Danish songstress and genetically blessed human being Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, is probably one of the nicest female artists in the history of the universe. Sure, she and I only communicated via email, but her responses were laden with cute references to her dog and smiley faces. Plus, everyone I know who has had the pleasure of meeting her in the flesh says she’s really, really, insanely nice.
Born to a musical home in Copenhagen, a city full of other genetically blessed and musically talented people, Oh Land now resides in Brooklyn where she spreads joy and awesomeness to everyone she comes in contact with. Later this year, she will release her third album, Wish Bone, an extension of the infectious electronic pop sound we’ve come to know and love. Produced by David Sitek (yes, TV on The Radio’s David Sitek) the album features a handful of other excellent artists like Sia and Chairlift; collaborations that likely came about because Oh Land is talented and nice and beautiful and very talented. Yesterday, Oh Land premiered her brand new video for the single “Renaissance Woman” over at Rolling Stone, but we were lucky enough to send a photographer to the Bushwick set to catch some exclusive behind-the-scenes shots. The clip, brought to you by production company All:Expanded, features Oh Land busting out her trademark quirky dance moves in the middle of industrial Brooklyn. Check them out above, to see how the music video sausage is made. We also caught up with the lovely Dane to chat about the album, the weather (because it’s hot in New York and that’s what people talk about) and various things that prove how lovely and kind she is.
So many excellent electronic artists hail from Scandinavia. What’s in the water over there?
I guess we have a little more chalk in the water but that wouldn’t really make the difference. (-;
That being said, you’ve now been living in Brooklyn for several years. How has living there shaped or influenced your sound?
I’m not sure how much space actually influences my music. It’s more the relations I have with other people. But I guess always being surrounded by noise made me go a noisier direction. I mix my dreamy small-town-girl-from-Denmark side with my industrial noisy New York side!
It is my first New York summer, and it is torturous. How do you survive the heat?
Coming from a very cold country I can’t get it hot enough. I’m the crazy person out in the sun when it’s 100F, I love it.
Where does the name Wish Bone come from?
Technically it’s the bone in the chicken but to me it’s about the contradiction between bones and wishes. One is physical and very real and the other you can’t measure and it can vanish any second. But we are dependent on both. It’s the fight between the body and the mind.
How has your sound changed or evolved since your previous album?
I think Wish Bone has elements of both Oh Land and Fauna, but generally the sound has become more minimal and a bit more noisy at times. There are little islands with no clouds but generally it’s a bit stormy.
I read that the album is largely produced by Dave Sitek. How did you two meet initially?
We met in Glendale and had instant chemistry, the first night we wrote three songs and I just couldn’t wait to come back. I knew that we had to finish the album.
What is the experience of working with him like?
It’s very intuitive and musical. We never talk about what we want to do we just play a lot and the songs show where they want to go – often quite surprising directions. He gave me a lot of courage to do anything I wanted and not trying to please anyone.
There are some other notable collaborators on this album, such as Sia. How do these collaborations come about? Who approaches who?
Collaborations for me are never something that should be chosen from a marketing perspective. It always happens quite naturally and pretty much everyone I’ve collaborated with have come about cause I’ve started being friends with them. Sia I toured with and on the road we started writing silly songs about cannibals and then it developed in to a really beautiful song, Green Card.
Your parents are both musicians. Do they ever offer criticism?
My parents have always been supportive in whatever I wanted to do, and to be honest, as a child I didn’t allow them to criticize music in general. The biggest fight I’ve ever had with my mom was over an Alanis Morissette album that she didn’t like! That didn’t go down well.
You have such a wonderful sense of style. What designers are you coveting these days?
To me great style is all about contrast. Making contradictions that somehow weirdly fit naturally together. I think Prada always does that.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I’m definitely by nature an optimist. But sometimes I practice pessimism in order to not develop completely unrealistic worldviews.
How do you relax or wind down?
I wind down every day when I walk my dog and play with him. I think that doing something good for others whether it’s an animal or a friend is the most relaxing thing. It’s very stressful to do things for yourself cause you rarely know what exactly you need.
If you weren’t making music professionally, what would you be doing?
Whatever I could do to help the environment. We can’t keep on living and consuming the way we do. If I could be part of a generation that changed the curve I would be proud.
What’s coming up for you (besides the album, of course)?
I will be touring Wish Bone for a long time and hopefully get to some parts of the world I haven’t played before. I’m doing some music videos as well and walking my dog lots!