David Lehnberg – A fighting musician

After spending most of his adult life successfully touring the world with different own bands like Leiah and The Deer Tracks(an absolut Fico favorit), David found a second light in the Muay Thai ring. To no ones surprise David is as much a master at the ring corner as behind the controls in the music studio. He combines being a professional musician with running a fight center with 500 athletes and personally coaching 10 promising Muay Thai fighters.

So we say like the fighting promoters, let’s get it on!

Jacket: Sunflower, Shirt: Sèfr. Pants: Our Legacy, Shoes: Acne Studios

F: You have been a musician all your life. How did it start?

D: I was 12 years when I started to play in a punkrock band. We bought a club card at the youth club Humlan for 50 SEK and then you were allowed to rehearse in the studio 2 times a week for a year. So, we were there practicing for 1h at a time twice a week for many years. It was at the youth club I understood that I had found my calling.

F: Ahh, you were a punk rocker from the beginning, interesting. Because you have been involved in all kind of music styles, from messy hardcore to beautiful indiepop, arty techno and more. Do you feel more “at home” in any of all the different styles?

D: For me everything is punk, if it is techno or soft melodic tunes, I don’t compromise. It is the approach of what you want to achieve that matters. It has to feel the right way. I will produce as I want to do, no matter what. Many times people tell me that I have to follow the “rules” when I produce a specific genre. But it’s really important for me to do things according to my principles and taste. And that it doesn’t sound like anything else. I need to approach any kind of tune or song with a punk attitude.

Hoodie: Sunflower, Skirt: Tiger of Sweden, Shoes; Our Legacy

Coat: Filippa K, Sweater: Our Legacy, Trousers: Hope, Shoes: Acne Studios

F: You seem to have strong opinion about what’s wrong or wright with music and you say that you don’t compromise. How does this work when you are a member in a band?

D: The first 15 years as an artist I would say that I must have been rather difficult to be around when it came to the creative process. Because I was writing all the music and all the lyrics. So, I was completely uncompromising when it came to decision making. It was my way or no way. I hardly wouldn’t even try to listen to someone in the band wanting to change something. Today, I would say I’m the total opposite of that guy in the past. I love to hear other people’s ideas and try them out. I’m not out on an EGO quest anymore.

They called us the Mötley Crûe of Emo Rock

F: You have founded many different bands, but which band has been the messiest and which have, in your ears, produced the best music?

D: The messiest one is without a doubt Leiah. In Germany, they called us the Mötley Crüe of Emo Rock. It was a different time and a different David. I have been sober for over 10 years now. But at that time, people were counting on that they would have the night of their life when Leiah arrived at their town. There were no limits and total mayhem. The reputation stuck to us, and we felt that we couldn’t escape it. So we continued to fulfill peoples expectations until 6 years later, when we had to cancel the band, due to the heavy partying. But last year, after almost 20 years apart, we got together in the studio again and the result was a new album that we released in January.

Regarding the best music I have produced, I can’t answer that. I have around 780 songs registered in my name and I never reflect over what I have done. When I’m finished with an album or a song, I rush directly into another project. I never listen to my own music.

But when I check my STIM-reports, I can at least see which songs are the most popular. For example I have seen the latest months that Japanese live acts are performing covers of old Leiah songs, which is pretty cool.


Suit jacket: Sèfr, Suit pants: Sêfr, Tshirt: Acne Studios, Shoes: Our Legacy, Belt: Our Legacy, Key holder: Our Legacy

F: When do you know that a song is ready? How do you avoid over producing a song?

D: I’m very structured and pragmatic. On Saturdays after morning practice, I sit the whole day producing music. The Endorphins are rushing as I always train hard. So, I feel focused, happy and energized. It’s a sweet spot to produce in. After I have started with a song, I have a rule that I can only open up and work with that song maximum 5 times. After that, the song must be ready. Sometimes I feel that I could add more of this and that, but I never do. Because I hate when things sound over produced, it must have that raw Punk feeling. Life isn’t perfect, you always have a scratch or some dirt somewhere in your closet. So, I’m producing music with that kind of attitude. It makes such a big difference when the music isn’t perfect. It gets so much more interesting when you have something chafing.

Sounds attracts me emotionally

F: You feel very structured around your creative process, so how do you get inspiration to create?

D: Usually, I hear a sound that attracts me emotionally. It can be any kind of sound, from a performance, from nature or from something mechanical. The emotion that this sound gives me is the feeling I want to express with the song. I also get inspired by pictures. I often look at many inspirational pictures and the emotions that these pictures give me becomes the inspiration for songs. I see emotions as colors in the pictures and I even color the different sound tracks according to these emotions when I’m producing.

F: Do you have any highlight in your musical carrier where you have felt as you are in zenit? When you are at the right spot, at the right time and everything is perfect?

D: Even though I don’t remember so much about it, as we were working so hard and travelling all over the world. We had several years with The Deer Tracks when we played all the biggest festivals, made appearances on MTV and the hype was real. We did almost everything you could do with this band. But my memory is almost blank due to the amount of pressure that came with it. I only remember things because I have seen pictures of it.

It’s also hard for me to stop and reflect about a success, because I live for music and music is my persona. I just continue producing and jumping from one project to the next. I never stop and reflect about things that I have done, it’s not in my nature.

Jacket: Acne Studios, Shirt: Sèfr, Denim: Sunflower, Shoes: Eytys

Hoodie: Sunflower, Skirt: Tiger of Sweden, Shoes; Our Legacy

New songs with The Deer Tracks

F: What does your musical future look like? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?

D: Tentakel is a one-man band from Gothenburg and he has made an album together with Ebbot Lundberg from Soundtrack of our lives. I have produced and mixed this album and I think it will be released in November. I also have a new Lehnberg album ready, it just needs to be mastered. I have also talked to Elin about releasing something with Deer Tracks again, as I have a bunch of ideas that would fit that constellation perfectly.

F: Ohh yes! Let’s go with Deer Tracks again.

F: Our impression about your fashion style in the past was that it was a bit flamboyant. Do you like to express yourself through your clothes?

D: I have an avant-garde approach towards all the social norms and that includes how I dress. I have never cared what people think about my style, but I love to do the total opposite of how people think that I should dress or behave.  If I think that a style looks nice, I don’t care if it’s upsetting anyone or if it is male of female fashion I’m wearing.

I have a lot of extremely nice clothes in my closet that I bring to light the few times I’m not at the fighting centre.

Coat: Filippa K, Sweater: Our Legacy, Trousers: Hope, Shoes: Acne Studios

F: As mentioned before you also run a fighting center and you successfully coach several world class fighters. Where does this passion come from and has it changed your life?

D: Since my youth, I have always been interested in Muay Thai, but I didn’t start practicing until I was 24 years old. I continued practicing for many years without giving it too much focus. But after a China tour with The Deer Tracks I was so fed up with touring. We had been touring as crazy for so many years, so I decided that I wouldn’t go on a tour for a whole year. I had also just stopped drinking and I wanted to do something more with my life. So, I educated myself to a trainer. And what a life changing experience it was. The joy of seeing the mentally and physical progress of insecure girls and boys when they realize that they have a talent for the sport. To see our 500 athletes leaving the fight center with a big smile on their faces and know that you make a big impact in their well-being every time you make them train hard.

F: You are also very successful with several of your fighters and especially with Johanna Persson. Who you took in as a rookie not long time ago and who is now ranked 2nd best in Europe and 8th in the world. Good work!

F: We have one last question. What feels best? Writing a hit song, knocking your opponent out or that one of your fighters win a title?

D: It’s without a doubt when one of my fighters wins a title or a match. When they win it’s because we are in a perfect symbiosis. I’m my fighter’s eyes, they are my sharp tools. I tell them what to do, when to do it and when they do it correct and the strategy works, it’s extremely rewarding. I’m seriously invested in all my fighters so the emotions when we succeed together are something out of this world.

Jacket: Sunflower, Shirt: Sèfr. Pants: Our Legacy, Shoes: Acne Studios