Substance Is Meaningless had a little chat with Swiss electro-pop band Len Sander ahead of the release of their upcoming 2nd album, The Future of Lovers, to find out that about the one-dimensionality of digital relationships, the importance of the tangible and why you just can’t run from your past, even if you wanted to, sorry…
SIM: How would you describe your music in ten words?
LEN SANDER: Frank, smooth, driven, energetic, tentative, bold, fearless, eclectic, deep, personal
Your new album is called ‘The Future of Lovers’ – what does the future have in store for romantics out there?
The future is uncertain, of course, because love always is, and it’s the uncertainty that makes love alluring.
‘The Future of Lovers’ is a statement about the re-conquest, even the revenge of the senses, on the digital world. What does that mean exactly?
Many things digital comprise a promise for infinity, for endless possibilities, while in fact, when it comes to our senses, our digital experiences are extremely one-dimensional (sitting at a computer, watching a screen, touching a sleek surface, communicating with a language based on code). And this contradiction is something that we’ve been reflecting on and discussing a lot while producing this album. I personally felt, and still feel, a strong need to touch things, to feel things, to sense things and to experience things with my whole body. And I am very certain that I am not alone with this desire, especially in this digital age, because our senses and their need for stimulation are naturally revolting against this evolution.
The first track released on the album is called ‘Woman On The Run’ – is there anything you’d like to run from if you could?
The lyrics in the song talk about how your past experiences define you as a person and how you deal with these experiences, especially when they’re painful. So, in this song I ask whether we could just give these experiences back, return them, forget them, without losing who we are. And my conclusion is, no, you can’t give them back because, yes, you would lose who you are. So, you can’t really run from your past, but you can turn painful experiences into something positive, for example by pouring them into your art and your music. And this is what we do.
The album explores the ‘social dimensions of love and physicality’ – what exactly are those?
It means that what we think of love, what we expect from love, what we wish for in love and even what we feel and experience within our bodies is very much defined by social dimensions.
One of the songs on the album is called, ‘My Heart Is A Cold Place To Live In’ – that sounds very depressing… is that taken from any personal experiences?
Ha ha, yes! Has anyone ever written a song that was not taken from personal experiences? Well, I have never tried to write something not personal.
What has been the most difficult thing so far about being a musician in the digital age?
I think the pressure to always be present and communicate online to get attention for your music can be difficult because in order to be creative you also need to be able to retreat and have time for reflection.
‘Places’ made it on to Radio 1 in the UK, what kind of positive repercussions did you get from this airplay?
This was really important for us. First, it gave us the confidence that our music can make it internationally and secondly radio stations all over Switzerland started playing our music.
You guys are from Zurich, what are three things we should do in the city?
Go for a swim in the lake or the river, visit Museum Haus Konstruktiv and have a drink at Sender which is a bar and independent radio station GDS.FM
And three things we should avoid?
Personally, I don’t really like the area around Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhofstrasse. It is too busy and therefore no sense of art can be felt around there.
I’m going to be honest, I can’t really name many (or any) other Swiss bands I know. Are there any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?
Of course! The Swiss Music scene is very, very lively. Check out Odd Beholder, True, One Sentence Supervisor, Egopusher, Wolfman, Dave Eleanor.
So, it’s now 2018 – New Year, new me etc. What are your plans for the year ahead?
We have so many plans! We start the year by releasing our second album on January 26th. And then we will be touring Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. We also hope to play our first overseas shows!