“I started using this name during the time I lived in Kópavogur when I was younger,” says Jón Gabríel Lorange by way of explaining his moniker—The Suburban Spaceman, or TSS. “I would regularly ‘space out’ to my music… so I found it quite spot on.”
Under the TSS banner, Jón—also known as one-half of experimental synth pop duo Nóló, who were active between 2009-2014—released ‘Moods’ in mid-2018, a delightful 30-minute collection of dreamy pop songs with psychedelic rock, funk and synth-pop elements. The songs usually revolve around some sort of indeterminism; a specific mood that strikes, a thought that comes out into the open, or lyrics that feel ‘just right’.
“The songs—although recorded over a period of time with various inspirations—have an overarching feeling which ties them together,” says Jón. “My sound is a bit of a muddle of what I like. Their titles are often spur-of-the-moment ideas.”
New music all the time
‘Moods’ won the “You Should Have Heard This” award for a release that somewhat sailed under the radar, which Jón feels fits TSS quite well. “I can’t be bothered to think about marketing my music most of the time. I’m not one of those musicians that knows exactly when it’s album time,” he says. “I just want to make new music, all the time!”
The thing that sparked ‘Moods’ was a synthesizer that Jón purchased in Belgium (where he currently resides), and which is heard in every song. “Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to play around with the instruments that are easily available to me,” he explains. “So, getting this analogue synthesizer was a game changer as I’ve mainly used digital synthesizers before.”
Cowboy synth opera
During the making of the bittersweet “Only Say My Prayers In Hard Times,” Jón became addicted to slide guitar, which fuelled a vision in his mind of a cowboy riding a horse into the sunset.
“In the process, I decided that my next album would be a concept album about a cowboy on acid,” he says. “Psychedelic rock in the wild west brought to you by The Suburban Spaceman. I’m transitioning away from the synthesizer for now, making this a guitar-heavy album. On the one after that I might welcome a synthesizer back into the mix… along with an opera singer perhaps. Who knows?”
Read more about the awards here.