Sunday, October 25, 2020

Get To Know: Sunship Balloon

Formed in 2019 psychedelic pop duo Sunship Balloon, side project of Tord Ă˜verland Knudsen and Dan Haggis of the Wombats fame, have made waves with their debut album ‘Everywhen’.  For fans of Tame Impala, Pynch, FLOWVERS and The Covasettes their album was described by the VLM as a “unequivocally one of the most celestial albums you are likely to hear in 2020”. See what they had to say about it below. 

1. Who would you say are your musical influences?
There are way too many to start listing here, between us we’ve listened to so much different stuff over the years it would be a long boring list!

2. How do you think you manifest those influences in your new record?
I feel like on this album there are so many influences that seep out. From lo-fi hip hop on Riding with Elephants, to ambient electronica on 1982 and the other instrumental tracks and from garage rock on Hashtag World to alternative indie on Always Been About You. Lyrically there were various influences but at the time I was reading 3 books in particular that definitely inspired me; Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells and The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson.

3. How would you describe ‘Everywhen’ in 5 words or less? 
A sonic journey through ‘space-mind’.

4. What have you been doing in the time between your releases and how has that paved
the way for this project?
Well after the last Wombats album we toured pretty intensely for a year or so. When you get off the road you’re dying to get back in the studio and get the creative juices flowing again so myself and Tord started making some music but quickly realised it was something new and different, and so Sunship Balloon was formed! Apart from that we’d been playing lots of croquet and foraging for mushrooms.

5. What do you feel like you’ve been able to achieve with this project that separates it from
things you’ve done before?
I’ve never done an album that was meant as a journey from start to finish so that was really fun to produce. Also, I’ve fronted my own alternative folk solo project but singing on top of this bigger, psychedelic sounding music with Sunship has been such an awesome experience. I feel like lyrically I’ve delved a bit deeper into my own mind than before.

6. Is there a song on the album that started as something entirely different to what it is
now? If so, what was the process for that? 
Yeah, A Beach In The Middle Of Space started off as a recording on Tord’s phone of the Vienna orchestra tuning up before a radio show. He then sampled it onto a keyboard and made some chords and beats then sent it to me as one possible instrumental track on the album. I was in the studio and immediately heard a song forming over it in my head. 3 hours after Tord sent it over I sent back the finished song, it almost wrote itself and the final version of the song is actually that demo vocal I recorded. The spontaneous songs are always so fun, you almost surprise yourself and have no idea where it came from. A little present from your subconscious.

7. Have recent events had an influence on your work? If so, how?
We’d actually finished Everywhen before Covid struck but during lockdown we pretty much wrote our entire 2nd Sunship album which was a good way to pass the time. We both set up a little home studio and got busy filling the hours and getting some much needed musical therapy.

8. What is your favourite song you’ve written as Sunship Balloon? Why? 
If you’re making me choose then I’ll go with ‘1224 Fantasia’. It was another song that wrote itself in a few hours and I just love the unusual rhythm of the synths and how epic the chorus and hook section sound when they kick in, it makes me feel like I’m flying. I had the music first and because of how it made me feel I started imagining an asteroid whizzing through space towards us and looked online for any asteroids that were in our solar system that could potentially wipe us out and saw 1224 Fantasia and started singing. I started thinking about all the things humans have made that would literally disappear without a trace, some I’d miss and some not! It’s kind of a ‘don’t stress the little things in life’ type feeling mixed with a ‘maybe let’s not destroy our planet’ message!

9. What was your favourite part of making this album? 
There were loads of great moments in the studio but one memory that jumped out when I read your question was when we just received the 1st mix back from John Congleton (absolute legend!) and we were both driving back from the studio in LA one day and we blasted it so loud. It blew us both away and sounded 10 times better than we’d expected, coupled with the view from the hill we were driving down, it was a proper magical moment. A lot of work goes in to every song you make and when it really hits you like that, its the best feeling!

10. What is the best and worst thing about working together?
Best thing: Getting to hang out with your mate, drinking loads of coffee, eating raisin snails and drinking lots of natural wine (something we both love) and getting to make music together in Oslo!
Worst thing: I would say in general it’s when you have moments of frustration when you don’t see eye to eye on a song or section of a song and you get stuck trying to make everyone happy but genuinely on this album it wasn’t an issue as it just flowed from start to finish.

11. Who is in your ideal post-Covid festival line up?
Bon Iver, Jon Hopkins, Phoebe Bridgers, Gorillaz, Kate Bush and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

12. A lot of people have said you can sound particularly Tame Impala-esque, would you say
they’re a big influence on your sound?
That’s a great compliment! We’re both definitely fans and maybe there are moments in some songs but not intentionally. Kevin Parker does always manage to get a very enviable drum sound! 

13. Who is one artist you’d like to collaborate with?
I’d probably say Justin Vernon from Bon Iver and Kevin Parker from Tame Impala, that would be a fun room to be in!

14. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Just thanks for listening, it means so much that you’re joining us on this journey. Also, take care and good luck through this strange year!

- Dilara Ball

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