The mystifying Norwegian Grammy nominated artist Gundelach, has just released his latest single ‘Vinter’ from his upcoming two-part EP ‘Shapeshifter.’ The first half of ‘Shape’ is out on 25th February. ‘Vinter’ is an indie-folk and electronic fusion, which creates a wintery soundscape. The track is the first offering from ‘Shape.’ Despite Gearing up for his EP release, Gundelach found the time to sit down and talk about his new releases, becoming a father and how his signature sound has grown over the years!
If you are ready to delve into the mind of this widely celebrated singer-songwriter then grab your coat and get ready, because ‘Vinter’ isn’t coming, it is already here and after you listen, I think you too will agree that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!
So, we will start with what’s new! Your single dropped last month? Can you tell me a bit more about the song ‘Vinter’?
That song is about 10 years old. I made it with Paul who also plays in my band. Paul introduced me to analogue synthesisers. We rented a small room where we made demos. The room was located in Norway’s film park where they used to make all the big movies back in the 70s and 80s.
Would you say that the song is still just as relevant to where you are as an artist now as it was 10 years ago?
Yeah, I think so. I tend to write melancholy, that’s when I feel most at home. I used to struggle a bit with depression and anxiety and stuff. Nowadays I’m feeling lighter, but I still feel like it’s as relevant.
Obviously, this song has made it from 10 years ago to now but how would you say you yourself as an artist and your band have grown, In the last 10 years?
I’ve been trying to write music in different ways, working with different producers and people. I feel like the more you work on stuff the more you get better at your craft yourself. So, I guess I feel a bit more confident in my sound, I know what I want sonically! I have also found that it’s easier to communicate with other people about composition and production.
So when would you say was the changing point in the last 10 years when you started to adopt this confidence?
Maybe like in 2018 after I released my debut album. I feel like as an artist I tried to not be afraid to change my style, now I can throw in a guitar solo. I know that sometimes people will think, ‘Oh, can I do that?’ Maybe this or that person doesn’t think that the change is cool or whatever… I try to not care so much about that stuff anymore.
So now you’ve got your single that just came out last month. Obviously, it’s been around for 10 years, but it finally now has got released. What’s the reception been like since you released it?
It has been really good! At first when I filmed the video and recorded the song, everything was shut and strange and It was weird to just see the song almost disappear into the ether, because I couldn’t do anything with it. Now things are open it feels like I am respecting the song a lot more.
Have you had a chance to perform it live yet?
No. I have been booked for some festivals this summer. I feel like booking has been on hold for a while… But I do hope to perform it soon. At the same time, I’m feeling a bit anxious about playing live again because I haven’t done it in a long time, however I’m mostly looking forward to playing.
When would have been the last time that you performed live?
September 2019. So, it was quite a couple of years ago now. I released this record which was electronic and my way of trying to incorporate like ambient techno. We performed that record like two times and we were supposed to tour with it but then all of a sudden it got shut down. So, it was really weird releasing the record and then nothing happening afterwards.
Were you able to stay creative over these last two years?
I like being by myself, so for me the whole thing has been quite nice in some ways. I have this hardware sequencer that I wanted to learn for long enough. I can operate that thing now… and during the lockdown I bought some really nice old guitars, so I’ve been playing a lot of guitars! I also had a daughter in 2019 and I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her, so it’s been quite nice.
In 2020 you received a Norwegian Grammy nomination, and what was that like?
Um, that was really nice. You know, I have been nominated for every record I have released but never won. So, I’m used to getting nominated but never winning. I’ve always been very happy when they didn’t call out my name because I was so nervous to do an acceptance speech.
The nomination was for a track called ‘Cynical Minds’ with Aurora. What was the collaboration process like?
I worked on the production and stuff and went back and forth with her. It was a bit of hassle getting the thumbs up from all our different labels. It was a whole process, but she’s really cool.
Let’s go back to your previous albums, how were these albums different to recording your upcoming album?
During my first albums I was really new to the software! I didn’t know how to do anything! I would try different things and hope for the best, I really miss the naivety I once had!
I am still a big fan of music but now when I record or even go to festivals, I always look at the equipment, lighting etc and really analyse everything instead of just being able to be in the moment.
Would you say it changed your perception of a lot of artists like knowing what goes into the creative process?
I think so. It also makes me realise that I don’t listen to music as much as I used to, I am always just analysing. Nowadays I tend to listen mostly to ambient and jazz music.
Have you always been a huge fan of music and was it something you always wanted to pursue?
I grew up performing in the theatre and I noticed that I was a musical person, I enjoyed singing a lot on stage! As I was growing up, I wanted to pursue acting and auditioned to get into the National Theatre School in Oslo, but I didn’t get in. I kind of lost hope in acting and decided to pursue music instead.
Now I am able to make a living doing music and it is such a nice feeling as I really enjoy making music.
Is acting something you’d ever want to go back into at some point?
Yes, I have been asked to audition for a few things in Norway. I mostly say no, but I have tried for a few roles!
The issue is that I don’t practice my acting skills as much as I would like so I never really improve.
Okay, so back to your upcoming EP release ‘Shape’ which is the first part of ‘Shapeshifter’… Tell us what we can expect from that?
I really wanted to incorporate my guitar a lot more and have more country influences. That style is something I have been trying to work on the last few years, so I wanted to include that.
Then the sound was inspired by a set of paintings from a Norwegian artist, about mythical creatures and the lakes they lived in. So, I wanted to create music that represented what I felt whilst looking at these paintings.
The first half ‘Shape’ is about the emotions you feel when making your way to the lakeside and the second half ‘Shifter’ is when you enter the water, and it all opens up.
How would you say the two halves differ sonically?
For ‘Shape’ we recorded with my band, we had drums, bass guitar, keys. Then in ‘Shifter’ we made it more acoustic. We removed the electric guitars and changed the drums. So, to me the first half is about being near a lake in an open field and then the second half you are in the ocean, maybe on a boat, and it is a lot more ambient.
Was it always planned to release it as two separate parts?
No. I think I came up with the idea during the end process because I felt that the two halves were like a first and second act. So, it made more sense to release them separately. But I have really low expectations because of the last record that I talked about being so bummed out by just dissolving into the ether in some way. So, I’m just hoping to get booked to the festivals in the summer, you know, but I’m also having another child in July as well.
Thanks! But it is very time consuming so I can’t do too much with the release. But I would like to get the chance to perform at a few festivals this summer!
Has being a parent changed your creative process?
Yes! I have to stay on a much stricter schedule now. Before I could just go with the flow, and work at my own pace. Now I know that I have to drop my daughter off at a certain time and pick her up, so I have had to adapt how I do my work.
Would you want your children to pursue the creative arts?
I would encourage them if that’s what they wanted. I feel our generation is far more encouraging towards our children doing music etc. If they are good at it, I will let them know.
Would you let them know if they’re not good?
Maybe I would have to ask a friend to politely tell them they aren’t very good or maybe just gently push them in a different direction.
Have you got any advice for anyone else looking to enter the music industry?
Be authentic and don’t overthink!
‘Vinter’ by Gundelach is out now and part one of ‘Shapeshifter’ titled ‘Shape’ is out February 25th