Series 3; 2
Exclusive Interview
publishing date August 31, 2012
interviewer Theresa Heath
publisher Clash
photography iamamiwhoami: John Strandh
interviews chronology

» Notion: What Can You Do with Nothing?

Exclusive Interview

Intro: Eine Band als Rätsel «

Interview for Clash Music website.


If one of the defining aspects of postmodern art is the integration of various media forms to create a multi-media spectacle, then iamamiwhoami is the definition of the postmodern artist. In late 2009, short video clips began to appear on the internet referenced only by strings of numbers corresponding to letters of the alphabet. They were art pieces, to say the least – the ambient electro and fragmented vocals providing a sonic backdrop to surreal landscapes and images of seemingly random animals. In each one, the identity of the female performer was concealed with macabre and highly theatrical make-up, costumes and camera work.

With the second series – similarly intriguing, disturbing videos whose one-letter titles spelled b o u n t y – there was a progression into full-length songs. The mystery artist was not just preoccupied with the ambient and avant-garde, but could write structured, highly listenable songs, too. This structure did not detract from the fluid nature of the work, and the revelation that iamamiwhoami was the project of Jonna Lee and producer Claes Björklund did nothing to dispel the aura of mystery surrounding them.

With first full-length, multi-media album, kin, to be officially released on September 3rd (videos for each track are already available on YouTube), Clash was determined to discover a little more about the elusive Jonna Lee, and ended up with more questions than answers.


You’ve said in interviews that you initially concealed your identity because you weren’t sure what you wanted iamamiwhoami to be. How did you feel when you finally revealed who you were?
I wanted to create undisturbed away from the noise together with my collaborators. It was necessary to work in the quiet for iamamiwhoami to be able to continue to have a life. My identity was not hidden but neither articulated by me because what is relevant is the work we have done and the audience reflection of my identity.
Why is it important to retain an element of mystery?
There is no need for over articulation. Our audience is clever and I know their capacity. Their interpretations of what we do shape the course of the story.
Do you regard yourself as a performance artist, musical artist, video artist or artist?
I'm leaving that up to others to articulate.
You seem to be fascinated by the ephemeral and the fluid - in structures, identities and also sonically. Is this how you interpret the world?
Challenging the conventional shape is necessary. The fluid brings new life.
In your videos you explore the grotesque, carnivalesque and the uncanny – where do these images and ideas come from?
The instinctive human behaviour is fascinating to me as well as to my collaborators. So is raw emotion as well as no emotion. The contradictions in our nature are many. In the bounty series there’s a dramatic juxtaposition between the natural and the manmade.
Was this a conscious decision?
Yes. They represent two different realities.
Is the visual aspect as important to you as the musical element? Are the two separable?
The music is our foundation. The visualization of the music is an extension of it. Blending them together they create a new way of communicating for me. 'kin' can be experienced either sonically, visually or merged depending on what is preferred.
Can you tell us about the dancing yeti in ‘sever’? Is it an exploration of self and other, or something completely different?
It represents a part of me and most others. Life with it is very much a delight. I have experienced the consequence of living without it. Which has the greater cost?
Do you ever throw in motifs, themes and images for the sheer hell of it, or does everything have significance?
Everything has its purpose. Sometimes the simplest setting can have the greatest meaning. What meaning my purpose has to you will differentiate in proportion I suppose.
What are stranger, your dreams or your video art?
It's often difficult telling dream from reality I find.
What inspires you?
The world we have built around iamamiwhoami is solid. I feed off of that. Working without creative boundaries is a prerequisite for iamamiwhoami. That takes me places.
There seems to be a lot great experimental electronica and avant-garde-inspired music coming out of Scandinavia at the moment – Fever Ray, Jenny Hval, Hanne Hukkelberg… Why do you think this is?
The northerners are breaking out of their shells I think. So likeminded people that have similar references share their good work.
You’ve described 'kin' as your child, the result of 9 months hard labour. Will you love your next child in the same way?
All my creations are all equal to me. The question is - who is its next of kin?


External linksEdit

prelude Prelude 699130082.451322-
bounty bou-1u-2nty20101104 / .; john+46 702 888 037 / ; john bclumpiamamiwhoami; bounty 20130603
kin kin 20120611severdropsgood workerplayin due orderidle talkrascalkillgoodsiamamiwhoami; kin 20120611
BLUE fountainhunting for pearlsvistatap your glassblue bluethinchasing kitesripplethe last dancershadowshowdivethe deadlock
2011: Way Out West
2012: Stockholm Music & ArtsPopagandaBerlin FestivalEtherBBC Radio 6 Music: Lauren LaverneFreeFormFestival
2013: Razzmatazz: Grand Tour SueciaElectric BrixtonForbidden FruitPark LivePohodaMelt!LatitudeSoundrive FestSymbiosis GatheringBrooklyn Masonic Temple
Interviews 2011: BULLETT: An Inscrutable Interview
2012: DN: Lättar på mystikenThe Guardian: The Ethereal World of Jonna Lee • Dazed: Exclusive Q&AIntro: Eine Band als RätselClash: Exclusive InterviewNotion: What Can You Do with Nothing?DIY: Every Event in Our Storyline Has a PurposeThisispaper: InterviewGay Times: Yet Another Amazing Swedish Musical ExportMTV Iggy: The Elusive Genius of iamamiwhoamiPlayGround: Trying to Lift the Veil of Mystery Off iamamiwhoamiWired: Musical Guessing Ich bin, du bist, wir alle Inkognito zum Hype - Das Phänomen iamamiwhoamiNoisey: iamamiwhoami ist nicht von dieser WeltVogue: A New Beginningaqnb: The Illusion of Art
Collaborations GENESARETS SJÖ
CONCERT 2018: ionnalee; UNDER YOUR CONTROLionnalee; EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN tourHEAVENLille VEGASlaktkyrkanRED clubSTEREOLETO 2018Festival of Voice 2018EuroPride 2018Bottom LoungeEl Rey TheatreMEZZANINECine JoiaQueremos! Festival 2018Music Hall of WilliamsburgStatement Festival 2018Bel étageMeetFactoryBerghainBIME Live 2018Oval SpaceSmolna
2019: ionnalee; REMEMBER THE FUTURE tourRazzmatazz (EABF tour 2019)Les Femmes S'en MêlentParadiso NoordElsewhereThe Bowery BallroomThe SinclairL'AstralPhoenix Concert TheatreBottom Lounge (RTF tour 2019)HoloceneThe ShowboxVENUEGreat American Music HallFonda TheatreRED Club (RTF tour 2019)MorzeLoftasBel étage (RTF tour 2019)Dürer KertPraga CentrumFestsaal Kreuzberg
2020: ionnalee / iamamiwhoami 10th anniversary KRONOLOGI tourMetroTheatre of Living ArtsParadiseWarsawDanforth Music HallThe Showbox (KRONOLOGI tour 2020)Wonder BallroomAugust HallFonda Theatre (KRONOLOGI tour 2020)Bilbao BBK Live
Interviews 2017: Vital Ventures: An interview with ionnaleeThe Ethereal New Musical Endeavour from Jonna LeeJonna Lee of iamamiwhoami is Making Her Own Rules in MusicWatch ionnalee’s Stunning New Audiovisual Film “NOT HUMAN”
2018: Jonna Lee: ”Jag utforskade min rädsla för att inte bli sedd”ionnalee: “Estoy cuestionando las expectativas que tenemos sobre las mujeres que ponemos en un pedestal” ionnalee Brings a "Full on Requiem" to the Album Format Voice Against Time, the ionnalee InterviewPreguntas para desnudar la mente creativa de Ionnaleeionnalee – A Searcher Who Exploresionnalee: Things You Should Know About My World Tour 10 quick ones with ionnaleeSight & Sound: Jonna Lee (iamamiwhoami)Descobrir Música entrevista: ionnaleeЙонна Лі (ionnalee) відповідає на питання Pur Pur, Pianoбой, Panivalkova та інших
2019: Just the Beginning Episode 2 - KickstarterV Exclusive: ionnalee Comes Through in CommeRemember the future: A Q & A with ionnaleeJonna Lee on Demystifying the Aura of Her Viral Fame; Finding Her Voice and Her Die-Hard Fanbaseionnalee: Meet the Experimental Visionary Merging Music and Visual ArtSilence My Drum: An Interview with ionnaleeFlaunt: ionnalee Remember The FutureRemember the dream: an interview with IonnaleeHow Zola Jesus and ionnalee Made 'MATTERS'
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.