WEEKEND MUSIC PT. 31: OH LAND

She is like a Ministry of Ideas, always looping between memories and dreams for the future.

Step into the enchanting world of “Oh Land,” a musical chameleon whose artistry knows no bounds. With a name that’s a fusion of her middle name, “Øland,” this captivating artist has embarked on a remarkable journey through the realms of classical, electronic, and pop music. We’ll delve deep into the origins of her stage name, uncover the influences of her musical upbringing, and discover the emotional tapestry woven into her upcoming album, “Loop Soup.” As we navigate her unique blend of genres and perspectives, one thing becomes clear: Oh Land’s music is a captivating journey that defies categorization, inviting listeners to join her on an adventure where creativity knows no limits.

Numéro Berlin talked to Oh Land about her latest album ‘Loop Soup’ and how human connections shaped her creative process.
“Oh Land” is such a distinctive stage name. Could you share the story behind it?

I wanted to have a project name that didn’t indicate femininity or masculinity or an individual or a group. It gave me more freedom to embody the music rather than an individual. The name is a wordplay on my middle name, ‘Øland’.

Would you mind discussing your childhood and the early influences that played a role in shaping your musical journey?

I grew up with classical music. My mom was an opera singer, and my dad was an organist in the church. So, very early on, I knew the difference between Bach and Beethoven. Music was also something that was performed live in my home and not something we simply “put on.” Therefore, I was always singing in harmonies and grew up with music being a natural part of storytelling and social interactions.

And in what ways does your experience as a ballerina continue to influence your music production?

I started dancing ballet because I didn’t want to become a musician like my parents. The ballet school was located at the opera where my mom worked, so it was convenient for me to be in the same building. However, as I grew older, I became more interested in electronic and pop music. Nevertheless, I still have that fairytale feeling from the stage as a deep part of my aesthetics.

“On this album, I try to see things from above, like “What would this look like if I were an alien coming to Earth?”
Your upcoming album “Loop Soup” explores a range of themes and emotions. Exploring the translation of these emotions into music, how do you go about processing such intense feelings through your musical work and what does it feel like when you share such deeply personal emotions?

It’s pure necessity. I write the songs as a form of meditation on a problem and by the end of writing them, I’m closer to understanding my own emotions on the subject.

You’ve mentioned that your music is influenced by the people and their perceptions. Could you delve into how these human connections and experiences shape your creative process and the themes of your songs?

I’m triggered by my own role in society, how I interact with other people, and what is expected of me ‘as a human.’ On this album, I try to see things from above, like “What would this look like if I were an alien coming to Earth?”

In your career, you’ve been involved in classical music as well as electronic and pop genres.  Including ‘Loop Soup,’ what’s your perspective on the interplay between these diverse musical worlds?

For me, it’s very important not to create overly rigid categories. I’ve never really concerned myself with genres. Of course, there are some formats I can work within; for example, when writing for a ballet, I know it has to be a certain length, etc. However, I don’t limit my ideas for instrumentation just because it’s for a ballet. I always prioritize the story, and that determines the rest.

“Loop Soup” features collaborations with Ximena Sarinana and Broods. What was it like working with these artists, and how did their contributions influence the album’s overall sound?

It is always very exciting when inviting other singers on board. I knew I wanted female features, and I wanted that additional texture and perspective that a voice can provide. I’m a huge fan of both artists, and with Ximena, I wanted her to write a verse in Spanish. With Georgia from Broods, I wanted her to create those beautiful harmonies that she is known for. I was thrilled when I received the files. Collaborations are a test of trust. I trust them with freedom, and they trust that I will use it well.

“I tend to get lost in my thoughts easily, so my songs naturally become a blend of all these elements. That’s why it’s a ‘loop soup’.”
The concept of escapism and real-life moments seems to be present in both your music and the themes of “Loop Soup.” In what way do you integrate these assorted elements into your creative approach?

I spend most of my time oscillating between memories, dreams for the future, and actually being present in my everyday life. I tend to get lost in my thoughts easily, so my songs naturally become a blend of all these elements. That’s why it’s a ‘loop soup’.

You’ve mentioned that you also find inspiration in the small, fleeting moments of life. Do you recall a specific moment or memory that had an impact on the songs of your album?

A stranger passing by on a bike said, ‘Smile – why so sad?’ And that provoked me. I wasn’t sad; I was just feeling normal, and perhaps a bit focused. It gave me the idea for the song ‘Pretty Is Dead,’ which is about the expectations to always wear a smile and look pretty.

With the release of ‘Loop Soup’ through your independent label, Tusk or Tooth, and the accompanying creative autonomy, how does this influence your artistic vision and creative freedom?

It means that I don’t have to wait. I can do things when I want to, and the turnaround from writing a song to releasing it can really be done in 24 hours. That’s very exciting, but it’s also expensive and a pain in the ass to self-release. However, the artistic freedom is worth it.

“I just know that I have a deeper calling for nature that I haven’t fully explored.”
As an artist who incorporates various influences and perspectives into your music, what message or emotion do you hope listeners will take away from “Loop Soup“?

I hope that people will connect with the lyrics and see themselves reflected. I also hope it will prompt some reflection on various subjects, such as the expected efficiency of our society and, in general, how one chooses to live their life. On a musical level, I hope it will feel like a warm blanket to wrap around oneself.

I saw a caption on one of your pictures on Instagram where you wrote: „I wanna live forever and I want it all right now! But in case I die, I wanna have done all of this 🌟🌟🌟 what’s on your bucket list??“  – To wrap it up, tell us about your bucket list?

I’m incredibly impatient. It’s my greatest gift and my biggest downfall. I desire so much that sometimes I end up achieving nothing because the sheer volume of things becomes overwhelming. To list a few concrete desires: I want to visit Japan. And i want to live in closer connection with nature. I’m not sure how yet, whether it’s through farming, working with animals, or residing in a remote place. I just know that I have a deeper calling for nature that I haven’t fully explored.

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