Molly Nilsson

‘We’d like you to google the universe,’ we told Molly Nilsson. ‘I love that!’ she answered. Not really a surprise, since her wonderful dark and dreamy music evokes images of black skies, glooming lights and stellar stars and nebulas; her website is called Dark Skies Association; and if that isn’t enough, her recently released album History has been hitting the blogosphere with a big bang. And hey, in the universe, history is now.

Questions sent by email by Bas Morsch. Images googled by Molly Nilsson.

Why did you choose these images?

They’re each beautiful in their own way. They possess unexpected simplicity.

Had you ever googled the universe before we asked you to?

Yes, many times.

How big is the universe?

Bigger than our minds, and that’s all we need to know.

How big is it to you?

Endless, but not infinite.

What amazes you the most about the universe?

I love the emotional vertigo we all feel while looking up at the dark skies. The stars offer great comfort. And it never fails to show us how small we are within time and space, with all our pains and problems.

And what else?

It’s beautiful, even when it’s a cliché.

Would you want to travel in space?

No, I’d rather read great poetry or listen to a good song.

How does the universe inspire you?

It’s seems so far away, but at least it’s always there. I think Laurie Anderson said that the reason she loves the stars is that we cannot destroy them, and I would agree with that.

Do you believe there’s life out there?

I believe there are plenty of planets out there with some kind of ‘life’, but I’m more interested in life on Earth with all the unexplored aspects of our souls and minds.

Do you understand the universe?

No. If I, or anyone else, did, it would only be a wallpaper.

Do you know what a black hole is?

A black hole is a point in space at which gravity is so strong that no matter can escape it, not even light. That’s very similar to our perception of death: it’s where we’re going.

What is your fascination with ‘Dark Skies’?

I was interested when I first heard about the organisation IDA and decided to steal their name. The only difference is that they only work with one sky, whereas I work in plural with many skies. I like the image those words put together evoke.

How can there be more than one sky?

There are multiple skies, just as there are different days and moments; they’re all part of the
same timeline.

Is a dark sky really dark?

To our eyes, yes.

What role does the universe play in your music?

The universe is my muse.

Why is the universe your muse?

I can’t explain such things.

Molly Nilsson plays on 23 March in Extrapool in Nijmegen and on 24 March in Roodkapje in Rotterdam. Both shows are free for Subbacultcha! members.