Following their successful debut EP, ‘Alaska’, Stockholm-based dream pop band Novah have teamed up with acclaimed singer/songwriter Amanda Mair for new single ‘Ghost’. Speaking to Essentially Pop, band member Simon Hagstrom talks about the inspiration behind the collaboration, the band’s career highlights and plans for their second EP.
EP: What was the inspiration behind ‘Ghost’?
SH: There isn’t any specific tune. We were just messing around with beats because we got a drum machine. I think the inspiration was just us about trying to make music from something we’re not used to.
EP: You recorded your debut EP on a remote island, what was the recording process for this track like?
SH: It was much more basic, I would say! We didn’t go anywhere, we recorded at our studio in Stockholm. We had everything we needed here, so we didn’t go anywhere. Normally we like to go away, it’s nice to go another place and not think of anything else, so this was a first time recording in our own studio. We have beautiful upright piano from London, and we used that to record the piano pieces and also drum machine loops.
EP: Since you usually seem to prefer going away to record your music, was there a specific reason you didn’t do it this time?
SH: Yeah, because we recorded this song just as one song. A single in collaboration with Amanda Mair. If we were to release another EP – which we will, this winter – we’ll probably leave Stockholm and go back to the same place we recorded the last EP.
EP: What was it like working with Amanda? And how did that come about?
SH: It was fantastic! Well, we’ve known each other for a few years. She’s also a Stockholm artist and she comes from the same sort of indie music background. We have common friends and know her personally as well. We’ve been saying ‘maybe we should do a collaboration’ for two years now and I also produced and wrote some of her music. So this just came naturally. Her voice was just a perfect fit for the song.
EP: Speaking of collaborations, are there any artists you’d absolutely love to collaborate with in the future?
SH: Oh, good question! Me personally, I’d love to collaborate with James Allen. I don’t know what sort of collaboration, but I love his songwriting, lyrics and productions.
EP: Who would you say are your major musical influences?
SH: Personally, my inspiration doesn’t come from specific artists or genre. As a band, we are inspired by atmospheric, indie-pop music, like The National and the Beach House.
EP: And how would you describe Novah’s sound?
SH: Atmospheric and quite low-key, we don’t do much up-tempo music. There’s always a shadow over it; its dark. We don’t see it as sad music, but I know a lot of listeners do! I guess you could say have that Scandinavian melancholy in our music.
EP: So has your sound changed or evolved since your debut?
SH: Yes, both. When we started this project, we had a few up-tempo songs and a few calm songs. We were signed by the record label for the calmer ones. They didn’t really like our up-tempo music, so we scrapped those. Our sound now is more direct but also experimental. And sound-wise we are continually trying to go out of our comfort zone, with our new music.
EP: You said you’re working on some new music, besides that what would you describe as the band’s musical ambition? What’s next for Novah, in the immediate future?
SH: It’s pretty easy! As a group and as creators; if we are making an EP, we want it to be the best EP, with the best lyrics and best songs. We want it to be better than what we put out before. It’s hard, but that’s always the ambition – to make it the best we’ve done. Immediately, we may do a show in Stockholm, but our main focus is on writing the songs for the EP and record it either in late December or January, and get it out next spring!
Check out ‘Ghost’ below: