"I explore and uncover where the song wants to go."

Jacob Bellens is renowned for his ability to pen delicate, almost simple melody lines – and interpret them in a very personal way with his highly characteristic voice.

We sit down with Jacob to discuss his album, My Convictions, his approach to songwriting and why quiet music is good music.

This is me!
"I feel good about this record. I write songs all the time and My Convictions is more a collection of songs that fit well together in mood and atmosphere than individual songs. It's a lighter album. I have done dark songs and albums earlier on, but this bunch of songs called for a different kind of mood scale. 

That's why the instrumentation, for example, is fashioned with strings and bells, and overall I just feel that the songs on the album are dressed right," Jacob Bellens says.

I go where the song wants to go
We talk to him on the phone while he sips coffee at one of his favourite neighbourhood cafés in Copenhagen, where he often works on his music.

Earlier on using a MiniDisc and a notebook, and now a laptop. The tools have changed, but the process hasn't that much over the years. Because that's the fun part:

"I get inspired to write a new song because of the possibility of making one! It's the best thing I know of. To uncover new territory. 

I may just have one line to a new song, but I do recognise its potential. Where does the song itself want to go? So I explore and uncover where the song wants to go," he explains.

Found freedom
He feels that he gets better with age at writing songs. He finds more freedom, and it's a more fun and satisfying process.

In prior years, it felt more like a Gordian knot. He found it important simply to finish the song. Nowadays, a song can easily wait for years until the right bunch of songs are collected to join it – as is the case with My Convictions

Jacob is acclaimed for his earlier work with the bands I Got You on Tape and Murder. Why does he now also release albums under his own name?

"It's been a natural development. It feels good, not because I was unhappy with anything, but simply because it had to be easier for me to understand what I was doing. This is me. Also, a song doesn't wind up at four different places with different bands and titles on iTunes," he jokes.

Quiet sound is good sound
He's always writing songs. And he's always busy with new projects, he states. Always finishing up something specific like an album, while at the same time writing a large pool of songs for future projects.

And he goes his own way. While the music world always seems to praise loudness, Jacob has a different view:

"If you ask me what good sound is, my first thought is that good sound is quiet sound. I've always had a hard time as regards volume for volume's sake.

I really like to play music unbelievably low. It's sound manners, if you like. I often find that the antithesis to high or loud is good," he concludes.

As always, Jacob is busy working on new projects, new songs and new contexts.

He's currently working on new albums in the studio. This time, the output seems to be a more electronic, beat and groove-based collection of songs. He never had a master plan. Music is the plan.

Discover more at www.jacobbellens.com.

- Rune H. Jensen, rhj@dali.dk


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