"I wanted it to be more abstract and introverted..." - Sea Change talks new album INSIDE
Ellen Sunde, best known simply as Sea Change, made serious waves back in 2015 with her debut LP Breakage.
A jittery, ethereal melange of tracks, it was hypnotic, dark and swirling, winning Sunde scores of admirers.
Now though, she's got to follow it up, with new LP INSIDE, which is in-stores now.
We spoke to Sunde about making the record, working with producer Andrew Murray and why this album is an exploration of self.
When did you start working on the songs for Inside?
"I started working in very late fall 2015. I was finally finished with my touring, and moved to Los Angeles, away from everything and could finally use my time with music-making. I needed a lot of time to try out different things and made a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut for this record. It was important for me not to rush this process."
How did you want the album to move on from what you’ve done in the past?
"I needed this record to be different, but I think musically it was a very natural development. I wanted it to be more abstract and introverted, and to explore a darker and more experimental side. Personally I love an album that takes me on a journey from start to end. An album you want to put on right away after its over. This is my effort to make one of those records."
You worked on the record with Andrew Murray, what did he bring to the process?
"He was an amazing collaborator! He was very attentive and really tried to capture what’s special about each song, zooming in on what's interesting and emphasized them. Making both the songs and the productions more focused and clear, he contributed a lot on the arrangements, productions and he did all of the mixing."
"He was very clear on that we need to push some boundaries here and explore what's possible, and that really resonated with me. When we discussed things in the studio he was like - yes this sounds cool, but I’ve heard it before - let's try out something new! And I love that way of thinking. The whole process was very intuitive and I learned a lot from it."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"It’s quite self-exploring, I’m mostly in my own headspace but I really think that by being particular it becomes universal. The overall themes are intimacy, identity and transformation. The lyrics are made very intuitive and some of them are quite stream of consciousness. I tried not to overthink when I wrote them, because I wanted them to come from an intuitive place."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"I think 'WHAT MAKES'. I started writing that one when I had this obsession with Drake in LA, and at the start, it was actually this low key trap song. I even played it live a couple of times with a completely different production. When I moved to Berlin I worked with it for a weekend with a producer there, but it never felt quite right, so I rewrote some of the lyrics and brought it to Andrew in Oslo and we made a totally new production for it."
And which came together most quickly?
"The title song 'INSIDE'. I wrote it and made the whole pre-production in a day or two. Everything felt right from the start, and when I added the pitch-shifted vocals it all fell into place. It’s also my favourite song on the record."
When did you decide on INSIDE for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"It felt very natural to name it ‘INSIDE’, it came very fast and intuitively to me, and it was the working title for a long time. But when the time came for me to actually settle on a title, I felt INSIDE was a little un-inspirational."
"I considered SCRATCH THAT ITCH for a little while, which would be an awesome title, but I felt that witnessed a whole different record. In the end, this is an album where I invite the listeners inside my album, my mind and my body so I decided that the title Inside, is both simple and ambiguous and that it was the right one."
It’s a seven-track LP, why did you decide on that length?
"It was actually planned to be a two EP - album, but all the other songs I made didn’t fit in on this record that well, so I decided to make a short album. These seven tracks inhabited the things I wanted to say, and the other tracks I made will fit better on another release."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"I will play a few shows in Europe and in Norway. I have a whole new set up live this time. It's purely electronic."
When will we see you back in the UK?
"Soon! I’m in the process of booking shows now. So early 2020 definitely."
Sea Change's new album INSIDE is out now.