Sumie Nagano’s new album, Lost in Light, is the first to be released since her self-titled debut back in 2013, and is something of much anticipation. Produced by Filip Leyman and released via Bella Union it will undoubtedly be an exceptional record.
Sumie spoke with The Fountain about her cultural influences, her tips for fellow musicians as well as her working process.
TF: So, you’re first release since your debut four years ago, you must be excited?
Yes, to let something go that only a few people have heard is for sure something truly special.
TF: The last album you worked with pianist Nils Frahm and recorded a hauntingly reflective one – what are we to expect from your new work?
I believe my expression is the same as the debut album but I wanted to find a sound that included more musicians and with Filip Leyman as my producer this time around it definitely has a more dramatic feel and soundscape to it. Also time plays a part on your way of writing or delivering a song, I am sure you can hear that as well even if I have not reflected over that much yet, but I am sure I will in the future.
TF: Lost In Light comes out on 10th November – where did your influences stem from in the culmination and writing of this new beauty? With both Japanese and Swedish family history there must be quite a fusion of influences?
It’s quite difficult for me to pinpoint where it actually started, melodies and lyrics do come fairly often but after writing them down perhaps one out of very many is something I might save by recording them in my apartment.
Working with different musical projects did also make me see how I could write and sing from a different angle.
Being part Japanese and Swedish is not something I think about while being creative even though I am sure the set of both cultures does surely have a print of some kind that has more depth than the way I look. I grew up with parents listening to Bob Dylan, The Band, Leonard Cohen and Bob Marley to name a few that I can remember now. I pretty recently have found a singer/songwriter treasure from the late sixties in Japan and Sweden and the song Divine Wind from the new album, for example, is a Swedish poem about Japan by Daniel Klevheden that I translated to English so I guess I take that back, it does have an impact on me but it’s still not something I think about.
TF: Out on Bella Union again, there must be a promo tour and all else to plug this new album. Can we expect to see you in the UK?
Yes, it looks like I will be touring this winter and UK will be one of the stops on the way and hopefully Glasgow.
TF: For wannabe and, up and coming musicians out there, what tips and advice would you give?
Sounding like a cliché but it’s a true fact and that is to hold on to your true self meaning your own expression, we are all influenced by other artists but it is what you make out of it. And, yes, practice that talent and I’m sure you will find love by doing just that.
TF: And what is a day in the life of Sumie? How do you begin and develop a track never mind an entire album?
A day in my life comes along with me being a mother of two wonderful kids and having a 9-5 job so I think I am lucky to have the support that I have from foremost Bella Union and all the great musicians who I’ve met along my way here. They have all inspired me to continue and with that said I’ve found time that some people say they wouldn’t have but you always have time for something that you can’t help doing and for me it’s writing songs.
Sumie’s Lost in Light is out on 10th November via Bella Union.