Three years ago, the Norwegian music scene was captivated by two 17-year olds. When Elsa & Emilie released their debut album “Endless Optimism” in 2014, it gave them a Norwegian Grammy nomination, heavy playtime on radio as well as a number of major TV appearances and several synch placements.
Now, the two 20-year-olds are back with new music, a slightly darker sound and visual image than last round, the duo have clearly grown a lot in three years. Elsa & Emilie are different but complement each other perfectly, creating the exciting dynamic and the distinctive harmonies that characterize them
Elsa & Emilie kicked off 2017 with a second single and album “Kill Your Darlings” in January, as well as important festivals and a release tour in February-March. The album is written by Elsa & Emilie and produced by Krisoffer Bonsaksen from Propeller Music (Highasakite, Emilie Nicolas).
In August the duo released first single “Au Volant» from the upcoming 2017 album. The French title can be translated as “driving” and is a mysterious and hypnotic song luring the listener into their universe. Norwegian radio immediately playlisted the song, and it was picked up by international blogs and media pushing it to a #3 on music trend barometer Hype Machine.
We caught up with this dynamic duo and had a chat about their music, their inspirations, and the pitfalls of a gig with a band they’d never met…
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Hi! We are good!
Elsa: I just moved out of my apartment in Oslo. I’m spending the summer in my home town.
Emilie: I had my last day at school this semester, and ate a Mc Flurry.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
We are a norwegian duo! It’s always hard to find the right words, but “dark, nordic pop music” sort of covers our sound.
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
1. Susanne Sundfør – The Brothel
2. Lorde – Pure Heroine
3. Coldplay – X&Y
4. Lana del Rey – Born to die
5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Though I think we both agree on all the above.
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
Elsa: I really like a norwegian band called Highasakite. I think the vocalist is a really good songwriter and I love her voice. Also I’m really into Rihanna, Beyonce and Zara Larsson, as well as Kanye West and the Weeknd.
Emilie: I like Broods. Their songs are great, and they’re kind of cool. 😛
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
We would say that streaming is a big challenge. There are both pros and cons to it, but we’ve definitely experienced that it’s hard to adapt to these changes that the music industry now are facing.
Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
Mostly from movies and music, but also experiences. Holidays, trips, everyday life, stuff that happens, nature, pictures, you name it. Anything that can trigger the need to create something. We’ve always said that good ideas come from the back of your head. When it just falls down on the paper and you don’t even have to think about it, it’s a good song. Once you start using your “forehead” to try and get it down, it’s a medium song. … or just a really bad one. 🙂
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?
To us songwriting is still something that’s fun, so we only write when we want to. That’s when all the good ideas are gathered at the back of your head. We try not to force it, and just let it come naturally. If it’s not working, it’s not working. Leave it and come back.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
We don’t really know, and we can’t really agree on any options. I guess every gig is very different for everyone involved. One night Elsa and the drummer might feel like this went really good, and then the rest just feel like it was a normal gig. Another day it’s the opposite. But one gig that definitely did our career a solid was when we played at “VG-lista 2014”. That’s a big show in the capital of Norway, where thousands of people attend every year. Both national and international artists are performing.
And the worst?
The worst gig EVER, this one we agree on without a doubt, was a gig we had at a private party outside of Trondheim once. We had to play with a band that wasn’t ours. They weren’t even a band. We’re not even sure if they had ever met before. They were really great, but we all had to wing it, because there was no time or place to practice, even though we were promised that. There was no food, no water and no real backstage for us. The band was there for over 12 hours so that was a huge issue. Also the sound guy didn’t really know what he was doing, so he did a little bit of a lot. The coolest trick he pulled was when he made sure we didn’t hear each other while playing. That was fun.
But it actually went just fine, considering, but we all promised to never meet like this again.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Emilie: I love watching How It’s Made, so I guess I would be working at a factory somewhere. Repeating stuff, over and over.
Elsa: I have no idea, really. I’m studying political science, but I’m not sure if I would be doing that if it wasn’t for the music. I kind of picked it because it was possible to get through while being a musician.
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
At the moment we just wanna tour outside of Norway. We’ve never played a gig anywhere else, so we feel like it’s about time that we get out there! So, I guess, anywhere they would have us is a particular gig or festival we really wanna play!
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?
..Someone who answered us, when presented the same question. 😉
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
We will be back in the studio shortly! Also we have an exciting summer ahead with lots of festivals in Norway!
You can follow Elsa & Emilie on their social media links below.