AN AMER­I­CAN IN REYK­JAVIK

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - STACCATO INSPIRATION -

KNOwN AS

AGE 46 RE­SIdES IN

John Grant NAME

John Grant, synth bal­ladeer MOST RE­CENT AL­bUM Pale Green Ghosts, 2013

Niles ( Michi­gan ), USA bORN IN

Reyk­javik, Ice­land

“I’ve lived in Europe a long time, mainly be­cause I’ve al­ways had a pas­sion for for­eign lan­guages. ( To­day I speak a half dozen of them. ) I spent sev­eral years in Ger­many and then in Rus­sia, so I could learn by to­tal im­mer­sion. One day I hope to spend time in Paris to im­prove my French. The de­sire to travel and be else­where no doubt comes from the fact that I grew up in the ul­tra–con­ser­va­tive, re­li­gious en­vi­ron­ment of Buchanan — a small town in Michi­gan — and then in Colorado. Th­ese were places where I quickly felt so­cially un­ac­cept­able once I be­gan con­fronting my ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Also, a part of me no doubt felt that if I left for Europe, things would nec­es­sar­ily be bet­ter, or at least eas­ier. I soon re­alised this wasn’t the case. I moved to Ice­land three years ago, after at­tend­ing a fes­ti­val there. It’s a coun­try that had at­tracted me for some time. In fact I fell in love with it in the 1980s, when I heard the first al­bum of the Su­gar­cubes [ Björk’s group ]. I’m crazy about Ice­land — I love its lan­guage — which I speak bet­ter and bet­ter — the land­scapes, the wilder­ness, the sparse pop­u­la­tion. There is some­thing pro­foundly rest­ful about the sheer quan­tity of space it af­fords us, so that you can fully en­joy the soli­tude with­out feel­ing any lim­i­ta­tions. My first al­bum was steeped in very Amer­i­can sounds be­cause I recorded it in Texas with the group Mid­lake, and I had planned to re­turn there to work on the next al­bum. But I then had some de­ci­sive en­coun­ters here, no­tably with the mu­si­cian Biggi Veira [ from the Ice­landic group GusGus ], who in­spired me with his ge­nius for synth sounds. I’m a child of the 80s. I’ve al­ways had a taste for the elec­tronic sounds of that time: Devo, Ya­zoo, Depeche Mode, New Or­der. They’re a part of my mu­si­cal be­ing, and I wanted to put some­thing of that into Pale Green Ghosts, which is deeply im­bued with the ex­pe­ri­ence of my first months in Ice­land. It’s an al­bum born of ob­scu­rity — be­cause it was night all the time in Ice­land, and also be­cause I was start­ing to feel the ef­fects of HIV and so I was con­fronting many kinds of dark­ness. My next al­bum will be dif­fer­ent, be­cause since then I’ve seen this coun­try in day­light. But my mu­sic will al­ways be cen­tred on who I am, rather than where I find my­self. No doubt you’ll recog­nise me.”

travel and be

no doubt comes from the fact that I grew up in the ul­tra–con­ser­va­tive,

re­li­gious en­vi­ron­ment of Buchanan — a small town

in Michi­gan — and then in Colorado. Also, a part of me no doubt felt that

if I le� for Europe, things would nec­es­sar­ily

be bet­ter, or at least eas­ier.”

“The de­sire to else­where

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