Behind the Music: Interview with Ida Wenøe

‘Music is a mirror. It finds purpose through its audience.’

Describe your music style in no more than 5 words: Nordic folk noir.

Who is involved in your tracks and what do they bring to the music? The past couple of years I’ve recorded and played a big part of it myself in various locations. But in the final round of finishing the album, I have involved my co-producer and mixer Esben Svane who took this album and made all my dreams for it come true.

Esben really knows his references and he doesn’t stop until we’ve got it just right. When talking about albums we really like – for example “Harvest” by Neil Young, that’s got that dusty, timeless warm sound – he went on and did it just right, without compromising and with the biggest respect for the true nature of the songs.

On “Another Kind of Love” the atmospheric harmonies are being sung by Stine Steendorph and Magnus Knudsen – who also plays the bass on many of the tracks. Both of them are also part of my live band. I think they sound angelic and ghostlike on there. Esben is also a member of the band playing his organic 70s drums and percussion on the album. Besides being really talented musicians, these three people are also some of my best friends.

Who or what influences your music? The things I need to get out of my system. Things that move me, frustrate me, make me wonder. Astonish me, make me angry or sad or happy. Travelling, falling in or out of love or being a human. Feeling paralyzed, feeling small, being overwhelmed, feeling like shit and feeling like no-one or too much. And everything in between.

‘Writing a song is the calm you find in the storm.’

Do you prefer recording or performing live? Ha-ha. Oh gosh. One doesn’t work without the other. If I record a lot, I long for playing live. If I play live a lot, I long for recording. The grass is always greener, right?

Where is your go-to place for writing new music? As long as I ‘go’ somewhere, it usually kick-starts inspiration. I really like to go somewhere remote. Last time it was a cottage in Värmland, Sweden. But sometimes it’s when you least expect it, surrounded by noise, on the road or just before a show where writing a song is the calm you find in the storm.

I love how you create tracks that are really stripped back with others being much more powerful. How do you decide what side of your musicality to use on a track? In a way I feel like both things have the same effect, but if you only do the one thing, is doesn’t strike you as much. It’s in the contrast between the two that something interesting starts happening. As in life, sometimes you feel like shouting and at others you feel like making almost no sound at all. I am full of contrast, as is my music, so I don’t think about it too much it just sort of happens that way. My hope is that people see themselves in that.

Can we expect a similar mix of your different musical sides like on ‘Time of Ghosts’ in your forthcoming album? Definitely, although on this new album I have included more percussion, drums and bass on some tracks. It’s more old school in that sense, whereas my debut solo album “Time of Ghosts” was more of an infantile playground with more of a peculiar sound. I’m sure you’ll be able to hear the difference while not doubting you are with the same artist.

‘When people recognise themselves in songs, the songs have a purpose.’

What is your first musical based memory? I was around 4 years old. It was a beautiful summer’s day. I was lying in the shadows by the cherry trees in a red hammock by myself singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” while realising how sad the song was. I think that was the first time I experienced how songs are able to move you to the core, and that song to this day still makes me cry.

What is the purpose of music? Music is a mirror. When people recognise themselves in the songs, the songs have a purpose. It finds it’s purpose through its audience.

An increasing number of Danish artists are wanting the UK to hear their music. Why do you think this is happening? Maybe it’s because England was once under Danish rule and we still can’t come to terms with it not being like that now. So… we try to take over your country song by song like the music-playing Vikings we all are. Maybe that’s it? 😉

Who are your favourite Danish artists at the moment? Skammens Vogn with their newest release Musik og Drøm“. I’d be curious to see what you think about it without understanding the words. The lead singer is a poet and writer so the words are a big part of the music. But then again, music is a universal language.

And finally…… What would be three pieces of advice you would give to others trying to make it in the music industry?

  • Ask yourself how much you want it.
  • If you really want it, come to terms with experiencing mostly rejection.
  • If you still want it, remember to always be true to what you want. If you start doing what others want you to do, ask yourself the first question again.

Thanks Ida Wenøe for chatting with Listen to Discover.

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Listen to and watch Ida Wenøe on: Spotify and YouTube

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