[PREMIERE] Ohlayindigo: Love You To The Moon
If you're aching for jubilant electro-indie pop, look no further than OHLAYINDIGO. Their blend of 80's synthesis, punchy drums, and catchy melodies tickle parts of our brain that we thought had been reserved for only the hookiest of Selena songs. But that's to be expected, as the Norwegian/San Fran duo had the wonderful experience of workshopping Love You To The Moon alongside pop's godfather, Sir Paul McCartney, even including some of his suggestions.
Filled with momentum building wobbles, and stacks of filtered 80s brass, our keyboard-loving heart is overjoyed. But don't you worry for a minute that it's 3 minutes of self-congratulatory spacey synth tones. That kick drum keeps on kicking and our heart keep overflowing. Check out our exclusive interview with the OHLAYINDIGO below, where we chat about music, dream collaborations, and of course, working with Paul McCartney.
"It tells a love story, two people who feel so strongly about each other but almost can’t put into words a way of expressing it. A lot of people feel like their relationship is unique, and that no one feels the way they do. Often they can be completely oblivious to the outside world because they are so in love, and in this song we have tried to capture this feeling.” - Ohlayindigo
1. How did you first get your start in music?
I started writing poems from a young age, and this very easily translated into a desire to write songs. I began listening to the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls on my Walkman, and this is where a lot of my early inspiration developed. My love for electronic music came from downloading shady versions of tracks online, mostly 90s dance and techno music. I loved to perform, and would relish any opportunity to get up on stage. When I was around 12, I lied about my age so I could sign up to a talent competition for kids ages 14 and up. In Norway, or maybe just where I grew up, making music was seen as a hobby, or something kids would grow out of. I knew that it was what I wanted to do, and I pursued it by jumping at every opportunity I got. As I got older I became very much a bedroom writer. I had hundreds of songs all written down, but I never made any recordings of them, because I didn’t have much theoretical knowledge or money to record them. That was what made me decide to begin studying music, because I wanted to be taken seriously. I didn’t want to be just another girl who could sing, and I didn’t have any idea of how the music business worked. I studied at a music college in my hometown of Oslo, and then moved to Liverpool to study a music BA at The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. During that period, I did my best to mix with the right people, and work hard on refining my skills, and finding my musical persona. That’s when I met Zak, and created Ohlayindigo.
I always enjoyed listening to music, even was I was very young. Mostly rock, but due to my parent’s mixed taste in music there was plenty of 80s pop too. I got my first drum set age 10, and luckily my parents were very forgiving of my late night Phil Collins impressions. I was in a band with my best friends, which was every young guy’s dream really. We sucked, really bad - but it was also amazing. Being up on stage and rocking out with guys a lot older than us made us feel really cool. We played a few local festivals in the UK too. I was nearly put off performing for good when I tripped over my drum set in front of 3000 people. I moved to Liverpool and stopped playing drums, because I couldn’t bring my drum set with me. That’s when I got into more electronic music and DJing. I’d spend hours messing around on my laptop, trying to make cool effects and beats. I met Hanna, and we realized we both had very similar musical interests and had the same kinds of ideas. Ohlayindigo was a way for me to not only pick up drumming again, but also to write awesome tracks with Hanna.
2. Describe your songwriting style. What most inspires your lyrics?
I listened to a lot of Prog-rock with my Dad when I was younger. I would sit with him and analyze the music. Nowadays I try and write catchy songs with some interesting elements for those who want to analyze. But mainly, I attempt to write music that I would like to listen to. My creativity levels vary. Sometimes I have to work very hard on crafting a song, and other times times a song can just come into my head pretty easily, and it all flows out at once. When this happens I usually remember it, and don’t need to write it down immediately. That’s the way I know it could be a good song. Being Norwegian I get to take inspiration from two different languages, although sometimes, some words don’t cross over very well. My lyrics are mostly based on real life experiences, my own or others. I’m a story-teller, but not in your classic singer-songwriter fashion. Instead I have electronic music. I try and have fun with words as well, using synonyms and homonyms because I like to try and find a fresh way new way of expressing myself. I see our music as a broad landscape, touching on multiple genres and styles. But we try to keep it all tied together with the same vision and defining Ohlayindigo touch.
I listen to a lot of music, both modern and old. I keep up with trends and I like to think I can tell when a type of music is going to come into fashion or popular style. I always try and incorporate cool ideas into the production of our tracks. This makes for a great match with Hanna. We are like ying and yang. She will come up with the wonderful, weird and wacky ideas, whilst I will be there to refine them and pick out the best bits. Hanna will sing five or six different melodies for me for each song we come up with, and we will always work on it until we are happy. If we aren’t happy with a track, and if we don’t get that good feeling, we will leave it in the back-burner until we get some fresh ideas to give it new life.
3. What was it like workshopping “Love You To The Moon" with Sir Paul McCartney?
It was actually really chill. He is honestly the nicest guy. He made me feel so relaxed, whilst also being very professional. At one point I even kind of forgot he was Sir Paul McCartney, because we were just chatting away like friends. He also looked so cool; for someone as old as my granddad he has obviously been taking some fashion tips from Kanye. I sung him ‘Love You To The Moon’ and he was singing along with me. I don’t know if that counts as a duet, but it was a special moment for me. He gave me some pointers and some lyric suggestions, which I took on board. Some of the changes he suggested are still in the song now. He definitely knew what he was talking about. He asked about Ohlayindigo, and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. It was all a bit of a blur to be honest. It’s almost as if I got a delayed reaction of being ‘starstruck’. I was like “Oh wow! What just happened?"
4. What other artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to collaborate with some other electronic artists like James Blake, Jamie XX, Flume or SBTRKT. Someone like that. I’m also a big David Bowie fan. I think he would really like some of our ideas.
Obviously if the Biebs asked to sing duet I wouldn’t say no. Someone like Disclosure would be really cool. But my dream collaboration would be Lana Del Rey. Also if Sir Paul ever got into Electronic Pop, I hope now that he would give me a call.
5. What can fans expect from Ohlayindigo in the new year?
We are playing our first US shows in the Bay Area in January (details can be found on our website). We plan to try and perform as much as possible. We haven’t performed live for a little while whilst we’ve been working on our recordings, so it will be great to get out there and get on stage again. We are also building up to the release of our first EP in Summer 2016. Hopefully those who hear ‘Love You To The Moon’ will be wanting more, so we aim to please! We really hope that people enjoy our music as much as we have enjoyed creating it.