SOLNEDGANG – interview
Introduce your band, and describe your latest release:
Solnedgang (which means ‘sunset’ in Norwegian) is a one-man band, and I (Jon) am from Norway originally but I’ve been based in London for the last 15 years or so. I’ve just released my debut single called ‘Nornir’ and I’m currently finishing up work on my debut album, which should be out in the new year.
What’s the hardest part about being a band in this day and age?
That’s got to be keeping on top of social media and self-promotion, particularly for independent artists like myself. It’s fantastic that it’s even possible these days to do so much yourself, but obviously it’s a totally different ball game these days and there’s a lot of work you need to put in. On the other hand, there is no pressure from anyone else and it’s entirely up to me, so it works both ways I guess.
When did you realise that your project had the potential to be much more than just a fun idea?
I had been playing, writing and recording just for fun for years and I got a bit bored of it all until I reached a point when I wasn’t really even playing my guitar anymore. Then I got back into it at the end of 2022 and suddenly tapped into this well of inspiration, and I surprised myself with the quality (in my opinion) of the stuff I was writing. I decided that I should really put some stuff out and see what other people think. The feedback I’ve been getting has been truly amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever get a particularly big audience or anything, as instrumental music is still fairly niche, but just the fact that a few other people seem to like it makes it worthwhile to keep working on and releasing stuff and not doing it just for fun anymore.
Tell us about your latest release, why should we check it out?
My new single is called ‘Nornir’ and is inspired by the norns of Norse mythology – mysterious creatures who decide the fates of humans, and valkyries, who choose which fallen warriors go to Odin’s Valhalla or Freyja’s Folkvangr. It’s a theme that the forthcoming album is based around, and it explores different aspects of the afterlife in Norse mythology.
How does a song typically come together for you?
Most of the time I’ll just sit down and start playing, and it’s usually the first thing I play when I pick up the guitar that will end up in a new song. It almost always starts with a fairly simple riff, or just a few notes that sound interesting, and I’ll then work on that until I’m happy. I’ll then record that and improvise over it. I’ll come back to it the next day, see if it sounds as good as I thought it did the night before. I tend to improvise a lot and in the end it’s just a case of editing what I’ve recorded and try to create a cohesive track out of it. If I feel like it needs another section or something I’ll write something for that, or just see if I have anything else that I’ve written or recorded that would work. Occasionally I’ll have an idea of how I want it to sound before starting, but most of the time I let the music guide me and just do what feels natural.
How would you describe your sound to an unfamiliar reader?
I’d say it’s immersive, atmospheric and melodic instrumental rock music. If you want to put in a nice little genre box I’d say it’s post-rock with elements of post-(black) metal and shoegaze.
What do you want listeners to take away from listening to your band?
Music is such a big emotional release for me, so if listeners can have something close to that experience that would be the main thing to take away. Hopefully there are some memorable melodies and riffs as well. Since I play instrumental music, it’s very easy for listeners to superimpose their own feelings and meaning on the music.
Where would you really like to tour that you haven’t done so yet, and why?
I’d love to do a tour of the Nordic countries as, even though I’m from Norway, there’s just so much of that and the neighbouring countries I haven’t seen. I haven’t even been to Finland, or the north of Norway for that matter.
How would you say that the sound of your band has progressed over the years?
It’s definitely gotten more shoegazey and heavier. I just try to combine all the genres and sounds I like and blend them together in a way I like. I try not to be too influenced by particular artists and genre ‘cliches’, but as I discover new bands I’ll obviously be influenced by that, consciously and subconsciously.
How excited are you for 2024, and what can fans expect from you?
I’m putting the finishing touches on the debut album at the moment, and that should be out at the beginning of next year. I’m very excited to finally get that out there and see what people think.