Musicscan: Hanne, I saw you open up for Polica in Heidelberg a few weeks ago and the reactions to your show were overwhelmingly positive. Was that generally the case during your last tour?
Hanne Kolstø: Yes, that was the case all around. I actually sold more records than Polica after the shows. But Heidelberg was by far the best crowd.
Musicscan: What did you particularly enjoy about Heidelberg?
Hanne Kolstø: I loved the atmosphere in the city. I just know when I arrive in a new town if I like it or not. Heidelberg was that kind of city that I fell instantly in love with. And that was just when I got off at the train station- before I saw the castle and the beautiful narrow streets and walked the bridge. I think the whole vibe of the city was the best.
Musicscan: Tell me a little bit about how you approached “Riot Break”. Did you have any particular aesthetic objectives for the album?
Hanne Kolstø: I actually started recording Riot Break just for fun. It wasn´t meant to end up as a whole record. I had three other band projects (“Post”/ ”Thelma & Clyde”/ ”Love:Fi”) where I wrote most of the music and was the lead singer - but now I was curious about how my music would sound if I did it all myself, played all the instruments, made all the choices. It also started as an experiment with my producer Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen. We were friends and fans of each others music, but had never worked together before. With Riot Break we sort of found each other, musically. And now we are inseparable! We just had a lot of fun recording it, did it all ourselves- even if our drum skills were not that good. The songs were a mix of my old songs and totally new ones. And I remember I liked the schizophrenic mix, that the record had both that singer/songwriter feeling and the electronic pop feeling.
Musicscan: Is there anything like a red thread connecting the different songs on the album in terms of an overarching theme?
Hanne Kolstø: The red thread is overall between my three solo records, which is a trilogy consisting of Riot Break (2011)- FlashBlack (my next record out in Norway in September, Germany in February 2013) and Blue Anger (2013). But I write about myself and the darkness I meet, in myself and others. Even if everything is great I see darkness. And darkness not as a bad thing. It can lead you somewhere new if you dare to go into it.
Musicscan: Tell me a little bit about where you now live and where you grew up. How do you think these surroundings have influenced your music?
Hanne Kolstø: I grew up in a small village called Sykkylven on the West coast of Norway, alongside fjords and high mountains. Of course that has effected me and my music. But I think more in a good way, connecting with nature and with myself. Now I live in Kristiansand, in the south of Norway where it is warmer, there are more open spaces and better weather. That’s nice. One should try something new all the time.
Musicscan: You are known to be a person who travels extensively. I was wondering if you could tell me what continues to fascinate you about traveling?
Hanne Kolstø: Oh, actually I don’t like to travel that much! Seriously. So it’s kind of strange that I have the job that I have. But I love my job, and so I guess you could say that I love to travel then, too. (laughs) I almost never go anywhere unless I’m playing there.
Musicscan: Ok then what are your least favorite parts about touring?
Hanne Kolstø: The hotel rooms and waiting for a soundcheck or waiting to go on stage.
Musicscan: What do you hope people to take away from a Hanne Kolstø show?
Hanne Kolstø: My heart.
Musicscan: What was the biggest compliment someone told you with regard to your music?
Hanne Kolstø: When people say that my music makes them feel something that they can or can’t explain. That’s the biggest compliment I get. Music without emotions is not interesting.
Musicscan: It seems like quite a few of your songs deal with loneliness. However, you don’t seem to mind loneliness. Is that correct? What do you treasure about being alone?
Hanne Kolstø: Loneliness is not the same as choosing to spend time by yourself. I’m very much a “loner” and I much rather want to be by myself than to hang out with other people, but, like many others, I feel that loneliness is hard to deal with at times, because then you lack something or someone that understands. But I also think it’s an interesting place to be, because there could be a lot of insight in loneliness if you dare to confront it. I like to say that we’re actually always alone, no matter what. That’s the truth. It may seem harsh and a bit black & white to think that way, but it makes me feel better. When I write I’m very into finding and presenting the harsh reality about things. That works on me and hopefully the truth works on others, too. I want to keep moving to figure out new things about myself and we need to try to see the world in order to keep moving forward and not backwards.
Musicscan: What inspires and fascinates you apart from music? What are some other passions in your life?
Hanne Kolstø: I would be a carpenter if I wasn’t a musician. I like making things with my hands. I love to exercise. I like jogging and yoga. I’m fascinated by contemporary dancing, and I get a lot of inspiration from that and film dialogues. But most of all I’m fascinated and inspired by other people.
Musicscan: What can we expect from you in the near future? Any tours, collaborations, releases planned?
Hanne Kolstø: My next record “FlashBlack” is going to be released in Norway 14th of September and in Germany 1st of February 2013. Touring mostly in Norway this autumn, and Germany around the release next year, but I’m confirmed to play at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on the 20th of September. I’m going to start recording the third record “Blue Anger” in May 2013.