Music & clubs

Five questions for Oh Land

INTERVIEW. Danish ex-ballerina, Dave Sitek collaborator and "Renaissance Girl" Oh Land pirouettes atop Magnet on Tuesday, November 19.

Danish ex-ballerina, Dave Sitek collaborator and “Renaissance Girl” Oh Land pirouettes atop Magnet on Tuesday, November 19.

Although still building a rep in Germany, the theatrical art-pop of the Copenhagen-born, Brooklyn-based Nanna Øland Fabricius aka Oh Land has made waves overseas. Latest album Wish Bone (Rykodisc/Warner) grabs the brass ring of indie cred, shepherded by TV On The Radio super-producer Dave Sitek.

Your single “Renaissance Girls” – a self-description?

The idea was first and foremost a big self-critique. Often I expect myself to deliver in every aspect of life and beat myself up if I don’t do everything well enough. I see it with my girlfriends: all of them being too hard on themselves. Then I thought, there is no such term as ‘Renaissance girls’, only ‘Renaissance men’, like Leonardo da Vinci. So this was both an homage to all of my girlfriends, but also a critique of how girls have to be everything at once.

In the video, you role-play different female identities: a pink-overalled worker, a secretary, a glamour girl…

People tend to judge beauty quite hard; there are prejudices towards talented women who look aesthetically intriguing. I try not to let myself be too influenced, but I definitely wanted to prove something by cutting off my hair and colouring it blue and not trying to look pretty.

The album is a collage of stylistic contrasts. Is there a hidden story connecting the songs?

Every song has its own little story and identity. But a general theme could probably be longing and finding balance in things – between your brain and your body, your physical world and your imaginative world. The last album was more streamlined; this album is more about the chaos in life.

Dave Sitek must have made a difference.

I recorded most of the concepts for the songs and the lyrics into my phone. Then I went into the studio with Dave Sitek in LA and it was very exciting because everything I had done so far was simple skeletons. All of a sudden, we were filling out the meat on the bones. I have never really used guitars in my music and Dave Sitek is such a great guitarist, it would have been silly not to have him play on it.

Does the guitar represent anything to you?

It could be a symbol of something more untamed and rebellious. I have a tendency to use beautiful, classical instruments like piano, strings, which is like the good girl in me. But I definitely wanted to do something that was more spontaneous and intuitive and not so orchestrated. Next year, I will start recording a new album, I guess. I already have plans with Dave: we want to go to a cave somewhere.

Oh Land w/ Ballet School, Tue, Nov 19, 21:00 | Magnet, Falkensteinstr. 48, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schlesisches Tor