Emiliana Torrini is doing an European Tour to promote her new Album "Me and Armini". Album is out the 8. September.
8. October UK, Bristol, Trinity
9. October UK, London, St Giles
13. October BELGIUM, Brussels, AB Club
14. October FRANCE, Paris, Le Trabendo
19. October GERMANY, Heidelberg, Karlstorbahnhof
20. October GERMANY, Hamburg, Stage Club
21. October GERMANY, Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg
"Nothing brings me down" Unofficial Video
In the Spotlight of IMX @ www.icelandmusic.is :
Emiliana Torrini grew up in Kópavogur, Iceland. At the age of seven she joined a choir as a soprano, then went to opera school at 15. In 1994, she became well known in Iceland after winning the song competition of junior colleges in Iceland. Since those heady, youthful days of schools, awards and Gloria Gaynor covers, Emiliana has gone on to international fame, initially as a member of Icelandic artist group GusGus (contributing chiefly to their debut Polydistortion in 1997), and then as a solo artist in her own right.
She has released three albums in Iceland and three more solo records internationally, namely 1999’s Love In The Time Of Science (produced by Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears fame), 2005’s Fisherman’s Woman (for Rough Trade) and her latest venture, Me And Armini, to be released via Rough Trade on 8th September, a project that sees her working again with long-time collaborator Dan Carey.
There have been a slew of awards and accolades in recent years: in 2005 she won (along with Carey) a Grammy Music Award for Best Dance Recording for her work on 'Slow' for Kylie Minogue. In 2006 she was nominated for the Icelandic Music Awards in four categories: Pop Album of the Year, Song of the Year (Sunny Road), Singer of the Year and Video of the Year (Sunny Road, Directed by Ali Taylor at Sherbet) - she won all except Song of the Year.
Emilana also sang ‘Gollum’s Song’ on the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, while Dan’s recent production work includes the new Franz Ferdinand and recent Hot Chip records. Me And Armani is arguably their most diverse and ambitious endeavour to date…
Did you have any 'third album' fears with the new record - as in, did you feel that there were expectations placed upon you after the success of your first two (international) albums?
The expectations are somewhere else and they don’t really touch me. The people I work with are just excited. My mum gets nervous and keeps telling me to sing powerfully. I suffer from different anxieties. [Rough Trade head honcho] Geoff Travis called me up a few months ago. I hadn't spoken to him for probably a year. He kindly told me that he wasn't pushing me and ‘just wanted to ask…see if I wasn't going to…you know…maybe start a new record’. That it has been so long and all. ‘Oh yes’, I said, ‘It’s finished’. I forgot to tell him. So no, there are no expectations really.
While we’re on the subject, was there any second album trauma for Fisherman's Woman?
No, I had other traumas that were all consuming. The thing is there are always going to be people that will hate what you do and then there will be people that will like it. I guess because I always do records that are different from each other, I risk alienating people. So it is always like I am starting again. It is a risk worth taking tough. It is good to be free. To let yourself be free to express yourself in the way you have to.
Where does the title from the new record come from?
“Me and Armini” is a song on the record. Why the record was called that is because of the picture. It tells so many stories, and Me and Armini just sort of worked. Dan and I had a bottle taster of a brilliant whiskey called Lagavulin. We got obsessed with it, as it tastes of barn. We had been writing all day and evening and sat in the studio after midnight jamming together. All I remember is that I had buffed Dan’s fingernails with this strange nail file I found and they glistened in the dimly lit studio like Diamonds. He was very proud. I think all the glistening up and down that bass fret put me in a trance. Three days later we were in my little room he has made me in the studio and I was frowning because we needed another song for the record. Dan then asked why we didn't just use the track we wrote that night and Alexis our engineer was very happy about that, saying he loved that song. I didn't know what they were talking about. I had and still have no memory of writing it. I have no idea who Armini is. I have never heard that name. The song has stalkery lyrics to it and are kind of cold. I think the woman that stalked Armini when she was alive has come back to taunt him. She stole my body to serenade him. She won’t let go. I just hope poor Armini will be OK when he hears it, wherever he is.
How did you and Dan meet?
We met when I had kind of given up on the whole music thing. I was still a big mess after recent traumas and got a tape from David Donald, a friend and my publisher with Dan's music on it. He told me i should try writing with him. I was having none of it for a while then got back to him. I met him in Brixton at his studio. We motor-mouthed. Dan, his wife and I started hanging out. We did no music for a while. Then one day we decided to go to the studio. I made Dan play the guitar. Our first song together was ‘Today has been OK’. I wanted to start with something organic and stay away from the production until the songs were there. He hadn't touched the guitar for a long time and got obsessed with it. He walked around playing it, he ate whilst playing, basically did everything whilst playing the guitar. To me he is the best guitarist ever. It went from there really. We still hang out. I am the godmother of his daughters. I love rugby tackling him. He gets mad.
Can you give us an example of how you two will typically work on a song together?
We go to the studio. Hit the record button. Dan starts playing the guitar and I start improvising when I like what he does. Working like that can put you into a different place. You are open to catching a song that flies by you. It is like catching a butterfly in the net or pulling down a balloon. Panoramic views of scenes start appearing and a funny feeling all over starts happening. Sometimes the song comes out in one go. Sometimes it needs more work. ‘Gun’ is a good example of a jam song. We were in Oxford out in the country. Dan started playing the spectrosonic. He had the two inch tape running then the song came out, lyrics and all. When we finally stopped we were so excited and had a nervous laughing fit and then skipped over to the tape. I had a funny feeling the tape hadn’t recorded. It didn’t and we lost the song. We were really upset. Dan tried to play it again but we couldn't remember it. At four o'clock in the morning it came back out of nowhere but I had to work hard to find the lyric again. The cottage felt weird after that song, we scared ourselves in the dark.
Is he the first person you found that could really understand your musical ideas and visions?
Yes. I also have that songwriting-wise with Eg White. He wrote with me on the Littos record and he wrote ‘Fisherman's Woman’, the song with me. We also wrote ‘Beggars Prayer’ on Me and Armini. He was kind of my songwriting mentor. We write differently to how I write with Dan. I think what they both have in common is how quick and spontaneous they both are. I have a very short attention span so I need to be kept engaged all the time; when you have lost me, I am gone. I don’t think there are rules in how to write. It is more about being comfortable with the person you are writing with. That you connect. I hate writing by myself. It is possibly the most boring thing I do. So I don’t.
How does this album differ from previous work for you? How do you feel you have developed as an artist and songwriter?
I react very much to my surroundings, to what is happening in my life. It has taken me years to shake what happened and I still sometimes struggle with it. It is now longer in between times that I react to it, which is good. I definitely felt a lot of healing when. I wrote Fisherman's Woman. I still come back to it in my songwriting. I probably always will. It is a shockwave in my bones. I felt that something was happening whilst writing this record, that there was a development happening that hadn't quite solidified. I think it will be clearer with the next record I think. The difference with this one and Fisherman's Woman is that I feel more confident with songwriting. I know what I want and what I don’t. I know what I like and what I don’t. Things are a little bit clearer. I still have a lot to prove to myself. I just have to stop being so mean to myself in the process. Perfectionism isn’t being fun. This time I chilled out...
Sounds like it was quite the liberating experience…
I can’t let go when writing and it’s often a traumatic experience. This time though I was in a studio with one of my best mates, laughing our heads off, hanging out in Oxford in Dan’s dads cottage for 5 days where we wrote five songs in the woods (on ‘Birds’ you can hear wood snapping, birds screaming and leaves applauding) and inventing stupid things to do and cooking amazing food. Months later we went to Iceland to write, and then finished it in London in Dan’s studio. All in all it took the record two and a half weeks to write, with a whole lot of life lived in between. To be that quick has never happened to me. I decided to let whatever comes out to be and not judge it. It made the whole experience much easier and more fun. I buried the whip and I shocked myself with two crazy love pop songs that I wasn’t going to let anyone hear but Dan as usual fell in love with them, so now they are the singles. My poor love interest! I think you imagine different songs being written about you, all poetic and sexy but being in love makes poetry jump out the window with me and I turn into a cape wearing bird. 'Big Jumps’ and ‘Jungle Drum’ are the songs that now are stuck to him for life. Poor man.
Where do you generally find the subject matter for your songs?
It is the Me, Me, Me show.
The album feels pretty diverse. Was it intentional to cover so many styles this time? A way to avoid pigeonholing maybe?
No it wasn't intentional and it worried me for some time that some of the songs were different from each other. I guess because there was a long time between the writing periods so many things happened in the in-between so different moods clash. I like it now as there is a definite thread that ties it all together. Three life changes in one record. Pigeonholing is a funny thing. Geoff Travis, head of Rough Trade along with Jeanette said in a press release that he hoped my record would go up there with Amy, Adele, Lily Allen and so on. It was very nice that he wants me to sell so many records - what record label boss doesn’t. Some journalists jumped on it and started likening me to them which is crazy as I don’t sound at all like any of them. They completely misunderstood what he was saying. Also they didn’t have a clue how to explain me to their readers so they jumped on that. I found that very strange. Very amusing as it would have been kind of dumb to go from Fisherman's Woman to suddenly decide to sound like Amy or Lily or the other female singers in the limelight. With all due respect to them, that is not what this is about. They don’t exactly sound like each other do they? The world sure wants to put women under the same hat.
What other side projects have you currently got on the go?
I haven't. At the moment I am moving to a new place, changing managers and getting this record out, so there is a lot to do. I have butterflies.
What touring plans do you have for 2008 - and are you a fan of performing live?
It used to be my favorite. Last time I did a lot of van tours and I hated it. It was too uncomfortable. Also it takes me some time to get into the gigs as I have severe stage fright, so to be locked in a van most of the time was the worst for me. Very stressful. I am hoping this time will be different. I will strap some water balloons full of poisonous jellyfish to myself and threaten to pop them with loads of knitting needles if they put me in a van again. You are probably thinking why am I doing this…I love singing live so I am looking forward to it. No drama, no Bananarama.
"Sunny Road" Live @ Camp Bestival (July 2008)