Fever Ray on dreams, fans & kids

fever ray

There was barely one concert at Melt! Festival that was that much awaited like the performance of the mother of two children and solo artist Karin Dreijer Andersson alias Fever Ray. But before the gig we were lucky to meet her for an interview.

Got to be known as electro duo  The Knife together with her brother Olof Dreijer, Karin set latest landmark with the band’s groundbreaking third album “Silent Shout”. Now she successfully continues that work as solo artist Fever Ray, makes scary videos and currently tours with a dark collection of costumes (they even gave her a second wardrobe for them at Melt!) and an amazing live show through Europe. Since all of her visuals remind me of some dreams – better said nightmares – and Karin once pointed out their meaning for her creative process in an earlier interview with Interview Magazine, the question to start with was quite obvious for me…

Karin, do you have specific dreams always returning?
Yes, I have some that return.

Can you tell me about one?
No, it’s strange things. But one is a very common one to many people, because you can find it in dream books. It’s when you dream you loose your teeth. They’re starting to fall out and you can feel them shaking. You can find that in dream dictionaries and it’s means fear of loosing control or loosing money. That’s interesting.

And do you have those fears at daytime?
I don’t think so. I like to know what I’m doing, so it’s some sort of control but I don’t think that I’m a control freak or so. I like to know what’s going on.

Have ever dreamed about your Fever Ray performances?
No, I think that’s too ordinary. Sometimes I dream I have still one year left at high-school. That’s a nightmare. I almost panic when I dream I’ve like almost one year left at high-school and would have to stay there.

What’s the matter with your high-school time?
I mean I don’t like it when I know there are things I’ve really to do tomorrow, things that somebody else makes up for me. I want to decide by myself what to do.

Then it must be good to be a solo artist with great freedom.
Yes, but it is the same way, that it has always been for The Knife, too, because we run our own record label, so we can decide what we want to do like music-wise or recording-wise. It’s all in our hands.

Despite that do you feel pressure from the huge expectations to your live show, especially here in Germany?
(thinks very long) No.

Have you already got used to it with The Knife?
No, I mean I just don’t know what it really means that people start to like what you’re doing. I’m very happy that they do so I can continue with my work. I can go on developing the live performance and I can go back to studio after this and continue working. That is very meaningful to me, because that’s where I prefer to be, in the studio.

What would you describe as the key difference between your stage performances and everyone else?
I think we take care of the whole sense of the concept. We work with smoke, with smell and with the audio of course, but we really try to work with the visual heart of the live performance. It’s very theatrical and cinematic in that sense. I think at many concerts you go to it’s about the band playing. It’s all about the audio. You don’t expect much of it but I like to experiment with concept formats, because there’s so much to try out. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. Maybe it won’t today since we’re playing in a white tent and it’s maybe too white.

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I hope it will work out well. Had you any expectations yourself when you recorded the first songs?
I didn’t even know that it was going to be an album. I just wanted to go to studio and see what happens.

Were you surprised at the moment, when you looked back and realized what Fever Ray turned out to be?
Yes, I was. I think you get very surprised every time you work on an album and realize: Yes, I’m really going to finish this. Making music is really hard and difficult. It takes so much energy and you turn yourself inside-out. You hate everything you do and only sometimes you like some of it. So yes, I think I was surprised every time. It’s like always, when you start you never know whether is going to be an album. It’s hard and it could happen that it won’t be anything.

Like a journey with an unknown destination.
More like a little journey. And then you shut it, go back home and never travel anymore. That can happen, if you don’t get ideas or can’t realize them.

When you come home from your journeys you find your two kids there. Are they your energy reservoir?
(thinks very long) I don’t know how to think about them according to what I do. I don’t work when I’m at home, it’s impossible. It’s like all parents do, they leave their kids to kindergarten and then they go to work or to the studio.

…or wear scary costumes.
No, I don’t use them at the studio. (laughs) Yeah but sometimes I play shows. We are in the mid of the year now and three years ago was the last time we toured with The Knife. After this year, we will finish this and go back to studio, so it doesn’t happen so often that I’m away doing shows.

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Have your kids ever seen you live?
My oldest has.

Was she scared by her mother’s stage appearance?
She’s very used to it, she knows what I’m doing. I think it’s completely normal to her so she’s not so impressed. I mean she has her own taste of music.

And are you happy with that taste?
I think it’s fantastic that they like music and they can choose whatever they want.

Do you recommend them some acts?
Yes, I do play music at home which I like but then they say: ‘No mum, I want to put this record on instead!’.

The classic adolescent kids versus their parents music clash…
I don’t know. To some of it all of us like to listen.

So who’s a generally accepted band at your house? Please don’t go for Abba.
No, no. For example we really like to listen to Tomahawk, we like rhythmic metal. She likes rock like Twisted Sister or AC/DC and Kiss – she loves Kiss, I love it as well.

Sounds like a cool daughter.
Yes (laughs). I love that they have their own taste in music so early. I mean my sister’s little daughter is only one year old but when you turn on Amadou & Mariam she just start to dance. That’s amazing.

Photos by Cooperative Music (1) and Christoph Paul (2-4, shot at Melt! Festival 2009)

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