Supporting their 2019 album Live in Europe, José González & The String Theory will perform at Boston Symphony Hall on March 18. González first played with The String Theory back in 2010 when they were called the Göteborg String Theory. After a 5 year gap of touring solo the majority of Live in Europe was recorded in 2017 on the road together. A third solo album is highly anticipated—before we spoke he was in the middle of writing.

MJ: Where are you now?

José González: I’m home, Gothenburg, Sweden. Hanging out with my daughter most of the day. Also trying to write some new music. Happy that the sun is coming out.

MJ: You’ve had songs featured in award winning video games like Life is Strange and Red Dead Redemption. Do you ever have time to play any video games lately?

JG: I’m too scared to begin playing. Both me and my girlfriend are pretty sure that if we start we will get stuck and not have time for other things. We thought about it in a weak moment when we were expecting our daughter. I stick to my ten minutes of chess online and together we watch some series but, that’s about it.

MJ: In the past when you had a little more free time did you play any video games?

JG: Yea, when I was studying biochemistry for my PhD. Me and the drummer in Junip and another friend we just hung out and played video games during a whole winter. I didn’t get that much done in the lab during those months. Tony Hawk and other random games.

MJ: What is a book or author that you like to recommend or that had an impact on the way you think or see the world?

JG: There is many. Since it is Boston maybe I will mention Steven Pinker. He is a pretty well known scientist and psychologist. He’s been writing some top-selling books on different topics: on human nature, on the decline of violence in history… and the most recent one is Enlightenment Now. Which I really really recommend to anyone who lives and is a human. [laughs] He’s definitely one of my favorite authors and he’s… I would say a brilliant thinker… I don’t know how he gets the time to read because there is always references to everything that he mentions. Yeah, he’s very prolific.

MJ: What were some of your favorite hardcore bands from your teenage years?

JG: When I was playing hardcore… at first it was more like punk… Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Misfits. But then we got into more like the metal hardcore. My favorite at the time was Snapcase but sort of outgrew them after a while. Another one that was listened to a lot…that I still like today is Sick of it All and also 108. Then there were some songs from I guess less known hardcore bands that I used to listen to. It’s kind of a mixture. My favorite screamers were Zach Dela Rocha and Lou from Sick Of It All.

MJ: Who or what makes you laugh? Or when you are looking to laugh who or what do you rely on?

JG: I’ve been mentioning this to my friends who don’t have kids. I haven’t laughed as much as this last 1 ½ years because my daughter is just hilarious. Everyday she does something weird and funny and crazy. So [she’s] definitely a source of joy. Also I’m also …how do you say… pretty easy to amuse. I enjoy watching silly movies like [with] Will Ferrell and Borat is a favorite.

MJ: Who’s idea was the String Theory Tour and live album?

JG: They invited me to play with them when they were called the Gothenburg [sic.] String Theory. It was my idea to invite them to do a full album or a full show. This was ten years ago and since then we’ve been talking about “We should record this, we should record this.” It took ten years to finally record and mix the takes that we did in 2017 in Europe. I have to say it was mainly the work of the people from Berlin that did the recording and mixing and choosing of the songs too.

MJ: In your opinion where is the most beautiful place in Sweden?

JG: There are many beautiful places in Sweden but I guess being from Gothenburg, I would want to mention the islands just outside of Gothenburg, the archipelago. Sitting in a sauna watching the sunset overlooking the islands is just beautiful. That’s one of my favorite places.

MJ: How would you describe your music without using genre names?

JG: In a way it’s easy because I just mention the instruments I play: the nylon string Spanish guitar in a finger picking style and I sing with a mellow voice. Then of course with the orchestra it’s a bit more difficult… because the arrangements are so varied classic, harmonic, melodic, while others are more disturbing and experimental. So with the orchestra it is huge. So for anyone that is curious the easiest way is to listen to it online and see if you like it.

MJ: I’ve got one more for you. What in your memory did an interviewer ask you that sticks out in your mind?

JG: I have a bad memory so. [laughs] There has been many throughout the years. There was one interviewer who asked “Why do you sing so well, it must be something… with the listening with [your] ears.” At that moment I was doing a lot of interviews so I just made up this story that I fell when I was young and a stone got stuck in one of my ears… and that made my hearing very different from that moment on… and since then I’ve been very good at hearing and making music… and he wrote it down in the article. [laughs]

Catch José González & The String Theory preform live at Boston Symphony Hall Monday March 18. Get tickets here.

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