Lättar på mystiken
Lättar på mystiken
publishing date August 1, 2012
interviewer Hanna Fahl
publisher DN. in DN.Kultur
photography Anette Nantell
interviews chronology

» The Guardian: The Ethereal World of Jonna Lee

Lättar på mystiken

BULLETT: An Inscrutable Interview «

Swedish newspaper DN., Dagens Nyheter, released an interview with iamamiwhoami. The interview includes photos of Jonna Lee wearing a black jumpsuit and holding a black box and was published on August 1, 2012. The original interview is in Swedish.


"If I gave all the answers, I wouldn't be able to keep doing this" It was a long kept secret who was behind the project iamamiwhoami, whose videos went viral on the internet. But now the debut album "Kin" is out and Jonna Lee is ready to talk.

The story begins with an empty apartment and before it ends in a black box, the blonde manages to dance (or fight or sleep) with Wookie-like creatures, take the form of one of the beastly figures herself, wander in the desert in just her underwear and maybe, or maybe not, commit suicide by jumping from a window. The album “Kin” is hard to categorize. It hovers somewhere between music video and video art, between short film and performance, and is built around a series of short movies that together build a narrative.

The project iamamiwhoami was started almost three years ago, and from the beginning, who was behind the electronica videos that regularly showed up on YouTube was kept a secret.

People made all sorts of speculations: Trent Reznor? The Knife? Christina Aguilera’s management received so many questions about the project that they delivered an official denial. It wasn’t until the woman in the video clips revealed herself without makeup that anyone recognized her. It was the Swedish Jonna Lee, who had previously done singer-songwriter pop and sang a duet with Ed Harcourt.

"I had a craving to do something new. Something creative, exciting. And I had an idea for some music that didn’t fit with what I was doing at the time", tells Jonna Lee when we met her in a studio just south of Stockholm.

The visual aspect is incredibly important for iamamiwhoami and it’s a part of the whole package. We would deliberate back and forth for a half-hour about how the photography was going to be before we’d finally agree".

This is the first real interview she’s given on the project. Only now that the videos have been released as a single album is Jonna Lee ready to talk about it. But all the hush-hush has been important from the start, she explains. When the idea was born, she and the team, which also consists of producer Claes Björklund, director Robin Kempe-Bergman, photographer John Strand and designer Agustin Moreaux, had to lock themselves away to work in peace.

- "Being able to do it undisturbed was really important; it was the only way it could have happened."

Were you disappointed when people figured out it was you?

- "We didn’t try to hide it. When it happened, it was pretty evidently me in the videos, so it didn’t really come as a shock. But in general everything became a lot different then, and it was almost that much more important to shut out the world in order to keep working."

You must have thought it was funny when people thought you were Christina Aguilera.

- "I thought when all the idle talk had quieted down, what we had made would be what’s left. I heard the speculations; it was impossible to avoid them. There’s a certain comical synergistic effect in how all the hearsay can become a truth for people."

The iamamiwhoami videos also contain secrets. The first video clips were given numerical codes that the viewers gradually translated to words. They are full of recurring symbols: children; nature and trees; the hairy Wookie creatures; and, in the latest in the series of videos that became the album “Kin”, a black cube. The Youtube comments on the videos are full of speculations and theories about what it all means, and there are blogs completely dedicated to iamamiwhoami that upload stills from the videos and analyze them.

It’s all a little reminiscent of the skillfully crafted mystique around the TV series ”Lost”, where viewers feverishly looked for clues and patterns but the answers that were given were never truly as satisfying as the mystery itself.

- "That’s how it is even for me. If I gave all the answers, I could not continue. It’d be the last signature I write", says Jonna Lee.

Are you ever going to tie it all up in a bow and explain what it all meant?

- "It gives me a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about it. It’s like sharing your innermost secrets; that’s not particularly attractive for anyone. I don’t think the audience wants that, much less me. It would make me feel extremely naked and exposed."


By Anette Nantell

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
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 Ionnalee
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