1 Lay Down In The Dark

 


When Johan Anderson, who directed this video series, and I started talking about making the whole thing we realized we had a common interest in the work of the Swedish film maker Ingmar Bergman. The themes of these songs lent themselves towards a Scandinavian noir landscape, as they dealt with love, relationships, the losses we go through and death itself.

Johan had been looking for a project where he could delve into the landscape of human darkness.

 

 

I wanted to do something in Black and White. So he picked the four songs he thought could fit best and created a story line around them. I loved the ideas he came up with.

Of course I was nervous about doing so much acting. I think I got away with it alright, as it involved actually singing some of the lyrics. As we talked about it I came up with the idea of a priest. Johan who’s father was a theologian loved it. It sat well inside the Bergman universe too.

 

These songs are off my album Pains And Pleasures of Intimacy and this album has a confessional quality to it.

I don’t want to live with a closet filled with dirty secrets, filled with skeletons weighing me down and by the time I go to the next world and everything will be revealed anyway, I want to be free. This was kind of the purpose of this record.

 

 

As for the video you can follow the story in the video and see it all for yourself, but what I thought could be interesting is to talk about the songs and what went into making them.

The first song is LAY DOWN IN THE DARK

My most erotic song to date.

 

2 Dead Man In The Closet

 

“Dead Man in the Closet” was the first video we shot in this 4 part video series. Johan Anderson and Brad Simpson located a bar near Brads hometown: Hightstown.

I felt good about this typical New Jersey drive through town, as it was smack in the middle of a Springsteen-esque landscape, a feel and a surrounding that really spoke to what this record “Pains and pleasures of Intimacy” is all about.


At the end of the first video “Lay Down in the Dark” we see the main character, the priest, walk away from his church. He has decided to leave his calling, he has decided to forge a new path.

In the opening shot we see him now continue his walk. This walk takes him straight to the bar. As he walks in, we recognize immediately the creepy character from the Lay Down in the dark, then an undertaker, now a bartender. However, this doesn’t seem to register with the priest. Maybe because this is years later? Who knows.

As the song kicks off a woman walks in. She sits down. It’s her; the woman who caught his eye while giving a sermon earlier. Did the priest know she would be here? Is he following her? Or is this a chance meeting? We don’t know.

The priest walks over to her. Conversation takes off. But something is going on behind them. A group of people appear. They are dancing, trance like. It’s not the best of vibes.

 

The woman suggests they dance too. The priest agrees. They dance, as in a trance. Whos is in control here? What is actually going on? Priest snaps out of it. So does the woman. They decide to leave together. Bartender then kills off the dancing group and follows the couple. Dark times lies ahead.

 

 

SPECIAL MOMENTS:

To be honest, what I really like about this video is the simple light effect that goes on when the “narrator” sings the lyrics of the song. Johan made a wall and punched a number of holes in it. He set up the wall behind the stage and a big stage light behind that again and then had a guy move the light around while I was performing. It created a simple, beautiful and powerful effect.


I also want to comment on Brads and Johans pick for the two other characters in this series: Chelsea Coles and G.Paul Salvetti. These two guys fits the bill perfectly. We get to know them a little bit better in this video.

 

ABOUT THE SONG:

I remember that recording this song the drummer; Arthur Kam kept saying how it gave him the chills. It almost looked like he didn’t want to walk down to the basement alone where the drum room was located. He he… excellent drumming though!

Arthur Kam here with Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters

Do you have a song that gives you the chills? Leave me a comment. I’d like to hear it!

“Dead Man in the Closet” is really about keeping secrets. Things you tuck away and you don’t want anybody to see. Little skeletons that sits hidden in a room in your mind and the only problem is that they pop up from time to time.

If you have too many of those, and life can become very complicated.

I have had many such secrets. For instance my fear of people, or rather fear of putting myself in situations where people might laugh at me or judge me. I’d like to come off as smart and confident, but I actually feel intimidated and out of place in most social settings. So I avoid them. Problem is of course; if you want to be a musician you have to get in front of people.

I developed a serious stage fright, that got so bad I had to get professional help for it. More about that in a later post.

Tell me what you thought about this video and please tell me if there is a creepy song that you like to listen to from time to time. I would very much like to hear it.

All of these four videos are from my PREVIOUS album “Pains and Pleasures of Intimacy”.

You can hear more of it here:

 

3 Crows on the wire

 

No matter how good your relationships are with people around you, you will eventually hit some rough waters. When that moment arise, often when least expected, you will battle your own feelings, your memories, your own intellectual analytical powers and finally your own will, and you will have to face the question: “should I stay or should I go.”

The complex nuances of the mundane and the celebrations, the joy’s and the sorrows, the pleasures and the pains in this life are all mixed up, and what outweighs the other is sometimes hard to tell. This is the internal conversation that happens when you realize you are deep in a moment of uncertainty. Somehow I think for many it happens in the car…at least it does for me.

“CROWS ON THE WIRE” is off my album “Pains & Pleasures of Intimacy”. This album is dark and roots oriented, where the rock, blues and country influences are audible. This song was released as a single and was paired with  “Dead man in the Closet”, a song that creates the other side of the coin, flipped in the air under the moonlight somewhere deep in US suburbia.

You don’t know where the coin is going to land or if you will ever see it again, but with these two songs blaring out through your soundsystem the mood is set: a slow, waltzy churn towards something unsettling.

I call this music Suburban Noir, a kind of confessional country blues. Living in a suburban area in New Jersey at the time of making this record, I felt at home in a space between the beautiful every day life and the ongoing strangeness of just being alive and the relationships we are creating.

In many ways this song can be seen as a murder ballad. But murder of who? Yourself? Your inner life/ spirit? We see the three characters shifting seats in the car throughout the video, as we shift inside ourselves, going through the day, going through our lives, always at the border of giving life, taking life, murder.

Two other things I really enjoy when it comes to how Johan has executed this particular video. The rain drops on the car is filmed so it looks like the branches are reaching out for the car. It’s ever so subtle, but it’s there. It symbols to me all the things that are reaching out for us on this journey. In this particular setting, there is something omenus about it.


The second thing is how the car represents our immidiate space in this universe that we are traveling through. Our body, our house, the village or city we have chosen to live in. At 3:39 in the video, the screen suddently opens up. The feeling is expanded, a wider view and a different perspective is now reached.

Two bodies lie by the roadside, a third drives off. It seems like the evil character won this round and managed to kill the two others, the two seeking love, seeking a relationship, seeking a new life away from what was. However, in their pusrsuit to get away, they were caught up with whatever unsettled demonic forces present from the beginning.

And yet, it’s not the end. And so we move on to the final chapter in this story. Alabaster Jar.


Tell me what you thought about this video. I would very much like to hear it.

All of these four videos are from my previous album “Pains and Pleasures of Intimacy”.

 Or come to spotify and put it on your playlist:

4 Alabaster Jar

 

 

From the very first song I wrote at the age of 11, the theme of dying has been with me.

I am not scared of death. It really is a second birth. Do you believe in life after birth? That is the question.

The end of this life, which is inevitable, creates a beautiful framework and helps us focus on what is really important: our relationships.


This is a “passing of the mantle” song. It’s written to my children – “you can take whatever you need”.

Nothing is more beautiful and also more painful than our relationships. It is the fabric that weaves us together and gives life meaning, that sets us up for what is to come. In this world we breath air. In the next world we breathe love. And you are what you love. This song is a celebration of this fact.

The waltzy 6/8 rythmic feel of the song is meant to provoke a sense of the “big wheel” spinning, the ongoing fact of life, somthingh that ends for all of us and yet keeps on going. We have a measured time here and what we fill this time with matters.

“Make wise choices. Choose love.”

That is my message to my kids, because “you are what you love”.


Johan Flew us out to Los Angeles where we got to work with a crew fresh off of the Avenger movie. The story has continued on and we are now in the next world which of course involves flying.

This was a new and really cool experience, but I tell you: it was hard on the neck! After a minute or so we were brought down to rest, then brought back up again. Over and over, all three of us. Filiming is first and foremost waiting around.

In the opening scene of this video we see my character lie infront of the very church he tried to run away from. He walks inside only to realize he is no longer a part of this world.

In the next scenes we see little pieces from his earthly life flitter about the character now floating himself, floating among his memories, images out of reach, no longer there other than visions of the past. “You are what you love”.

I really think it is powerful how Johan merges the three characters at the end, and how my character turns to the camera. I get a “how about you” sense from it. What will be your choices? Do you know that “you are what you love”?

And so it concludes this journey. The darkness, hopes, loves and losses all entwined and with us forever.

At the end I hope people have a sense of hope, a sense that nothing is in vain, nothing really goes away, and that our lives are valuable, have deep meaning, and will move on after this earthly life.  We go on and continue to live on making our selves and our lives better.

I truly belive this!

The darker tones speaks to the seriousness I feel about this life, how serious every step and choice is. How magical it is. How wonderful it is to be aalive!

I hope you have/ will enjoy this video series. I would love to hear your thoughts, so comment under the video or send me a message on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram.

All of these four videos are from my previous album “Pains and Pleasures of Intimacy”.

You can listen to it here:


http://benlorentzen.com/pains-and-pleasures-of-intimacy

Or come to spotify and put it on your playlist:

 Talk soon, 
Ben

Gear Talk Gibson J-45

GEAR TALK – Gibson J-45

What does Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello, Jeff Bridges, New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen and yours truly all have in common? The answers is simple and self evident: Gibson J-45

It is not by accident. It is generally regarded as the most popular acoustic guitar Gibson has to offer, if not the most popular of all acoustic guitars. This model saw daylight in 1942, and has largely stayed intact since then. The J-45 has a rounded, “baseball bat” style neck, with sported modest dot-shaped mother of pearl fretboard position markers.

The J-45 was constructed of solid spruce wood for the top, while solid mahogany was used for the back and sides. Apart from a small batch of natural-finish J-45s produced in 1942, the model was offered only in the sunburst finish.

The J-45 is absolutely my go-to-acoustic guitar and I love it for the rich bass and the durability throughout a gig. The neck is “big” or wide and gives you resistance, and it responds great to a little harder strumming as well as fine fingerpicking. It truly deserves the label “workhorse”. It is extremely reliable and plays great summers as well and winters. I have taken this guitar half around the world already.Once tuned I very seldom have to tune it again during a show.

How it got started

 

THE STORY OF THE GIBSON is interesting!

Imagine launching a guitar in 1942. Us had just joined WWII and

parts were hard to come by because of government imposed rations

 on the commercial use of timber and metal. Designers had to use up

to four pieces of spruce for the J-45’s top. This lead to Gibson

choosing the sunburst finish simply because a sunburst finish would

better disguise any join in the timbers 

 

Why did they give it the name 45? Original idea was to ask $45 for it.

In other words: a simple, cheaper reliable guitar.

J-45 sales remained strong after the war. In the ’50s it easily outsold every other flat-top. In the ’60s it was surpassed only by the even lower-priced all-mahogany LG-0. In the ’70s and up until to day it is one of Gibson’s best selling guitars

Shameless Promotion


Here is a little thing I recorded on my Gibson J-45. It is also an ode to a hero of mine: Chris Cornell. AND it happens to be a song that me and my wife consider as “our song”. Enjoy!

If you would like to know more about my music, please
sign up to my email list below. Sign up now and I will send you a track from my new album!

Do you own Gibson yourself? Send me a picture!
I will feature it on my social media.
Talk soon!