Six years after Days Like Waves, Norwegian Oslo-based artist Stina Stjern released a new album. Kap Herschell is out now. We have the pleasure to introduce the new work with her words about each track. Find more after the full streaming of the album.
This song is about searching for yourself in toxic, symbiotic relationships, that can occur when identifying too much with another person. The version on the album is actually based on a demo I recorded in my workspace at home some years ago. I recorded the demo in Garageband, and tried to capture the essence of the song by using a mellotron-app on my iPhone, and just a random harmonica recorded through a Shure Beta 58 microphone. We have recorded some new tracks upon the demo-tracks, but you can still hear the fragments of the original home-recording.
Taste of Spring
Searching again. Exploring what might happen after midnight on a dancefloor in a basement in Oslo. You expect the night to be one to remember, but you soon fall into disappointment when you realize that this will be just another night with the same dynamics and the same people saying the same old phrases they did last year, and the year before. The song is mixed in a way that is inspired by how the bands playing at Revolver, Oslo, sounds like if you stand outside the club. Maybe the song is really a description of the relief when you surrender, decide to leave the party, step out into the night, and find your way home…
I once thought that this song was inspired by the Norwegian “village party”-phenomena, called “bygdefest.” This is kind of a party where people from the age of 15- 99 gather to get really drunk on coffee and moonshine, or “Karsk” as we say in Norway. I went to a few of those in the 90’s. There would always be some kind of band playing at these parties. And what really fascinated me was that people would dance American “swing”, or the Norwegian traditional dances, no matter what kind of music the band played. In Greenland they go out to dance Polka on a Saturday night. This is a song about hitting rock bottom, but you can most definitely dance whatever couple dance you would like, to it.
The Hider/The Watcher
A short song, more alike a poem, about me and my grandfather. My grandfather worked as a hunter in northeast Greenland when he was in his mid 20’s. He lived alone for a year in a cabin called Kap Herschell and had to manage on his own in the cold and harsh winter. He had to manage polar bear attacks, and taking care of his dogs giving birth in minus 40 degrees Celsius. I would never be able to survive in such conditions!! When I was about the same age I travelled to NYC. I felt like hiding from my everyday life at home, but came to meet myself more clearly than ever before.
I always thought we did kind of the same, my grandfather and I. But we chose different paths. He hid where there was no-one else, I hid among millions of people. I think we shared the same curious and adventurous mind. But I think we have found inner peace in different places: Him, in his solitude, meeting nature. Me, in my solitude, meeting people, culture and art.
Nuussuaq is a place in Nuuk, Greenland. I rented an apartment there once and wrote some music while watching the icebergs passing by on the fjord. It suited med just fine to have view over this natural phenomena, while doing what I like the most and having a glass of wine. I have always been kind of an indoor person, and I am not very excited to hang out in the wilderness. I don’t necessarily like to go out on a beautiful sunny day either. I’m from the middle of Norway where I find the pietism still to be really rooted in the normative moral. You’re basically supposed to be only happy and positive, but not too much of that either. I think the song is about the freedom of finding your solitude and having a break from those demands for a while, and just being with what is real and authentic for you. And maybe also a description of the liberating feeling of staying indoors when every Norwegian go head over heels to capture what might be the only summer day this year.
It is really a description of daydreaming as a coping mechanism. The naïve visualizations of another reality, another life. And how this can force change of lifestyle and lead you to evaluate your current situation, think it over and take on a new path. At least for me, daydreaming has always been the underlying force for change and growth.
Cold Endless Ice
What is it that makes people want to stay alone in the ice for months and years without any connection with other human beings? There must be something about the inner peace and a way of belonging to one self and the world. I find that my inner restlessness and mental noise tend to quiet down when I visit places with a lot of people and outer noise. My grandfather travelled the opposite way. He found his way to the cold endless ice. Did he find inner peace when he was confronted by the merciless nature? I tried to fool around with this theme when I wrote this tune. It must be something about the self-confidence, sense of achievement, and the outer exploration that triggers the inner exploration. I found this very fascinating.
There is an Eagle
Over the years I have read a lot about the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and others. I found that many of them chose the adventure before their loved ones. There is something fascinating about this uncompromising way of living. It is kind of egocentric, but at the same time a way of being true to one self. This is the small reflection of someone leaving a lover, to find home in the adventure itself.