Childhood, memories, inspiration, music and much more in an interview with Eivør.
Marcin: First of all I need to say that me and my wife love your music especially “Bridges” which we’ve been listening for the last months of pregnancy. Now our newborn daughter calms down with “Bridges”. Thank you.
Eivør: That is lovely to hear thank you 🙂
Marcin: What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
Eivør: I remember listening to my mother singing around the house when I was little. She loved singing and I admired her so much. Her joy of singing made me want to sing to. My father wrote a poem almost every day – little stories as well. He would read them to us and I loved those moments.
Marcin: Who do you consider your creative mentors? Which people or movements have most strongly influenced your work over the years?
Eivør: My parents were my first mentors. As I mentioned before my father was always good with words and telling stories and my mother has always been singing. They encouraged me to stick to what I loved doing and to become better at it. Musicians I have worked with and people I have met along the way have also influenced my work. In the little village where I grew up there was also a musical community where musicians would gather and play music. This was a good stepping stone for me to start my musical journey at an early age.
Marcin: What is the first artist you remember loving as a child?
Eivør: I remember the very first time I was at a real concert and I must have been 10 – 11 years old. The artist performing was Faroese folk singer Hanus G Johansen and I was so blown away by the way he told his stories with his deep and haunting voice. This experience had a very big impression on me. This certainly inspired and encouraged me to write songs. Music can do so much.
Marcin: What kind of a role the nature of Faroe Islands plays in your creative process of songwriting? Is that where you draw the inspiration for your music from?
Eivør: I grew up very close to nature and it vibrates very deep within me. In the middle of the Atlantic ocean nature can sometimes be very wild and rough. People have huge respect for nature up there. Nature always reminds me that I am not alone, and that I´m a part of something greater. It´s not something I am very conscious about all of the time, but I carry it with me everywhere I am and it´s there in my music for sure.
Marcin: What does music mean to you?
Eivør: It means the world to me. It has always been in my life like a good friend though good and bad times. To me music and life are parallels. There is music in every situation you get yourself into.
Marcin: Is there anything that could ever convince you to stop creating?
Eivør: Oh no I don´t think so. It is such a big part of who I am.
Marcin: If you could choose the one album you would take with you on a desert island, which would it be and why?
Eivør: It would be „Five leaves left” by Nick Drake. I will never grow tired of listening to that album.
Marcin: If you could experience another decade of music first hand, which would it be and why?
Eivør: There have been great artists flourishing in every decade I´t would be cool to visit the mid 60ties and mid 70ties.
Marcin: Your new album comes 15 years after your debut album. Do you often think about how much time has passed between “Bridges” and when you released “Eivør Palsdottir” in 2000?
Eivør: A lot of things have happened since I released my first album at the age of 16. I do think about it every now and then, especially if I hear an old recording from my first album. I am proud of my debut album and also happy to know that I have moved forward musically and dared to try out new things since then.
Marcin: How would you sum up the last 15 years when you look back over it?
Eivør: It has been an amazing and exiting adventure where I have explored different sides of my self. There have been ups and downs. My curiosity in music has led me into many challenging experiences. I have changed in many ways since I first started writing music, and I am happy to be where I am today. But I am still learning.
Marcin: What would you say is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far?
Eivør: Not to take anything for granted
Marcin: You were a young singer at the start of your career. Now you are one of the most well-known Faroese artists in the world. How do you feel the way you are now?
Marcin: The music industry has seen many changes throughout the these years that have been in it, so what have been the major ones for you?
Eivør: It has changed indeed over the past years. It has been a bit scary at times but also interesting. Change is usually a bit scary but it opens up new doors and forces you to think in new ways.
Marcin: What has been your most touching or amazing moment you’ve experienced as a musician?
Eivør: Wow difficult to answer this question. I guess the greatest joy for me is when music can be like a mirror and others can recognize themselves in my songs.
Marcin: What your song is the most important for you and why?
Eivør: Don´t think I can pick one out. They all mean something to me in one way or another.
Marcin: Your albums has a lot of different styles. Is there a genre you would love to try that you haven’t yet explored?
Eivør: All my different experiments have been important lessons for me and have taken me to the place where I am today musically. I didn´t really plan to try out different genres – it just happened because of my curiosity. Anyways all genres are just names and labels we put on music to feel more safe or to better understand it. I don´t intend to try out different genres but rather create something honest from my heart.
Marcin: So if you could work with anyone musically, who would it be?
Eivør: Hmmm…. Would love to work with Massive Attack or Radiohead.
Marcin: What do you enjoy most: working on a new album or touring?
Eivør: These are two very different things and I am not really sure what I like the most. I guess I need both to be fully whole. The process of creating the music can be extremely joyful when everything falls into place, and something is suddenly there that wasn´t there before. But it can also be very frustrating when things don´t turn out the way you want. Touring and performing – when there´s an audience the songs really come to life and when you connect with people, that is when magic happens.
Marcin: You married Faroese songwriter Tróndur Bogason in 2012. Has marriage affect you as a person and an artist?
Eivør: Yes Tróndur has a very good influence on me. He is a composer and we have written quite a lot of music together over the past years. We have co produced three of my last albums. I love working with him and I admire him in so many ways both as a human being and as an artist.
Marcin: You’re working with your husband from a few years. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with husband musician?
Eivør: I love working with Tróndur. I have deep respect for his musical intelligence and his creative input to my music. The reason we work together is not because we are a couple but rather because we like working together and we still surprise each other creatively. It is inspiring. The advantage of working together as a couple is that you work very close together and you are not attached to time in the same way. We do most of the work at home. The disadvantages are that it can be difficult to stop because we both love creating music. It´s all about balance and you have to learn how to put work aside sometimes and just be a couple. But I think we are getting better at that.
Marcin: How do you balance your music with other obligations and private life?
Eivør: My music and my life are parallels and walk hand in hand in many ways. But it can sometimes be tricky for me to be „normal” and to do normal stuff like hang out at the beach or go see a movie with friends. My head is always so full of music and I spend a lot of my time at home working on musical ideas. But it is important to sometimes pull the plug and to lay these things to rest. I am still learning that and getting better at it.
Marcin: Is the occasion of 15 years on the stage you are planning something special? Any plans to celebrate this?
Eivør: Good point. Maybe I should plan something 😉
Marcin: Let’s start talking about your new album “Bridges” was released last month. In my opinion It is such a beautiful collection of heart and soul. Your unique style of music sounds so ethereal and spiritual. Tell me a little bit about the making of this record – from getting the idea to the finished “product” of the music?
Eivør: Most of the songs on Bridges have been written while traveling the past 2 years. I like to write when I´m away because you see things from a different perspective. And maybe you discover new „truths” that you weren´t able to see, when you´re in the middle of it all. When the songs were finally finished and ready to meet the world I went to the Faroe Islands to record the album at one of my favorite studios: Studio Bloch in Tórshavn. I worked on the album for a few weeks along with my husband who produced it with me – Mikael Blak on bass and Høgni Lisberg on drums and beat production. I wanted to make a quite stripped down album with only a few carefully selected elements. I wanted the soundscape to be quite acoustic – accompanied by simple electronic beats and string arrangements. I feel very proud of the outcome and lucky to have been working with this amazing group of people.
Marcin: Magnus Johannessen is a long-time collaborator of yours, and you are working with him for this album. So what was it like working with him once again?
Eivør: Yes me and Magnus have known each other for a long time now. He is a great pianist one of those musicians that keeps growing. Every time I hear him play it touches my soul. I was very grateful to have him play on “Bridges”.
Marcin: Can you tell me a little bit about working with Hogni Lisberg, Mikael Blak, Angelika Nielsen and Andreas Tyklaer Restorff?
Eivør: I have worked with Mikael and Høgni for many years. Mikael also played on my debut album so we go way back. The good thing about working with these two is that even when I don´t make sense trying to explain something they will still understand what I am trying to say. And they always have creative input. Angelika and Andreas are brilliant at what they do and have done a great job as well on the orchestral part.
Marcin: You clearly have a great working relationship but what is about addi800 who mixed “Room” and “Bridges” that makes you want to work with him again?
Eivør: Addi always manages to find the sound that I am looking for. I have never met anyone who works as intense and fast as he does. I love his energy and his understanding of my music.
Marcin: What made you decide to choose Mandy Parnell who was mastered the album?
Eivør: Addi recomended her to me when we were working on “Room”. She is one of the very best mastering engineers I have worked with.
Marcin: Tell me a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Eivør: Heidi Andreassen did the artwork on “Bridges”. She is an artist from the Faroe Islands. I had seen some of her illustrations and I really liked her „world”. I thought she would be the perfect person to create the cover for “Bridges” – and she was. We talked a few times on skype and sent ideas back and forth and, in the end, I was very happy with the outcome. The cover has many layers if you look closely – stories and symbols. That is very characteristic of Heidi´s work. It has great depth.
Marcin: Why your new album is entitled “Bridges”?
Eivør: During the process, the title “Bridges” became a common nominator for the whole album. Different kinds of bridges that take you from one place to another; change the way you think and the way you see the world. The album is very much about connections between people – friendship, love, loss. You sometimes need “distance” to see things more clearly.
Marcin: Why did you choose the song “Remember me” for a first single to promote the album?
Eivør: Well, I thought it was a good representative for the album, and it is the opening track. I always have a hard time deciding these things because I get so deeply involved in all the songs. So I usually get friends to help me out 😉
Marcin: Words are very important aspect of your music. The lyrics on “Bridges” are about a faith, hope, love, longing and memories. There is a little misery and a lot of relationships between people. There are references to the parents too. These things leads to a quite obvious question: what does inspire you to create such works of lyrics?
Eivør: “Bridges“ is marked by a longing for home, friendship and love. The songs on the album are about relationships and experiences that form you as a person. These things inspire me to write. There is a certain melancholy to it, but also declerations of love and gratefullness.
Marcin: What can you tell us about the lyrical themes track by track on the album from your point of view as the author?
Eivør: I usually prefer not to clarify my lyrics too much. When you have spent so much time writing them and finding the exact right words it can sometimes feel like I am doing the songs harm by explaining too much about them. I want a song to speak for itself – and people to find their own interpretation of it.
But I have picked out a few and explain about the stories behind them:
“Bridges” – It is the title track and it represents the album very well. It´s a song about the bridges between people and places.
“Faithfut friend” – Is about old friends that chose different paths in life – yet this friendship always remains a big part of you. I wrote it on a balcony in Italy with a good friend in mind. Sometimes you forget to tell people and friends what they mean to you and I guess this song was my way of telling an old friend that I am grateful to have had such a precious gem in my life.
“Purple flowers”- My mother was diagnosed with cancer two years ago shortly after my father died. It was very difficult to be away from her and my little sisters at this time where things had fallen so much apart. Luckily she won the battle and today she is stronger and more alive than ever. This song was written for her on one of my travels.
“Morning song” – This is a song about leaving old burdens behind and embracing new beginnings. Learning that you are not your sorrows or your mistakes, but rather they are your companions in life.
Marcin: The feelings and emotions are an apparent theme on this album. How important in your life are those things?
Eivør: I think I am the emotional type, or at least I get moved easily when I experience something beautiful. I think that as a musician feelings and emotions is EVERYTHING. It´s what music is at its core.
Marcin: How do you experience love now in your life and write about it versus when you were younger? What is love in your words?
Eivør: I have been writing about love my whole life. I think all my songs are love songs in a way. Love is something that is greater than our self and it brings out the best in us. I will allow myself to borrow the words of Eden Ahbez that put it so well „The greatest thing you´ll ever learn, is just to love and to be loved in return”.
Marcin: What is your dream project?
Eivør: The one I´m finishing right now. My next album “SLØR”. It´s a sister release to Bridges. All lyrics are written in the same period as the songs on “Bridges”, only the lyrics in “SLØR” are in my native language Faroese. While I was writing the songs they kept coming to me in such a manner that I would write a lyric in English and straight afterwards a lyric in Faroese would arrive – a kind of mirror image or reflection. Most of the songs were written together in pairs.” The albums are therefore two different works yet also a unity. This has been my dream project for over 2 years now.
Marcin: And the last question – what would you say to your fans in Poland?
Eivør: I just can´t wait to come to Poland and share my music with you.
Marcin: Thank you very much for this interview and see you soon in Poland!
Eivør: Thank you. Very nice questions and it was a pleasure to answer them.