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Susanne Sondfor

Øyafestivalen: Susanne Sundfor

We went to Norway's premium festival to chat to the native songstress about her new album and number one success

From modest beginnings 13 years ago, Oslo's Øyafestivalen (The Island Festival) is now one of Norway's biggest, having seen its visitor count grow tenfold. Despite being on the mainland, the site sandwiched between tall treed mountains, an island-infested fjord and the capital city, creates the impression of it being adrift. Hosting four sizeable stages over a five day program, which extends into city venues during the night, it offers a multitude of music to keep ears and eyes entertained. The line-up included a mix of international and Scandinavian acts including Björk, The Black Keys, Bon Iver, Nicolas Jaar, Ane Brun and Lindstrøm & Todd Terje, amongst many more. Put aside the country's unfavourable fiscal demand, and Oslo's summer festival is a fantastic opportunity to experience this most beautiful of places accompanied by some super sights and sounds.

I love cheesy pop music. That's why I like hip-hop, they often dare to be so and are evocative that way

Prior performing, we spoke to singer / songwriter Susanne Sundfør about her home country, musical pathway and latest album 'The Silicone Veil'. Due to be released on October 8th, following on from its success in Norway, where it went straight to number one, this is her fifth album in as many years. Watch the eerie video for her first single, 'White Foxes', taken from the new album, HERE.

Dazed Digital: How did you first get involved with music?
Susanne Sundfør:
Music was an escape because I didn't really like school so I took piano lessons at nine and singing lessons at twelve, also some guitar and violin but not so much. I attended a music high school with topical subjects, which was very inspiring because a lot of students would write their own songs, and I wanted to try as well. However, I never aspired to be a songwriter but rather work as a musician. At that time I was thinking opera, but I didn't want to do that because it wouldn't allow me to express myself.

DD: What was it like working with Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist)?

Susanne Sundfør: Lars' main instrument is bass clarinet, so he does a lot of acoustic music but uses electronic as well. This time I really wanted to make an electronic album. The main difference between us is that I'm so kitschy, I love cheesy pop music. That's why I like hip-hop, they often dare to be so and are evocative that way. Whereas, Lars is very sophisticated, he has such musical intelligence. After each album, I think I'm never going to do that again and do something completely different. However, after my previous album 'The Brothel', I wanted to continue the sound but make it much warmer and bass orientated.

DD: Who were musical influences within the family home?
Susanne Sundfør: The Beatles, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, Madonna

DD: What's your favourite instrument?

Susanne Sundfør: The voice

DD: What's your favourite sound?
Susanne Sundfør: Warm thick bass, when it can be felt. In music I'm not satisfied unless there is a really good melody, it's very important and much of what I have made so far has a strong melodic base.

DD: Do you have a memorable recent dream?
Susanne Sundfør: It's horrible, a nightmare. I had a paralytic dream, having had it twice before this year after not for ten years. I dreamt that I was in my bed, but awake as it was clearly my bed. Then something happened, I was in my childhood home, the bedroom. I woke up, a light comes in from the side, it was really strong and bright. It felt like thousand of people were screaming in my ears. Then I look at the light and it's like a coffin opening, suddenly I wake up and it's the window and the sun is shining in.

DD: What's next?

Susanne Sundfør: I think I'm going to move for a while and start working on the next record. Maybe to the US if I can afford it, but not sure it can happen. It's gotten a little familiar in Oslo, having been here for four years, and I'd like to have new stories to tell.

Text by John Marshall
Photo by Sofia Fredricks Sprung