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The 405 meets iamamiwhoami

January 4, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


Videography, editing and additional photography by Tim Boddy

Original Artwork by Mark Belan

“Without you, I am who?,” asks Jonna Lee on ‘Blue Blue’, the doubly-eponymous title track from iamamiwhoami‘s third album. The ‘you’ here is a reference to the followers of the Swedish audio-visual wonder merchants, depicted in their latest series as black-clad, faceless figures. This lyric echoes the not-so-thin line that runs through all of iamamiwhoami’s work, to date, embracing a very close kinship with a curious, engaged and loyal audience.

Cemented organically as something of a coterie from the very beginning of the project five years ago, iamamiwhoami’s fan-base has, at least in part, also made the ten-song set and its visual siblings financially possible through GENERATE, a monetised contribution platform on Lee’s label, To Whom It May Concern‘s website, earlier this year.

BLUE is, in some ways, iamamiwhoami’s most straight-forward, discovery-friendly and mainstream release, but one which nevertheless stands as pioneering. The songwriting cleverly manages to universalise lyrics which, in essence, pertain to iamamiwhoami’s evolution and interaction with its supporters, so that unsuspecting listeners can easily surmise their own meanings and stories from Lee’s words. The production and arrangements avoid predictability and reconfigure the electro-pop genre’s blueprints into something that is always fresh and never dull.

Then there is the way in which iamamiwhoami have chosen to present the new record. Limited edition physical embodiments of the album are available for those who want to possess BLUE in the more traditional vinyl and CD formats and, in this respect, Lee has collaborated with a very special young (and simultaneously old) friend of iamamiwhoami to design a unique product, which includes a stunning book. The focus for Lee and her compatriots, however, is the digital counterpart, which reflects the world and technology in which the act was born and has, since, thrived.

And so, the BLUE Island, accessible with a digital edition of the album from To Whom It May Concern’s online shop, operates as a new way for the listener to enjoy the series – it’s not only about the ability to hear to the music and watch the accompanying visuals but also sharing them with others and enjoy exclusive content. For example, the full lyrics for all of iamamiwhoami’s releases, including bounty and kin, are now available for the very first time, together with a new track, ‘Dive’, which succinctly describes the inception of BLUE and what it means to its makers.”We are creating new islands,” Lee sings on BLUE‘s fourth chapter, ‘Tap Your Glass’, and the idea comes full circle in light of the fact that iamamiwhoami have employed two long-standing fans to create the BLUE island. Additional treasures will be floating ashore on the micro-site in the coming weeks, including the premiere of BLUE‘s highly-anticipated final film, ‘Shadowshow’, which is expected to arrive on or around the fifth anniversary of the first iamamiwhoami YouTube upload on the 4th of December.

The 405 Jumped On A Plane

In early July The 405 pitched two feature ideas to iamamiwhoami’s PR rep. With hindsight, the concepts we put forward were not quite right for the act and its careful development of the BLUE campaign. To our surprise, however, Lee’s gracious rejection of our suggestions was accompanied by a counter-proposal of “an interview, written or filmed”. As the latter form is one which Lee has, to date, mostly shunned, we grabbed the opportunity faster than you can say, well – “iamamiwhoami”, and found ourselves in Stockholm in the middle of October, awaiting further instructions.

In true iamamiwhoami form, the exact location of our filmed interview was kept secret until the very last minute but on the day before we were assured by Lee: “it will be good.” Her subsequent instructions, on the morning of the big day, were to take the Djurgårds ferry from the south island of Stockholm and wait at Djurgårdsvägen 68. We looked the address up: The ABBA Museum. “Bring your coats,” her email concluded.

Lee and iamamiwhoami cinematographer, John Strandh, met us as arranged and drove us to a more remote part of the Djurgården island, whose name translates as the animal garden. Indeed, Strandh revealed that, on occasion, straying sheep wandered around that part of the forest. Ultimately, no ruminants appeared during our interview but, all the same, we don’t think Lee overestimated her promise: “it will be good.” It was. Very much so.

BLUE is out on 10 November on To Whom It May Concern.

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