Jonathan Eng about the music in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Work on Lorelei and its soundtrack began immediately after Sayonara Wild Hearts was released. The intention was clear from the outset to make the music more peculiar and challenging than Sayonara’s. My assignment was primarily to write two songs—one fast “car song”, and one shorter and slower piano-based song without repeating sections. My first demo was a song called “First Person”. Lyrically it echoed early prototypes of Lorelei, which revolved a lot around switching perspectives. The lyrics explored points of view in a romantic context, but it ended up being too much of a traditional love song, and thus it was scrapped.

Over the following few weeks I instead wrote Radio Waves (then named “Laser Trail”) in close collaboration with Simon. The template for the song was Florence + The Machine’s “Ship To Wreck” and Lord Huron’s “Ancient Names (Part 1)”. Equally driving and propulsive, my guitar-bass-drums demo contained lyrics dealing with different types of media and how they are a way for us to meet, over long distances and over long periods of time. The lyrics changed quite a bit, but the themes remained the same. After adjustments it was passed along to Daniel and Linnea to transform it into its final suggestive and synth-y form.

If writing Radio Waves had been a slow process over several weeks, the birth of the piano ballad Laser Eyes was almost instant. I returned to some lyrics Simon had sent me in October 2019, and in just one day the melody and chords was composed. Maybe Simon’s mention of Nina Simone’s rendition of “Lilac Wine” floated around in the back of my head, because Laser Eyes turned out to be more soulful than anything I had written before. Demos for the two songs were completed in spring of 2020.

In fall of the same year I wrote the instrumental song “Call from the Past”. The melody of the nostalgic and sensual electric guitar was intended to evoke some of those peculiar, swirling and hypnotic qualities that were established early in the creative process. Later I also got to add electric guitar to a few of Daniel and Linnea’s compositions. I remember in particular recording guitar for the track “Interrogation” by Daniel. When receiving the song I realized that the chords he had constructed in software was absolutely impossible to play on a real guitar. My fingers were simply too few and too short. I had to record the chords string by string and piece them together in Logic. Ultimately this resulted in strange and complex harmonies I would never have come up with myself, which was a really cool experience.

”Laser Trail”
”First Person”