Tracker Pixel for Entry

Serial crossover artist: Sondre Lerche interview

by Kaycee Boe | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | HPR Abroad | August 2nd, 2017

Sondre Lerche was born in Bergen on the west coast, the second largest city in Norway. He has just released his eighth album, “Pleasure” (2017). This interview took place at OverOslo, the annual music festival on a hill overlooking the Oslo harbor.

HPR: How has being from Norway affected your music both when you started and now? 

Sondre Lerche: It’s always hard to say because it’s all I know, but when you are young growing up here, you listen to mainly music from other places, like the big music cities. I listened to a lot of Brazilian music, but it’s always from far away.

Being Norwegian, it’s not your identity to be at the centre of attention. Geographically we are just way up here, you know? We are just a little country with this story to tell. So maybe that affects your view. You have a sort of privilege coming from Norway that you may or may not know you have, but at the same time you see yourself as quite small. Maybe you have a sort of weird view of things…you can sample the best from all cultures and just quietly cultivate your own brand of it. I like that. But I’ve lived in New York for so many years and I try and think about how that affected me, but that is hard too because it’s all I know. New York is full of people coming from all over the world to live and be a part of it for a second.

HPR: Were there any challenges with moving from here to there? 

SL: I think it’s challenging…I did it because I had been touring so much and I was like it’s going to be so fun to move somewhere else, I’m gonna be so inspired and then you do it and you’ve put so much pressure on this experience that you are going to be inspired and the first couple of months I was not inspired at all, I was just tired. And then you think “Oh shit! This was a terrible mistake” and I was still quite young so I didn't really know how things go. Oh my god I almost had like a little meltdown. You just expect that you are going to move to New York and continue to be brilliant, and I had to start from the bottom, in a sense, and really get to the inspiration.

HPR: Is it different for you performing here than in the US and Canada? 

SL: It is a little different. In Norway everyone knows who I am but they don’t necessarily relate to my music or know my music. In most other places, people don’t know who I am, but the people who do, know all my music. It’s this very bizzaro world. It is very different. The essentials are the same, it’s just making people happy and groovy with music. I’m playing the same music and I’m essentially the same guy. It’s sometimes liberating getting to speak English in between my songs because it appeals to this entertainer side that I have. That is a little harder in Norway with my own people. You don’t have that sort of character to play around with.

HPR: Do you prefer to sing in English? 

SL: I prefer it. I’ve tried sometimes to write in Norwegian. I don't like it at all. This is going to sound strange, but I find it limiting because there are more words in English and they are more specific, and most of the music I’ve listened to was in English. It feels culturally like it’s where the expression belongs. There are a lot of good artists singing in Norwegian, but I’m not one of them.

HPR: Do you think it distances you from your fans in Norway? 

SL: By now they know what to expect, but there has been a shift now where a lot of pop artists who sing in English have started singing in Norwegian. Of course the feel of a lot of it is that it’s more intimate to sing to your own people in your own language, but I’ve communicated with people outside of Norway since the start, so it seems like this valuable dialogue and I would hate to just end it. It would almost feel rude, like if we were in a conversation right now and I just randomly started speaking Norwegian. I definitely feel better being able to communicate, and that is one of the great things I experienced the first time I went to America to play, was that people actually listen to the words. That was really special. It made me want to work harder to write better.

HPR: When you write, do your words come first or the melodies? 

SL: It varies. Very often the music comes first because the music gives shape and I can realize what i need. I write down words all the time without any thought of the music. So I have two different buckets to draw from. But very often I’ll have a piece of music and I’m just trying to give it life, and the words are the life. That’s what drives it and what motivates me to sing it. It’s only a song if I can give the melody words that motivate me to stand up in front of one person or millions or people and sing it. I have to feel that this is something I have to share, even if nobody wants to hear it.

HPR: You are known for constantly reinventing your sound. How do you go about taking your fan base with you? 

SL: Oh boy, I don’t know. I’ve probably lost a lot of people in different stages of my career because I’m selfish in that sense. When I’m writing and recording I only really care about what I feel and think. If I’m playing it for someone else, it’s just to see how I feel playing it for them, because that reveals a lot. It isn’t necessarily because I want them to say ‘oh cool snare drum sound,’ it’s to see if I play it for them, I’ll hear what bothers me and fix that. So really, I’ve probably alienated a lot of people who maybe like one record and then came to the next and were like “what?” And then maybe some people return. They fall off and then they come back.

HPR: What about new fans? 

SL: All the time! There are so many people who come to me and say they thought I was some new guy. If I’m new to them, I am a new guy, but it’s really fun for me after all these years to put out so much music and still have people discover what I do and think “Pleasure” is the first album of some guy. That idea is so exciting to me. I’ve been blessed with a core fan group of adventurous, tolerant music fans who really want to go on this ride with me, and without them I couldn’t do any of this at this level. If people do fall off, that’s not a big deal. I have that same relationship with many artists where I like this record but maybe couldn’t tune into that one. It’s not necessarily supposed to be for everyone all the time.

HPR: Do your folk roots from the start still reside with you at all? 

SL: Yeah, I feel very connected to just the format of a guy playing guitar and writing songs on a guitar. That’s the core of what I do and I feel like at any moment I could strip everything I do down to that. I’d be happy to perform solo shows almost anywhere and meet the audience that way, and take songs back to where they came from. So I feel connected to that format. I don’t necessarily want to explore that so much in the studio, but I always can in the live format. I like the flexibility where if I write songs that are good enough to be dressed up and dressed down. Then I feel like I’ve done my job, so I like to do that.

HPR: Where do you see your music going in the future? 

SL: I tend to feel like when I’ve done something, it’s like you've had a big meal of pasta and you want something else. I’ve recorded a bunch that overlapped with this record but was decidedly something else and are very different. They move very slowly and have a lot of room for thoughts. I don’t necessarily think the next thing is going to be all that similar to “Pleasure.” But it’s going to take a little time, so anything can happen.

Recently in:

FARGO – Expressing disgust over an interview with a local “pro-white activist” on Valley News Live “Point of View,” concerned citizens have started a campaign to pull advertising from the show.Concerned citizens are…

Google has a cloud plan that is actually free! It should be: Google has enough money, they don’t need mine or yours.Last week we discussed the Dropbox cloud offering. Remember that cloud storage is a great way to back up your…

Saturday, August 19, 6pm doors, 7pm showFargo Theatre 314 Broadway NKwaician Traylor and Jaeden Schaan co-headline with The Knotties opening. Two Fargo-based singer songwriters and a blues rock band lighting up the finest stage in…

Our opinion: We all breathe the same air, and we all drank the same beer.Last weekend I helped a pal plan a small festival in an even smaller town. In fact, you may find me bartending there once in a blue moon, flexing my…

Gadfly

Crazy like a fox

by John Strand

Can we learn anything after we know it all?There’s a 100-page book written by a high school dropout that should be read by all high schoolers, college education students, teachers, and politicians. Michael J.Fox of movie and TV…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On Wednesday July 19, Luna had their first and very solid convergence with Junkyard Brewing. The beer dinner was comprised of five killer Luna courses with five stellar Junkyard beers. The results were extraordinary. Initially I…

Formed in 1988, The Supersuckers have gained the moniker of being “the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world.” In 2015 lead singer/bassist Eddie Spaghetti was diagnosed with stage 3 oropharynx cancer. Thankfully he…

Reteaming with his “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” leads Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, filmmaker David Lowery has a very compelling tale to tell in “A Ghost Story.” Somber yet funny, and comfortable with exclamations of…

Interactive Hive through Plains Art Museum goes to marketPhoto by Jerry ShervenThis summer, interns between the ages of 11 and 18 participated in Buzz Lab, a program through the Plains Art Museum that gives students the opportunity…

‘Heathers’ hits the Empire stage in Grand ForksBefore the pink-clad Plastics or Cher’s group of popular beauties in “Clueless,” the shoulder pad-wearing, croquet mallet-wielding Heathers ruled the halls of Westerberg High…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

If you’ve never had Mankato’s Organ Grinder Amber Ale, you should probably put it near the top of your “must try” lists.If you are a fan of Mankato Brewery you may have been a bit confused the last time you went looking for…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

A few months ago I wrote about the long, strange saga of Jason Halek, the fellow who dumped 800,000 gallons of poisonous oilfield brine down an abandoned oil well south of Dickinson. Back in April of this year, he pleaded guilty to…