sunnudagur, september 21, 2008

Kalli in the Spotlight @ IMX

Kalli – a.k.a. Icelandic singer-songwriter Karl Henry – used to be the frontman of Without Gravity , the band behind the critically received Tenderfoot album. When WG disbanded, Kalli picked up his guitar and recorded ten new songs for his debut solo album: While the City Sleeps.
Recorded at home at Studio 12B in downtown Reykjavik, While the City Sleeps draws blood immediately. Deep, doomed and dreamlike, the record is scattered with illusions of darkness, stormy weather, and uncertainty. It’s a deeply personal record, as Kalli writes about personal transitions, the movement from excess to stability and the pain that comes with the change.
Aided by producer and multi-instrumentalist Arnar Guðjónsson (from Leaves), Kalli recorded, performed and produced everything himself on the album. Guided by Kalli’s worn, sombre vocals, the album offers soothing harmonies and swirling guitar/piano based melodies amidst the brooding atmopsheres, drawing inevitable comparisons to dark pop maestros like Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley and Neil Young.
What was the spark that kicked off your interest in songwriting?
I really started showing interest in music at an early age. Both my mother and my father are big music lovers. Though they do not play any instruments they owned a big record collection and we listened to music a lot at home. Then I got my first guitar at age 12. A couple of friends of mine from school owned guitars and were taking guitar lessons and I picked up the basics from the two of them.
Your first band, Without Gravity, split after one record – was it a classic case of creative differences?
Yes, among other things.
What lessons did you learn from your time with them?
Together we released our music and toured outside Iceland for the first time so maybe I learned a little bit about the music business during my time with the band. I also learned a lot musically from the guys. I think all of us grew as musicians during our time together and we learned a lot from each other.
Was going solo something you had already considered or did you find yourself suddenly in the position to go for it?
I had already considered going solo. I think that if you are a songwriter you are at least bound to think about it.
WTCS is a pretty somber and personal record – what can you tell us about your mindstate when you made it?
I was a mess, in a very dark place. I was doing hard drugs, on my way nowhere fast. I had a lot of negative emotions I had to get off my back. Writing the songs for the record was a kind of a healing process, at least a few of them.
Are you generally more drawn to writing introspective songs, or do you think this was just a phase?
I guess that I wrote more about what’s happening within me than around me. At least that's how it is on WTCS. I guess this has something to do with what i was going through when I wrote the songs.
When did you start working with Arnar Guðjónsson from Leaves?
I got to know Arnar when we asked him to produce the WG record Tenderfoot with us. I love working with Arnar, he's a brilliant musician.
What role did he play in WTCS?
Arnar played a large role on the record. He played bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, guitars, so he was like having a full band and a producer.
It was recorded at Studio 12B in Reykjavik – who owns and runs the studio and how come you recorded there?
Árni Ben my manager owns and runs studio 12B. It was of course the best solution to record at Árni´s studio. Both myself and Arnar were familiar to the studio and like working there.

Even though WTCS is only just coming out internationally through One Little Indian, you finished it some time ago. What other projects have you had on the go, what are your upcoming plans?
I have scored the music for a couple of movies. "The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela" and "Stóra Planið" (“Higher Force”. I am recording a new record at the moment and am hoping to be able to release in sometime in mid-2009.
Kalli @
Source: Iceland Music Export

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