Responsible for the distinct blend of breezy Americana and eerie Nordic pop that is Norwegian band Psyence Fiction; vocalist Aleksander Johansen has pulled together a mixtape for Best Fit, packed full of new music from Norway that is exciting him no end. With one day to go until Johansen's unique baritone get's its live debut UK airing, he sat down with us to give us a little introduction to the band as well.
Can you please introduce yourselves?
We're a five piece orchestra from Norwegian capital Oslo. We're from around the country but met in Oslo and formed a band around our vocalist Aleksander (that's me). I had been preforming songs as iampsyencefiction for a couple of years, met Nils at gigs and recorded some songs with him as a producer (this became the iampsyencefiction self titled EP). The two of us hit it off and started working closer together taking the psych folk-ish vibe of my early works and song sketches over in a more complex soundscape, adding our favourite Oslo-musicians, forming a fun band.
Does your name have anything to do with UNKLE's album of the same name?
Yes! It's a pure homage. I'm hoping we're not crossing any copyright borders on this one. I just absolutely adore the creativity and the songs displayed on that record. Think it's a masterpiece and wanted to name my baby after it.
Can you tell us a bit about your album Spy vs Spy?
It's our debut record, I'm super proud of it and think it's a work of art. We recorded it during the hottest summer ever in Oslo. Had our attention span tested, discovered each others musicality and process. All in all a very good creative period. The album itself is very Peter Pan-ish. It's got a dark nostalgic vibe to it. I've heard it been characterized as hard to get, and I feel sorry for that. For me it's a very personal album where I talk about things I care or used to care for. It's philosophical and cinematic. It's got a certain coldness about it. It's not trying to be something it's not.
There's a real thread of Americana that runs through your music, where does this come from?
This comes from my bone marrow. I've always been attracted to the americana sadness of Magnolia Electric Co, early Midlake, Red House Painters, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Sharon Van Etten. Back when I was a kid I must have heard Ryan Adams' Cold Roses a thousand times. I always related to the steel guitar, the reverb, the strong sad vocalists.
What are you most looking forward to in terms of playing your first UK show?
Coming over, meeting a new audience. We love blind dates and Norway is a small small country, so stepping outside of it and trying to push our music a bit forward is a nice step for us. We've heard alot of good things about the venue and the Ja Ja Ja concept from Norwegian artist friends who have done the same shows. Hopefully we'll meet some or a lot of nice people who think what we do is a valuable thing and wants to put us on stage in the rest of the UK at some point. We're trying to find homes for our songs, you see.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store?
We're not sure yet. The day before our London show, we're doing a sold out release party in Oslo. We're touring Norway as well these days, so first on the agenda is to finish these gigs in style. After that we'd very much like to spend the summer touring festivals. We'll just have to wait and see. Our album is still pretty fresh, so we're trying to keep focus on that - have it released outside Scandinavia and keep scouting for new opportunities and ways to have our music ring out in peoples ears.
Psyence Fiction play JaJaJa - the UKS premiere Nordic club night - with Mont Oliver and Jennie Abrahamson this Thursday, 19 February at The Lexington in London. Tickets are available here now.