Big Man On A Little Planet - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Big Man On A Little Planet

Big Man On A Little Planet

Published October 11, 2011

Although he’s been to Iceland every year for the past five years, and although he’s played concerts here almost every time, this is the first year that Sean Lennon is lining up his annual Iceland excursion with Airwaves. To make the most of it, he’s bringing along all three of his projects, which makes him the single international artist playing in the most bands of the festival.

Interview with Sean Lennon

Although he’s been to Iceland every year for the past five years, and although he’s played concerts here almost every time, this is the first year that Sean Lennon is lining up his annual Iceland excursion with Airwaves. To make the most of it, he’s bringing along all three of his projects, which makes him the single international artist playing in the most bands of the festival.

How do you manage playing in three bands at the same festival?

That has yet to be seen. I have done a show like that at SXSW, where I played in four or five projects in an evening and it does take a bit of multi-tasking. Luckily they are all on the same stage and we share equipment and a lot of the music is improvised in Consortium Musicum, so I don’t have to worry about that before we start.

It must get a little hectic though…

It does. Sometimes I wish we lived on a bigger planet, because then there would be more hours in the day.

I think a lot of people feel that way sometimes. Music projects are a lot like children and you’re not supposed to pick a favourite but do you have one you’re most excited about right now?

I am excited about all of them equally, and in different ways, I guess in the same way a parent might say to their children. To be able to work with my mom is such an honour and I’m such a big fan of hers. To be able to produce for her is such a big privilege for me. Then The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger is my main project with my girlfriend, and the thing I am focusing on the most these days. But Consortium is also really a treat because I get to improvise with one of my favourite musicians in the world, Greg Saunier from Deerhoof, and it’s sort of a cathartic release that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

Since you’ve been here so often and know it quite well here, do you have anything you do regularly when you visit?

I have a bunch of Icelandic friends that I like to see and I tend to do a lot of weird extreme hiking and nature exploration. There are a lot of weird caves and glaciers to be explored. They are all in the middle of nowhere. You have to hire these services that make sure you don’t freeze to death.

I’m really looking forward to coming. We’re really excited that we were able to make Airwaves coincide with the Imagine Peace trip because for years I’ve been saying, “This is crazy! We’re leaving two days before this big festival!” I always just felt like if we could merge the two, my whole birthday experience of Iceland would be perfect. So this year I’m thinking that it’s moving towards a better system.

How familiar are you with the Icelandic music scene? Are there any local bands you’re looking forward to seeing?

There are so many bands in Iceland that it’s hard to keep track. I definitely am more aware of Icelandic music than I am, say, of other countries. At the same time, I’m not young enough to keep up with everything that’s happening. When I was younger I used to really persevere to know what the newest, hippest, coolest bands were all the time. Now I don’t really have the time to dedicate to it anymore. I mean, I used to go to five shows a week if I wasn’t on tour. Now my friends basically have to bribe me to leave the house.

 

By Rebecca Louder

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