Picture this: you’re in the studio with Norwegian pop ace Ary and she’s googling “indigenous witch-group chanting from Russia” while digging for samples. You wouldn’t expect that to then turn into a one of the best pop songs of the year – but you’re wrong. ‘Childhood Dreams’ is a sleek, club-ready hit that looks back on younger times, but also ahead as it cements Ary’s claim as a dangerously exciting pop prospect. Truly magical stuff.
Here she explains how she turned that unusual sample into a banger, and where 2017 takes her.
Was ‘Childhood Dreams’ a fun song to make?
“All the songs Coucheron [producer] and I have worked on had been fun to make. Coucheron was teaching me how he likes to sample, so we were Google-ing distant parts of the earth and found an indigenous witch-group chanting from Russia. He pitched it down and put in a kick and that’s where the song started.”
You look back in the song a lot – is that an important thing for you to do? To look back, as well as forward to take inspiration from all parts of your life?
“Well, yes. I guess so. The song is very much about the present thoughts of the past. I think it’s important to remember where I come from and what I wanted when all this started. It’s easy to lose sight of what I wanted in the first place when everything feels like it’s within reach. I’m most inspired by where I’ve been and the people I’ve already known, not so much about the future, it’s too vague still.”
What’s your family link to Trinidad and how does it influence your sound?
“My grandmother was born and raised in Trinidad and she moved to Norway to marry my grandfather. When I was a kid she used to play old vinyl records and we’d dance around in the living room. One of the songs I remember well is ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ by The Andrews Sisters. Music in Trinidad has changed a lot since she left the island, but my mother has kept updating us on the latest trends over there. She used to fly over when I was a teenager and bring back burned CD’s with calypso and we’d dance to them too. I especially like the beats they make over there. There’s a vividness to it that I hope to merge together with the cold electronic soundscape I find in Norwegian music.”
You’re fast becoming one of many big pop acts set to break out of Norway at the moment – why do you think acts from that region are having such success right now?
“I think it’s because other artists like Aurora and Kygo have taken the first steps for us. It’s easier to follow in someone else’s footsteps when the searchlights are already pointed in our direction. Also the music business in Norway has started to focus more on the international scene. I see a lot of good record labels reaching out to collaborate with bigger institutions in America and England, and the Norwegian networks are evolving and growing. And lastly we have so many great songwriters both in LA and London who are working with huge artists. It seems to me like Norway’s music scene is growing stronger with help from every artist and writer in front of this wave.”
What’s the plan for 2017?
“The plan is to continue to make music and release it. 2016 has been more about figuring out who I am as an artist and finding my sound, and I feel like I’m getting ready to finally release what I’ve made. I’m hoping my audience will like what I’ve become and that people will continue to come see our shows. We’re playing some really cool shows this summer, so I’m looking forward to that too.”
‘Childhood Dreams’ is out now via Petroleum Records