Astrid Sonne is a Copenhagen-based composer and viola player. With a background in classical music, she opens up an electronic space to channel different perceptions of sensory and emotional states of being through open, melodic compositions. Balancing contrasts is a reccurring theme in Astrid Sonne’s work, where alternation between repetition and renewal is used as a means of expression.
Her compositions consist of everything from synthesizers to choir samples and viola sequences, exceeding genre definitions yet paying homage to sources of inspiration, be it a Danish choir tradition or various noise soundscapes. Furthermore, Astrid Sonne has engaged in creating commissioned works, varying from ‘Ephemeral’, a piece for choir electronics and viola presented at Berlin Atonal 2018, to site-specific compositions for the old ruins under the Danish Parliament and a stretch of the Copenhagen Metro.
1. I did fire juggling and acrobatics in my youth
2. I’ve been thinking about studying theology
3. I’ve been a vegetarian since age 12
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I’m really inspired by storytelling, creating sonic scenographies and moods that you can enter as a listener. I’m inspired by the people in my life, different places and settings and other people’s music. I love how music is both abstract and specific. The possibilities feel endless and it is a continuous mystery to me in what way sound exists and the human ability to make sense of it. It’s amazing and a privilege to be working with.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I’ve been involved with music since I was a kid. In my teens I aspired to become a professional viola player but felt limited in the process and quit. A couple of years later I started picking up the viola again and got a crack of Ableton Live. Here I found a way to express myself that I felt had been missing and that was very liberating to me. With the computer I didn’t need any validation from others to do what I wanted. I could just execute my ideas, be intuitive and creative and that was a great sensation for me.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Oneohtrix Point Never – R plus 7
Ars Nova Copenhagen – The Natural World of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Cocteau Twins – Four Calendar Cafe
Julia Holter – Loud City Songs
Tirzah – Devotion
and many many more but these have been some of the most significant.
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Family vacations, parties, loneliness, the public bathhouses, hang-overs in the sun, feeling tiny at tempelhof, black clothes and seriousness, hippies and quirkiness, great food and kind people.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Bispebjerg Cemetery is my favourite place in Copenhagen. It’s the biggest cemetery in the city and there are so many places to get lost. The best thing is to stand at the main allé and look up at Bispebjerg church, it is overwhelming each and every time.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would do talk radio or maybe become a chef. I love to cook.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
My last purchase was 17°C by Whatever The Weather.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
All my friends and colleagues.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
It’s really difficult to choose one but my concert at Berlin Atonal in 2018 holds a special place in my heart. So does my concert at Roskilde Festival in 2018.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It has become less important to me over the years. I’m very interested in technology in general but right now my creative focus is more on writing a strong melody and creating an exciting production around it.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have an older sister and she’s very supportive of me and my career. She works in a bank and isn’t that much into music but if I play a concert in Copenhagen she’s always there. I really appreciate that!