By Serenat Kivilcim
Get ready for Kristian Finne, ladies and gentlemen. This seductively satisfying experience is the masterpiece of a solo manned project known as Chorus Grant. It’s as if Badly Drawn Boy and Pink Floyd had a smooth and sultry baby to tickle your musical senses and feel up your girlfriend… Maybe that’s a bold analysis, but I was hooked after my first listen and I think you will be too. Stay tuned to his Facebook page for news and upcoming shows about his alternate project “Cancer” as well.
Please explain to our readers the l0wdown of Chorus Grant?
Chorus Grant is a band and moniker I use as a solo-songwriter. I’m a guitarist and singer/songwriter who writes tunes for my band, mainly consisting of my friends. Chorus Grant is based in Copenhagen, which is the capitol of Denmark, and the songs are sonically minimalistic and lyrically open to interpretation and whatever action in the music one might experience as a listener I like to think comes from chord-progression and not “rock-like”outburst from any of the instruments. I released an album called “Space” consisting of songs that deal with the bereavement process and lives turned upside down intertwined with songs about love, twosomeness and travels. The general album-making I do on my own, but when performing live, Chorus Grant is a 5-piece band which also assists in studio recordings. I’ve always had a fascination with music coming from the US and the elusive thought of “life over there”. I have relatives living in Detroit and New York and friends in North Carolina so I go over to travel around whenever I’m able to save up the money. I’m told my music has sort of a downtempo vibe to it with lyrics that shift from ultra-presence to evasive absence and deal with personal stuff.
Are you partnering up with Broken Twin in her upcoming tour?
Living in Copenhagen and knowing Broken Twin from thelocal music scene I was really looking forward to touring with her. Certain songs of hers really hit a chord within me so it was kind of a drag that the Scandinavian shows were cancelled. I hope and believe that it’s only a matter of time before a new tour is booked.
Your album Space was released in 2014. What was the album mainly inspired by?
I was in the midst of writing these songs about experiences from travels, or perhaps more accurately, a number of songs that contemplated what ‘traveling’ as a whole is. ‘Who am I while I’m away?’ versus ‘Who am I at home?’ There is a shift in personality there and my ambition was to write a two-legged album where half represented the “away” personality and experience and half represented the “home” personality and everyday run of the mill. All of a sudden and out of the blue, the person I hold dearest unexpectedly lost someone who this person loved very much. A cornerstone in our lives suddenly disappeared and I was helpless next to the one I love who experienced the deepest sadness and most desperate sorrow. The urge to see the world together and experience new things was replaced by a need to simply survive and get through the darkened tunnel that this unexpected loss left in its wake. As time passed a little energy to live again returned and in a sense “Space” is simultaneously about the moments where you as a person feel you’re living life to the fullest versus the experience of loss where time seems to come to a standstill that throws you off the carousel of life.
What’s the driving force of your recent album “Live in Concert” which was released in March via Tambourhinoceros?
“Space” opened up a lot of doors for us as a band and we’ve been touring and playing festivals since the release. At one point we started recording these gigs mainly because my friends in the band were coming up with great alterations and improvisations in the songs every night and I wanted to document what the music had become in a live setting which was something quite different from the studio album. Our label Tambourhinoceros has been very supportive and a couple of months ago they released the live recordings “Live In Concert”.
What’s the story behind your track “O Everyone”?
O Everyone is the opener of Space and the song sort of sets the tone for the whole album. Musically we move into the song and “Space” as a whole a bit like approaching an animal you don’t know and that doesn’t know you- First, you gently put out your palm- as soon as your fingers move, the animal pulls back. The artistic mentality of the song and the album is perhaps a bit like having been shot by a tranquilizer gun. Sort of a slow-motion-half-dream-half-awake-feel, while trying to maintain a direction or a course whilst going through an ordeal. A friend of mine who was staying in South America for a couple of months shot the video for the song and the pace of his work fits very nicely with the mental image I had.
You are also a part of the duo Cancer, how do you juggle the two gigs simultaneously? Why the name Cancer?
Cancer and Chorus Grant are two very different things in terms of vibe in the music and way of approaching material. For one, Chorus Grant is a solo effort, whereas Cancer is a songwriting duo where we try to find common grounds outside of our regular musical hunting grounds. In that sense it’s not difficult to shift between the two things as the dynamics of the two groups are so very different- Logistically there have been times where juggling has been a challenge simply because of two simultaneous good opportunities that we’ve wanted to take. Having learned from that, we now try and focus on one thing at a time. We’re currently working on new material in Cancer and are recording songs where we’re expanding and investigating in two directions it seems. On one hand, working on very focused and to-the-point songwriting with soulfulness and “clarity” in the melodies, and on the other hand, experimenting a lot with overall song structure and creating different “soundscapes” and longer, more complex experiences within the same song. When Nikolaj and I met and became friends he was going through a tough time as his father had just passed away from cancer and as my father is terminally ill with MS we decided to name the band after an illness in an effort for the word to get new connotations and as a way of praising the love and honesty that Nik had experienced with his father in the last days.
Do you think there is enough support for indie artists in Denmark?
Audiences in Denmark are indeed supportive of their indie artists. People like to hear new stuff and it seems that going out to see live music is something that Danes of all ages really enjoy. There are a lot of support opportunities for bands in Denmark in regards to tour-support and funding for recording material. Also, the danish arts counsil is unlike anything I’ve seen in other countries so we would be foolish to complain.
What are your all time favorite albums?
There are so many great albums that I feel odd choosing one over another, but I can tell you that I’ve always really liked Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” and that I have been listening a lot to “The Virgin Suicides” soundtrack by Air. Lately, I’ve become totally taken with an artist called Lewis and the subtle compositions of his album L’Amour. Lewis plays pianos and guitars but the most noteworthy aspect of Lewis’ instrumentation is his use of synths alongside the acoustics, which sort of reminds me of Angelo Badalamenti’s early theme music work with David Lynch.
What’s on the horizon for Chorus Grant in 2015?
Chorus Grant will be writing and working on new material in 2015 while playing key-shows outside of Denmark during the fall.
Photos by Esben Boeg Jensen