On her new album Breakage, Norway’s Ellen W. Sunde, who goes by the moniker Sea Change, manages to traverse an entire landscape of human emotion. From the pining eloquence of ‘Let’s Dance’ to the metaphor for love and loss that is ‘Squares’, Sunde delivers all this by way of pacing electronics, compressed beats and washes of atmospheric synths. The type of music Sea Change creates is at once immediate, but it also takes some deconstructing to get the core of her emotionally charged sonics. So we caught up with Sea Change to delve deep into the immersive world of her new album.
You’re from Norway, which is a pretty ethereal place. Is there something about your home country that feeds into your music?
I guess the loneliness in my music is a reflection of it. There is a lot of winter here, and I guess its more natural to stay home making music during the cold wintertime, than doing that in the summer time when everyone is supposed to have fun.
What’s the music scene like in Norway and how does Sea Change fit into it?
There is a really great amount of female solo artist that are very good. That makes it harder to stand out. I feel like an outsider, but then again who doesn’t.
Tell us about your new album Breakage – how did it all come together?
I recorded and produced most of it this fall in my bedroom in Oslo. But some of the songs have been kicking around for a while. Some of them are a few years old and some are very new. Freedom was something that I had in mind while making the songs. Just letting go of everything, so I guess Breakage is a reflection of that. The album is mixed and mastered by Endre Kirkesola and he came with some very nice ideas and made the album what it is.
The songs on the new album are pretty intense and can have quite a confrontational sound. Is this an aspect of your musicality you were keen to include?
Thats interesting because there is so many different feelings about the sound. Some people don’t find it confrontational enough. I think it most definitely is. The vocal is pretty intense… that wasn’t the plan, but I really think it works.
What influenced you (music or otherwise) when you were writing and recording the album?
The need for freedom and the need to let things go. I listened to a lot of different music.
Tell us about your songwriting process – how do the songs come together?
I usually get a song idea when I go for a walk. Very often a beat. I start with the production fairly early in the process. Other times I sit down and have a plan: “today I will write a new song”. That works as well.
You’ve mentioned that you were quite shy when you first started performing – how do you feel you’ve progressed as a performer since you began?
I’m not that shy when it comes to performing, or I mean, I’m definitely an introvert front figure, but I don’t find that a problem. To be on stage is just something completely different than being around people as usual. Its a creative space, like somewhere else, another dimension maybe.
How do you feel the songs on the album translate live?
I have a wonderful band with me. Hilmar on synthesizers and Jakob on electric guitar and electrical drums. The songs are rawer and more massive live, thanks to my wonderful band.
What’s the most important element of a Sea Change live show?
The raw sound! I think its really important that a live show is different than the recorded songs. It is something different, and it should sound different. We also carry some beautiful visuals with us trying to get everyone in the same atmosphere that we’re in.
What’s next for Sea Change over the next 12 months?
Heavy touring in Europe! A Denmark and Germany tour is coming up in March and April, and we will come back to UK and do some shows there in May. I also really hope to start writing my new album as soon as possible.