Konzert und Interview am 10. Mai 2016 im Gleis22 in Münster
Text, Interview und Fotos: Jennifer Gottstein
Vor dem Konzert in Münster hatte ich die Möglichkeit Einar und Maja von Einar Stray Orchestra ein paar Fragen zu stellen und ließ mir das nicht entgehen. Die beiden waren unglaublich charmant, locker, aufgeschlossen und warmherzig und haben mir von ihrer Liebe zur Musik, den Vor- und Nachteilen einer so großen Band und von ihren Tourerlebnissen erzählt. Da es Backstage ein wenig hektisch zuging, haben wir uns zu dritt in den Tourbus gesetzt und gemütlich geplauscht.
Interview mit Einar und Maja
So lets start with the obvious: You’ve toured a lot not only with your latest album „Politricks“ but also before that. What is the most exciting about being on tour?
Einar: It’s definitively very essential for us to meet the people who are listening to our music face to face. That’s very fundamental for our music and the biggest reason why we do what we do. We ourselves have such a special relationship to artists and albums that we like and we know how powerful that can be. An album can change your life. And to be able to make albums ourselves is so humbling, but it’s so great to meet the audience.
Maja: And in addition to that we are having a good time.
Einar: And the travelling part!
Do you see a lot of the cities at all or do you stress from one venue to the next?
Maja: We don’t see that much of each city, because we are only here for a day, but if we have an hour off we walk around the city.
Einar: Sometimes we have days off and that’s when we really see the city. But we do get some kind of atmosphere all the time, some kind of impression of the city. So the travelling part is so rewarding.
Do you think the audience is different in every city as well or are the differences too small to point on it?
Maja: Yes, there are a lot of differences. And generally the people are very nice in Germany. We have met so many great people.
Einar: Yes, they really listen and really care. In Norway when you play a concert – I know this is generalization – it’s for drinking beer, that’s the purpose of a concert. When you go to a concert you get drunk and that’s how it’s supposed t be and you get loud and want to talk to the person next to you. The concert is sometimes more like a second thing. In Germany it’s different. The concert culture is more serious, you should listen to the music. We really appreciate this.
Do you go to a lot of concerts in your free time as well?
Maja: Yeah, it’s important to get new impressions and get inspired. For me it’s really important to visit museums and see all kinds of arts that can influence you in so many ways.
Einar: …reading books, see movies! We get inspired all the time even by hanging out with people. I think as a songwriter people are the most influential thing. The human race is so endlessly fascinating. So going to shows is very essential. I always try to go to something different than I am used to. I don’t say “I love this genre, I will stick with this genre”. I try to see a lot of world music, I try to see international acts when they come over, not just see my friends play.
Did you see a Heavy Metal concert for example lately as well?
Maja: That’s years ago for me. It was cool, even though I didn’t know the music from before. Such a different style and personality on stage and a total different audience.
Einar: Yeah, I love the energy. I don’t listen that much to Heavy Metal, but I listen to Hardcore, which is kind of the same energy. I get a lot out of this to go to a Hardcore concert. It’s just pouring out your heart and your meaning and so much energy.
But then I am wondering: all the members of your band, would you say you are mostly listening to the same music or are there any big differences?
Maja: No, I think we are quite different. Using myself as an example: I am from the folk music genre, so most of my time I listen to folk music.
Einar: She’s one of the best fiddlers of Norway!
Maja: Thank you! (lacht) Yeah, I’ve been into classical musical, but then I went to folk music and now I am in this Indie rock band in addition to my folk music. I think I am the one with the passion for folk music.
Einar: Yes, and Ofelia, who is playing the cello is brought up very classically and Lars is more into Jazz. But we all like pop melodies.
Maja: Yes, we meet in all kinds of music.
That’s what makes your music so special. Listening to “Politricks” a few times in a row makes you wonder! Every single time you listen to a song again you discover new elements you didn’t hear before.
Einar: Yes, it’s a fusion of everything. I love these kinds of albums. It’s either minimalistic or more is more. We love working in layers.
Maja: Everything is a bit hidden in our music.
The album “Politricks” was also a bit political as well. There is this one song about the political view on Norway.
Einar: Yes, that’s something we struggled with coming from Norway. Being so privileged can be a pain in the ass – I know this sounds cocky. You are supposed to be so happy, because you have everything you need. That’s very bittersweet. We love our country, but we also see stuff happening that we don’t like so we write songs from our perspective. For example: there is a lot of double moral in Norway, it’s branded as this peace nation handing our the Nobel Peace Prize, but then being on the 6th place of the weapon exports and nobody talks about it. And that’s something we sing about in one of our songs. The “Politricks” album is more about becoming an adult an also growing up in this society telling you this kind of glorified picture of the world. The world isn’t so blurry as you’ve been told.
Do you think you’ve been becoming an adult since then? Did you grow up with the album?
Einar: Probably, but I don’t trust that statement all the time. But we have a new album coming, we just finished it last week. And that album is much more about suddenly being an adult and the years after moving to Oslo, this big city and developing this lovehate relationship. It’s about starting the adult life with all the great memories and the bad memories. You learn how to live. I really look forward to listen to the record again, because I am not sure what it is essentially about yet. It’s all so fresh, but it’s definitively our best album so far and we are excited to release it in the fall.
Is there are red line in your releases? You started with becoming an adult, now you are one. Do the albums grow up in a certain way? Or did it just happen, because you are just struggling with these topics anyway?
Maja: I guess that’s what our music is about. We love to write about the time we are in. If things would completely change we would probably still write about some topics that trouble us. We will develop as human beings, so we will write about this development.
Einar: Exactly, we just write about what we think about these days. It’s more like a diary. It’s about what we talk about in the band…
Maja: … what we see critical, what we love, what we don’t like.
Einar: We are pretty personal in our lyrics, so it really is like a diary just in new clothings.
That’s a nice description for an album! Is it hard though to open up? You basically let the whole world now what you think and what you fell.
Einar: Writing music and lyrics so weird, because these are things I wouldn’t dare to tell my closest friends or a stranger, but in the context of a pop song it’s certainly okay to just say things directl.
Maja: And that’s great, because then we have a medium. If something needs to be said, somebody has to say them.
Einar: And the only goal is that I hope people can actually relate to the lyrics. And people tell me that they do and that’s the best compliment.
You are a band for so long now and there are five members of the band. Do you fight about certain topics? You said before that you are also friends, do you fight as a band or as friends?
Einar: We fought a lot! Especially when we are making music we are fighting a lot, but we always know it is about the case, it is about the songs, not a personal issue. It’s nothing personal, but of course it’s very easy to take it personally.
Maja: And that’s why it is great to have a producer, so you have someone from the outside to give you feedback.
Einar: And we have such a great producer on the new album – it’s Marius Hagen who is the head of Team Me, which is a great band and then there is another producer as well. So they are co-producing with us, so it’s all together 7 co-producers. And it always worked great.
Maja: I think it came out as good as it could get with the material we have and I am really looking forward to release the album in autumn.
Do you think you five would hang out that much if you were not a band?
Einar: I am not sure. I mean we really like each other at some points but really not like each other at all sometimes. I love that though, it’s just we found each other in a strange way through music. We are kind o forced being together.
Maja: But then on the other hand we have gatherings together outside rehearsals and band stuff, because we like each other. Eben though we are different.
Einar: Yeah, it’s like family.
You cannot choose family though!
Einar: That’s true! (lacht)
So after hanging out a lot together on tour and producing an album, everybody has some time for themselves and goes their own way. How do you come up with new ideas for music? How do you put all the layers together?
Einar: Until now it’s been me always starting the process. It happens all the time, like chorus ideas or melodies…
Maja: … and then everyone else is joining it. And everybody adds what they feel, so we are all part of the songs and how it ends up.
Einar: That’s the great part, because I don’t have to have a fully arranged idea, a tiny bit of an idea is enough and will probably grow. That’s why I could not work without this band.
Have you ever thought about singing in Norwegian?
Einar: Yeah, I have a lot actually.
Why did you decide to sing in English instead of Norwegian?
Einar: For me it’s my dialect. It’s like the most common dialect in Norway. I love Norwegian writers, but they always have a special dialect that I find interesting.
Maja: Or they write in trøndersk which is the other written language we have in Norway. It’s based on all the dialects we have in Norway.
Einar: But also it’s very much about where I am coming from and where my inspiration is from and mostly I am inspired by pop culture and the British and American acts. That’s where I am coming from.
It’s the style as well that I love. English also makes it possible to reach as many people as I can. English is the most spoken language on earth… well, maybe Mandorin is.
Maja: Maybe you should start singing in Mandorin. (lacht)
Is there anything on your bucket list you want to do still except of singing in Mandorin?
Einar: We really want to go to Japan on tour.
Maja: I would love to see more places in Europe, too.
Einar: Yeah, we haven’t been to Spain or Italy. We love Germany so much. So all the time we go here it’s because we know the people are listening. But we are going to try to expand. It’s such a powerful feeling to go far away from home and present your music. I mean we played in China and our music worked there.
Especially since the music market in China is so different and they do have a completely different music history than the European one.
Einar: Yes, there are actually only a few rock clubs in China. I was contacted and I just jumped on it, so I played in China.
Wow! Probably other people in your age haven’t experienced so many adventures as you have so far. What do you think you would do if you were not a musician right now?
Einar: I have no idea. And it’s great, because it means there Is nothing else. This is Plan A. I don’t have an option. I love working with kids though, so maybe singer for kids (lacht)
Maja: I would have been an actress I think. I’ve been working a lot in theatre and my whole childhood was half music and half theatre, but I chose the music side. I still do some type of performance though. It would have been some job with art at least. Some kind of expressing.
Einar: She is a great story teller in Norwegian.
Maja: I have a play in Norway for kids that I travel around with. I am the story teller and make music. There is a troll in the play and I play the troll. It’s really nice because there is folk music fusioned to the play and we dance and activate the kids. That’s also part of being a musician. The Einar Stray Orchestra is the main project for me, but I need to express myself in different ways. For example right before we started this tour now, I was on tour in Scottland with a folk music band which is a completely different world. And it works! And it gives me a lot of energy and inspiration.
Sounds great, thanks for your time!
Einar: Thanks for having us and thanks for being in our car!
Konzertbericht Einar Stray Orechstra in Münster
Nach diesem wunderbar entspannten Interview ging die Show los. Als Vorband kam Rekk (LINK) auf die Bühne, die auch hier viele der Gäste in ihren Bann ziehen und mit ihrem tollen Indie-Folk begeistern. Nach einer kurzen Umbaupause kommen dann die Norweger auf die Bühne. Es sind ein wenig gedrungen aus mit den .. Bandmitgliedern auf der kleinen Bühne im Gleis 22, aber das scheint die Künstler nicht zu stören, denn auch sie werden später noch über die Bühne wirbeln und den kleinen Raum voll nutzen. Ohne große Einleitung starten sie mit altbekannten Songs aus ihrem zuletzt erschienen Album „Politricks“. Die Zuhörer_innen sind gut vorbereitet und kennen die Tracks. Es wird getanzt, mitgesungen und eifrig applaudiert. Dann endlich fängt Einar an, die Band vorzustellen und ein wenig Smalltalk zu halten. Mit seiner sympathisch schüchternen Art hat er im Nu das Publikum auf seiner Seite.
Aber nicht nur das, sondern auch die übrigen Bandmitglieder – vor allem .. – beteiligen sich mit charmant lustigen Kommentaren und lockern so die Stimmung auf. Allen merkt man an, dass sie Spaß haben und – trotz kleiner Venue und nicht ganz vollem Haus – alles geben. Mittendrin lassen sie die Bemerkung fallen, dass sehr bald schon ein neues Album kommen wird, wie Einar uns vorab im Interview schon verraten hatte, und dann strahlen die Gesichter. Sie geben ein paar neue Songs zum Besten und das klingt schon richtig gut! Das finden die Besucher_innen im Gleis 22 auch und bestehen am Ende auf eine Zugabe – die sie auch prompt bekommen! Und so geht ein entspannter Abend gespickt mit tollem Indie-Folk zu Ende.