Ahead of their EP 'Beneath the Breaking Waves', which is released Monday, Katrine from Norwegian band Kalandra has been speaking to us about their debut release, UK gigs and Peruvian throat singing.
NMR: So your debut EP, 'Beneath the Breaking Waves' is released on Monday, can you tell us about it please?
''In short, it really has been a longer process than I ever thought it would be. It’s been almost three years since the journey of making the songs for the EP started in Liverpool, UK. We've been in and out of various studios whenever money allowed for it. And when it didn't, we recorded in our living rooms and rehearsal spaces. In between this, we also moved back to our motherland of Norway, and there the EP was completed in Oslo, NO, late 2016.
We are tremendously proud, and may I say relieved, to finally be able to release this EP.''
NMR: Listening to the EP, I'm particularly intrigued by the track 'Concrete Landscapes', which I haven't heard before, what's the story behind it?
''It is an interesting one. I tend to not tell people too much about what songs are about because I find it really beautiful when people can connect with it in their own way, but I also understand that it paints the picture better if I do open up about the real story behind it. When I wrote it I was feeling rather angry and sad at the same time, because the truth is, my childhood home on the South-West coast of Norway has been under threat, for years, (probably even before my parents decided to buy that particular house), of being demolished due to the local government, together with the industry's wish, to build more industry for oil/gas in that area. The area we live in has always been under pressure, and it's been a long stressful journey for me and my parents to live in as well as everybody else in that neighbourhood.
Getting that frustrated, uncomfortable stressful feeling across was very important for me to deliver - the tension and the release.''
NMR: Your music is an intriguing mix of traditional folk storytelling and wider rock influences. Did you always intend Kalandra to have this sound, or is that just how things have naturally evolved?
''A bit of both. Our influences are usually female folk singers from Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Denmark, combined with rock and metal music by very macho-male-based bands from the same countries. I love how theatrical metal bands can be, their performance is always very dramatic. But to sum it up, I love the female voice, and all the vocal techniques I can learn from everywhere in the world - everything from the Norwegian cow call, like kauking to Arab and Indian vocal styles. Arab and Indian vocal techniques in pop music is becoming increasingly more and more popular in Norway these days - have a listen to artists like Emilie Nicolas and Highasakite for example. I've tried to make the guys in the band discover the wonders of Peruvian throat singing, but it's difficult. It's amazing what the voice can do!
If I were to mention an artist that has inspired me the most it must be Eivør. My singing teacher gave me her CD at the age of 14 and I was just spellbound. And at the moment I'm really into Anna Von Hausswolff from Sweden, she brings Kate Bush together with Pink Floyd and her songs last for ages. She also breaks the rules and I love that.''
''I love the female voice, and all the vocal techniques I can learn from everywhere in the world. Everything from the Norwegian cow call, like kauking to Arab and Indian vocal styles''
NMR: It's interesting that you mention your music teacher when you were young, when people ask me about why there are so many great musicians from Norway, I often speculate that compared to the UK, a lot of younger Norwegian children learn musical instruments, whilst in the UK they play on XBoxes, Having lived in both countries, do you think there is some truth in this?
''First off, we've met crazy amount of talent in the UK and they've inspired us to break the rules and be creative in a different way. Also, all three of us, Jogeir, Florian and myself played lots of video games growing up (like a lot!), so there's hope! It's two very different countries and different upbringings. The main difference is probably that in Norway, the government is funding the creative arts sector for young people, which doesn't make it a financial burden for parents to get their child to pursue music, dance, drama, etc. There's lots of contests as well you can participate in, so we learn healthy competition and learn to achieve our goals from an early age.
The achievements I received in music and the musicals I was in, helped me improve my grades in school too, because I understood the value of hard work and managing my time right. But it's not just arts they fund, it's also ski-courses, sports/football tournaments, skateboarding, horse-riding, mountain climbing etc.. Lots of activities allowing children to discover their strengths.''
NMR: So what plans have Kalandra got in the next year or so? I notice you have plenty of live dates coming up.
''We have some gigs yes. We book everything ourselves, so we thought, it's time to visit England again, it's been a while. Then we're doing some shows in Norway which I'm excited about. We're already working on new songs for a full album and I'm just so excited about it. We've really grown and adapted to each other after all these years of playing. We're on a good vibe.''
NMR: Norwegian music is continuing to thrive right now, are there any other young Artists from your country that you recommend our readers check out?
''You want young? Aurora is quirky and cool. Then there's some hidden gems like Frøder, and Ary. To make the experience complete, find your best pair of headphones or listen on your best pair of speakers.''
Beneath the Breaking Waves will be released on streaming services on Monday 27th March, and will be available on Streaming services and to buy through Itunes. If you're in the North of England try and make it to a gig!
And Eivor, who Katrine mentioned in the interview is about to embark on a UK tour herself, for more info see our UK Gigs page.