Described as having “haunting cinematics, total musical immersion and a beautifully Nordic twist” by Born Music Online, the Norwegian (but Bristol-based) dream-pop band Ålesund are making an ethereal mark on the music industry. We had a chance to chat to frontwoman Alba Torriset about their new single ‘Splinters’ and self-motivation.
Can you describe Ålesund to our readers? How did you come about and how did you choose your band name?
Ålesund is a four-piece atmospheric alt-pop band that resides in Bristol. I moved to the city 5-6 years ago and knew the type of guitarist I wanted to work with. I spent a good while looking, but finally met Lloyd and since then we have been writing and playing together. The rest of the band slowly formed around us and Ålesund was formed two and a bit years ago! The name comes from the West coast Norweigan town that my dad grew up in. The landscape there is stunning and very inspiring.
Why did you decide to become a musician?
Because there is no better thing to do with life than making music. To perform and connect with strangers in a crowd is pretty magical! I have played instruments and sung from a young age and when it came to making bigger decisions about life I knew I had to spend it making music.
You recently released your single ‘Splinters’. Can you tell us about it?
‘Splinters’ was written with the Bristol musical community in mind because there is a thriving music scene here. I was musing on how I see everyone working so hard, pouring their hearts and souls into their creative projects and spinning all the plates to try and make it work. It can sometimes drain you and leave you feeling disillusioned, however, it’s a positive track about taking care of yourself and not wearing yourself too thin.
Do you feel Ålesund has evolved musically from 2018 to now?
Definitely. Our first EP really laid the foundation for our sound as a band, however, we were keen to not get too stuck into soundscapes on this next EP. We’ve written some more uptempo tracks, played with a lot of punchy drum beats and percussion and brought a bit more of a fiery edge to the music. It seemed like a very natural progression and one we’re all happy to be moving into.
What themes do you focus on when writing music?
I try to be honest in my writing and discuss themes that everyone can relate to in some way. I find that when I have something I want to say, lyrics pour out easily. It’s not always so simple finding the inspiring topic though!
What is your creative process?
I will always write at the piano. I’ll find a chord progression I like the sound of, bring lyrics to it and hash out a vague structure. I’ll take it to the band and they will put their respective parts on it, perhaps pull it apart and put it back together so it sits nicely for a full band. I always think of it as giving them a skeleton and they turn it into a fully working human!
What do you hope to achieve with Ålesund?
Headline the Pyramid Stage at Glasto?!
Play more gigs I think. Playing live is the greatest and I think we’re at our best live. The more gigs you play the more people you get to meet, the more opportunities open to you. We’ve been slowly building ourselves up and it’s awesome when you see your hard work starting to pay off. I hope it continues in that trajectory.
How would you describe your music to someone who has not heard of you before?
One audience member said it made her want to “dance barefoot on the grass” and I think that’s a pretty accurate description.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
Florence and the Machine, although the boys would definitely all have their own preferences! For me, Florence has been the biggest source of inspiration. Her lyrics never fail to connect with me, her imagination and the picture she paints with both her melodies and words. She creates such rich sounds and her music always excites me.
Do you have any message for our readers?
In these weird weeks we’re living through, be kind to yourself. This time will pass and we’ll all come out the other side stronger. Stay safe!