In this interview with Joshua Idehen and Ludvig Parment discuss their collaboration, born from Ludvig's admiration for Joshua's live performance with Benin City. Ludvig envisioned Joshua as a solo artist, leading to a unique collaboration with a focus on Joshua as the primary brand.
They touch on the balance of creative input, emphasising evolving trust for fruitful collaboration. The interview explores the evolution of their sound, with Joshua gaining confidence and prioritising honesty. Ludvig notes the shift from overwriting to leaving room for lyrical finesse.
Distinctive production techniques, like the use of a choir in the chorus, are discussed as signatures of their work. Looking ahead, Joshua envisions exploring lounge music with poetry and dreams of an orchestral album, while Ludvig expresses a desire for unconventional ventures, including jazz exploration. The interview offers insight into their dynamic partnership, hinting at exciting possibilities in future projects.
How did your collaboration come about, and what drew each of you to work together?
LUDVIG: I think what drew me to it was seeing when I saw you live for the first time in Benin City. I've respected you since hearing your music, but when I saw you I thought why isn't Josh doing a solo thing, he really needs to find a producer that can get the essence out, and I didn't even think of myself at the time. That's sort of why I've been like what we're doing absolutely shouldn't be a band; we shouldn't have a band name, this has to be your brand and you need to be the one like the main focus.
JOSHUA: We've known each other since 2016 and tried to work with each on several occasions. You sent me music but I was too involved with my own projects. At one point you produced a few of Benin City's songs in 2018 but that was as far as it got for a while, we were both kind of like in different relationships for want of a better word uh we never really found anything that kind of was us at our best. And then when I moved to Stockholm, both of us were free of everything else we're doing and in a space to do something new. This was in 2021: you know, i still have the first email when you had sent the first demo of Don't You Give Up On Me, and you were like “er yeah i don't have any ideas and i just worked on this for an hour so tell me what you think”and then i sent you something back just going “yeah i just wrote this the today in my kitchen about so a couple of caveats i think we should get a choir” anyway, the rest is history:
How would you describe the balance of creative input between the artist and the producer in your collaborative process?
LUDVIG: I think we both have a lot of space to do our own thing. I've never really worked this for this long with the same collaborator before, so I tend to view the way Josh writes to everything i do as a version of feedback, like okay, that enforces my decision on where I take the music and future music next.
JOSHUA: Our process has definitely evolved since when we first started. On the first mixtape you made the beats and then you sent it to me and then I essentially wrote to that, and I would have sometimes I'd have some feedback in terms of “here's what I want to happen with this verse” but now there's a lot more trust in the process. For example, we have this demo, where you sent the beat over and I wrote to it, and I had thought the chorus was somewhere completely different from where you thought the chorus went but you went along with my arrangement, and then you tore out some of my lyrics to give the track more space and the song is better for it. Just the two of us allowing the other a bit of space in the play pit and bouncing off the ideas and happy accidents.
How has your sound evolved since you began working together, and what factors contributed to those changes?
JOSHUA: I'm definitely more confident. I'm playing more with the rhythm in bars and also not resting too much on rhyming. Allowing for more space: there are a few tracks on the mixtape that, if I did them now, I would most definitely rip out whole sections and just allow the music to breathe. Also not trying too hard to be clever when I can just be honest, lol.
LUDVIG: I tended to overwrite stuff before because I just made a beat and I didn't know who was going to be on it so I always had to make sure everything's in there. But now that I know how you work, how you write, I can leave much more room for you.
Can you discuss any favourite production techniques that have become signatures of your collaborative work?
JOSHUA: choir in the chorus for sure! i think that's a definite signature like, no one else is kind of doing those.
LUDVIG: combination of three things: dance music, spoken word and a choir, the last one we're using it less and less now right but it is something that I think does definitely mark us distinctly from everybody else yeah. we're not using that many sort of like tricks like we just we're writing songs
JOSHUA: Maybe that's our problem, maybe we need some tricks
Are there specific musical or creative territories you want to explore together in upcoming projects?
JOSHUA: oh well i think uh i would like us to do a lounge album like KHRUANGBIN but with poetry, definitely an album with an orchestra.
LUDVIG: It would be really nice to do something else like super left field yeah like where we can really just be unhinged, and jazz.