Having released five studio albums in her Norwegian homeland since 2007, Susanne Sundfor is finally letting the UK play catch-up on her career, releasing three of her finest albums here for the first time.
The rising star has gained comparisons to the likes of Kate Bush, Bjork and Lana Del Rey during her career - but don't mention it, because she has never listened to Bjork and reckons that most of Kate Bush's music is 'really bad'. Sundfor has also recently teamed up with both Royksopp and M83 for their new singles.
We caught up with the 'Running To The Sea' singer to discuss who she'd really like to be compared to, the similarities between the UK and the Norwegian music scene and whether she ever thought she would find herself in LA working on a Tom Cruise movie soundtrack...
Hello Susanne. You're re-releasing three albums in the UK this week. Does it feel a little like starting over?
Kind of, yeah, and I like it. It is very exciting to present my music to a new audience and it's kind of nerve wracking as well, because I look up to so many bands and artists from Britain, so it is very exciting.
When revisiting the three albums, do it make you wish you had done certain tracks differently?
I always want to change stuff. It could be small mixing detail or the way that I said a word or a line I'm not happy with. I can't really listen to my previous music, it just makes me annoyed. I like to make those change in my live shows. I think that if you don't change your music when you perform live, it's not going to be a very inspiring thing to do. It's important to try and change things live, otherwise it just becomes repetition and that's the most boring thing in the world.
Watch Susanne Sundfor's 'White Foxes' video below
How do you find the UK crowds when you come over?
They're really polite. I really like to play in London because they are so good. The crowd in Norway, depends a lot on where you are. The crowd in the biggest cities, like Oslo, are really good too. People say the standard for London crowds is to be drunk and noisy, but I haven't experienced that. I guess people don't go to my shows to party though.
Is the UK still seen as one of the most important markets for European artists to want to make an impact?
Oh yeah. England has a lot of influence, because you're very good at exporting music. You have strong cultural history - like thousands of years of cultural history and the US has a lot of history as well. So of course, a lot of people want to make it in the UK, because if you make it here you make it internationally.
The UK charts have been rather bad recently, with a lot of r&b / europop. Is the same true of Norway?
It happens in Norway as well. I think both trends on opposites sides are annoying to me. I think that everything is so compressed and it seems like recycling, but I also find it annoying when people object to it because they are so religious in their belief in analogue equipment and antique making of melodies. Those extremities I don't find so interesting. I think that the dance music revolution, which reminds me of the nineties, I find it quite interesting. I can't listen to the radio because I almost do think there's much shit. It's really really bad. I don't know if it is happening worldwide, but it is happening in Norway that people are not exposed to alternative music any more. We don't have a TV show in Norway with music journalism. It doesn't exist. So we only have TV shows like David Lettermen where an act will play music, but usually those are bands who are already big. That's all we have. There isn't any popular channel that shows new music and I find that worrying. It seems like the music industry is unable to present alternative music.
You've stuck to your guns with your innovative sound and have gathered comparisons to the likes of Bjork, Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey. Are you pleased with such comparisons?
Well first of all, that's just a comparison - and I don't get flattered by that. Secondly, I find it weird that nobody has compared me to Burial or Radiohead or all the male artists that I listen to. I have never really listened to Kate Bush, I think she has a few really good songs - but a lot of it is really bad. I have never listened to Bjork, so I find it weird to be compared to those people I have never listened to. I totally get why people do it. Gender is so important to personality and that's so important in culture so it is natural to compare female artists. The way I write music is very inspired by Carly Simon, the structures of the songs. She usually has very straightforward melodies, where she goes through this journey. I find it so fantastic to listen to how she goes away - and then she comes back again, melodically. She is a genius. I have tried to follow her recipe.
You have worked on tracks with Royksopp and M83 recently. How did those collaborations comes about?
Both of them liked the way I sang, so they wanted me to sing on their tracks. With Royksopp and I went to their studio and they had pretty much made the song there and then - and they told me to sing. It was fun. It felt like a challenge. I like to do a lot of different things and sometimes it's really nice. Not only am I a really big fan of Royksopp, but it is also nice to just do different stuff than what I usually do - which is have complete responsibility for a pretty big project. So to go and just be told exactly what to do, to be your best, it is very refreshing.
Watch Susanne Sundfor perform 'Running To The Sea' with Royksopp below
How was it working with M83 on the Oblivion soundtrack?
Anthony Gonzales wanted a voice that could be a bit dramatic. He wanted dramatic vocal. I went to LA, we worked on the song for a day and then we recorded it. The track is so epic, I really like it. I'm such a huge fan of M83 so to work with him was amazing. He is such a cool guy.
Did you ever think your career path you lead you to be working on a Tom Cruise movie soundtrack?
It is so LA. I didn't expect that at all. I am a Tom Cruise fan though, I love Eyes Wide Shut.
Listen to M83 and Susanne Sundfor's new track 'Oblivion' below
Thank you very much Susanne Sundfor. Her three albums - Take One, The Brothel and A Night At The Salle Playel are out now.