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Interview: Schultz & Forever

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Jonathan Schultz, the artist also known as Schultz & Forever, has an interesting background.

He grew up in Denmark as part of the Free Church, a Christian denomination that sits completely independent of the state. This means that they do not accept theology or policy from the government. It also means that Schultz, educated in Christian schools, was protected from theories such as the big bang, which he didn't even hear about until he hit adulthood and ventured to college.

But "It wasn’t strict at all, quite the opposite" he says on his upbringing. "My parents are very warm and loveable people, and I’ve always gotten the attention, love and comfort that everyone needs."

"The only negative thing I can put on it was the fact that I was told that there is a God. Because when I felt my faith starting to crumble, that’s when life's pointlessness struck me and that kind of created shades of anxiety and depression."

Schultz doesn't hold any grudges and embraces his childhood, understanding why his parents brought him up in this way, because of their belief that God is the only option. "I won't raise my kids that way" he says, but his unconditional love and respect for his parents causes little spite.

"I would identify myself as an atheist, but I would love to experience a spiritual or even religious encounter. I think it’s important to have something to fall back on in life, it could be falling in love and raising kids. I think it’s important to find something that makes you happy and gives meaning to the world around you."

Schultz & Forever's upcoming debut album, Grand Guignol, explores his newfound atheism and how he comes to term with every belief he was brought up on crashing down around him which resulted in an existential crisis.

"All the songs are written in a period of my life where I didn’t feel well mentally because of how my existential foundation collapsed when I didn’t believe anymore. So all of the songs are exploring my own personal anxieties and new perception of life, and how my former Christian way of defining morals and ethics suddenly wasn’t there anymore, and that created a state of confusion, anger, hate, but also hope."

His previous EP releases have all leapt stylistically between one another, and this album promises another musical jump: "I would say it will definitely be more poppy!"

"When I was younger I think I was very conceptual in my way of making music. It started out very singer-songwriter-esque and I loved folk music at the time so I knew what kind of artist I wanted people to perceive me as. Now I’m only focused on getting better and better at writing so that I can give people my version of what I think life is."

Though it's not a huge leap, as Schultz feels he knows his sound and writes in a certain way, he states that he's been writing a lot more love songs recently - something he doesn't usually do - as he also explores his new found sexuality. "The vibe of the songs I write now have a more soft approach" he says, which is evident on tracks such as 'Backwards' and 'Satan is Coming'... which in its title certainly sounds more threatening than soft.

As he battles anxiety and continues to explore a new found personal existence, Schultz finds comfort in his music "which is kind of a paradox as one of the biggest sources of inspiration to write about at the time was Good versus Evil, and writing music demanded that I reflected on my thoughts and feelings which would always be about my turn away from God."

"I just want people to enjoy the record to be frank" he says, ahead of the release on March 16th. "I want people to feel like they are hearing a person's story, and I really hope it will be relatable to people who have gone through the same existential journey!"

"I really think the record deserves to have a good release and a good amount of attention!"

Grand Guignol is released March 16th via The Big Oil Recording Company.

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