About Don’t you walk away

Good People!

 It’s time for a new song, and I am excited, because I frankly think this is one of my best songs. It’s called: “Don’t you walk away”.

You can read the title as a prayer or a cry in the night.
I wrote the song more than 20 years ago. I was in a band with friends in my hometown Oslo, Norway, and I let the song kick around a little bit before I presented it to them.
We made a demo of the song in our rehearsal space, but nothing more came of it. A few years later I was invited to write some songs for Paal Flaata’s new record, Norways answer to Glen Campbell. I presented this song to him. He liked it and recorded it for his exellent album “Rain”.

 5 years after that I had moved to USA and I recorded it  with my new  band, under the guidance of Brian Sperber. Brian heard the early demo and Paal Flaata’s recording, but he felt the song needed a bridge and so helped write it. However, that recording was shelved because the band fell apart.

Since then I have been waiting for the right moment to pull this song down from the shelves and finally give it a go and make my own version of a song I think of as one of my best. That time has now arrived. But at first I was uncertain how to approach it. I wanted it to be fresh, come to me as if new, as if just written. I decided to send it to a producer in Nashville: Josh Frigo, and give him total freedom based on a simple demo I made of the song. I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to get this song out of memory-mode and into discovery-mode so I could give it a fresh start.

 

 Finishing up Josh’s approach, which I liked, I could now listen to the old recordings with fresh ears, and a new perspective. A more relaxed, uncritical approach, because I had a great version in the can, meaning: there wasn’t anything to worry about.  Listening to them again, I realized that there were things on both the previous studio recording with Brian Sperber and the demo recording with my Norwegian band, that I liked. The idea jumped out at me: how about releasing  all three versions.

I have never done that before. Three versions, three different recordings and mixes of the same song.
Why not?
Why not indeed.

 

Influences

I was influenced deeply by a couple of artists and a couple of songs while writing this song. First and foremost my country men in aha. Introduced to the world as a bubble gum teenage pop band with tanned skin, torn jeans, leather wrist bands and a lot of hairspray, they went to the top of the pos with their first single: Take on Me.

 It is still a summer hit many places around the world and is a song that defines the 80’s for many.  Mid 80’s it was incredible that three guys from Oslo, Norway could reach number 1 in the the ultimate mekka of popular music: United States of America. It was  nothing short of a fairytale, a fairy tale that sparked new fairytales in the minds of many a young Norwegian.  I was one of them. But the bubble gum only lasts so long and thankfully the band moved on to explore new musical grounds: a much darker, more somber landscape. This is how and why I got so deeply hooked to their music.

Their fifth album: and the title track from that album: “Memorial Beach” created a soundscape I wanted to be a part of. Many efforts were made. “Don’t you walk away” is one of them. I should also mention KD Lang’s “Constant Craving”. And of course Chris Isac’s “Wicked Game”.
How could one describe this landscape, or soundscape. At the core of it, it is a love songs. In this particular instance a sad love song. Here I will lean on Nick Cave who in Vienna on September 25, 1999 wrote and performed an excellent piece on the topic of Love songs.
Quote:

 

 

Exactly, mr Cave.
Here is what I think.
The cry in the night for someone to stay, to never walk away is at the core of the human experience. We are not born to be alone, and yet only alone can we find the truest of ourselves. Only alone can we make up the fabric of whom we want to be. And only alone can we choose community. The goal is not solitude. The goal is togetherness. And this goal is so deeply ingrained in us that we sometimes go to extreme’s to fulfill it. Because in this togetherness we create a mirror of God. And of ourselves. And we see the love song that started it all: a deep cry in the night, in the void that sparked creativity, that again led to a process, still in the making, that circles through the ages, all the way up until now, until you, right here, right now sit down and listen to this, reflect on this and right now help create a community of those who have come to this very place.
Enjoy the song!

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:


https://iam.benlorentzen.com/pains-and-pleasures-of-intimacy

Or come to spotify and put it on your playlist:

 Talk soon, 
Ben