Anna of the North
FULL NAME: Anna Lotterud.
HOMETOWN: Gjøvik, Norway. It’s a small town. It’s not really special [in that] it’s not nature. It’s close to the biggest lake in Norway. It’s the city beside Lillehammer, so it’s always been that Lillehammer and Hamar are better than it. [laughs] It’s really safe and a really good environment. You could walk to school. I’ve had a safe and good youth. I’ve been really lucky with my family and everything. That might also be why I didn’t dare; when you don’t have anything to challenge you and everything is [good], sometimes it can get too easy. You need to challenge yourself and try. You can’t always be comfortable because then you won’t grow as a person.
BASED: When I was 21-ish I moved to Oslo, and I’ve been working there, studying there, for quite a while now. I really like Oslo; it’s not too big and not too small. It’s big enough to meet new people, there are a lot of people traveling there, and there’s a lot of culture and music. Everyone should travel to Oslo.
LOVERS, HER FORTHCOMING DEBUT ALBUM, DUE OUT SEPTEMBER 2017: It’s been quite challenging in many ways, because an album is hard work. I started the process back in December, and we already had a lot of demos before that, but we tried to make three demos a week and then we chose what we thought was the best. It seems like some songs, you can’t force them, they just have to happen. We were supposed to release the album in June, now, to make the festivals, but you can’t force creativity. [laughs] It was really fun as well, because you learn.
The album is actually called Lovers because I usually talk to the fans—I don’t like to say fans because it sounds weird—or people who listen to our music, as “lovers,” because we’re lovers and we share love and music. It’s not pointing to lovers as a couple, it can be that, but it can also be a group of people just sharing love and sharing music.
BEYOND BELIEF: I never thought I would make an album, ever. Anna of the North happened a bit out of nowhere. I studied graphic design, I was supposed to do that, but then I met Brady [Daniell-Smith] when I lived in Australia, and we just started [collaborating]. We put a song out on SoundCloud and it got picked up. We had made it just for fun, really. So however it goes [from here], it’s amazing to have been able to make an album and that people listen. It’s always been a huge dream. Music has always been a big part of me, but you never think you can do that. You never think you’re good enough.
CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS: I’ve always been singing melodies, making melodies and lyrics in my head in the shower. When I was young I used to imagine that I was in a music video, driving the car. [laughs] I really, really wanted to be in a music video—that’s been a big dream, because I grew up with MTV. My dad is a musician as well, and I have old recordings from when I was four years old, singing Christmas songs and stuff like that, so there’s always been music around me. My dad gave me my first guitar when I was 18 and I started playing. But I’ve been doing it for myself; I never dared show anyone what I made. I performed a couple of times at school, that was all. I think it was maybe that I didn’t have the self-esteem. I didn’t believe enough in myself; I needed a push and that’s what happened in Melbourne, Australia.
THE EYE-OPENING TRIP: I wasn’t in a life crisis, but I had a job and I had done uni and I had a boyfriend, and everything was perfect, but it felt like something was missing. At my work [in Norway] there was this lady who came in and started talking to me, and she got interested in my life, and said, “You should travel.” She talked about her daughter who was traveling, how she too had been traveling, and how she was married to a Frenchman now. She said it was really important to travel, and she said something like, “I can see there’s something more in you,” like, super weird. But she came back a couple of times, and she actually planted the thought of leaving, and I also felt that there had to be more to life. It was too comfortable, in a way. Then I decided to go and do some studies abroad, and I wanted to go as far away as I could because then I couldn’t just run back home when I was feeling homesick. It was really hard, though, because I moved all by myself [to Melbourne] and I didn’t know anyone there, so it’s kind of like you start your life again. There were times that I called my mom being like, “I want to go home!” But I’m glad I didn’t. I’m so happy about that journey, and I think it changed my life—obviously it did. Everyone should travel. And then when you come back, you appreciate your country and your friends and your family way more. You need to be away from stuff, I think, to appreciate it.
THE NORDIC INFLUENCE: I think that people, when they think about Norway, they see this cold [place]. The same music could’ve come from another place, but since it’s Norway, people make it a thing. I actually feel like some of our songs are quite warm, in a way, and have a really warm feeling to the production.
VISUAL CLARITY: Nowadays, because there are so many artists out there, you have to stick out. Everything I do, like clothes, is important to me, the aesthetic around everything. And I love doing it as well. I love being creative in any and every way. I like minimalism and a lot of air. I’m really into simple—simple is kind of the key word. You know how you see something and you think, “Oh fuck, I could’ve done that.” But why didn’t you? It’s clever and simple.
WHAT’S NEXT: I’m probably going to look back on this album one day and think, “What?” You know how you feel when you look back at how you used to dress 10 years ago? I’m probably going to look back at the music like that. [laughs] But it’s all about trying, failing and trying, and I hope that the music will evolve and get better. I would like to learn a lot from it, but I really hope that it can be a good thing for people, that people appreciate it, and that we can help people. Sometimes I get messages from fans, like, “Thank you so much for that. That helped me through a lot of hard times,” and that’s beautiful. It’s such a cliché, but that’s the important reason why you keep doing it, because it’s amazing thinking that somewhere in the world there’s another person listening to you and it actually means something. It’s really hard to imagine, but I appreciate that.
SOME FINAL WORDS: People have to stop putting plastic on everything! [laughs] And when we were in London—I have two things, I want people to have their heads up—they started using an automatic toilet, so when you stand up it flushes, sit down, flush, and it’s such a waste [of energy and water]. Are we so lazy that we can’t even flush ourselves? That’s ridiculous.
For more Norwegian acts to know from Slottsfjell Festival 2017, click here.