Glen Hansard Explains the Meaning of 'Rhythm and Repose'

Glen Hansard Explains the Meaning of 'Rhythm and Repose'
For Glen Hansard, Rhythm and Repose isn't just an album title: it's a philosophy. The Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter says that he's become strictly principled about striking a balance between work and everything else.

"The reason I called the album Rhythm and Repose is because I believe that when you're working you should work really hard, and really work, and really focus," Hansard tells Exclaim! "But when you're not working, you should turn everything off. And you should just sit.

"You look at kids waiting at the bus stop nowadays, and their heads are in their phones. As a young boy, my imagination was the most important thing. I would sit on a bus and drift off into my thinking and write songs and imagine my life. That imagination was so strong that I have literally invented the path to that life, from back when I was a child."

Said path has included nine full-length albums with Irish folk rock band the Frames, three with the Swell Season, a successful stop at the 2008 Oscars after the triumphant tenure of Once (which he starred in alongside Swell Season bandmate Markéta Irglová), and now a solo album of his own.

"There comes a point in your life where you have to sort of own your own art," he says. "You just have to own it. And as much as the Frames or the Swell Season is an identity, when you call something your own name, it really, truly calls it into your own space."

On his new album, the rhythm element speaks for itself. The repose is much more personal.

"You start to realize that time is finite," says Hansard. "It's not like I'm obsessing on death or anything. But if I'm going to be more stable and have friendships and relationships, I need to tend them. I need to work on them. And if there are weeds growing in my garden, I need to cut those fuckers out."

Rhythm and Repose arrives tomorrow (June 19) via Plateau/Anti- Records. As previously reported, Hansard has lined up an extensive North American tour, and you can see all the dates here.

You can also watch Hansard perform the track "High Hope" during his recent visit to Exclaim! TV below, and read the rest of Exclaim!'s recent interview with the songwriter here.