Quick chats: Jozef van Wissem on new album and working with Jim Jarmusch

By Ryan Keating-Lambert

Dutch composer, musician and lute player extraordinaire Jozef van Wissem (Only Lovers Left Alive) was recently in Prague and Brno to play a couple of concerts as a part of the accompanying programme of Czech Republic’s Future Gate sci-fi film festival.

Jozef and I had a brief chat about his new album ‘Ex Mortis‘, his love of lute, and his extended work with director Jim Jarmusch.

Hi Jozef, you’ve been in Prague a couple of times. What brings you back?

Friends and the atmosphere of the city.

You brought the lute back from the dead. Tell me briefly how you fell in love with this instrument.

My teacher had a lute in her room but she would not let me touch it. She
said something like ‘That’s too difficult for you,’ so i was intrigued. Later she gave me lute pieces to play on classical guitar. and that planted the seed.

Where do you seek your inspiration? What’s on your record shelf at home?

I get inspired by the writings of German nuns describing their relationship to god. My record shelf is (actually) rather empty.

You’ve worked with a many artists over the years, but Jim Jarmusch a number of times, your most well-known work being on the soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive. What’s he like to work with? 

He’s a friend and on a higher level but also down-to-earth.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alive (Bloody Disgusting)

You’ve also worked with Tilda Swinton. How would you describe her voice?

She’s hypnotic.

Who else would you like to work with?

Patti Smith.

Any soundtracks you’re working on in the near future?

Yes, but can’t tell.

Tell me about what we can expect from your new album ‘Ex Mortis’

A deep trance experience.

You’re here as an esteemed guest at Future Gate. Are you a fan of sci-fi films?

Yes, Solaris is my favorite sci-fi film.

Jozef van Wissem’s new album ‘Ex Mortis’ will be released worldwide February 7th.

Photo: Rolling Stone

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