Interview: Einar Stray

We actually know him from music videos of Moddi, he is the musician that plays the piano and from time to time sings with him. In his own music project Einar Stray also has soft and calm tunes.

-Hei Einar! Right now, you do have ‘Spring Tour’ in Europe. How is your tour going? Would you like to come to Turkey too? Will we see you in Istanbul, soon?

-Einar: As I write this I’m driving in the sunset through Romania. We are playing Transilvania Film Festival tonight, half way in the tour. The response has been great and the weather terrific. Everything is easier in the spring for us vikings. We would love to come to Turkey next time. Someone should invite us! 🙂

Einar

-Let’s go back to past. You started to record your music in the bedroom. How did you decide to make music? Or was it like the way you relax? Then you realised that your songs are good. How did it happen? Also, how did you start to write songs? 
-Einar: I started making music when I was 9 years old. We had a giant grand piano in our living room. I loved to sit down, improvise and be in my own dream world of sounds. My childhood was full of music. I sang in church choirs and played in rock bands. When I was 16 I recorded some songs in my bedroom and posted them on Myspace. I was overwhelmed by the positive response and it resulted in my first gig. I brought along some friends and we started to play concerts. Now we are a proper democratic band with 5 members and composers.
-You inspired by ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor’. Well, we must say that their music is pretty strong than your music. I mean, sounds. How did they really inspire you? If we have to give more examples, you also inspired by Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan’s music is more close to you, I think. Or you just make mixes and create your own music? 
-Einar: GY!BE and other more punk/hardcore minded acts have definitely influenced my music – bands addressing the world as fucked up was very satisfying (because it often is), and our band feel quite attached to this tradition. To discover these guys as a worried teenager was almost like an religious experience. We are, as you point out, a bit more subtile and positive in our angle. Sufjan is therefor well worth mentioning. His incredible creativity and limitlessness is so inspiring, and we share some of the same religious background. But we have hundreds of other influencal bands on our list – everything from world music, jazz, classical and noise. We play pop music mixed with many influences.
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-You also play with beloved singer Moddi. He is one of my favourites, I must say. I actually met with you while you were playing piano at the back side. Would you like to sing with him? Like making a new album or a song, maybe. So, it would be a duet thing. What do you think about it? Have you ever thought about something like this? 
-Einar: Pål Moddi is one of my closest friends. We have sung together many times and played in each others bands for many years. We did a duet called “Silhouette” on his second album. Playing his songs means a lot.
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-How is going your new album? Do we have surprises? Could you give us a bit knowledge or a clue, maybe?
-Einar: We are working with a producer that we admire very much. His name will remain a secret for now. It’s still quite early in the process, but we want to make an album that is a good mix between the two previous ones, with something new and fresh. There is still so much for us to experiment with and explore music wize. We have a new violin player who is from the folk scene, so this might influence our new sound.
-Since we are a blog about Scandinavia, mostly cinema and music. Could you suggest a movie that you like from Scandinavian cinema? We would gladly hear your favorite Scandinavian band as well!
-Einar: “How Do You Like My Hair?” by Emilie Blichfeldt was tremendously enjoyable. My favorite Norwegian band ever is Serena Maneesh. My newest favorite is Siv Jakobsen.
-Would you like to tell about your hometown in your songs? Like going back to folks’ products; and making a new mix?
-Einar: Our latest album “Politricks” is about growing up and stepping in to the adulthood. We come from the forest and security of our parents home and their beleifs, and then we are moving in to the city with all its bars. You are starting to doubt what your parents thaught you, there are so many people telling you what to believe in with teir shiny arguments. At the end of the day you just got to exsperience yourself and make up your own mind.
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Photo: Jørgen Nordby

-When some people are working, they want to be in a peaceful environment. What about you? What kind of environment you want to be in when you are working on your album and songs? Also, in some days couldn’t you sleep well because of you are working on a serious thing. How do you mostly feel when you are working on new things? Can you tell about that process?

-Einar: Sometimes it takes years making a single song. Sometimes it can happen over night or in a few hours. I took a whole year off ones in order to write a lot of songs. I ended up writing only one. It was a long one, though. This was “Chiaroscuro”.
These days we are working very collectively with everyone in the band – throwing ideas at each other constantly. The songwriting consumes us more than ever – it takes a lot of time and hard work, but it’s worth it. All we need is a quiet room together so we can fill it with sounds.
-Finally, do you have an idol or a role model that you are appreciated? Not only about music, in general. If you have, who is she/he, and why?
-Einar: I have many role models. What they all have in common is their ability to stay down to earth and humble even though they are extremely good at what they do. And they are full of surprises.
-Thank you for your nice conversation, Einar. Tusen takk! 
-Einar: Me thank you, it was very joyful conversation. 🙂