Einar Stray Orchestra find themselves in an artistic renaissance. With the February (2017) release of their third album “Dear Bigotry”, produced by Team Me frontman Marius Hagen, the young Norwegian indie rock gem has sharpened their expression. After two critically acclaimed albums, two EPs, 250 concerts in Europe and Asia, and solid radio rotation in UK and Germany, the young quintet has become one of Norway’s most experienced and playful acts. The band, known for their close collab with Moddi, uncompromisingly unite classical music with pop and rock that might send your mind in the direction of Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire.
The new record, with lyrics about double moral, religious upbringing and their love-hate relationship to Oslo, was released last year. The first single «Penny For Your Thoughts» was released in November. They will perform at Funkhaus on February 13th.
1. Nobody’s a genius. But one can do a genius act if they are in the right place to the right time.
2. Nobody’s an idiot. But one can do an idiotic act if they are in the wrong place to the wrong time.
3. Terrorism is not dangerous.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
People. We ﬁnd the human race inﬁnitely inspiring – with all its ﬂaws and beauty. Contrast. We have always had a deep fascination of how something ugly can be beautiful, and vice versa. We always strive towards the perfect balance between “available music” and the “unavailable music”. We are ﬁve quite different people and musicians in the band, all coming from different backgrounds. If we can trick people into listening to all our strange inﬂuences, hiding them away in somewhat catchy pop songs, we are satisﬁed. Our music need some ugliness in order to be beautiful. Sometimes loud and noisy, then suddenly quiet, light and fragile. Same with the lyrics. We believe the most interesting things lies where two contrasts meet.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
We all grew up in musical families. Drummer Lars’ father is a opera singer, cellist Ofelia’s mother is a Grammy nominated folk singer and Einar comes from a gospel choir family. Ofelia and Einar met when they were 17 years old and started the band. After a while we found out that our music actual could mean something to someone. That was overwhelmingly inspirational, and still is.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Jaga Jazzist – The Stix
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Radiohead – Kid A Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band (with choir) – “This Is Our Punk-Rock,”
Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing,
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
A great audience, inspiration, freedom. Simply a special city for us. We started playing there 6 years ago and it was a dream come true – still love it. Einar lived in Berlin in 2016.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
We’re living in Oslo, Norway. Our favorite thing is to take the boat out on the Oslo fjord to one of the islands. Our favorite one is a small one called Gressholmen. Rabbits walking all around, and it has the best swimming spots.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
We would probably do some other kind of art! We all have side jobs. We are teachers, cat sitters, theater instructors, youth club leaders, museum guides, cartoon dubbers, radio hosts and sound techs. We like the variation.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Connie Converse – How Sad, How Lovely. One of the earliest known recordings of the singersongwriter genre, from the 50s. She’s amazing!
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Björk or Dirty Projectors.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
To perform in countries like China and Russia was quite mind blowing. St. Petersburg in 2012 and Shanghai in 2015 were special ones. Aaaand of course the gig at Volksbühne in Berlin January 1st 2013. Mieow!
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Not as important as in other band nowadays I can imagine since we play with a lot of acoustic and organic instruments. At the same time a very vital element to our music has to do with effect pedals, feedback ect. When we started up our idea was to let the cello and violin take over for the electric guitars. As a group we constantly want to experiment and grow as composers. Pairing our classical instruments with technology is a great tool for us to do that.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
We do have siblings. We get a lot of support from our family, luckily. We couldn’t do it without them.