Interview by Miriam Cadoni

Photo by Troll Toftness

The amazing Norwegian singer-songwriter is back with her best album to date. This time, the artist has chosen to self-produce her new album “Sørgekåpe”. This new album, which shows an artisanal imprint, marks an important event in her career: “Sørgekåpe” is the first album to be recorded in Norwegian after her debut ”Spidelssinn” back in 1997. Let’s discover more about it together in this interview. Enjoy!

Hi Kari, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you and how these precarious times are treating you?

Well, thank you. It’s good to be back. These really strange times for us all, it’s kinda weird because in a way you’re getting used to it. I just hope soon to cbe on the other side of it. Hopefully, we’ll come out of it and it will be normal times again.

On May 8th, you have released your eighth album “Sørgekåpe” via Spidelssinn Records. What can you share about its general production?

As everybody knows, since my comeback I’ve published 3 albums in a row, after this I decided to take more time to create the “Sørgekåpe” album. When I started making the songs, I felt that they were more acoustic, maybe more close and personal and that led me to the use of Norwegian language. However, I haven’t done this since “Spidelssinn” back in 1997 [laughs].

So, it’s like 22 years and after so much time, why did you opt for this choice? Or better, what triggered this decision? Personally speaking, there should be quite an important reason to get back to origins…

Yes, that’s true. I think that when I composed the “Spidelssinn” album at the time, I found it really difficult to write in Norwegian. For example, one of the many reasons is that Norwegian as a language doesn’t contain a lot of words. If we google a word, I’m sure that compared to English we can find 2 synonyms in Norwegian while in English there are 50. So, when you choose that language you have to be really precise because the meaning of the words can turn out quite direct. Another reason which I find really difficult is that I’m used to writing in English and consequently, using its variety allows me to express myself more easily. This time that I ventured myself in it, I didn’t hurry up because I had all the time to find all those words and to challenge that side of me. Additionally, my children now understand what I write and everything is becoming really close. I felt ready for that challenge and the song really needed it, like the whole expression of “Sørgekåpe” itself. However I was really afraid if people would like it because I had produced so many English albums and I was a bit concerned about the reaction. Anyway, I still went full throttle on it and the feedback, so far, has been good and people have positively reacted to the single that I’ve already released. I’m very happy about it. 

If we exclude the last two full lengths “Silence Is the Only Sound” and “To the North”, I must decide that “Sørgekåpe” will be released by your own imprint Spindelsinn Recordings. Why now did you choose to self-release your album?

Way back when I started out in the industry there were any options to release by yourself an album because you had to go through a label. Naturally, a major label was the best option. However, after my comeback, the music industry has completely changed and I’ve learned so much about it throughout these years. Also, I have a good team around me that helps me with the whole technical side of releasing such as the packaging. I felt like there’s no reason to search for a new label because by now I have the knowledge and a helpful team, so I went independent.

Beside the different types of language used, what difference can you notice between “Silence Is the Only Sound” and “Sørgekåpe”?

On “Silence Is the Only Sound” was mostly a band production. So to speak we put all eggs in one basket by booking the studio for a week and then, 5 people have produced and arranged the songs. I mean, there’s some pre-production but basically, it all comes down to the fact that the band plays live in the studio and that gives some authenticity. Of course, I liked it a lot because it was intense and it gave a peculiar energy. Per contra, subsequently the conclusion of “Silence Is the Only Sound”‘s process, I was already sure that the next album’s production would be slower. Consequently, when I finished writing the songs, I spoke with my producer Josten Asnes explaining to him that I didn’t want any big production like the last time and I was interested in something much more acoustic and closer. I slowly started the pre-production in this cabin in the mountains and we let the flow of the ideas go. There was any stress and not so many people around, it was just me, him and the music. Mostly, the final outcome reflects all this. Also, the melodies that you can listen to are plain and they don’t have layers and layers of musical instruments.

If translated the word “Sørgekåpe” stands for the butterfly Mourning Cloak. I might say that’s quite a specific word. How does this particular word strictly connect with the song itself? 

Actually, the name came up quite quickly thanks to the self-titled song. When I created that song, I felt like it paved the direction for the other songs. FIt’s melancholic and in a way, it describes the many of the  emotions that I went through when I wrote the song. In this case, the butterfly is a metaphor for fragility and it’s like a ghost that goes through a nemesis. 

As you stated before, you collaborated once again with your producer Jostein Asnes. I was wondering how challenging it was for both to  try to understand the right arrangements for these songs?

We both wanted to be a process that has an important impact. Finally, when we went into the studio, we chose a location that was accessible to reach the cabin in the mountains and we ended up in this old barn in the middle of this beautiful field. The recording process was about patience and we started piece by piece to record just the guitar, just the vocals and so on. We’re going slowly through the songs and I felt like we were carving the sound as we went through each song. For example, some of the songs needed just some guitar and this resulted in a different production where we put everything in. It was right to work in this manner.

You stated in the press release that you consider “Sørgekåpe” a personal album. Do you explain why?

For instance, when I wrote “Blind”, I thought straight away if this song was too personal because it describes the feeling of struggling to keep up with your daily life and at the same time, please everybody while you tend to forget the people that are closer to you such as family and friends. Of course, these people should receive all your attention but in truth, it doesn’t happen. In retrospect, this led me to think that I shouldn’t include it because it’s too personal. On the contrary, Jostein convinced me to include it adducing the reason that the listeners will relate to it and he thought that was one of my best songs. Basically, he said: “That’s how we all feel”. Secondly, it was written in Norwegian so that makes it even much more intimate. 

This leads me to ask one of the most dreadful and hated questions by the artists: which plans do you have after this crisis will be over? 

It will be over. It will be over. [Laughs] I have some plans to tour and it’s important to already lay something ahead. Just plan it and if something doesn’t work, just alter it. Right now, it’s difficult because every country has its own regulation which depends on how much the virus spreads. For instance, the lockdown here in Norway started on March 12th and we were so certain that with September, everything would be back to normal and we feel like that it won’t happen now because it’s quite imminent. Nevertheless, I made some concrete plans to play in Germany at the end of November on the 20th in Hamburg and the 21th in Leipzig. Let’s cross our fingers that will happen. Also, I have few things planned in Norway. Though, after this, it’s better to see how everything evolves because there’s a lot of risk involved. On the other hand, I believe it’s important to create events online which many artists are already doing. It’s also a way of communicating music.

So, Kari, we’re almost at the end and with this please be free to say hi to your fans and our readers. Thank you so much for this interview.

Thank you so much for the interview. I really enjoyed it. I’m so happy that we can still communicate online and like you, writing about music and telling people what’s going on in industry because it’s really important. I would like to say to all your readers, I hope you find time to listen to my music and I hope you’ll find some peace in it.

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