5preview CARTOON printyouthoftodayconcert

What do you get inspiration from?

The constantly recurring question. It is almost as common and fast as "And what are you going to do now?" when someone says they have resigned from their job.

The inspiration for me is almost suffocating, when it happens. And for that to happen I have to have a lot going on, you can't wait around for it. But for it to happen, I need a quite tidy track, so to speak. Not too many worries or stress.

Music has always been a great source of inspiration and a raison d'etre for me since childhood. The feeling the music can give, like a portal to something else, like a spark that kickstarts the engine, like a punch int the face that makes you wake up from a hibernation.

The other night I saw the straight edge hardcore band Youth of Today in Stockholm. The first time I came in contact with them was in the early 90's in my best friend's dads basement, where he kept (and still holds today) his huge multi-faceted record collection. On the cover of the LP, it was a big mess, a shaved guy who screamed and stagedived on the arms of the screaming audience. They seemed really pissed, and when I put on the record I realized I was right. They were the punks of the punkmovement, a counter-reaction to a social reaction. They chose not to drink alcohol and take drugs, and not to eat meat. They said you should be kind to each other, respect each other, show empathy and stop criticizing. Wow. They came up with a solution instead of just complaining.

More than 25 years later I saw them live for the first time, of course the band is not active and has not made a song since possibly in the early 90s, but they we're all in. Such authenticity and joy! I felt out of time and space, without age and without worries, I could do just about anything singer Ray Cappo asked me (luckily he seems to be a nice guy with good ideals). And I remember how it was, when I was a teenager, in Linköping, on the little stage on the club Skylten, when all those bands came and played. Because, after all, it's pretty rough at those gigs, and I was then 15 years old and one of the few girls who frequented these events, so I took on the role of first photographer, I was safe beside the speakers on stage and I photographed everything with my old Olympus camera. The following day at school, I developed the film rolls in the photo lab and copied beautiful black and white images with white border in the darkroom. I relived the concerts all over again, like a serial killer who picked up a trophy.

Somewhere I think you are shaped at that age, and your whole life comes back to what you liked back then. Of course, new things are emerging in the path of life, but it is like a core.

For some people inspiration could be a pair of flawlessly painted nails or an expensive designer handbag, fine. Or a perfectly composed picture of a croissant and a cappuccino on a beautiful marble table, fine. I'm not judging anyone. But what I get inspiration from, or one of the sources I often take from, is music that feels like a huge punch in the face. Then it starts to bubble inside and the creative nerves burst into a hallelujah chorus.

The print above is an old old 5preview print i drew in 2009. The text are the lyrics by Minor Threat's “Screaming at a wall”. But parts of it have often been confused with Coco Chanel quotes. It doesn't matter that much. It's a damn good song.

// Emeli