PHOTO CREDIT: Sigga Ella
COPENHAGEN-BASED artist Eivør has recently shared the video for…
the sensational Into the Mist. It is the first track to emerge from the forthcoming album, Slør. Very soon, she will play a sold-out show in London at The Islington (2nd June). Whilst composing the interview answers, Eivør was back in Copenhagen: as we speak, she has just played London and is here in the U.K. On 26th May, we will get to hear that incredible album and one of the most startling voices in the modern scene. As Slør‘s second single (Surrender) has just been released on Spotify; I ask her about the record and what we can expect to discover from it. She talks about the Faroe Islands – where she is from – and whether she plans on returning there. I ask about the music scene in Copenhagen and how it differs to other parts of the world. Eivør chats about the upcoming Nordic Matters festival and scoring the BBC/Netflix series, The Last Kingdom. Her songs have been used on Game of Thrones and Homeland; employed by video game makers – where it has connected with so many different people. I get a glimpse of a truly unique talent making her way through music.
Hi, Eivør. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello, there. I am fine, thank you. It’s been a good and busy week of touring and I am finally home in my apartment in Copenhagen again – and have a few days to recharge before the next round of touring.
For those new to you and your music, can you introduce yourself, please?
I am Eivør and I am a musician from the Faroe Islands. Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. In my music, I like to find simplicity in the very complicated and advanced – and to find the peace in the storm and chaos. I am always curious to combine elements from different music worlds – such as the sound of my folky roots from the Islands with more experimental and electronic sounds.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sigga Ella
I come from a place where the landscape is filled with contrast: the softness of green mountains and the harshness of stormy seas surrounding the Islands. I like to express these contrasts through my music as well. It´s like my inner landscape. My recent album, SLØR, is on the doorstep to be released in the U.K. It´s my first U.K. release EVER so I am feeling very excited about that.
I am interested in your heritage. You are Copenhagen-based but started life in the Faroe Islands. What compelled the move to Denmark and what are the main differences in terms of the people?
I grew up in a small village in the Faroe Islands called Gøta. I moved to Iceland when I was seventeen to study Classical Singing, and later on, when I was twenty-one, I moved to Denmark where my career had started to unfold. I like the vibe of Copenhagen but I also need my dose of mountains and weather every now and then. So, I travel to the Faroe Islands whenever I get the chance.
I like the vibe of Copenhagen but I also need my dose of mountains and weather every now and then. So, I travel to the Faroe Islands whenever I get the chance.
I think the main difference between the Faroese and Danish people is that Faroe Islanders tend to never say more than they feel is necessary, and also, time seems to be something that can be stretched out more, somehow. In Copenhagen, people talk and explain more – and are always on time.
Is there a huge music scene in Copenhagen? What kind of music can one find there?
I think Denmark is best known for its rich Jazz scene but you can find any kind of music here. I have collaborated with great musicians here in Denmark over the past years. In the Faroe Islands the music scene is blooming. There are so many great artists and bands doing great things at the moment.
Slør is your first U.K. release. What can you tell us about the album and the inspiration behind it?
This album was originally written in Faroese and it has elements from my Faroese roots. At the same time, it has an Urban vibe to it.
Nature and weather is a metaphor that goes through the whole album and I feel it has the melancholy and softness of the foggy landscapes; the wildness of the stormy seas that surround the place I come from.
When I started working on this album, I was curious to combine the very ancient/organic and the electronic-robotic kind of thing. The whole album is built upon melody lines and beats. Most of the beats are sampled from my old shamanic frame-drum.
This is an English-translated re-imagining of the Faroese-sung 2015 album release of the same name. What was the idea being reworking the original album?
I was curious to know how this album would sound in English. I kept thinking about it and decided I wanted to give it a go. I nearly gave up at one point because it´s very challenging to translate some of the metaphors. But then, I got in contact with poet Randi Ward who was very keen and excited about this idea and we dived into the process of rendering this album into English. It took us eight months to finalise it and I couldn’t have done it without her. She is someone I really respect and I tried to give her space to interpret the poems so they would feel as authentic as possible without losing their original meaning.
Into the Mist is your latest video and is hugely evocative. The video was shot in the Faroe Islands. Was it good being back and whose concept was it?
It was a great experience working on that video – although it was cold as hell (laughs). It was directed by my longtime collaborator, Heidrik A. Heygum – who has done several videos with me before. There were so many great creative forces involved in creating this video such as Miriam & Janus – who designed the costume and did the styling. Laila and Barbara did the body-paint. I felt I was just surrounded by great artists and good friends whilst shooting this video. It was a blast.
What it like being someone as remote as that? Is there a lot to do or is the landscape itself inspirational and beautiful enough to hold attention?
Not sure what this question means but I will give it a go:
I don’t think a beautiful landscape is enough when creating a music video unless you have a very specific idea about what the images should be saying. I have always been careful that my music videos: don’t look too much like a tourist film or nature documentary.
The most important thing for me when shooting videos is that the idea itself is strong enough. The landscape and the scenery is supposed to make the idea stronger. I feel the same way about songwriting.
You have this idea for a song and you spend a lot of time writing it. Later, the production becomes the landscape you decide to set it in – but the landscape won’t fix it if it’s a crappy song.
Could you ever see yourself going back to the Faroe Islands permanently or does your heart belong to Copenhagen?
I like Copenhagen but I will definitely move back to the Faroe Islands one day. That’s where my heart is.
Your music has appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Silence and T.V. drama Game of Thrones. How did that come about and what it is like hearing your music up on the screen?
It was a very cool and also strange feeling hearing my music on a Game of Thrones trailer. I had never heard my music in a film before. It was like the sounds and the lyrics got another dimension to them. Very cool. I am lucky to be working with talented and dedicated people building my film and T.V. music career. I’ve been to L.A. twice last year and worked with U.S. composers such as Lucas Vidal, Cato; Hidden Citizens, Bear McCreary and Tyler Bates!
You co-wrote the soundtrack fort the BBC/Netflix series, The Last Kingdom. Was it quite nerve-wracking given that task and what did you learn about yourself and music?
Yes being part of that has been one of the coolest most inspiring musical experiences. John Lunn (composer) contacted me after hearing one of my songs on YouTube. I flew over to London where I was supposed to lay some vocals on top of a soundscape he had put together (on one of the battle scenes). We found out that we had a great workflow and ended up doing lots more than planned. We continued working together after that and it’s been the most amazing journey for me.
Over the past sixteen years or so you have worked on a range of projects, soundtracks and video games. Is it quite hard coming up with new, different material? Where do you find that energy to keep going and remain so prolific?
I think it’s my curiosity and my passion for music that drives me. It’s like a never-ending investigation for me.
I feel there are so many things I would like to do; so much music to explore and so many songs to write – yet so little time.
I try to carefully pick the side projects I do parallel to my own projects because it´s easy to wear yourself out. I have been on the edge a few times. Every time I finish an album or a song, it takes me to the next one. It’s like stepping-stones or something: one thing leads to another.
Any other plans for the rest of this year? Can we expect even more music, perhaps? You worked with producer Tróndur Bogason on the album. Any plans to work with him again?
This year, touring the Slør music will be my main focus. It´s always some kind of relief for me to play live after spending such a long time in the studio finalising an album. The real magic happens for me when I play my songs to my audience.
I have slowly started writing new songs already and I would like to set some time aside later in the year to dig deeper into the songwriting and to see where it wants to go. I absolutely love working with Tróndur Bogason and I hope we will do more music together in the future.
I know you’re coming over here later in the year for your first headline tour and will play as part of this year’s Nordic Matters festival. Are you excited about playing at Southbank Centre and coming to the U.K.?
Yes. I can’t wait to tour the U.K.! My first U.K. tour starts off in London on 31st May at St. Pancras Old Church; then on to Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow.
Then I’m back in November as part of the Nordic Matters festival which I’m very excited to be part of – and coming to the U.K. for live performances twice this year! Yay.
I hear a little bit of M.I.A. and Björk in your work but have a very distinct sound. Who are the artists and musicians who have inspired you?
Many artists have inspired me along the way. I have always felt drawn to artists that have a melancholy in their sound such as Billie Holiday, Björk; Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen.
Mari Boine and Yma Sumac taught me so much about the power of the voice. Portishead changed the way I thought of music when I was a teenager.
So, as you see: it’s a wide range of different artists that have touched my soul.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you, what would it be and why?
I think picking only one is almost impossible. But I think I would pick Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon.
At least today I would – tomorrow it might be another one.
Is there any advice you’d offer upcoming songwriters?
I would advise them to never give up. Trust your own judgement but don’t be scared of taking advice from others.
Keep on digging deeper – although it can hurt sometimes.
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
This song sets the mood of the day: Duvan by Amason.