Up and Coming
Sondre Lerche is an up and coming singer/songwriter. Lerche has been featured as an artist on MTV’s You Hear It First, and his album was voted one of Rolling Stone’s top twenty debuts of 2002. He’s Norwegian and proud of it. In this phone interview, Sondre talked about spending time on the road, writing about a prostitute and why Norway isn’t the capitol of Sweden.
You’ve been quoted as saying that you don’t like to describe your music. What’s the best description you’ve heard?
Folkie lounge pop, I like that one.
How did you come up with the album title “Faces Down?”
It is a quote in the opening song “Dead Passengers,” and we had to finish production on the album. It was rushed, and I liked the quote.
What inspired the song “Dead Passengers?”
The lyrics came very random. I wrote it in about thirty minutes.
Do you have a favorite topic to write about?
No, I really enjoy writing about everything.
What do you write first, lyrics or melody?
I write the melody first.
Who was the first person you called when you found out about your record deal?
It was a slow and gradual process. It wasn’t like they just called me and told me I got it. We just shopped our demo around until it was picked up by Virgin Norway.
You wrote your first song at fourteen (Lotus Girl), what was it about?
It was a very serious song. [Lotus Girl] was about a girl having trouble, getting into drugs and prostitution. It was a very dramatic and passionate song about everyday life.
If you could have one artist remix your work, who would it be?
The Neptunes, I’d love to hear them tear my music apart.
Who are some of your favorite acts out now?
There are a lot of good acts coming out of Bergen (Sondre’s hometown). For such a small city, it has a lot of varied music.
Are you enjoying touring in America?
I’ve been touring here for three months. This tour (with Jason Mraz and Liz Phair) has been great. We’re playing some pretty big venues. The Jason Mraz fans are treating me respectfully, even though they just want to see him. Some fans are even buying my records.
Is it hard being an opening act?
It’s nice being an opening act because you don’t have to carry the weight of the show. It’s great to have fans watch my set and then leave without even seeing the headliners.
Do you prefer playing acoustic or electric?
Electric. I’ve been playing totally electric on this tour. I’ve left the acoustic at home. On the electric, everything sounds louder and clearer. It’s nice.
Are you working on a new album?
Yes, it’s already done, and it’s coming out in February.
What’s it called?
We don’t have a title yet, but we will eventually.
Do you feel it’s a change in direction from “Faces Down”?
Yes, it’s a prettier album.
Are you working on anything else?
The EP is coming out on September 22. It’s going to have a bunch of live and bonus material.
Do you ever write songs on the road?
I rarely write on the road. When you tour, you play onstage, so you don’t want to write after. Instead of picking up the guitar, you pick up the remote control. Which is just not that creative at all.
What do you miss most about Norway while being on the road?
I just miss being home.
What is the biggest misconception people have about Norway?
A lot of people think Norway is the capitol of Sweden. Some think it’s a province…it’s not. We are our own. Norway is very independent.
Is there a question that you wish the press would stop asking you?
How does it feel to be young? (It’s like asking) “How does it feel to be old?”
So how does it feel to be young?
It feels good.
Do you have anything you wish the press would ask you more about?
Sometimes I prefer being asked about the stupid celebrity stuff. I like talking about my music, but it’s fun being asked dumb questions too.
You have a large a-ha record collection. How many records do you have?
You don’t want to know…
You’ll just make fun of me.
No I won’t.
I have over two hundred a-ha records.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can’t really remember, but I’m sure that I have some interesting personality quirks.
Sondre’s latest release is the EP “Don’t Be Shallow” out now on Astralwerks Records.