western world.
3) I would like to write more music.
Name 3 songs that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Ok. I’m answering these pragmatically.
1) Happy Birthday to you
2) Last f****** Christmas by Wham!
3) For he’s a jolly good fellow
What´s the worst venue/ city you´ve ever played in?
I played on a bus once. That sucked.
Elvis Costello vs. Tom Waits
I like them both. It’s kinda like saying oranges vs. lemons. I don’t think one overrules the other.
Thank you again for taking time to chat with us. We appreciate it.