Kalandra almost made me cry with their upcoming track ‘Rest Your Soul’ (which we reviewed previously). The folk-rock outfit’s song is so emotive that I have no shame (or not a lot) in admitting this. Being the glutton for emotional punishment that I seem to be, I followed my near-waterworks up by interviewing the band about the single and them as an outfit.
Could you give us a bit of background about the band and how it all began?
Katrine: “We all met whilst studying in Liverpool. It’s a very international city so there’s four Norwegians in the band, one guy from the Birmingham area and one girl from The Isle of Man. There used to be two Canadians in the band as well, back in the day.
“I didn’t know anyone when I first moved over here, but it was so easy to find my group of people where I could thrive and be creative. I got Hamish Gore (the bass player) interested in my idea of starting a folkrock band first. Then we went searching for a good team of people. All great plans start off at house parties I would say, not even a joke! So many great conversations and plans have happened over a pint or a glass of red wine. If we still feel good about it next morning we’ll make it happen.”
Where did the name ‘Kalandra’ come from?
Katrine: “Well, the music is what defines what Kalandra is. It is whatever comes to your head. We liked the idea of having the lark as a symbol for our band. Calandra is a type of lark. Its song is beautiful and a little slower than of the skylark. However we wanted to make the name our own and spell it Kalandra with a K. It simply felt stronger.
“Later we discovered Kalandra is actually a small town in Greece. I think once we’ve had a concert in Kalandra our saga is complete! Or something like that. At the end of the day we didn’t want a name that had too much definition if you know what I mean, because our sound will always change and evolve and we don’t want to feel too tied and let the name define how it should sound.”
‘Rest Your Soul’ is a great piece of music, and the layers of melodies come together beautifully. How did it all come together?
Katrine: “I wrote it in my bedroom actually late at night on my guitar. I felt inspired to write a song about a traveller, the ups and downs of travelling. All the amazing places and the people you meet, however there’s never really one place you feel you can call home and settle down. Or perhaps you leave a place whenever people get to close to you, and figure out your negative sides. Never allowing others to get to really know you. I called up Jogeir and he added some great arrangements to it. Then we took it to the band and it all came together really quickly.”
Which would you say is your favourite song so far, and why?
Katrine: “For me it’s ‘Not Some Fairytale’, still after all these months and years of playing it. Maybe because it’s not that standard ‘Verse, chorus, verse’ build up. It’s strange and refreshing and includes some unusual chord progressions. ‘Onto The Fire’ is the most fun to perform though.”
Jogeir: “For me it’s ‘Onto The Fire’. It’s the most epic to play. But ‘The Siren’ and ‘Rest Your Soul’ are more chilled out and nicer to listen to. It’s a difficult question because it depends on the setting and how we play them.”
Florian: “‘The Siren!’”
What would you say makes you stand out as a band?
Katrine: “At the moment there are a lot of ‘hipster’ bands ruling the music scene, and quite a few laid back sweet female (as well as male) folk singers. Productions with a bit too much reverb and delay on the vocals, which makes the overall sound very floaty and diffuse. It’s a nice effect, but it’s ruling the music industry at the moment. Personally I’m missing some attitude, something solid, and I wish to bring that out with our music.”
What’s the highlight of your time in a band so far?
Katrine: “I need a proper think on these questions! We’re investing everything we got into this band. It’s a big risk. The highlight is knowing that we’re constantly moving forward at the moment, and the response we get from friends, family and followers have been great.
“The highlight of the year will probably be playing at Vinjerock Festival in Norway, high up the mountains, together with lots of talented artists and bands such as Timbuktu, Monica Heldal, Kvelertak, Moddi and Farao amongst others. Oh man, I can’t wait! Gonna have great conversations in the sun over another glass of wine! Having travel costs paid for and actually being payed for playing is going to be a real nice change!”
Are there any plans to put out an EP?
Katrine: “Yeah one day perhaps. No plans for it at the moment. We’re currently just releasing singles and hyping that one track as much as we can. However I’m going to add here I did buy Beyonce’s full album on iTunes. I’ve never been much of a fan, but I bought into the concept of just releasing your music on iTunes, forcing people to pay for it, and it is really really worth it. 14 songs and 18 music videos in one go. Genius!
“We’re trying our best to fit in with the the changing times in music. People hardly buy CD’s anymore and there’s hardly any money to make from Spotify. The only way to really make a living from being a musician is to give people an epic live experience they wont soon forget, make them talk about it and recommend us to their friends, but also getting our music synced on commercials, games, movies, TV series where our music would fit the content.“
What’s next for you? What plans do you have for the future?
Katrine: “We have too many ideas and plans for what we want to do! Right now we’re working on the promotion for our newest AA side ‘Onto the Fire’ / ‘Rest Your Soul’, two very different songs. It’s a fun concept releasing it this way, and exciting to see how the response will be.
“After the summer we’d like to do a European tour, we’d like to gig in Belgium, Nertherlands and Germany amongst others. We’re going to plan it throughout the summer. We’re also on the lookout for small independent labels, booking agents and managers who could put us on the right festivals and get us on tour to help us progress to the next level, because right now we’re doing everything ourselves. We need a good team of people who believe in us.”
You can check out Kalandra here. The outfit are set to play with our emotions even more when their double A-side single ‘Onto The Fire’/’Rest Your Soul’ is released on Monday (April 28). Bring tissues.