Jens Lekman Explains the Influence of Sport on 'I Know What Love Isn't'

Jens Lekman Explains the Influence of Sport on 'I Know What Love Isn't'
Jens Lekman's new album I Know What Love Isn't was never supposed to be a break-up album. But when the Swedish singer-songwriter gave in to the voices contradicting the plans he had for his third full-length, he turned to exercise as a way of shaping the album.

Speaking with Exclaim! back in 2007, Lekman shared that one of his pastimes was playing badminton with Henning Furst of the Tough Alliance. Although swatting a birdie didn't directly influence Lekman's new songs, his reaction to the sport did.

"I realized that badminton is a competitive sport and I'm just not into competitive sports," he tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "Henning is a competitive person, so he would always win. I didn't care if I won or lost, and I think he got sick of that dynamic. So I started running instead, a lot of long distance. 

"I think the running in itself has reshaped my idea of music, too, because that's when I listen to music these days. I realized when I was making this record that I wanted it to be more aerodynamic somehow, and that's how I like my music when I'm running. And so the running has helped shape the record in some way. When I run it's sort of like meditation. It feels like my thoughts disappear and my brain goes on vacation or something. That's exactly why I run, it's such a nice feeling." 

Lekman admits I Know What Love Isn't does not mesh well with a good jog, but what he was looking for was to make music that evoked the same kind of feeling he got from running.

"I don't think my record is a running record," he says. "Just the main idea of how the song structure came out of that. I started realizing that the music, some records I could run to and some I could not. It had to do with the feeling of the music, it needs a certain kind of smoothness to it. What I like about this aerodynamic quality is that it can go from a verse to a chorus without really noticing, as opposed to the music in the '90s where the verses were really quiet and the choruses were really loud."

I Know What Love Isn't arrives on Tuesday (September 4) via Secretly Canadian, but for now, you can stream the entire record at the bottom of the page. Also, you can check out Lekman's upcoming tour dates below, as well as Exclaim!'s full interview with the songwriter here.

Tour dates:

9/11 Aarhus, Denmark - Train

9/12 Kopenhamn, Denmark - Vega

9/13 Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller

9/14 Malmo, Sweden - KB

9/15 Goteberg, Sweden - Pustervik

9/17 Stockholm, Sweden - Dramaten

9/19 Manchester, UK - Ruby Lounge

9/20 London, UK - Hackney Empire

9/21 Brighton, UK - The Haunt

9/23 Paris, France - Gaite Lyrique

9/24 Strasbourg, France - La Laterie

9/25 Utrecht, Netherlands - Tivoli de Helling

9/26 Berlin, Germany - Postbahnhof

10/1 Bloomington, IN - Buskirk-Chumley Theater *

10/2 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *

10/4 Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre *

10/5 Montreal, QC - Le National *

10/6 Boston, MA - Royale Nightclub *

10/8 New York, NY - Terminal 5 *

10/11 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer *

10/12 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *

10/13 Richmond, VA - The National *

10/15 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *

10/16 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse *

11/1 Seattle , WA - Neptune *

11/2 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom *

11/3 Portland, OR - Alladin Theater *

* with Taken By Trees