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Instead of Pride festivals, this up-and-coming musician asks for new, smaller and more private rooms for the LGBTQ community

How do we move within a free world? Erik Rapp about about his newest music project Privat.

Photography: Isak Berglund Mattsson-Mårn Styling: Robin Douglas Westling Edited by: Stefanie Ravelli

Kropp och Liv, released June 2019, was the first chapter about Privat. Behind the project is Swedish Erik Rapp, who last year wrote and produced the music for Privat with a vision to describe personal feelings, experiences and states in relation to identity and politics. Each song represents a state in life and is part of the album Natten har Aldrig Varit så Ljus (The Night has Never Been so Bright) coming this fall. Kropp och Liv (Body and Life), Marmor (Marble), Allting Känns (Everything Feels) and Hem (Home) are all titles that reflect the most private desires. From being a soul floating around in paradise and dreaming of having an existence on earth to becoming a rock hard realist, with an established self-image.

Why did you decide to tell this story?

— The LGBTQ community has so many names, there is one letter for each identity under this umbrella. It is an easy way to express a great deal of one’s self but there are also limitations. There is a move towards rigid definitions of identity and of oneself, which is an unavoidable consequence when fighting for rights and equality. This project (Privat) is very much what comes after you have achieved equality based on these identity categories and reached an equal status in society. How do we move within a free world? How does it feel? In parallel with that, I wonder what a home is and can be – which is also the title of my last song on the album, after a political revolution, after an apocalypse – how can we find a home? It feels like a long time since I came out and started thinking about gender, sexuality, such big concepts and that there was a lot of focus on changing society - that through society I should be free and have a sense of security. But I crave for more on the personal level, that home becomes a feeling you share with people, a shift of focus from the big incomprehensible world to an everyday life, over which you have complete control.

How would you describe your music?

— I am inspired by choral music and classical music. I want something sacred. By combining electronic productions and distorted soundscapes with feather light vocals and grand choral climaxes I wanted to create the sound of a whole different reality, being compressed to remain hidden. You go through a crisis, experience salvation and end up in a paradise.

Your name Privat reflects a lot of what pop culture today are all about. Why do you think the self and personal stories are so important?

— Yes, pop culture right now is bursting with stories of who you are based on concepts: gay, woman or trans. These are the starting point when manifesting a cultural identity. These discussions are important in more everyday contexts, but identity talks have also turned into marketing tactics. As a result, the important and personal aspect and power disappear, like with Pride. I think we need to create new smaller rooms that are more private. The culture that is in the public eye today asks for an opinion from the broader mass. Everything is targeted towards society and I ask myself: What is society? What do we mean? We have legal systems, health care, welfare and if you get discriminated in those rooms then it is a societal problem. There are many people who are gay but they experience reality differently, depending on which rooms, city and context they are in. When you go through the media and talk about yourself in terms of a concept in minority, everything becomes very generalized. There is a manifesto for how to talk about identity issues and it’s like many have learned the intersectional description and because of that, the personal is lagging behind. A contrast to that is talk about one’s own contexts and think about how one can make one's surroundings better or even creating new ones. That’s what I explore in my project, an ideal that feels closer; not a mountain to move but a mountain to live on.

Photography Isak Berglund Mattsson-Mårn Styling Robin Douglas Westling Edited by Stefanie Ravelli Hairstylist Mona Narancic Make up artist Elvira Brandt Stylist Assistants Etchell Dorkenoo, Elca Heinebäck