Oh Land may not be a household name yet but she is ready is ready to take the country by storm. The young singer from Denmark was recently signed to Epic and has created a fun pop dance record that is generating a lot of buzz with its creativity.
The Great Dane discusses Black Swan, Bjork and balloons before arriving in the big city.
WCT: (Windy City Times) Hello, Oh. Where did the name Oh Land come from?
OL: (Oh Land) Oland is my middle name. It is spelled in Danish with a slash through it and that means Oh in English. Then the Land is for the land of wonders.
WCT: Ohhh, I get it now. You first full-length album comes out March 15. It must be a thrill to have a label behind you now.
OL: It is very exciting. We have been working so long, first writing, then going into the studio and recording. It has been a short time but very intense. I am so excited about letting this all come out in the real world and not just keeping it to myself.
WCT: The music label discovered your talent during the SXSW festival. Are you going again this year?
OL: Yes; the last time was in 2009. I am going back this year and I am playing a bunch of shows. I am releasing my record while I am there so I will complete the circle.
WCT: How about Lollapalooza?
OL: I will be there!
WCT: I get to see you twice in one year—what an honor! "Sun of a Gun" is a catchy song. Was that written about a person?
OL: I always take experiences in my life and write about them. I mold them all together a little bit. It is not specifically about one person. It may start with one person but then I put other people into it. I make my own little stew of people. [Laughs] It is not just a song about a relationship it is also about the earth and the sun. We spin around the sun but it is also a threat to us and something we need to protect ourselves against.
WCT: I was hoping your song "Rainbow" was about your gay fans.
OL: [Laughs] "Rainbow" is actually quite fun. A rainbow is a million colors and what I sing in this song is this person is the only color on this rainbow. There are no other colors. I always like to play with words and meanings. I use metaphors and things like that.
WCT: Where did you learn English?
OL: Denmark is a small country, like six million people, so we have to open ourselves up to the world at some point. We learn it in school, a very systematic grammatical way. You only really learn it when you travel. I think I learned my English by going out in the world. I am very interested in languages in general.
WCT: Did you know about OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark] before touring with them?
OL: This was the first time I had really checked them out. Now after listening to them, I think they are amazing. I am honored to be a part of their first tour in 10 years.
WCT: I heard you have a lot of balloons onstage.
OL: Yeah, We trimmed it back a little bit from venue to venue to fit the room. I just did sound check at a place in New York. Right now we have around 35 balloons maybe. We do projections on them everything is triggered by what we play. I play the drum pads and that triggers the show on the balloons so it is very interactive audio visually.
WCT: You came up with this idea yourself?
OL: Yes, I came up with the crazy idea half a year ago. I wanted to do visuals for my live show because that is a very important thing for me. I didn't want it to be a separate thing. I wanted it to be incorporated into the music. So I felt like in this way that it was triggered by the music. I thought it would be fun to be projected on balloons instead of a screen. It took a little while to develop this because it hadn't been done before. It was an experiment.
WCT: You play a music box, also?
OL: Yes, I play drum pads and piano. I also have a vocal harmonizer where I can do harmonies. I am a big fan of weird instruments.
WCT: People say you are a big fan of the singer Bjork.
OL: Yes, I am a big fan! When I was a teenager she was my idol. I love the way she mixes different worlds in her music. It is not just one genre and that is what I love about it.
WCT: Have you ever met her?
OL: I have never met her and don't think I want to.
WCT: She is like a little china doll in person. Why wouldn't you want to meet her?
OL: I am sure she is very nice but it is not necessarily a good thing to meet your idols.
WCT: That can be true. You are a trained ballet dancer.
OL: I was. I haven't been training for seven years because I stopped in 2004. I was dancing very seriously for ten years. I was at the Royal Denmark School in Sweden. I got a back injury that forced me to stop. So when I was 18 I stopped dancing.
WCT: Did you see the movie Black Swan?
OL: I did. It seems very oppressive to me. It took me back in time.
WCT: Your mother is an opera singer. What does she think of your music?
OL: She actually really loved it. She has never really listened to contemporary music really. So to her I think she found it interesting that didn't sound like anything. I didn't pay attention to scales, keys or technique in order to do things. I basically found my own way of doing this. She thought it was really fun. She is very critical always, "Try this little thing that you could do before you go onstage." Because she is a musician and has worked for so many years she is trying to get in on the act.
WCT: Sounds like the Black Swan. Watch out!
OL: [Both laugh.] She is not anything like that.
WCT: That's good. Are you ready to come to Chicago?
OL: I can't wait.
WCT: Is this your first time?
OL: Yes. I am so excited about all of this traveling around.
WCT: Well, see you next week!
Oh Land opens for Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, on March 12. Visit www.jamusa.com for tickets and www.ohlandmusic.com for more lay of the Land.