Petter Carlsen - Interview

20 November 2014

Norway's Petter Carlsen is releasing his album 'Sirens' on November 24th via Function Records. Petter isn't just inspired by other musicians around him but it feels as though he's channelling the beauty of his environment and emotions in nine perfect tracks.

There's a unique fragility in Petter's voice and sometimes an androgyny, which makes him an interesting prospect. Fans of Scandinavian band Mew will definitely recognise a similarity but Petter branches away into more ethereal ground with his latest offering.

1. 'Sirens' is a really beautiful album - what inspired the sound on the album?
Thank you. A girl, my guitar, my producer Wetle Holte, Bon Iver, King Crimson, Radiohead, Anathema, and lots of other pieces of beautiful music. I feel at home in the sound of this album. 

2. There are so many indie artists out there at the moment vying for the spotlight, what makes you different?
I think its my voice and my way of playing guitar.

3. How different is the scene in Norway compared to the UK?
I don't have enough knowledge to answer that, I feel. But I think it's very different. Norway is a very small country. 

4. What is it like to be an indie musician nowadays with the advent of streaming sites like Spotify?
The income I get from Spotify is ridiculous. Still my music is present there. I don't think it's a good thing that music is free. But this is what happened. Some people buy albums to support the music they like, which is good. We're in a transition in the industry now and many are working 24/7 to survive. Spotify has many listeners and people discover new music there. But the business model is not working well for smaller artists. Unfortunately. 

5. How important is it for you to 'keep up your online presence' - do you think it helps or hinders the music?
Almost everyone discovers new music online, but there is a balance to everything. If you present quality every now and then and not scream for attention every day, that will work better in the long run, of course. Being present is important to some degree. It's nice to have the possibility to communicate directly with the audience on social media. I like that. Maybe it's tempting for many artists to try to make what's popular right now and to get lost in 'likes' and 'shares', and not what their heart desires. Danger. That may lead to loosing the main reason for making music.  

6. There is a very organic feel to the music, how much do your surroundings and nature have an influence on the music?
Difficult to answer that, but I guess it plays a significant part. In the north there is a lot of time and space, and that might shine through in my songs.  

7. What do you hope to achieve with 'Sirens'?
To reach more people, to grow my audience and be able to tour even more. It is a giant kick performing my own songs on a stage in front of people. And every time I do I remember why I got into this in the first place. Every time is slightly different so it is a diverse and exciting job. 

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