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Young Dutch popsike phenom – the Stereo Embers snapshot interview with Jacco Gardner

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With the entire country about to experience Hypnophobia-mania – the album’s out on Polyvinyl May 5th – SEM has a quick chat with its young, Barrett-dusted auteur. He may have a fear of sleep, but Jacco Gardner best not have any fear of success, for it’s coming and in a big way.

STEREO EMBERS MAGAZINE – First off, considering your deep, rich popsike tapestries, combined with your Dutch origins, how did you get attracted to the genre in the first place?

JACCO GARDNER – Syd Barrett was my ticket into that world. A friend’s dad showed his music to me.

SEM – Your early band experience in Lola Kite seems as if it was a strong foundation for your current work. Could you talk about that band experience and how it differs from your experiences now as a solo artist?

JG -I’ve had several band experiences before this. I had some experience touring around Spain and Portugal with a band called The Skywalkers. Lola Kite was interesting because I had to play instruments I’d never played before with people I had never played with. They didn’t really tour much outside of Holland and we played diffirent places and festivals than the ones I play now. In Lola Kite I was just a helping hand on the keyboard and synth sounds, so a completely different role in the band as in my solo stuff.

SEM – Are you at all surprised by your success here in the US? You seem to have hit that sweet spot between revivalist psych and pure pop.

JG – I’m surprised by it, yes. I knew some people would appreciate my music there, especially on the West Coast, but it turns out that it also appeals to a broader audience which is cool.

SEM – I’m just now hearing the new record in its entirety – SEM previewed the brilliant “Find Yourself” as a Track of the Day about a couple months ago – and have my own thoughts but how do you see the change/growth between your solo debut and the new LP?

JG – I think the new LP explores more combinations between pop songs and cinematic, library music sort of sounds, and is in that sense more experimental but also more pop than my first album. I also feel the vibe is overall a lot darker and more mysterious, as the subject is more about the unknown.

SEM – You’re quite an astute songwriter. In terms of process, what tends to come first for you, lyrics, melody, a snippet of concept, or does all of it kind of arrive at the same time?

JG – This changes per song, they all apply. Sometimes this sometimes that. I don’t have a set way of working and also like to try new methods.

SEM – The new record Hypnophobia sounds more spacious, a bit more contemplative. Was that conscious or is it just a product of finding your own voice as a solo artist?

JG – I think this has to do with the record being written in the same year as it was recorded. For my first album this was completely different. They way it took shape took a long time. This one was a lot more in the moment and is more like one chapter in my life instead of 12 different chapters.

[To remind you of its utter pop goodness, here’s “Find Yourself” again]