Interview - Magnetic Heartland

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Magnetic Heartland is a music project from Norway. Roots, indie / rock, blues / rock. 

Hi there and welcome to this interview. Tell us about your latest release On to something.
Hi Gio, thanks for inviting me on here. On to Something is the debut single for the project Magnetic Heartland. I had a bunch of songs, some written 10 years ago, that I wanted to put out, and On to Something is one of them. I thought the title was fitting for a debut, as I have about a couple albums worth, as well as still writing new material of course. But On to Something is a fun, positive roots rock song to start out with for me. It’s basically a waltz, and I love the image in my head of dancing with the audience on to something. What that will be, we have left to see, but it’s the beginning of a journey. It’s all in my head for now, and I get to play a Gretsch guitar on the track, so there is that too!

How would you describe your sound?
It’s a little retro sounding, so the rock’n roll roots are quite prominent. I like it a little raw and unpolished. Now we may label that “indie”, but there are 50s Eddie Cochran, 60s Stones, 70s Springsteen, 80s Mellencamp, 90s Petty & The Heartbreakers, a bit of Jackson Browne and some Norwegian influences like Dance With a Stranger, early Hellbillies and then some. It’s quite romantic towards classic rock, folk rock and Americana influences, but I also like ambient guitars and synths in my music, so anything that helps the song really. I just work for the song.

What do you write about?
I tend to write about my own life, so the songs are bits and pieces from my own experiences, a record of my life in a way. But I like to write from different time periods, and from different perspectives, so it may be about something I have experienced, but perhaps as someone else would see it. I also like to keep it a little light hearted for the most part, because I feel that free’s me up in the music to bring up the energy and the performances. As a solo writer I can basically do what I want, and I do take that liberty to heart for sure. Sometimes I feel I write songs just to get to play guitars, and there is some truth to it, I love playing guitar!

What do you listen to when you are home?
I keep extensive playlists, and there is everything from classical music to jazz to modern indie pop. But I do love guts’y rock’n roll of all sorts. Norwegian soul ace Adam Douglas is a recent favourite, as well as Ellis Paul, a fantastic songwriter. I’m also a lot into soundtracks, and Reeve Carney who is on the Spiderman soundtrack has caught my ear too. Rob Thomas, Keb Mo’, Tedeschi Trucks Band is also always great. There is just so much great music out there to listen to now. Everyone is adding to our rock’n roll library, it’s fantastic!

Your favourite live performance so far?
We did a gig some years ago playing at a conference, and after the show, we had a big lineup of people who wanted to say hello and have a little chat. It was a wow moment for me, as I’ve never seen that coming, that anyone would care that much. It made me take music more serious.

Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage
What, I did a record, and everybody laughs!! Haha, no, some time ago I was looking for a collaborator, and found one on an American site. We got in touch, wanted to collaborate, and when we got to exchange contact information, we discovered that we lived in the same little town in Denmark in Northern Europe. It was Signe Jakobsen! It’s like travelling across the world to meet your neighbour. I think it’s pretty funny, we are so occupied with talking to strangers, that we forget the people in our own neighbourhood.

Your favourite albums?
Uhhh, Elvis 56, Springsteen-Born to Run, Dire Straits-Brothers in Arms, Ry Cooder-Paris Texas and The Killers-Day & Age.

A musician you would like to meet for a beer?
I’d love a big pint with Mark Knopfler. He is a big inspiration. In his solo career after Dire Straits, he wanted to write about local places and characters in the UK, adding to the geography and demographics of popular music. I think about heartland rock in a similar way. Anything central and defining in a country can be a heartland, and even things we value at the core of our heart. I find it helpful to widen the perspective of how we understand certain things, to make them more inclusive, accessible and inspiring across cultural boundaries. It’s something we can do with music.

What would you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth?
I might ask that they keep the stage Co2 neutral, and that they can account for it. No more shit, ffs!!

What are your plans for the next future?
I don’t know. On the bad days, I think music is over, and that I’d just add my tiny bits to the history. But on good days, I consider getting the band together and do some small tours. We’ll see, there has to be an audience, and an economy, but Covid is not over. Maybe just some local gigs, and maybe doing more music for film and tv. In 2020 I had a song “Hold That Thought” (co-written and performed by Canadian artist, John Lewitt) in two episodes of the American show “The Young and the Restless”. I’d like to do more of that as well, but we’ll see. I will definitely release the songs I already have in the pipeline, and see how long I can sustain the project. Next release “Ain’t That the Truth” will be out soon, so stay tuned.

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