Image credit: Daniela Weinmann
Swiss singer and songwriter Odd Beholder is truly a voice and sound to behold. Drawn to music from a young age, the songstress made a career out of and has released two successful EP’s Lighting in 2016 and Atlas in 2017. Her latest single ‘Accept Nature’ via Sinnbus touches on anxiety and an existential crisis about the timing of your life. Though Odd Beholder’s soundscapes and enigmatic vocals may have you thinking otherwise. This latest single will feature on her forthcoming album release Sunny Bay which touches our shores in September.
In the meantime we found out more about quirky songstress Odd Beholder below.
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
I was raised very strictly. Christian Pop Music is not a big business in Switzerland, it’s not as common as in the US – but my parents made me go to the only Christian Record Store in Zurich because they thought Christian music wouldn’t have a bad influence on me. They made it virtually impossible for me to buy the same music as my peers. I didn’t know any of the artists on the shelves. Also, the internet didn’t exist yet, I had never read or heard about any of them. So I spent hours listening to styles and music without any influence by fan culture which is quite remarkable, I think. I listened through many, many genres and unknown names. Naturally, I did the same in high school. I just hang out every lunch in the library and listened to stuff on CDs. OK Computer by Radiohead, Mezzanine by Massive Attack and Dummy by Portishead really got me interested in music production. I was fascinated by the cinematic quality of the records and I was looking for a way to make similar “collage music” as I would have called it back when I was 16. I was always drawn to “unnatural” sounds, the 808 drum machine, the synths of Vangelis and stuff like that. Everything that sounded different than the instruments we had to play in school.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Even though I just said that conventional instruments tend to bore me – it is still my guitar that makes me want to write songs. Holding my guitar in my hands reminds me of all the moments I have had a little privacy to process my life. It can take quite a while until I finally find the bravery to log out and find myself some me time. But mostly, it feels great to be alone and be really, really honest with myself. Writing songs is like making a confession, you unburden yourself. A song you write is a song that listens to you instead of the other way round. Sometimes I write songs like a craftswoman: I can do that, and it feels like a lot of work. The mystery is that the really good songs exist before you write them. They have always been there and they’ve just waited in your throat until you finally sigh them out.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Being offline. Walking the three-dimensional space. Looking at the light, the architecture, the infrastructure, the plants, the people and their moods – not only observing everything but really feeling what is going on in the here and now.
Especially when you are going through an exhausting time and have a lot of stress – just looking up feels like taking drugs, I assure you. Well. If your brain works like mine, that is.
As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
Being treated as if it was your job to do music and being paid as if it was your passion.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Studio time can be really interesting and inspiring, but sometimes I zoom in too much and my need for control stifles my creativity. Whenever I’ve reached the peak of the studio curve I yearn to play live again. Staring at an Ableton file for too long turns a song into a picture if that makes sense. As soon as you play live you realise again that it’s all about fleeting moments. When the sounds have evaporated, the song is just like a memorised emotion, that’s what a live situation teaches you.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
They say art is luxury but I’ve never seen someone needing diamonds the way a depressed and lonely soul needs music. Once, a man told me that he drove two hours to see me play my song ‘Loneliness’. He said he was very desperate and anxious and that the song helped him to keep going. Oh, and my mom told me that she listens to my music when she can’t sleep. I find that very sweet. That’s basically a good summary: My music is for the insomniacs and the lonely.
What’s on your current playlist?
See for yourself!
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
Releases! Music, Videos… I’ve written an album called Sunny Bay and it will be released on the 10th of September. Also, I’m starting to play live shows again. It’s exciting.
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