Danish star talks new album, struggling to over-achieve and female exploitation
Michael Baggs

16:37 25th October 2013

"Are you calling from London? Oh London. I miss it!" says Oh Land from her Canadian tour bus, moments after arriving in Vancouver on her 2013 tour - before stepping off and before we can even get a question in.

"I just love the people, mostly. I love the British humour, I have lots of friends in London. I love that it is very multicultural and you can get really great kebabs," she adds. Clearly this is a woman who has her priorities straight.

Oh Land (real name Nanna Øland Fabricius) returns with new album Wishbone on 4 November 2013 - a darker, spikier record than her 2011, self-titled release, which was packed with underground pop classics such as 'Sun Of A Gun', 'We Turn It Up' and 'Wolf & I'. A former ballet dancer, the Danish singer teamed up with TV On The Radio star and production extraordinaire Dave Sitek on her new album, who immediately shook her out of her comfort zone on their first day in the studio together.

"The first day I was at his studio, he played me something that was very noisy, dusty, rude and big sounding and it immediately appealed to me and I was jumping up out of the vocal booth. He was like 'get in there, sing something'," she laughs, insisting that she was most at home when being challenged by his ideas and sounds. "I just went in and started singing, and it became 'Sleepy Town'. That song very much directed the sound of the rest of the album.

On working with Dave Sitek: "Suddenly there were very rude sounds which really appealed to me"

"I just love that it wasn't pretty, suddenly there were very rude sounds that really appealed to me. He brought a lot of guitar and noise to it which I loved. It reflected more the life I was living, the chaos of my life."

Sitek isn't the only big name involved in the album however, with bonkers Australian singer/songwriter Sia ("she's crazy - in the best possible way" says Oh Land) having penned one of the album's standout tracks 'Green Card'. "Sia is one of the funniest people I've met, she's very sweet, a very loving person," she adds. "She's blowing up all over the place."

Listen to 'Green Card' below

But it is lead single 'Renaissance Girls' which is getting all of the attention ahead of the album's release: a bouyant slice of offbeat pop with an irresistable beat and lyrics about women (namely herself) striving desperately to achieve.

"The track was something I needed to write for myself," she says of 'Renaissance Girls'. "I just caught myself doing so many things at once, trying to deliver the best at everything, like cooking a gumbo from scratch and being dissatisfied when it was lacking in flavour.

"I'm just a real over-achiever and I got annoyed with myself because I have this idea that as a woman I have to be great at multi-tasking and I'm definitely not good at it. It was a song where I lifted a lot of things expected of women - to be sexy and a good mum - a total contradiction. Then you have to be a best friend and have the brightest career. All these things are hard to juggle, so I had to make a song about it. It's also saying don't burn out, don't spread yourself thin."

Watch the video for 'Renaissance Girls' below (she had one hour to learn the insane choreography)

But does she know anyone capable of pulling off this seemingly impossible task? Of course she does.

"Most of my friends are genius multi-taskers and I don't understand how they have the time," she says with a sense of genuine awe. "It's like they have 28 hours a day. Also I see myself trying to do a lot of things at once, and it's good to be ambitious but not to wear blinders."

On Miley and Rihanna: "I want to watch a music video - but then I see soft porn"

In this post-Miley Cyrus pop landscape, expectations of women are more relevant than ever - whether it's ones they put on themselves or ones the media impose on them - so what does this struggling renaissance girl think of the twerking and spread-eagled antics favoured by pop's leading ladies?

"I'll probably get really unpopular saying this, but my personal opinion is that I don't think it's cool," she says. "I find it a little immature in a way, and also I find it uncomfortable. I want to watch a music video and then I see soft-porn and that wasn't what I signed up for when I pressed play. I just think it's a little bit sad that you need to do that to get attention and I would never do that to myself.

"There is a fine line - you either want to have a drink with someone and a conversation before you go to bed with them - and that's not what's happening in some of these videos. They're just going straight to bed."

However, despite claiming such antics are 'downplaying the intellect' of these artists, Oh Land believes there is a fine, but not impossible, line to tread between promoting brains and a powerful sexual presence.

"I feel it's downplaying your own intellect. I don't mean you can't be intellectual and sexy, because they go hand in hand, but I don't want to dumb myself down."

Oh Land releases her new album Wishbone on 4 November, 2013

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