"My personal expression comes out in different ways in the two bands, so I don't feel like I am restricted in any way."

He's a member of the internationally successful British band The Libertines – and he's also the front figure of John Hassall & The April Rainers based in Aarhus, Denmark.

Meet the Libertine, singer, songwriter and family man, John Hassall, as he talks about the pursuit of musical perfection, balancing two musical worlds, and Danish culture.

The pursuit of musical perfection
There's a long way from a rainy day in Aarhus to a career as part of a world-acclaimed band gigging in the biggest arenas. Still, at its core, the driving force is a love of music, whether the artistic forum is The Libertines in England or John Hassall & The April Rainers in Denmark:

"It's the pursuit of musical perfection. Learning and discovering things about myself and the world through writing. And thirdly, being able to encourage myself and others through my music. So, I guess I would say: Self-betterment, learning, and encouragement," says John.

He has been living in Denmark since 2009 with his wife and two children. The British influence on John Hassall & The April Rainers' music is clear. It has a Beatlesque, British and sometimes '60s American West Coast feel to it:

"I think that's pretty accurate. I like to think that our music is not only looking towards the past, though.

The themes and melodies are relevant to my own life here in 2017. So hopefully, they are relevant to other people too," John states.

Wheels to Idyll
"For the new album, Wheels to Idyll, Intercity 125 was one of the first songs I wrote and one of the first songs after I moved to Aarhus. I wanted to begin writing an album about visiting my Grandmother as a child, and this song just popped into my head. In the video, my boy Viktor was supposed to be me when I was a child. We paid him 100 kroner for it, which he immediately spent on chocolate!" says John, highlighting a second, co-written track on the album:

"Another song, My Two Wheels, was the first time I had ever co-written a song. It's never worked out for me before, but writing My Two Wheels with my friend Steev Burgess was an exciting and enjoyable process, so we wrote more together."

Honesty, character and swing
"I guess when I'm songwriting I choose subject matters that already inspire me. And which I am interested in exploring. Three songs I love would be for example: Catch The Wind by Donovan, I'm So Tired by The Beatles, and Blackberry Way by The Move. And if I were to mention essential ingredients in good songs it could be: Honesty, character – but most importantly, it's got to swing!"

The Libertines vs. The April Rainers
You're still an active member of The Libertines while living your daily life in Denmark. How do you balance life both as a father and family man in Aarhus with an international career with The Libertines?

"It's quite hard sometimes. If I'm away for more than two weeks, then we try and make it so the family can come out on tour for a bit. So, it's not too bad. And I guess my personal expression comes out in different ways in the two bands, so I don't feel like I am restricted in any way."

Being English, how do you see Danish culture? What do you miss or enjoy on the Danish music scene compared to the British?

"I've really enjoyed delving into Danish culture. Interesting how great human expression shines equally brightly but differently in different cultures. For me, The April Rainers is a great example of how music can transcend cultural differences. Our friendship and humour in the band transcends national barriers too. Most of the time!" John muses.

Albums in 2018
By next year, The Libertines will have completed their new recording studio in Margate, England, where they will record their next album. Meanwhile, John Hassall & The April Rainers will also do a new album by next year, so it looks like it's going to be busy for John and his fellow musicians. Finally, a comment on the need for quality music equipment:

"I guess you can still enjoy good music on bad-quality loudspeakers/stereo/MP3, but it's certainly a much better experience listening on decent equipment. I think it's definitely worth investing in a decent quality stereo if it's something you'll be using every day for the rest of your life," John concludes. 

John Hassal and the April Rainers:
John Hassall – vocals/guitar
James Jefferys – guitar/vocals
Jakob Bruno – drums/vocals
Erlend Eggestad – bass/vocals


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