Wednesday, March 24, 2021

10 Questions For: Off Bloom


They are one of our favorite artists from Scandinavia. Their music has been a frequent presence in our playlists – to the point that it's no surprise we've listed them in our Top 50 of the best songs of Europe in 2017. So it was a huge honor to be able to talk to them about their work. These are our 10 questions for Mette Mortensen, of Off Bloom:

Sounds European!: We always start our interviews by getting to know a bit about the artists' music background. What were you guys doing before Off Bloom? What artists did you two listen to while you were growing up? Are they an inspiration to the music you produce nowadays?

Mette Mortensen (Off Bloom): I was actually working as an actress in a performance theatre before we started making music together. Mads was in a producer duo called Killer Collective with Alex, our former third member. They made experimental electronic instrumental music very inspired by Hudson Mohawke, krautrock and Cashmere Cat.
I listened a lot to Britney, The Beatles, Tracy Chapman, Kelly Rowland and classic Danish folk music. Mads grew up listening to all the music his big brother thought was the coolest, like Nick Cave, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Bowie, The Strokes etc.. All of it has definitely impacted how we write and how we sound today.

SE!: How did you meet? And what's the story behind the name, Off Bloom?

MM: Mads and I met at a theatre school in Denmark called Rødkilde. We started making music together a little while after, when Mads asked me to join a live performance with Killer Collective, where we did a cover of Brandy's "Afrodisiac", and then we started writing together after that. I had never recorded anything before or ever written a song really, so it was all new to me, but it felt like the most fun natural thing to do!
The story behind the name is that we wanted to think of our music as off the bloom – not chasing anything, just making the music we want to make. And besides that, it was also inspired by the Nirvana song called "In bloom", which is now the name of our album.

SE!: If we analyze your songs, we can hear a very unique blend of sounds. How would you describe your musical genre, and why? What is the process for composing music for you?

MM: We make alternative pop music, I think. I don't really think too much about genre. We are defined by our love for pop music and great songwriting, but have always also been drawn to weirdness and darkness.
When we write, we try to stay true to the moment and what's happening right there. We try to express whatever emotions we are having, and then we don't know if the end result will be a singer/songwriter folk song or a heavy beat. We try to stay open. But it can be really hard not trying to control the process or judge it. It's a life long lesson to just let yourself be and stay open.

SE!: You've had a thrilling kick-off for your career. Your single "Falcon eye" was very well received both by the critics and the public (and it also made it to our Top 50 of 2017). The song also made it to the soundtrack of Fifa 18, reaching an international audience. This earned you an European Border Breakers Awards. How did you guys learn that the track would be included in such a popular video game? And how do you feel knowing your music is reaching people from all around the world?

MM: Yes, we have had some amazing experiences already – receiving the EBBA award and playing at the awards was definitely one of them! "Falcon eye" being included in Fifa was the coolest – we literally just got an e-mail from our manager with a lot of exclamation points that told us that "Falcon eye" would be included. It was really amazing seeing people from around the world sharing their love for the song. It has also made a difference when we have played international shows, but it was not like that single thing changed everything – it was a combination of a lot of stuff happening at the same time.

SE!: Let's come to the present. You have just released your debut album, "In bloom". Drive us a bit through the release. How was the process of recording and producing the album? And what can we expect from its songs, both in terms of music, but also in terms of the message of the album, as a whole?

MM: The album is a collection of songs spanning from the beginning of the band up until now. The finishing process took its toll, but we're so happy and proud of the result. The album reflects the entirety of our history, and is, as such, very eclectic and sprawling, both representing the ups and downs of the five years Off Bloom has existed. The album has a lot of themes, but a common thread is being human in a world that seems to be losing the nuances, complexities and varieties of real human life and emotions due to the omnipresence of black-and-white social media.

"We are defined by our love for pop music and great songwriting, but have always also been drawn to weirdness and darkness"
(Picture: Anders Witt, Universal Music Denmark)

SE!: How do you guys live the experience of performing your music on stage? What can your public expect from your shows?

MM: I love performing more than anything else – I feel it's the most true form of communicating and expressing our music. Our shows are highly energetic and we love interacting with the audience.

SE!: We know you've had some wonderful people working with you on your album, such as Max Martin, CJ Baran and George Reid. What can you tell us about the experience of collaborating with them? What lessons did you learn that you are taking to your career?

MM: We love to learn and improve all the time, so it's a huge privilege to have worked with such accomplished and talented people.

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Danish and international artists you would still like to collaborate with?

MM: International: Benny Blanco, The Weeknd, Sia, Kevin Parker, Paul McCartney, FINNEAS and Billie Eilish. Danish: Kasper Eistrup from Kashmir.

SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you in 2021?

MM: We – as all musicians at this time – hope that it soon will become possible to perform live again and play our album on the road. Otherwise, we are collaborating with a lot of exciting people and producing and writing songs for various artists.

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Off Bloom, and why?

MM: My favourite song on the album is "Passion". It was one of the first songs we wrote, and the sound and lyrics are so much who we were and still are. Stupid, flawed, but passionate.

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