My Inspiration // Kim Janssen

One day down at The Great Escape and things are hotting up. We’ve caught some incredible acts already (notable s/o to Marika Hackman, Middle Kids, Slotface and Raye), and the next two days look set to follow suit.

This afternoon will see Kim Janssen smash the Dutch Impact showcase at Komedia, and ahead of his performance we asked him to tell us the tracks that inspire him most. Here’s what he came back with.

Cat Power – The Greatest
I feel like you can listen to this song endlessly and still not quite grasp its lyrics and form. There is this timelessness in its essence and in the phenomenal arrangement.

The National – Conversation 16
Before I heard The National I’d never come across this lyrical style. Berninger paints vivid, cinematic pictures and seamlessly combines humdrum everyday life with abstract and dreamlike poetry. This song, like many of their songs, is masterly layered and at the same time irresistibly pop.

Bill Callahan – Jim Cain
What a timeless song. Bill’s acoustic and vocal would have been enough, but the production and arrangement is also perfect. His vocal delivery is so dry and feels so off the cuff, it doesn’t get more honest than this. It’s quiet and subdued and yet it seems to pack our entire existence.

Red House Painters – Have You Forgotten?
I think there might be no one as good as Mark Kozelek (singer/songwriter RHP) in bringing across childhood nostalgia.

Sigur Ròs – Inní mér syngur vitleysyngur
Before Sigur Ròs I didn’t know a song could be so massive. It’s the punch of a huge film score or classical piece packed in one chorus. ‘Epic’ doesn’t do it justice.

Father John Misty – Funtimes In Babylon
I remember seeing him on ‘Letterman’ wearing a white suit and fronting a huge string section, performing this song. The strings and ethereal female choirs seem to come from a Sinatra ballad from the 50’s while his lyrics feel like a drug-trip. When I think of FJM I think of a washed up crooner/star from the 60’s that spends his nights singing in Vegas about love and drugs – fantastic.

Sufjan Stevens – Death With Dignity

I’ve been listening to Sufjan Stevens since the early 2000’s and I’ve been influenced by his huge orchestral and/or electronic arrangements and his lyrics about everything from serial killers to express ways. His last record where this song is from is incredibly pure, less eccentric and extremely personal – almost painfully beautiful.

Bon Iver – Beth/Rest
The sound and production of this song, how the guitars drenched in reverb melt together with the synths, saxs, pedalsteel and the vocals – just beautiful. There is no clear verse or refrain, it seems to remain out of reach which makes it so that you can listen to it for years without ever getting tired of it. The nod to dramatic ballads from the 80s and 90s make it nostalgic and gives it a timeless quality.

Bruce Springsteen – My Father’s House
This is a classic ofcourse. One of the strongest songs ever written if you ask me. How can you say so much about love, loss, family, and growing older in six verses?

Phoenix – Rome
The guitars and synths gleam and shine like neon light, the drums and vocals are hyperactive. From a distance the song seems only to have a shiny exterior but its essence is a timeless, melancholic song. It takes me back to nights in Bangkok and Singapore as a kid. It’s so poppy and yet has so much weight.

Kim Janssen plays the Dutch Impact showcase at The Great Escape 2017, more info can be found here.

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